The starter motor and generator are essential requirements to bring a vehicle’s powertrain to life, be it an internal combustion (IC) engine or an electric motor. SEG Automotive (as the company is known now) was established in 1913 as part of the Bosch group when it initially manufactured generators, regulator switches and headlights. The company’s Indian arm has been a leading player in the domestic market, with a presence of almost 30 years. In January 2018, SEG Automotive was acquired by Zhengzhou Coal Mining Machinery Group Co (ZMJ) and now operates as an independent company.
We met with Hans-Joachim Kuppel, Member, Executive Board and Chief Sales Officer (CSO), SEG Automotive GmbH (Above), and Anil Kumar MR, Managing Director, Regional President – India, SEG Automotive India Pvt Ltd (Below), and learnt about the company’s focus areas, new offerings and the future role of power solutions in the automotive space. SEG Automotive aims to focus all its developments and innovative solutions on reducing CO2 emissions. The company wants to actively shape the transformation from IC engines to full electrification, noted Kuppel.
BACKGROUND, FOCUS AREAS
In its initial times under Bosch, SEG used to produce generators, regulator switches, headlights and starter motors. Established over a century ago, the company has come a long way since; focusing on developing solutions to improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions.
SEG gets its name from the areas the company is focussed on – starter motors, electrification and generators. SEG has been a pioneer in the leafing starter technology, as well as in start-stop systems. It has also developed a 48 V Boost Recuperation Machine (BRM) to enter the future electromobility market. Additionally, SEG is also making developments in the generator market with its high-efficiency and ultra-quiet generator portfolio.
SEG Automotive India provides solutions for all segments of the automotive industry including three-wheelers, passenger cars, commercial vehicles, off-highway vehicles, stationary engine applications, and across all drive technologies. Kumar believes electrified and shared mobility would be the future trends in the Indian automotive market. SEG Automotive is offering various solutions focusing on electrified mobility and reducing CO2 emissions, he added.
The company’s start-stop system saves fuel up to 8 % in real-life usage conditions by switching off the engine, when not in use. Likewise, the 48 V BRM saves fuel up to 15 % by enabling regenerative braking, providing performance boost while driving and coasting with the engine switched-off. The company is also offering modular solutions for highly-efficient generators with innovative as well as scalable efficiency options that contribute to noticeable fuel savings.
48 V BOOST RECUPERATION MACHINES
A number of components are currently driven by the belt and this leads to friction that reduces the engine power, noted Kuppel. Additionally, these components (like water pumps and hydraulic pumps) are continuously running whether or not they are being utilised, resulting in fuel wastage. Since components are becoming more electrical in nature, there is an increase in power demand in the car, thereby requiring more power output from the generator.
In the next stage, as power demand from components further increases, it will be imperative (as various studies have revealed) to increase the board net in the car from 12 V to 48 V. There is an easy-to-implement product and system through the BRM to provide these 48 V board net systems, said Kuppel. The 48 V BRM board net systems allow the use of electrical actuators with much higher power demand, which was not possible earlier, he explained. Windscreen heating, braking booster, steering systems and certain autonomous driving systems are some of the components that can benefit from such BRMs.
The BRM is a cost-effective and easy-to-implement mild hybrid solution, as it replaces today’s generator at its actual location in the drive belt. In the case of regenerative braking, where the battery gets charged during braking, the BRM uses the charged energy to boost the IC engine when needed, said Kuppel. The BRM also enables the coasting feature, where the IC engine/ electric motor is turned-off above a certain speed and the BRM provides enough energy stored in the battery earlier to counter friction forces and wind, to keep the vehicle moving at a constant speed. These solutions help reduce CO2 emissions by up to 15 %, noted Kuppel.
In a normal scenario when the voltage goes up, the current for the same power is reduced, and the sizing of the cables inside the vehicles becomes more efficient. This is the reason for the board net moving from 12 V to 48 V systems, Kumar explained. The 48 V BRM has the capacity of 12 kW generating power and 10 kW boosting.
To add to the global level of innovation and development, 90 % of SEG Automotive India’s R&D engineers are trained at the company’s headquarters in Germany. SEG believes there is no single solution for attaining cleaner mobility for the future, but rather a combination of solutions, which also vary across different regions of the world.
TEXT: Naveen Arul