Architecture of a passenger car engine is completely different to that of two- & three-wheelers. With rapid penetration of electronics and electrical components into automobiles, it is important to ensure the right behavioural control in the powertrain area
In a recent interaction with Auto Tech Review, Amit Dixit, Co-Founder & Chief Technical Officer, Sedemac Mechatronics, spoke about the company’s approach in developing intelligent solutions for powertrain behaviour control.
The implementation of BS VI norms is all set to make vehicles more sophisticated, and the automotive industry is bracing up for deeper penetration of electronics across segments. Sedemac Mechatronics has been focussing on developing a host of technologies aimed at reducing complexities in multiple segments for smart powertrain control. Traditionally, engines work with two different machines – starter motor and an alternator. The starter motor takes power from the battery to start the engine and subsequently the battery needs to be charged again, which is managed by an alternator. The Integrated Starter Generator (ISG) developed by Sedemac eliminates the use of two different machines and can be used to execute functions of starting the engine as well as for power generation.
The ISG applies electromagnetism principles to develop a sensor-less application and makes use of a standard brushless magneto as the starter and is governed by a micro-processor for intelligent electronic control to manage power flow to & fro among machine and battery. ISG controller offers vastly improved reliability to the end user at a much lower system cost and complexity coupled with fuel savings, said Dixit. Such a cost-effective solution paves the way for newer applications, where a sensor-based approach could not penetrate due to high temperature operating conditions, the company claimed.
FOCUS ON TWO-WHEELERS
The two-wheeler industry has been traditionally using two sensor-based technologies (speed sensor and throttle sensor) that offer feedback to vehicle control units that in turn computes ignition timing and executes it. Sedemac’s Smart Ignition is a load estimation technology that controls ignition in the dominant carburettor-based scooters and motorcycles as well as intelligently controls spark ignition timing through spark sensors via software. Smart Ignition enables precise execution of ignition timing through real-time as well as dynamic load estimation, thus ensuring optimal engine performance under varying speed and load conditions, observed Dixit.
This enables OEMs to better decide their ignition maps and manage enhanced fuel economy as well as derive better performance out of the vehicle. Smart Ignition is available as a standalone licensed software as well as a package of ignition hardware and licensed software. Sedemac has already supplied over 18 mn systems for two-wheelers across India since its launch in India in 2013.
Sedemac has also been capitalising on a model-based design approach for developing AMT ECU/TCU controllers for OEMs to further refine clutch and gear shift control strategies in powertrains. AMT controllers can synchronise torque and the timing required to facilitate smooth gear shifts as well as reduce driver fatigue. AMT deployment in scooters will enable the vehicle to have significantly higher fuel economy as compared to CVT, and such an approach will also eliminate electronic component duplication, said Dixit.
The company has also developed Common Rail Diesel Injection (CRDi) engine controllers (ECU) that finds application across two- to six-cylinder diesel engines. The customisable ECUs control electrically operated injection system through complex control algorithms along with a multitude of actuators. The ECU offers torque throughout the required rpm range as well as reduces NVH and emissions over conventional mechanical injection systems. With implementation of Real Drive Emissions only a few years away, the company is gearing up for engine control products as well.
Sedemac has also been capitalising on its presence in powertrain controls to build capacities for serving the electric vehicle (EV) market. The company has been engaged in developing Battery Management Systems (BMS) that incorporates algorithms for thermal protection of batteries, cell balancing, battery state estimation such as charge & health monitoring, and current control during charging for higher energy efficiency and develop compact controller hardware for EVs.
Pune-based Sedemac Mechatronics started off as a lab-based enterprise out of IIT Bombay innovation labs by four students under the guidance of Prof Shashikanth Suryanarayanan and kept smaller engine optimisation as its core focus area. The company currently operates two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Pune with combined installed manufacturing capacities to roll out four million complex controllers annually, in an anticipation of increased business opportunities with implementation of BS VI norms. Sedemac has also set up a technical centre that currently has a team of 120 engineers for core engineering and product developments based on control system simulations as well as electric machine design.
TEXT: Anirudh Raheja