MAHLE rides on cleaner ve­hi­cles

Auto components India - - CORPORATE - Story & Pho­tos: Bhar­gav TS

Ger­man-based, auto com­po­nents maker, MAHLE GmbH, now has more com­mit­ments to­wards clean air, fuel ef­fi­ciency and driv­ing plea­sure. Keep­ing the global trend in mind, the com­pany is now more com­mit­ted to these ar­eas in its prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. MAHLE is also bullish on In­dia as it gears up to snap up new busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties aris­ing out of the in­com­ing BS VI norms and the tech evo­lu­tion in the form of EVs. For the IC en­gines, the global au­to­mo­tive sup­plier has also made a few in­no­va­tions that in­clude new gen­er­a­tion oil con­trol rings: U-flex pis­ton rings, liq­uid man­age­ment model for lower emis­sions and CareMetix cabin air fil­ter.

MAHLE, which was founded in 1920 when pis­tons made of heavy grey cast iron were be­ing used in in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gines for au­to­mo­biles. The com­pany came up with the trend of pro­duc­ing light-al­loy pis­tons. And, to keep dirt and dust out of the en­gine, it even­tu­ally de­vel­oped air and oil fil­ters as well, and the light-al­loy pis­tons be­gan to take over the mar­ket.

Now, with over half of all au­to­mo­biles pro­duced world­wide con­tain MAHLE com­po­nents. Arnd Franz, Mem­ber of the Man­age­ment Board, and Cor­po­rate Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent, Sales, Ap­pli­ca­tion En­gi­neer­ing and Af­ter­mar­ket, MAHLE GmbH spoke to Auto

Com­po­nents In­dia, about the firm’s new ven­tures and a lot more. The group’s new­est prod­uct en­ables them to sup­ply, the com­plete trac­tion sys­tem with in­te­grated con­trol from a sin­gle source. “Cars are 25% be­low high volt­age and that is a fig­ure that might change, be­cause the cost of elec­tri­cal com­po­nents is high. With vol­umes es­ti­mated and it may go up or not and there might be a lot of changes. But, tech­ni­cally from en­gi­neer­ing cost es­ti­mate, we should be 25% be­low that. So, there we reach some of the lev­els for the whole ve­hi­cle de­pend­ing on who is go­ing to make and where they are mak­ing it. May be in the 10,000-12,000 Eu­ros which will be con­sid­er­ably be­low elec­tric ve­hi­cles that are in the mar­ket to­day,” Franz said.

Re­fer­ring to the low-cost trac­tion sys­tem, Franz says that it is a first con­cept and it is not a pre­de­ces­sor. “We are com­par­ing the cost of com­po­nents that we know, like elec­tri­cal trac­tion mo­tor, 48 valves ver­sus elec­tric

high volt­age, mo­tor con­troller, some of the aux­il­iary drive, and the en­gi­neer­ing es­ti­mate of in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion cost of all the sys­tem com­po­nents in­clud­ing wiring, body, pack­ag­ing sit­u­a­tions etc. It is an es­ti­mate and for the time we call this as a qual­i­fied es­ti­mate and we are quite com­fort­able with it,” he said.

Franz said that it is not ex­clu­sive for the In­dian mar­ket, but it is one of the im­por­tant mar­kets. The prod­ucts are built for ur­ban, con­gested and highly pop­u­lated ar­eas. He be­lieves that there would be a dras­tic change in the ur­ban trans­port so­lu­tions and this could be one of the so­lu­tions. MAHLE is look­ing for in­di­vid­ual trans­porta­tion as well as the col­lec­tive which could be on rails or tyres. “When it comes to col­lec­tive trans­port on tyres there will be a high de­mand in­creas­ing pro­por­tion of ve­hi­cles with elec­tri­cal propul­sion sys­tems. Our need is a global project for the time be­ing. We have a lot of cus­tomer feed­back from what we showed them at Frank­furt and in In­dia too.”

