CVs are key to sustainability

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 02 Feb 2009 Views icon4008 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
CVs are key to sustainability

Magna Powertrain’s Engineering Center Steyr (ECS), a leading engineering service company with its main focus on commercial vehicle engineering, presented its ECOS semi-truck concept for the first time at SIAT 2009 in the form of a 1:5 model.

ECS was founded in 1989 by the core product development and R&D team of Steyr Trucks following the acquisition of this division of the Steyr-Daimler-Puch concern by MAN Nutzfahrzeuge. Steyr has a tradition of truck manufacture that goes back to 1922.

Today ECS engages in truck engineering globally for major OEMs in all key markets including India — here it has been engaged by Daimler Trucks to develop a new heavy truck family for the latter’s joint venture with Hero.

In the future ECS anticipates a growing emphasis around the world on optimised vehicle costs and cost of ownership; an increased demand for modularisation at the assembly stage to ensure high complexity at low cost; lower volumes but greater diversity; reduced fuel consumption; increased use of safety technologies; and improved interfaces between vehicle and driver.

The ECOS study is a Magna effort to address these demands in a manner described in an ECS release as “… realistic enough to incorporate breakthrough technologies and next-generation systems and … unreasonable and aggressive enough to provoke and attract customers”.

What it really stands for is not only an exceptional engineering concept with lightweight frame, cabin, suspension, and powertrain, and optimised drag and rolling resistance (with Super Single tyres at the rear), but also a virtual product development approach to reduce development costs.

“A part of the work we do at our engineering office in Pune is very similar to what has gone into the development of this study,” Dr Valentin Kordesch, manager for engine engineering at Magna Powertrain, told this correspondent. The sleek design by Magna Steyr’s head of styling Andreas Wolfsgruber has a coefficient of drag of only 0.38 that rivals passenger car values, but isn’t all there is to it; every single part has been analysed for weight reduction potential using thinner materials and plastics. As a result, Kordesch said, the developers have been able to save a full tonne on the ECOS."

Equally significant is what’s inside: an engine downsized to 9–10 litres but with an enhanced rating of 500 kW (670+ hp), and an upgraded gearbox and drivetrain. The development envisages a low-volume ECU with simplified functions to decrease engine application efforts and software maintenance. The study also envisages electrification of the powertrain with the possibility of recuperation of kinetic energy.

Another detail of the engineering of the ECOS was the overall thermal and energy management optimisation using Magna Powertrain’s proprietary KULI software tool for enhanced cooling within the constraints imposed by the aerodynamic styling.

And, unlike any truck that is built today on conventional ladder-type chassis, the ECOS’s structure is a spaceframe that has been optimised using FEMFAT fatigue analysis. The cab acoustics have been engineered to comply with future standards under transient conditions.

The aerodynamic roof panel has solar cells that can provide all the utility power needs of the driver and his companion. Additionally, ECS has optimised the topology of the electrical system using its KABI CAE method. ECS has applied its lean engineering approach to keep product development costs on target and meet one of the fundamental premises of the study: to guarantee a true business case for the truck OEMs and their customers.

The increasing demand for goods transport worldwide and the pressure to further reduce CO2 while providing ever higher payloads can only be achieved by applying new technologies. The basis of the ECOS concept is Magna ECS’s belief that the truck will remain the No. 1 mode of land transport for a long time to come.

Kordesch said the concept has already attracted the interest of two European OEMs he declined to name, and that it would take 2½ years to prototype it. He revealed that ECS has the capability to even productionise the ECOS using plastic parts, interiors, and electronic vision systems from other Magna Group companies. The consequent absence of exterior mirrors contributes to the low Cd, he pointed out.


Pierburg GmbH is gearing up for a big increase in demand for its pneumatic and electric EGR valves for passenger cars and light-duty trucks in India ahead of the introduction of the BS4 emission norm in April next year. These will be manufactured at a wholly owned plant at Takwe on the outskirts of Pune beginning later this month.

Within three months the plant will start delivering water, oil, and vacuum pumps produced for Pierburg Pump Technology GmbH (PPT), another division of global engine system and module supplier Kolbenschmidt Pierburg AG. The company has already won a business for valves and pumps from Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, Suzuki Powertrain, and Fiat India Automobiles.

Guenter Maassen, senior business development manager for Asia and the Pacific, said Fiat’s 1.3 Multi-jet engine on cars from Tata, Maruti, and Fiat of course, is already being fitted with Pierburg EGR valves, and an EGR cooler module will be added for BS4. At present all the pumps on this engine come from a Pierburg Pump Technology plant in Italy. Pierburg has already supplied 300,000 valves to these customers, including for a BS3 application for Tata’s Ace minitruck. The company is presently working on an EGR cooler module for Suzuki Powertrain for Euro 5, Maassen revealed, and cited solenoid valves for turbocharger control as an interesting future prospect.

