While many automotive companies seem to be looking to places other than southeastern Michigan for facilities—and let’s face it, there are few companies nowadays that are looking to open anything—Kolbenschmidt Pierburg AG (www.kspg.com; Neckarsulm, Germany) has just opened a 60,000-ft2 technical center in Auburn Hills, MI. According to Peter Sebastian Krause, member of the company’s executive board, the tech center, which is one of three that the company operates around the world, “No longer is it necessary to concentrate design and engineering solely in Europe.” The $11-million facility, which has some 70 engineering, technical, sales, and admin personnel at present (they’re anticipating as many as 150 in the next five years), offers capabilities like finite element analysis and failure mode and effects analysis.
Kolbenschmidt Pierburg product offerings include pistons, aluminum engine blocks, bearings, air management and emissions controls pumps (oil, vacuum and water), electric throttle controls, secondary air systems, and electric exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) valves. Krause stated, “We are witnessing excellent growth in North America because our products are designed to help improve fuel economy and control emissions while enhancing overall engine performance.”
Consider, for example, the proliferation of diesel engines for passenger cars in Europe, a proliferation which may occur in the U.S., as well. One key element in reducing emissions is the EGR system. The company’s Pierburg division, for example, has introduced an EGR cooler module and an electric-motor-driven EGR valve for helping meet current and future NOx limitations (in ’09 the Euro 5 standard goes into effect that limits NOx to 18 g/km; Euro 6, which is scheduled for 2014, reduces that to 0.8 g/km). They’ve also developed a low-pressure EGR system, which extracts exhaust gases downstream of the particulate filter, then returns them upstream of the turbocharger (as contrasted with the high-pressure EGR, which extracts exhaust gas upstream of the turbocharger and reroutes it to the intake system downstream of the compressor). Using both high- and low-pressure systems on a turbocharged diesel, according to the company, is key for meeting requirements like California’s ULEV and Euro 6.—GSV