BorgWarner Chen­nai plant to pro­duce Visc­tronic fan drives

Text & Photos: Bhar­gav TS

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BorgWarner Cool­ing Systems (In­dia) Pri­vate Lim­ited, the sub­sidiary of the USbased BorgWarner Ther­mal Systems Inc, is ex­pand­ing its Chen­nai fa­cil­ity to man­u­fac­ture elec­tron­i­cally-con­trolled vari­able speed Visc­tronic fan drives for com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles. The Chen­nai plant will be 4th man­u­fac­tur­ing lo­ca­tion to pro­duce Visc­tron­ics prod­uct tech­nol­ogy next to US, Europe and China. At present this plant man­u­fac­ture vis­cous fan / fan drives and sup­ply to all ma­jor man­u­fac­tur­ers like Tata Motors, Tata Cum­mins, Ashok Ley­land, Daim­ler, Mahin­dra & Mahin­dra, VECV and oth­ers.

BorgWarner chose to man­u­fac­ture its tech­ni­cally ad­vanced Visc­tron­ics fan drives by set­ting up a line at its Chen­nai fa­cil­ity be­cause of the ac­cel­er­at­ing de­mand for more ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient air­flow so­lu­tions to deal with strin­gent emis­sion reg­u­la­tion and higher spe­cific en­gine out­puts. “In or­der to serve the In­dian mar­ket the Visc­tron­ics drive will be made here with 60-70% lo­cal con­tent. The plant will man­u­fac­ture high vol­ume ac­tu­a­tors and other sub-systems. Only a few highly-en­gi­neered com­po­nents and low-vol­ume ac­tu­a­tors will be im­ported. We will com­mence this op­er­a­tion from first quar­ter of 2017,” G Mu­rali, Di­rec­tor & Plant Head, BorgWarner Cool­ing Systems (In­dia), told Auto Com­po­nents In­dia. He said, the new line and all the con­trols and elec­tron­ics will be sim­i­lar to those man­u­fac­tured at the BorgWarner’s Euro­pean and the US facilities. “We are mak­ing a sub­stan­tial in­vest­ments for the new line to cater to do­mes­tic and spe­cific ex­port mar­ket. Few im­por­tant cus­tomers have rolled out our Visc­tron­ics in their trucks and in talks with the other OEMs for the mi­gra­tion to Visc­tron­ics from tra­di­tional Vis­cous fan drive tech­nol­ogy,” Mu­rali said.

Look alike line

In a bid to fol­low some of the best prac­tices of BorgWarner glob­ally into the Chen­nai plant, the com­pany has brought in cer­tain line-build­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and are in­te­grat­ing them into the pre-pro­duc­tion plan­ning of the Chen­nai plant. It has also built a ‘look alike line’ by us­ing scrap ma­te­ri­als. This minia­ture line will help the op­er­a­tors feel how the new line is go­ing to be and sug­ges­tions are taken from them to build the ac­tual line. Af­ter in­stalling the line and mak­ing some changes on ergonomics and ma­te­rial move­ment, it is quite ex­pen­sive, the com­pany de­ployed this new con­cept for this up­com­ing Visc­tronic fan drive line. The new line will be able to meet the ris­ing de­mand and serve other cus­tomers also. It has worked on takt-time,

and equal­i­sa­tion tech­niques to max­imise the pro­duc­tiv­ity.

Many ad­van­tages

The Visc­tronic fan drives have many ad­van­tages as they use spe­cially cal­i­brated soft­ware to com­mu­ni­cate with the en­gine’s elec­tronic control unit (ECU), con­stantly re­spond­ing di­rectly to the en­gine’s cool­ing needs. “Visc­tron­ics fan drive op­er­ates only when needed thus re­duc­ing the av­er­age fan speed and power con­sump­tion. When the en­gine re­quires more cool­ing, the fan drive will au­to­mat­i­cally en­gage to pro­vide ef­fi­cient air cool­ing at the right time. In this way, Visc­tronic fan drives de­liver im­proved fuel econ­omy, lower emis­sions and re­duces NVH for in­creased driving com­fort,” Mu­rali said.