Speak­ing about the launch in In­dia he said, “It will de­pend on the in­di­vid­ual cus­tomer pro­gramme. The prod­ucts are at dif­fer­ent ma­te­rial lev­els. But, some are ready to roll. So, you will see some of the prod­ucts like trac­tion mo­tor that would be in­dus­tri­alised soon. And if pos­si­ble, In­dia could be ahead of Europe.”

MEET con­cept

The firm also came with a new ve­hi­cle con­cept MEET (MAHLE Ef­fi­cient Elec­tric Trans­port) which is sys­tem­at­i­cally aligned to the needs of ur­ban mo­bil­ity. The con­cept com­bines max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency, in­di­vid­ual com­fort, driv­ing plea­sure and is still af­ford­able. It in­cludes a highly in­te­grated drive unit, which com­bines mo­tor and elec­tron­ics in one hous­ing. This re­duces costs and pack­age and is only pos­si­ble by com­bin­ing the com­pe­tences in elec­tron­ics, elec­tric mo­tor, and ther­mal man­age­ment. It is also said to have more fo­cus to­wards the ur­ban pop­u­la­tion, roads and the fu­ture. He said that the MEET found some good an­swers on charg­ing, space re­quire­ment, com­pact­ness.

He said, “With in­dus­try is lead­ing clean air cabin air fil­tra­tion tech­nol­ogy, we have im­ple­mented a small test and frag­ment tech­nol­ogy, that we nor­mally do for lux­ury ve­hi­cles. This is for clean air and fra­grance and are push­ing this for­ward for the demo­cratic model. Clean air should not only be ob­tained for peo­ple who buy lux­ury cars. It should be a right of an In­dian fam­ily to have clean air in­side their own ve­hi­cle. And then there is hu­man ma­chine in­ter­face, which is the cen­tral con­trol with ges­tures. We are ex­cited to have cre­ated some­thing like a holistic con­trol of in­di­vid­ual mo­bil­ity.”

With the newly de­vel­oped e-com­pres­sors, the com­po­nents maker is also a full-line sup­plier in air con­di­tion­ing sys­tems for elec­tric ve­hi­cles. The elec­tric com­pres­sor is the heart of the air con­di­tion­ing sys­tem, which MAHLE has de­vel­oped in both 400 and 800-volt ver­sions for di­verse power classes and a wide ar­ray of ap­pli­ca­tions. “An­other thing we have is the sur­face heat­ing and cool­ing. For ex­am­ple, in sum­mer, you have parked ve­hi­cle some­where and it is re­ally hot, it feels hot. If it is 42 de­grees out­side, one will feel 60-80 de­gree in­side the ve­hi­cle. So, in the fu­ture with the new tech­nol­ogy, us­ing smart­phone your ve­hi­cle will know when you are ap­proach­ing. Then the sur­face cool­ing and heat­ing uses elec­tri­cal power to cool down

the sur­face to a com­fort­able 30 de­gree, which will make sure you do not feel the heat. In win­ter it is the other way around. The dash­board, side panel and seat will be in a com­fort­able de­gree for the user. It is a con­cept of mul­ti­tude of ideas and surely it will not be the last of them. These all go in to one car that may be a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of in­di­vid­ual trans­port in met­ro­pol­i­tan ar­eas of the world. In­dia will have them in some of the top met­ro­pol­i­tan ar­eas of Delhi, Mum­bai, Chen­nai etc.,” he said.

Prod­ucts for E-mo­bil­ity

With over 78,000 em­ploy­ees across the world and 4000 in In­dia, MAHLE re­cently ac­quired Na­gares SA, which com­prises con­trol and power elec­tron­ics for elec­tric aux­il­iary com­po­nents and ther­mal man­age­ment sys­tems, as well as power con­vert­ers for e-mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions. This ac­qui­si­tion is an ex­ten­sion of the same thought to com­bine all com­po­nents and to bring the best to the cus­tomers.