The company could also bring its aluminium EGR coolers in, but not immediately. “The production of these is not so easy as it involves special casting and welding processes,” he said.

While it establishes itself in the light vehicle market, Pierburg is also keeping an eye on the heavy truck industry. In particular Maassen sees prospects for heavy duty turbochargers, a new product it started supplying two customers in Germany only a year and a half ago. The company plans to bring in its latest DC-motor-actuated valves for heavy duty BS4 applications. The two main advantages of this technology are higher opening force and quicker response compared to the pneumatic actuators used on current BS3 applications such as for a “3- and 5-litre” engine for Tata. The former property is necessary for running engines with higher turbocharger pressure ratios required for BS4, according to Pierburg’s head of EGR development Osman Seri.

In addition, he explained, the pneumatic valves are subject to high pulsation, whereas this is virtually absent in the DC motor type, which allows for better control of the amount of exhaust gas recirculated.

Maassen told Autocar Professional the plant site at Takwe, covering 160,000 sq.m., has been designated as a potential hub for all future expansion projects for both Pierburg and PPT, and for the manufacture of engine bearings for KS Gleitlager GmbH, another group company.

An engineering design and simulation team is being set up at a Pune office that will support both, Indian applications and overseas projects. Under engineering manager Rajendra Madhabhavi, this seven-strong team will grow to 14 by July. Purchase and sales are handled centrally from headquarters in Neuss, Germany.


Cummins Emission Solutions (CES) showed a complete BS4-spec SCR system from a Chinese light commercial vehicle powered by Cummins’ new ISFe 3.8-litre engine, and a heavy duty diesel particulate filter for retrofit applications. While Cummins India has made its preference for SCR technology in this market known, its insistence on supplying its IEM (integrated emissions management) system only with an integrated NOx sensor to monitor its emissions performance won’t win it many friends here, CES’s Beijing-based general manager (emerging markets) Amit Soman admitted, especially since the proprietary electronic controls that come as part of the system are programmed to derate the engine if the NOx emissions at the tailpipe are above the norm.

“While it’s great that emission-reducing aftertreatment technology is being mandated, the lack of any enforcement mechanism defeats the very purpose of introducing this technology. An operator could fill seawater into the urea tank for all he cares, and the NOx emissions are going to be higher even than a truck without the SCR,” he said. If the NOx limits are exceeded in two otherwise identically equipped trucks, the engine of the truck with the sensor will be derated, and eventually shut down, if no action is taken. But the one that’s spitting out untreated NOx will continue to run. The operator, having had to fork out a significant extra for the system anyway, will see any deration as a nuisance he could easily avoid without the “conscience” of the sensor, emissions compliance be damned.

Founded in 2002 to focus on aftertreatment for upcoming emissions regulations worldwide, Cummins Emission Solutions is today the market share leader in emission solutions for medium and heavy duty truck manufacturers in the Euro IV/V and EPA 2007 markets.

CES has not existed in the Indian market as an entity till now, although Cummins Exhaust, a 50:50 joint venture between Cummins Filtration and Cummins India, currently makes Nelson-brand aluminised-steel mufflers at a plant in Daman. In line with a global consolidation of Cummins’s exhaust businesses, the entire range of Nelson emissionised exhaust products currently under Cummins Filtration are being shifted to CES. Products for the Indian market will initially be imported from China, but they will have to be localised “at low volumes” to meet the price requirements of Indian OEMs, Soman said. Of course the value Cummins endows the product with is in the dosing control and diagnostic software, which the company guards very closely.

Cummins Exhaust director Manoj Solanki, who has also been designated country manager for emission solutions, told this correspondent that the Indian entity eventually set up to manufacture SCR systems will be 100 percent owned by CES. The company is currently evaluating various alternatives for manufacturing domestically. It could begin by assembling systems at the existing Cummins Exhaust facility, but intends to set up a separate plant as volumes grow, requiring the fabrication of the special-grade stainless steel mufflers, possibly at the Cummins megasite in Phaltan, 100km from Pune.

Another option being considered is hub-and-spoke manufacturing, with the basic canning of the silencer done at a central plant and the peripheral equipment and sensors, prone to damage during transport, fitted on at satellite sites close to the customers’ plants, Solanki said.


British toroidal traction drive specialist Torotrak was represented at SIAT by its business manager Chris Brockbank and operations manager Graham Riding. The company is the world’s foremost developer of variable drive transmissions using its toroidal-disc-and-roller technology for a range of automotive, commercial vehicle, and off-highway applications.

