Clean air is one of the key goals for the global automotive industry today and powertrain is the main area of focus here. BorgWarner is one company, which is working on multiple aspects of the powertrain to help deliver cleaner and leaner engines. Recently, we caught up with some key executives from various divisions of the global product leader in powertrain solutions, to get a broader picture of the work being done.
A joint-venture between BorgWarner and Divgi-Metalwares, India, DivgiWarner presently manufactures the complete range of BorgWarner's transfer cases. In addition, the company has also launched manual transmission synchronisers in India, which aren't aimed at the mass market but are more focussed on the segments demanding performance and durability. The reason for this is that the synchronisers in discussion are made out of steel with a carbon lining, adding to the cost.
Jiten Divgi, Managing Director, DivgiWarner (L) said the JV company was one of the first Indian companies to design, develop and launch a transmission level aggregate for a global product. This was for Ford in Thailand and today all Ford Everest/Endeavours with a diesel engine and 4x4 automatic variants have a transfer case built by DivgiWarner.
In the future, Divgi foresees an increasing penetration and convergence of electronics, hydraulics and advanced friction material. An ever advancing integration of these elements in order to offer higher functionality is what will drive the future technologies in this area, said Divgi. It is this intense convergence of various elements in systems such as the dual-clutch transmission, which has enabled engines of the same capacity to double their power output in comparison to what they offered a decade back. Also, the increase in performance has been complimented by higher fuel-efficiency.
Materials too will play an important role in increasing the efficiency of transmissions, owing to the numerous design, weight and durability benefits they offer, added Divgi. The future lies in automation of systems and functions as electronic systems mature further, concluded Divgi.
BorgWarner Morse TEC
BorgWarner Morse TEC delivers customised solutions in the area of engine timing chains. We caught up with R Murali, Plant Manager, Morse TEC India (R), who gave us an insight into the present and upcoming products and technologies.
The company presently manufactures and supplies timing chains to the K Series engine range of Maruti Suzuki, and complete timing kits to Hyundai for certain engines. The company also played an important role in helping Mahindra & Mahindra progress from gear timing system to a chain-driven timing system for their engine, Murali informed. The company now supplies the entire timing system to the MHawk series of engines to the OEM.
Murali told us that moving from a gear timing system to a chain-type results in improved NVH performance. Also, gear-type systems are more suited to larger applications such as commercial vehicles. Since gears wear after a certain period, there is a chance of timing error, which is prevalent in chain-type systems as well, but can be better controlled by using certain technologies such as chain adjusters.
While the Indian market has traditionally been dominated by belt-driven systems, Murali said there is now a visible shift happening towards chain-type systems.
From a new product perspective, Morse TEC is working on reducing friction between the chain and the contact points. This is achieved by using a special kind of polish on the surface, which minimises friction during contact. In addition, the company is working with OEMs now right from the design stage of the engine, making them more of a partner than just a supplier. Such system integration capabilities along with new products will continue to drive the growth of this division in the coming years, said Murali.
BorgWarner Emission Systems
Completing our interaction for the day was Sudhir Chawla, COO, BorgWarner Emission Systems (C), which makes air management and emission control products for various vehicle applications. The company's plant in Manesar, Haryana presently manufactures EGR coolers and tubes. The focus for the company now is to develop module capability for the EGR system. Production of these systems will take place in India in an undisclosed timeline, making BorgWarner Emissions the only company to supply EGR modules in the country.
Chawla told us that for India, the focus is not on developing new technology but on finding out opportunities of packaging the technology to suit customer requirements. India presently adheres only to BS (Euro) IV emission norms, whereas BorgWarner is already ready with Euro VI technology, already in use in Europe. The company can hence offer its customers proven solutions, putting it in a stronger position to win business.
At the Auto Expo in February 2014, the company also showcased an EGR system for petrol engines. Chawla believes this technology to have good potential in the upcoming years. Contrary to EGR's role of reducing emissions in a diesel engine, the unit for the petrol engine helps increase fuel-efficiency. Although India isn't the right market for this technology right now, there are some companies looking at it from export perspective. This could kick start local production for this system, opening doors for local adoption in the long-term. In addition, popularity of India as an engine manufacturing location among global OEMs will help the company further.
For BorgWarner Emission Systems too, the focus in India will be on system integration as this process can be tedious at the OEMs' end at times. By supplying a complete system, a supplier not only helps the OEM in saving cost but also simplifies the production process, said Chawla. Also, a high degree of localisation of parts by BorgWarner helps in further cost-saving for the customer. Another key benefit is that the timelines of market introduction shortens, adding to the competitiveness of the OEM. Chawla added that system integration also helps in technical aspects such as downsizing and lightweighting as the packaging is done in-house.
At the end of the interaction with the representatives from the three divisions of BorgWarner, it became clear that from a technology perspective, the company is already ready with more than required, primarily due to its global expertise. The focus for all the divisions then is to find more ways to offer modules instead of components. The large product portfolio also offers them the flexibility to package things specific to customer requirements, opening up the possibilities to find new ways integrating electronics. This in itself can translate into significant cost and time-saving.
Reinventing the wheel is not the right approach for the company, said Chawla, but reinventing the process is. Given the strong chances of this trend continuing, BorgWarner is placed in a good position to grow its business in the country in the short- and long-term.
Text: Arpit Mahendra