Steinbeis experts develop a system approach for achieving future fuel consumption targets in China
The Chinese government has drafted a fuel consumption standard called China Phase 4 under which it is anticipated that vehicles will have to achieve an average fuel consumption of 5l/100 km (47 mpg). Li Gaojian (of Guohua SAIC – GM Wuling Automobile Co., Ltd) estimates that this will raise costs by more than 1,348 euros per vehicle. The entry price for the Wuling Hong Guang S1 MPV, which is now one of the best-selling cars in the world, would go up by more than 17%. Thermal management systems offer one of the most cost-effective options for reducing fuel consumption, although the extent of potential reductions is considered limited. Modern engines heat up very quickly such that the “hot/cold factor” can amount to less than 6%. Ino8 Pty Ltd Australia, a Steinbeis Transfer Center, has therefore been looking into the extent to which fuel consumption can be reduced even further thanks to new thermal management innovations, not just during cold starts but also once the engine has heated up.
One system offering new synergies is OVER8™ , which adopts a new approach to combining existing thermal management elements. The team working on a project with the Steinbeis director Dr. Frank Will took a car built in 2016 and subjected it to New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) testing. The tests were carried out in an accredited exhaust emissions laboratory according to ISO standard 17025. The experts examined new combinations of affordable solutions such as high-temperature cooling agents, evacuation of cooling agents during cold starts, heat accumulators, and other types of technology. Consumption reductions of 9% were documented in the first part of testing, 6% reductions were achieved with a combined cycle, and (surprisingly) even 3% reductions were found to be possible in the second part of testing. The Steinbeis Business Academy and the Six Sigma Akademie Deutschland now offer a new Green Belt qualification based on a 360° hybrid education concept. By the end of their training, course participants gain Six Sigma LEAN+AGILE Green Belt certification. Six Sigma makes it possible to improve the efficiency of project management in the long term. After completion, course participants can apply their Six Sigma methods and deliver financial and strategic benefit to their organization. Their qualification also empowers them to conduct their own projects and apply quality assurance tools spanning each of the Six Sigma project phases. The training is targeted at engineers, scientists, businesspeople, people with a technical background in research or development, production planners, and anyone involved in manufacturing or quality management at a service provider or production company. Anyone interested in the course can take part in a trial webinar and gain an impression of the content covered. Among the challenges facing the research project were how to find a suitable location for measuring coolant temperatures, the interface between the dynamic coolant temperature sensor and the engine control unit (ECU), and the fact that standard engine calibrations were not optimal at coolant temperatures of 130°C and higher. The experts are currently planning further testing with an enhanced interface between the sensor and the ECU in order to assess further optimizations to the system configurations and identify the most cost-effective way to translate findings into production.
The research project was backed by the regional government in Liudong, Woco Industrietechnik, Evans Cooling Systems (Australasia, China, USA), Dana Canada, Mackay Rubber, Davies Craig, Wingmate, and Mahle Behr.