“The com­pany we pur­chased is a sup­plier for our PTC el­e­ment and the ca­pa­bil­i­ties in the com­pany went far be­yond that ap­pli­ca­tion into power elec­tronic for charg­ers for on­board charg­ers. This would be coun­ter­parts of the charg­ing sta­tion, con­vert­ers, in­vert­ers and also the power elec­tron­ics like fuel cells. MAHLE is one of the lead­ing sup­pli­ers of fuel cell for cars. We also ship com­po­nents to some of the fa­mous man­u­fac­tures like Toy­ota, Honda, Daim­ler etc. We also do power elec­tronic for fuel cell mon­i­tor­ing the volt­age bin stack lay­ers ver­sus the tem­per­a­ture. We are happy that they are on board.”

The firm is also pre­sent­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of oil con­trol rings to re­duce oil ash and par­tic­u­late emis­sions in com­bus­tion en­gines: U-flex pis­ton rings. If oil en­ters the com­bus­tion cham­ber of a gaso­line en­gine, oil ash and par­tic­u­late emis­sions are pro­duced. With U-flex pis­ton rings, it low­ers par­tic­u­late emis­sions and oil ash by up to 30%. The num­ber and mass of par­ti­cles de­creases as a re­sult, and the par­tic­u­late fil­ter gen­er­ates less counter pres­sure re­duc­ing CO2 emis­sions over the ve­hi­cle’s life­time.

In a process to iden­tify the cus­tomers, MAHLE in­tro­duced a lat­est gen­er­a­tion with a new cod­ing for lower fric­tion and we hope to in­tro­duce it in the In­dian mar­ket and launch some­time soon. “It is amaz­ing, and it looks sim­ple. But, it is com­pli­cated. One need to take a look through a mag­ni­fy­ing glass as this is one of the most pre­ci­sion made. It is con­tin­u­ous steel band that is formed in a cer­tain way and is re­ally ad­just­ing very nicely to cylinder walls. It avoids the oil con­sump­tion by oil en­ter­ing into com­bus­tion cham­ber from one side to the other. Nor­mally, in the lower end you have the crank­shaft and oil. In the up­per end you have the fuel and the air. The pis­ton is go­ing up and down and the first 2 rings are sup­posed to main­tain the com­pres­sion. We have a de­sign that all time at­tach­ing the cylinder walls are not cylin­dri­cal. The cylinder is shaped lit­tle bit like an ap­ple and rings do not stay in a fixed po­si­tion. So, you need some­thing that is very flex­i­ble that makes sure that the cylinder is al­ways lu­bri­cated and also there is no oil pass­ing by into the com­bus­tion cham­ber,” he said.

MAHLE say that the com­pany is ready for the up­com­ing BS VI with steel and alu­minium pis­ton rings, charger cool­ers, plas­tic cylinder cups, as­sem­ble camshafts etc. Fairly, a large num­ber of prod­ucts are ready, and they are at dif­fer­ent stages of val­i­da­tion. “We will be ready be­fore April 2020. We need to be gear­ing up six months ahead for pro­duc­tion. The main is­sue with the In­dian mar­ket is the load in terms of am­bi­ent con­di­tions, driv­ing be­hav­iour of driv­ers, and air qual­ity. With the new BS VI, fuel con­sump­tion is op­ti­mised, and these com­po­nents are smaller, have lower tol­er­ance. So, these re­quire a lot of test­ing and we are val­i­dat­ing all that,” he said.

He also said that, there will be a pre-buy in 2019 and will wit­ness a drop in 2020. When this tran­si­tion hap­pens and as it re­cov­ers in 2021, they have to use these. Speak­ing about the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion process, he added that it might be pos­si­ble for hy­bridi­s­a­tion to mi­nor seg­ments. “But, it is go­ing to take a long time in In­dia,” Franz con­cluded.

Ramesh Sun­darara­jan, Pres­i­dent & Head of Sales In­dia, MAHLE Hold­ing (In­dia) and Arnd Franz, Mem­ber of the Man­age­ment Board, and Cor­po­rate Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent, Sales, Ap­pli­ca­tion En­gi­neer­ing and Af­ter­mar­ket, MAHLE GmbH.

MAHLE man­u­fac­tures wide range of prod­ucts for e-mo­bil­ity.

MAHLE’s cabin air fil­ter.

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