BorgWarner Chennai plant to produce Visctronic fan drives
Text & Photos: Bhargav TS
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.
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.
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