Its infinitely variable transmission (IVT) technology uses a so-called “geared neutral” arrangement to enable seamless delivery of power from reverse through to forward drive. Comparable in price, weight, and packaging to existing truck and bus transmission technologies, the Torotrak IVT provides the real-world fuel economy benefits of electric hybrid drivelines at a lower cost.

“The biggest adopters of this technology worldwide, we believe, will be the agriculture and truck OEMs,” Riding told this correspondent. The first application worldwide has been in a ride-on Cub Cadet lawnmower in the US. A model of this transmission was on display at its SIAT stand. Other applications Riding mentioned include material handling and auxiliary drives such as superchargers, in which the output speed can be controlled regardless of the input speed. Additional applications include small drives for alternators, which are usually direct-driven and hence oversized taking account of variable engine speeds, and air-conditioner pump drives.

Of particular interest to civic authorities setting up bus transportation systems, Riding mentioned, is the 19 percent fuel economy improvement Torotrak recently achieved in an 11-tonne Optare Solo city bus in the UK in which its IVT replaced the standard automatic transmission. Moreover, computer simulation of an optimised IVT design intended for production has demonstrated an improvement of 23 percent. Torotrak licenses its technology, knowhow, and intellectual property for incorporation in products built by OEMs and Tier-1s. Riding told this correspondent that Tata Motors has two licences for this technology for India, and that he expects the first application to emerge in a city bus from this manufacturer.

The most obvious benefit in this application is the refined drive that enhances the comfort of the occupants by eliminating the head nods that otherwise occur because of the torque interrupts during gearshifting. In addition the IVT can eliminate the retarder by applying engine directly to the wheels to assist the brakes. And because the technology is torque-controlled rather than ratio-controlled, it allows the finest low-speed control and the ability to hold the vehicle on an incline.

The company’s continuously variable transmission technology is also used in mechanical kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) originally created for use in Formula 1 and other motorsport applications and licensed to two F1 teams for the 2009 season. The system, weighing only 20kg, consists of a lightweight, high-speed flywheel and a KERS CVT designed and manufactured under licence from Torotrak by Xtrac Ltd, a motorsport transmission specialist.

City buses in particular are perfectly suited for application of the flywheel KERS. In the London transit cycle, Riding said, the same Optare bus has been demonstrated to deliver a 34 percent fuel economy improvement compared to a bus without the system. That’s not all — the flywheel can be integrated with Torotrak’s IVT transmission to create an even more compact and low-cost package, he added.


Test equipment specialist MTS presented its array of ground vehicle durability data acquisition and test solutions for applications across the vehicle development spectrum – from components to subsystems to the complete vehicle – at the Tech Theatres and at its stand.

“Running a vehicle non-stop on our mechanical road simulator testing systems for one week is equivalent to 150,000 miles of road testing,” Steven Haeg, principal staff design engineer for the ground vehicles group at MTS, told this correspondent. “And unlike road testing, the tests are absolutely repeatable.”

MTS’s road simulation systems, more than 500 of which have been supplied worldwide, precisely reproduce the extreme force and motions found in real-world durability testing environments. Its Model 329 spindle-coupled road simulator is the world’s most extensively deployed road simulation system and replicates the true multiaxial stress state of the structure at any instant. The high level of control also generates an extremely accurate simulation of force and motion on suspension and body parts.

The company recently introduced a Model 329 specifically designed to make the physical testing of heavy truck suspensions a more efficient and cost-effective alternative to proving ground or road testing, both of which require an expensive, fully-functional, fuelled vehicle. Whereas truck manufacturers used to spend months or even years testing new vehicle designs, the new simulator allows them to complete testing within weeks and thus accelerate design modifications and improve their products far quicker than in the past.

Hendrickson in the US uses MTS actuators and controls to measure the brake and drive torques reactions of its suspensions, and Haeg said its Indian joint venture TACO Hendrickson too will use similar systems to test the suspensions it develops here. Tata Motors uses an eight-post MTS tyre-coupled road simulator to evaluate suspension components, squeaks and rattles, ride quality, and vehicle durability.

At the MTS Tech Theatre on SIAT’s final day, Haeg presented an overview of tools and techniques for laboratory-based durability evaluation, test design considerations and test time reduction techniques, and approaches to determine test quality. Using real examples, he reviewed the options available to development engineers to reduce test complexity.

In the early phase of product development engineers need to perform rapid iterative tests on a variety of components and subsystems that will enable them to make the right design decisions, but these test setups need be no more accurate than is required to make these decisions or they will only add unnecessary expense. “With every test, the one big question to ask is, what do you want to learn from this test,” he said. As the product advances towards the end of its development more sophisticated and extremely accurate testing approaches are required, he said.
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