Optimized Testing Services for ENgine ImprovementTue, 09/01/2015 - 14:18
As competition within the Mexican automotive market intensifies, the increased focus on R&D has created an opening in the industry for companies to improve processes. AVL provides powertrain engineering, simulation, instrumentation, and testing services to the automotive industry. Due to Mexico’s reputation as a manufacturing country, AVL’s client interaction is mainly focused on supporting production operations. However, with AVL’s global background for engine development and calibration, the company is looking to branch out into this area within the country. AVL’s innovative technology includes a single cylinder engine system that enables lubricant and fuel testing to be performed without generating waste. With this system, performance regarding knocking, power, emissions, as well as flame and temperature dispertion can be effectively tested, which would normally incur large costs with a regular engine. However, the AVL method enables companies to obtain realistic and economical replicability. This system is also useful for analyzing raw emissions coming from the engine, and to better understand the results of the combustion process. Some clients seek a specific part of the simulation data and, in some cases, partnerships are created to develop more effective software. Most OEMs are not specialized in testing their components, so the specific tools required are provided by AVL.
Operating as a consultant for the Mexican industry in terms of global environmental trends, AVL is helping to define what can realistically be achieved in sustainability. The company’s annual Engine & Environment conference covers a variety of topics, such as CO2 emissions, electric cars, and diesel or gasoline engines, among other topics. AVL has developed several engine proposals, including a new range extender engine for electric applications, which has also been included in other technologies like electric turbochargers for Formula 1 vehicles. An open development platform has also been created to allow free exchange of information between every stage of the design process. Additionally, the company offers its advanced simulation technologies division, with software capable of reproducing the performance of different components in a vehicle. Packages like AVL FIRE and AVL BOOST show the combustion process in the engine, AVL EXCITE helps with its design process, and AVL DRIVE demonstrates the performance of the engine and the entire vehicle, without having to physically build it. These systems can be used in any kind of combustion engine, as well as in electric and hybrid cars. Furthermore, they are already used by the light and heavy vehicle segment, as well as in the development of Formula 1 and NASCAR vehicles. “AVL does not see considerable promise in terms of the evolution of the electrical vehicle market in Mexico,” states Alberto Zumeta, Managing Director of AVL. “However, in terms of electrification, there is a need to strive for less consumption and fewer emissions, with a major opportunity for the thermal engine. Even so, Mexico has been slower to implement this technology compared to other early adopter countries. AVL is trying to create awareness of this, but new regulations that push for a stronger domestic market are essential.” Even so, Zumeta stresses that this will also have implications in other areas, such as fuel quality and car prices, where the country still needs to grow.
Zumeta predicts four main drivers for the industry, including CO2 emission reduction and fuel economy, regulations to equal those of Europe, ownership costs, and an increased emphasis on the driving experience. In engine design and emission control, AVL is ideally placed to help OEMs with the required design and instrumentation, but may see increased competition due to a recent change in regulations. Costs cannot be controlled by the company, but AVL believes that the efficiency of its simulation systems provide a way to analyze both objective and subjective data, outweighing any price concerns.
With around 7,500 employees and 40 technical engineering centers worldwide, the company considers itself to be both global and local. “As a global company providing local solutions, the company is well aware that the needs in one country are not the same as others,” explains Raul Gutiérrez, Commercial Director of AVL. “Engine testing must be tailored to local requirements, creating stronger links on a local basis. AVL has significant potential in Mexico with the recent introduction of Toyota and KIA, but the concern will now be to adapt to a new customer base while maintaining the same level of service for existing customers.” As the only company in Mexico that can provide local support services with local engineers, AVL has obtained a distinct advantage in its attempts to improve services in the country, and to be seen as a reliable supplier and a reliable partner for OEMs.