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Con­ti­nen­tal makes tur­bocharg­ers in China

In 2011 Con­ti­nen­tal made an in­stant and highly suc­cess­ful im­pact with its en­try into the tur­bocharger mar­ket, rapidly es­tab­lish­ing it­self at the head of the field with in­no­va­tive and multi-award-win­ning prod­ucts. Now the tech­nol­ogy com­pany is also look­ing to ex­pand its ge­o­graphic foot­print in this seg­ment with the open­ing of a tur­bocharger plant at its site in Jiad­ing, a sub­urb of Shang­hai, China.

Since Oc­to­ber, this new fa­cil­ity has been pro­duc­ing the cut­ting-edge RAAX tur­bocharger, de­vel­oped by Con­ti­nen­tal for the Volk­swa­gen Group’s EA888 Gen.3B en­gine plat­form. The same is in pro­duc­tion in Europe since 2016 for Audi A3. In the Chi­nese mar­ket, this 2.0-litre tur­bocharged gaso­line en­gine will de­but in the VW Ter­a­mont SUV, fol­lowed by the VW Tiguan and other high-vol­ume mod­els.

Mean­while, at Con­ti­nen­tal, prepa­ra­tions are un­der way for the next round of ex­pan­sion. This is sched­uled for 2018, when pro­duc­tion of the RAAX tur­bocharger – for the same Volk­swa­gen Group en­gine – will launch at the Con­ti­nen­tal plant in San Luis Po­tosi, Mex­ico. “Right from the start, our tur­bocharger ac­tiv­i­ties have been fo­cused on the gaso­line seg­ment, and now this strat­egy has been vin­di­cated by a sharp rise in de­mand for tur­bocharged gaso­line en­gines,” Wolf­gang Breuer, head of Con­ti­nen­tal’s En­gine Sys­tems busi­ness unit, which in­cludes the Tur­bocharg­ers prod­uct line, said. “The new Chi­nese fa­cil­ity, where our lat­est tech­nolo­gies will be built to the high­est qual­ity stan­dards, will se­cure us a strong po­si­tion in the world’s largest au­to­mo­bile mar­ket. And by next year, when pro­duc­tion com­mences in North Amer­ica, we will have man­u­fac­tur­ing bases across all 3 mar­ket re­gions, all op­er­at­ing to the same high stan­dards,” he said.

The RAAX tur­bine tech­nol­ogy de­vel­oped by Con­ti­nen­tal, which first went for pro­duc­tion in the EA888 en­gine plat­form, im­proves en­gine re­sponse and in­creases ef­fi­ciency. While the most com­mon type of gaso­line tur­bocharger to­day, the ra­dial tur­bocharger, fea­tures a ra­dial ex­haust gas flow to the tur­bine wheel, the new Con­ti­nen­tal tur­bocharger fea­tures Fa ra­dial-ax­ial flow – hence the name RAAX.

This makes it pos­si­ble to re­duce the size of the tur­bine wheels, and to re­duce the mass mo­ment of in­er­tia by ap­prox­i­mately 40%. The tur­bocharger there­fore de­vel­ops boost pres­sure more quickly in re­sponse to chang­ing en­gine loads, and turbo lag is min­imised. This greater ef­fi­ciency also leads to re­duce emis­sions. A new so­lu­tion has also been im­ple­mented for the waste­gate valve (which stops boost pres­sure ris­ing too steeply at high en­gine out­put) based on an elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled elec­tric ac­tu­a­tor de­vel­oped by Con­ti­nen­tal.

“We are en­ter­ing the Chi­nese mar­ket with cut­ting-edge tur­bocharger tech­nol­ogy iden­ti­cal to that which we are al­ready us­ing in Europe, to meet the strict Euro­pean emis­sion stan­dards,” Udo Sch­w­erdel, head of the Tur­bocharg­ers prod­uct line at En­gine Sys­tems, said. The pro­duc­tion pro­cesses too are iden­ti­cal to those used at the Euro­pean plant in Trut­nov, Czech Re­pub­lic.

“We use stan­dard­ised pro­duc­tion pro­cesses and man­u­fac­tur­ing equip­ment across all our op­er­a­tions world­wide. All the core pro­cesses we de­vel­oped for our highly au­to­mated pro­duc­tion sys­tem in Trut­nov will also be used in Jiad­ing and San Luis Po­tosi. This will help to fa­cil­i­tate and speed com­mu­ni­ca­tion, em­ployee train­ing and shar­ing of lessons learned be­tween the plants, and will sup­port us in our goal of en­sur­ing bench­mark qual­ity at all our sites across the world,” he said.

Con­ti­nen­tal em­ploys 1,600 peo­ple in Jiad­ing, where a range of prod­ucts are built, in­clud­ing ABS sys­tems. “This plant has been op­er­at­ing suc­cess­fully for many years, and its me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing ex­per­tise will give us a use­ful head start when it comes to pro­duc­ing tur­bocharg­ers,” Sch­w­erdel said. From its cur­rent pro­duc­tion foot­print of about 2,000 square me­ters, the tur­bocharger fa­cil­ity is set to ex­pand fur­ther next year with the con­struc­tion of a new build­ing.

Con­ti­nen­tal’s tur­bocharg­ers cater to gaso­line-pow­ered car en­gines in all power classes. Along with RAAX sys­tems, they also comprise a num­ber of other in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions.

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