5/30/2004 | 3 MINUTE READ

An Array of Options for Powertrain

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The Benefit of Consolidations Oil Module with Plastic Housing from Mann+Hummel (Portage, MI; www.mannhummelauto.com)


Fully synthetic oil filter element from Mann+Hummel.

What is it?
A single plastic module that combines filtration, oil pressure control, oil cooling, and crankcase ventilation.

How does it work?
A plastic center tube forms a unit with the oil filter cover, and provides the locating point for the replaceable paper filter element. Free from any gaskets or metal structures, this paper element can be disposed of easily and ecologically. The heat exchanger is mounted on the flange of the plastic module, and taps into the car's cooling system for its water flow. Oil comes up-to-temperature more quickly after a cold start, and remains cooler under load. A specially designed valve –separate from the multiple bypass valves used in extreme conditions–maintains the proper oil flow, while a baffle separator reduces the oil content of the blow-by gasses.

What are the advantages?
Injection molding is used to produce a complex geometry module that can be adapted to fit into small spaces around the engine in order to improve packaging efficiency. The module also is lighter than the die-cast aluminum parts it replaces. Plus, Mann+Hummel claims the quicker production process and reduced post-processing makes this module more cost-effective. VW currently uses the design on its 2.0-liter FSI four-cylinder gasoline engines.


Going Bigger with Reinforced Nylon Thermoplastic Air Intake Manifold from Nissan, Montaplast of North America and DuPont Automotive (Troy, MI; www.automotive.dupont.com/en/index.html)



Intake manifold developed by Nissan, Montaplast and DuPont Automotive for the 5.6-liter Nissan V8.


What is it?
A thermoplastic air intake manifold for the Nissan North American-produced 5.6-liter V8 used for the Titan pickup, and Nissan Armada and Infiniti QX56 SUVs.

How was it developed?
This was a cross-company development program, with the OEM and the suppliers contributing engineering capabilities (e.g., Montaplast quickly developing tooling; DuPont providing material computer analysis know-how).

How is it made?
A lost-core system is used. The runners are formed in eight stacked cores. The manifold is sealed with a spin-welded end cap (which also serves as a mounting bracket for the vacuum brake booster).

What are the advantages?
Montaplast optimized performance of this sizable manifold by adding a multipoint rail system that captures and recirculates blow-by vapors. The Zytel glass reinforced nylon provides a smooth interior runner surface for airflow and is 40% lighter than comparable sand-cast aluminum manifolds.



The Next Gen for Throttles Electronic Throttle Control from Kolbenschmidt Pierburg (Southfield, MI; www.pierburginc.com)



Kolbenschmidt Pierburg electronic throttle control.


What is it?
An electronic throttle control that facilitates better engine performance through computer-controlled management.

What does it do?
Combines the functions of a mechanical throttle body, cruise control, and idle air in a single-unit.

What are its advantages?
Two key ones: it is 20% lighter and 20% less expensive than current models. It can handle a variety of engine displacements for four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines. Because of the throttle bore design, there are said to be improvements in acceleration and a more linear progression of flow in the off-idle condition.



Who Needs an Engine, Anyway? The In-wheel Electric Propulsion System from WaveCrest Laboratories (Dulles, VA; www.wavecrestlabs.com)



Electric motor can be fitted into individual wheels. No engine required. No transmission, either.


What is it?
A multi-phase electric motor that fits into a wheel hub and provides accelerative and regenerative power to a vehicle.

How does it work?
Unlike a conventional electric motor, the stator is fixed; the rotor moves. And that rotor is an aluminum hub lined with rare-earth permanent magnets and backed by a thin iron plate. The stator assembly consists of independently controlled electromagnet cores that are both identical and isolated from each other, and made of soft, magnetic composites. A proprietary adaptive control software monitors motor position, torque requirements, and the power available to drive the motors to adjust the current and excitation sequence in order to keep the motor operating at peak efficiency.

What are its advantages?
WaveCrest says its motor has an unprecedented torque-to-weight ratio (densities exceed 700 Nm), eliminates the need for conventional transmissions, the total vehicle power is divided among multiple in- or near-wheel motors, the drive wheels can be turned in opposite directions for greater low-speed maneuverability, and–with a wheel motor at each corner–it's possible to use this drive system as a stability control system. It may even be possible to drastically downsize or eliminate the conventional braking system.

Although WaveCrest motors have been used on bicycles, Richard Schaum, former Chrysler Group executive vice president, Product Development and Quality, is now WaveCrest's vp and general manager, Vehicle Systems.


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