2013 Two-Wheeler Special: SKF India develops tool to make two-wheelers smoother
A world leader in bearing technology, SKF India is looking at a range of value products.
Based on a product developed by its principal, SKF, the Vehicle Environmental Performance Simulator (VEPS) aims at identifying each and every point in a two-wheeler where there exists the possibility to reduce friction.
“The solution was earlier available only for cars. Now, we are ready to offer it to two-wheeler OEMs and are looking to partner with them,” Harsha Kadam, Global Director, Two-Wheeler business, SKF India, told Autocar Professional.
The VEPS is designed to read data of the complete riding cycle and map friction points of the complete two-wheeler. Based on the data feed, the tool then gives inputs on the components and areas that may need re-design to lower friction.
Kadam says, “Apart from bearings, the VEPS reads all mating components in the two-wheeler.”
The challenge with VEPS is to gain the confidence of OEMs, as it will involve sharing of critical and confidential information. SKF India hopes that the cumulative cost and fuel efficiency benefits derived from the VEPS will make it attractive for the OEMs in the country.
Bearing on efficiency
While the VEPS represents an effort by SKF India to graduate as a company to a solutions provider, it is also taking steps to improve its offerings in the bearings space. The E2 bearing is one such example. SKF’s E2 bearings are part of a family specially engineered and manufactured to reduce friction by 30 percent or more beyond the already efficient SKF standard bearings. Usually, there are 15 ball bearings in a bike, around nine of which are in the gearbox. In scooters, the number ranges from nine to 12. SKF claims that the sum total of fuel efficiency enhancement in a two-wheeler will be significant if it is fitted with the energy-efficient bearings. Incidentally, the E2 range is also finding takers in the household ceiling fan industry.
SKF India has also developed a sealed version of the E2 bearing used in wheels. The company plans to launch these bearings in four to five months. The new bearings, it says, offer 30 percent lower friction compared to other sealed bearings.
“We changed the geometry of the seal as well as the composition of the grease to achieve the desired results,” explains Kadam.
StopGo for India
A world leader in bearing technology, SKF India is looking at a range of value products. One is StopGo – a stop-start solution for two-wheelers that can be customised as a ready-to-fit unit, assembled by OEMs or as a retrofit. The system can be applied to a wide variety of motorcycles, independent of engine size. The technology has been developed by SKF India with inputs from the mechatronics division of SKF France.
The feature, which was production-ready in 2011, was showcased to two-wheeler OEMS in India, but SKF India was asked to offer multiple features on the same platform on which the StopGo is based on. As a result, the company is working on offering features like anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and digital speedometer in addition to the stop-start feature. The challenge is to accommodate the extra features in a tight space.
Even as the StopGo platform is being further developed to offer more features, SKF has started test marketing the standalone StopGo in the aftermarket in places like Hyderabad and Bangalore. “Some end users have reported fuel savings of close to five percent savings in fuel,” says Kadam. SKF has offered the solution for TVS and Hero models, and plans to offer it to Pulsar customers next.
SKF is working on new products for OEMs in India also with the objective of exporting to some of their sister subsidiaries overseas. With increased exports to global markets and further value added products in the domestic market, SKF expects its two-wheeler business to outpace the Indian two-wheeler industry this year.
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