Automotive industry is fast changing gears as it progresses towards the new era of mobility riding simulation. Sensing this huge opportunity, Sintercom forayed into the Indian market to manufacture sintered components. The Pune based company has made its presence felt in manufacturing sintered components in areas such as engine, transmission and chassis across the powertrain for vehicle performance. Besides, sintered components are also used in steering, suspension, door lock parts, brake parts, seat assembly components and alternators, among others. Auto Tech Review met up with Jignesh Raval, Managing Director, Sintercom India, to understand the growing adoption of sintered components in the automotive industry.
Almost 70 % of automotive components do not have any impact load and these components can be converted into sintered components but there are obvious limitations, in terms of the process itself. Since this process works on a vertical motion and not on a horizontal motion, one cannot produce a thin-wall product or product that has much more cavity on the horizontal side products, Rawal noted.
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SHIFT TO SINTERED TRANSMISSION GEARS
The automotive industry across the globe is increasingly shifting its focus from forged transmission gears to sintered transmission gears. Over the years, such transmission gears have been aggressively produced from the forging industry and were identified by the European Union as one of the root causes of producing emissions. It is significant to mention that the EU has been urging OEMs to leverage sintered products for future transmissions in a bid to reduce emissions. The EU is determined to encourage manufacturing of sintered transmission gears globally and is willing to invest on R&D – in fact, around 100 vehicles have been deployed in Europe with sintered transmission gears.
Raval said a sintered gear can work in a transmission, save for the first and the second gear. Sintered components cannot come into play for the first and second gears because there is a jerk in the car. However, the EU has been urging OEMs to conduct tests of the third and fourth gears. With the impending rollout of BS VI standards in the country, many products designed to meet the stringent standards are getting converted from ‘forging’ to ‘sintered’. Raval said these products, such as variable cam drive and variable valve drive, have been added to the engine to control emissions. There are products within the variable cam timing (VCT) and variable valve timing (VVT) that have to be produced through the sintered route owing to the complexities associated with these parts, he noted.
Sintercom also converted the casting bearing caps on the Mahindra Scorpio and Bolero into sintered bearing caps. Leveraging sintered bearings caps resulted in a nine per cent weight reduction, translating into significant fuel savings. Delving deep, Sintercom said it did not change the dimensions while developing the synchro hubs and only inserted some pockets in the hubs that reduced its weight by 4-5 %. Each weight of a synchro hub is 250 to 300 gm, and when one calculates 300 gm over five per cent, around 75 gm of vehicle weight is reduced. This result in 2-3 % weight reduction, he noted.
Electric vehicles are a big buzz despite not much headway being made on the ground. For now, Sintercom does not manufacture any EV products, but it is betting big on manufacturing magnetic planetary gears used in EVs, as these gears are poised to be eventually sintered, Raval signed off.