The prod­uct’s pre­cise air­flow man­age­ment al­lows tighter control of en­gine tem­per­a­ture, and re­duces emis­sions. More­over, Visc­tronic frees up en­gine power for other tasks through smoother speed tran­si­tions. Since Visc­tronic is elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled, ve­hi­cle or en­gine man­u­fac­tur­ers have a lot of flex­i­bil­ity in terms of where they want to mea­sure the tem­per­a­ture and how the air flow is to be var­ied or mod­i­fied. The mea­sure­ments are pos­si­ble from zero to the max­i­mum stip­u­lated RPM of a given en­gine. Ther­mal shocks may thus be avoided since uni­form gra­di­ents of tem­per­a­ture are pos­si­ble. While the im­proved tem­per­a­ture control helps ex­tend en­gine and com­po­nent life, the self-con­tained unit is main­te­nance-free. The sys­tem in­cor­po­rates in­put/out­put ports to re­ceive and send sig­nals from the ECU. There­fore the sys­tem al­lows for a pos­si­ble fuel sav­ings up to 2.5%.

Con­trolled coolant pump

The ma­jor trends seen in ther­mal man­age­ment, both glob­ally and in In­dia are in the ar­eas of air flow, coolant flow and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion. We are adding up new in­no­va­tive prod­uct to each ver­ti­cals with a fo­cus to re­duce the fuel con­sump­tion and emis­sions in Pow­er­train. In the coolant man­age­ment systems, Mu­rali said the com­pany is cur­rently work­ing on the vari­able flow coolant pump tech­nol­ogy and soon it will hit the pro­duc­tion line.

“Due to strin­gent emis­sion norm that is com­ing into In­dia, all the OEMs are keen to un­der­stand how to in­crease ef­fi­ciency of the en­gine and also to use con­trolled coolant pump tech­nolo­gies. So we are cur­rently talking to all the OEMs. For se­lected projects we have started work­ing with our in­ter­na­tional OEMs. Our air­flow and coolant flow tech­nolo­gies in­crease en­gine ef­fi­ciency for im­proved fuel econ­omy, while re­duc­ing emis­sions to help sat­isfy BS IV emis­sion stan­dards,” Mu­rali said.

Eco-friendly prod­ucts

BorgWarner’s another divi­sion in In­dia, BorgWarner Morse Systems In­dia Pvt. Ltd., man­u­fac­tures prod­ucts like en­gine tim­ing systems, silent chains, roller and bush­ing chains, ten­sion­ers, sprock­ets, arms and guides. This sub­sidiary has man­aged to make rapid in­roads into the In­dian mar­ket and has amassed a ver­i­ta­ble client base in­clud­ing Hyundai, Maruti Suzuki, Mahin­dra & Mahin­dra, Hero, Honda, Honda Cars In­dia, Suzuki, Yamaha and TVS Motors. The group is also present in the emis­sion space, with BorgWarner Emis­sions Systems, which man­u­fac­tures prod­ucts for air man­age­ment and emis­sions control in pas­sen­ger cars, light trucks and com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles. In In­dia it man­u­fac­tures ex­haust gas re­cir­cu­la­tion (EGR) cool­ers, tubes, valves and mod­ules.

The fo­cus of all the di­vi­sions is to be en­vi­ron­ment-friendly, and to work on en­hanc­ing per­for­mance and in­creas­ing fuel ef­fi­ciency. BorgWarner is one of the first com­pa­nies to bring lat­est tech­nol­ogy prod­ucts to In­dia. It en­tered In­dia in 2002 by estab­lish­ing a plant in Chen­nai to man­u­fac­ture me­chan­i­cal prod­ucts. Now it pro­duces vis­cous fan drives and fans.

As the global au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try evolves into new propul­sion so­lu­tions and greater needs for hy­bridi­s­a­tion and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, BorgWarner is broad­en­ing its prod­uct port­fo­lio to help OEMs around the world meet in­creas­ingly strin­gent re­quire­ments. The com­pany of­fers so­lu­tions across the en­tire propul­sion spec­trum, from com­bus­tion to hybrid and EV.

BorgWarner’s Visc­tronic fan drive

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