ZF plans to bring Clutch-by-Wire sys­tem to In­dia

Auto components India - - STORY - Strory by: Bhar­gav TS

Global au­to­mo­tive com­po­nent and tech­nol­ogy ma­jor ZF Friedrichshafen AG in­tro­duced an ‘elec­tri­fied’ clutch that makes man­ual pow­er­trains even more ef­fi­cient. ZF launched the Clutch-by-Wire (CBW) sys­tem for the global mar­ket. It is an electro­mechan­i­cal ac­tu­a­tor sys­tem that, for the first time, con­trols the clutch in­de­pen­dently of the driver’s left foot and with­out a me­chan­i­cal con­nec­tion to the pedal. This en­ables car de­sign­ers to im­ple­ment fuel-sav­ing fea­tures. Due to the up­com­ing new emis­sion reg­u­la­tions in In­dia, all the OEMs are work­ing on re­duc­tion of CO2 emis­sions and to in­crease fuel ef­fi­ciency of a man­ual trans­mis­sion (MT) sys­tem. In or­der to sup­port the need, ZF In­dia plans to bring CBW to the In­dian mar­ket.

Though man­ual trans­mis­sions are los­ing mar­ket share in favour of au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, the ab­so­lute num­ber of MTs is ex­pected to in­crease in the com­ing years. How­ever, the cur­rent fore­casts also show that the over­all sales curve for MT will con­tinue to point up­ward for a long time in the emerg­ing mar­kets like In­dia. At the same time the in­creas­ingly tough emis­sion reg­u­la­tion is also driv­ing the com­po­nent mak­ers and OEMs to in­no­vate sys­tems to in­crease the over­all fuel ef­fi­ciency.

Speak­ing to Au­toCom­po­nents

In­dia, Jorg Buhl, Man­ager, Car Pow­er­train Tech­nol­ogy, De­sign Ac­tu­a­tion Sys­tems, ZF Friedrichshafen AG said, “The main idea to de­velop this sys­tem is to ac­tu­ate the clutch elec­tron­i­cally by an in­te­grated elec­tric mo­tor. With this sys­tem, the fuel con­sump­tion and there­fore CO2 emis­sions drop by up to 10%.” The soar­ing func­tion alone, which re­quires an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion or an au­to­mated form of clutch con­trol – could gen­er­ate as much as 10% less fuel con­sump­tion. The CBW en­ables car de­sign­ers for the first time to com­bine soar­ing with man­ual trans­mis­sion.

Ex­plain­ing how the CO2 and fuel con­sump­tion is re­duced, Buhl said, “If the ve­hi­cle has achieved a cer­tain speed on the high­way, the driver can put his feet on the ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal, the sys­tem will de­tect the sit­u­a­tion and will open the pow­er­train au­to­mat­i­cally by it­self. So the com­bus­tion en­gine will run, for ex­am­ple at idle speed and with the open pow­er­train, you have re­duced the fric­tion in­side and can roll for a long dis­tance and this will re­duce the

fuel con­sump­tion and the CO2 emis­sions. If the driver presses the ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal, the clutch will be closed again and can con­tinue the driv­ing. This is the lat­est devel­op­ment that we are do­ing at the mo­ment for the man­ual trans­mis­sion sys­tems. Fur­ther­more you can im­prove the com­fort of the MT sys­tem with the CBW sys­tem. With this, we have the pos­si­bil­ity to im­ple­ment new func­tions for safety, com­fort and surely at the end to make a man­ual trans­mis­sion sys­tem pos­si­ble for re­duc­tion of fuel con­sump­tion.”

CBW con­trols the clutch in­de­pen­dently of the driver’s left foot and with­out a me­chan­i­cal con­nec­tion to the pedal. This adds func­tions to man­ual sys­tems that were pre­vi­ously re­served for au­to­matic or au­to­mated trans­mis­sions: above all fu­elmin­imis­ing coast­ing. Apart from this the driv­ers should also work with the sail­ing func­tion to re­duce CO2 fur­ther. ZF’s fu­el­sav­ing sail­ing func­tion sep­a­rates the en­gine from the rest of the driv­e­line in suitable sit­u­a­tions and au­to­mat­i­cally en­gages the clutch. ZF has now also made this pos­si­ble for au­to­mated man­ual trans­mis­sion (AMT).

Sail­ing func­tion­al­ity

The clutch-by-wire clutch ac­tu­a­tor is a fur­ther devel­op­ment of the tried and tested ZF AMT clutch ac­tu­a­tors. So the com­pany has de­vel­oped its AMT clutch ac­tu­a­tor to the new level, es­pe­cially for the CBW ap­pli­ca­tion. There­fore the sys­tem had sail­ing func­tion­al­ity in an AMT ap­pli­ca­tion also. Buhl added, “We have done the test in Ger­many with the AMT-fit­ted car, which was equipped with sail­ing func­tion­al­ity. In the to­tal 1400 km drive, we tested the ve­hi­cle with the sail­ing func­tion­al­ity for 700 km and the re­main­ing with­out sail­ing func­tion­al­ity. We fig­ured out the ben­e­fits of around 5 to 7% dur­ing sail­ing func­tion. All in all, this prob­a­bly makes us the only part­ner that sup­plies a sail­ing con­cept for every car seg­ment and vir­tu­ally all com­monly used trans­mis­sion types.”

The sail­ing func­tion makes the most of sit­u­a­tions in which the car also has suf­fi­cient mo­men­tum to free­wheel for­ward. Clutch ac­tu­a­tion sys­tems from ZF then tem­po­rar­ily dis­en­gage the com­bus­tion en­gine so that it doesn’t sup­press this ki­netic en­ergy. These can be elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled and ac­ti­vated by wire, pro­vid­ing the ba­sic pre­req­ui­site for the sail­ing func­tion.

The dis­en­gaged en­gine can then idle while con­sum­ing a min­i­mal amount of fuel. Ideally, how­ever, it stops com­pletely for a short pe­riod of time, be­cause this is the only way in which zero emis­sions can re­ally be achieved. “It is ul­ti­mately the ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers who de­cide how this con­cept is in­te­grated into a car. We have also de­vel­oped the sail­ing func­tion, turn­ing it into a sail­ing man­ager that can re­act even bet­ter to each driv­ing sit­u­a­tion,” Buhl said.

MT with­out clutch pedal

The CBW tech­nol­ogy can also be de­signed for 2 pedal so­lu­tion, which means, the clutch pedal can be elim­i­nated and can be worked with the MT sys­tem. Here the clutch pedal is elim­i­nated and needed some sen­sor sys­tem to de­tect the wish of the driver to change the gear and also needed some sen­sors in­side the gear to de­tect the po­si­tion of the gear. With this com­bi­na­tion of sen­sor sys­tem, on shift side and gear­box side the clutch pedal can be elim­i­nated and will have much more com­fort­able sys­tem than the tra­di­tional man­ual sys­tem. This will be a big step for­ward for the com­fort of the man­ual trans­mis­sion sys­tem,

says Buhl.

Jorg Buhl, Man­ager, Car Pow­er­train Tech­nol­ogy, De­sign Ac­tu­a­tion Sys­tems, ZF Friedrichshafen AG

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