Story by: Bhargav TS

As the introduction of BS-VI emission norms is round the corner, all the OEMs and component manufactures are gearing up to bring in new technologies and localise them. BorgWarner, a global product leader in clean and efficient technology solutions for combustion, hybrid and electric vehicles, recently expanded its Kakkalur facility near Chennai by installing a new line to manufacture advanced engine timing and variable cam timing (VCT). With the expanded 1,500 sqm of manufacturing space to its existing 35,100 sqm facility, BorgWarner is ready to meet the increasing demand from the steadily growing Indian automotive market, meeting BS-VI norms. It is also preparing to supply to the growing Southeast Asian automotive market.

BorgWarner plans to deploy the VCT technology with a major global and domestic automaker on diesel and gasoline applications. According to the company, the VCT technology improves engine efficiency, performance and fuel economy. The new production line will be complementing the existing global facilities producing VCT technology and will help the company meet the global customer needs with local production. Apart from new VCT, the Kakkalur facility has been producing silent and roller chains, tensioners, and other products for variable valve timing applications. It can produce about 3 million automotive chains a year.

Al Moster, Director, Application Engineering, Product Manager, Chain & TSC, BorgWarner Morse Systems said, “Our VCT system contributes greatly to making engines considerably more efficient while reducing emissions and enhancing performance. The new VCT line at the Chennai plant complements a number of existing global facilities producing VCT technology and strengthens BorgWarner’s ability to support global customers with local production. We are now ideally positioned to support car manufacturers in complying with the new regulations which aim to increase technological development to improve fuel economy, innovation, environmental protection and energy efficiency as well as the quality and safety of vehicles and auto parts produced in India.”

VCT is used in engines to advance or delay intake or exhaust valve timing. Consequently, intake or exhaust valve timing may be adjusted based on engine operating conditions to increase combustion efficiency and decrease emissions. Additionally, engine power output may be increased across a wider range of engine operating conditions. A VCT mechanism varies the phase of the valve opening and closing relative to the crankshaft as a function of engine operating conditions. Depending on the camshaft (exhaust, intake, or both) being actuated, 4 types of variable cam timing systems are available: intake-only; exhaust-only, where only intake or exhaust valve timing is varied; dual-equal, where intake and exhaust timing is varied equally; and dual-independent, where the intake and exhaust timings are varied independently.

The Kakkalur plant, originally established as a joint venture in 2002, became a wholly-owned BorgWarner entity in 2008. “We are excited to open our new line for producing more advanced technologies designed to help customers meet new BS-VI emission regulations. To meet the new emission norms all the OEMs are refreshing their products and most of them are trying to bring new engines for their vehicles. Therefore by producing the VCT locally will be a win-win situation,” R Murali, Director and Plant Head, BorgWarner Morse Systems India, said.

So far Morse Systems was mainly focusing on passenger car applications. Now the company is in talks with some commercial vehicle manufacturers for their LCV business. Murali said, “Currently we are working with a couple of CV makers so the focus for us will be both on passenger cars and LCV business.”

INTERVIEW:

We will focus on hybrid electric while supporting ICE development, says Al Moster, Director, Application Engineering, Product Manager, Chain & TSC, BorgWarner Morse Systems.

Q: How do you see the ICE growth going forward? What are all the challenges you foresee in the Morse Systems division?

Moster: We are tracking the market very closely. Our strategy is, to move our product portfolio along with the market and be overweight towards hybrid electric. We are developing products with that type of road map in mind. A lot of our future developments will be focused on hybrid electric, even though we have to continue to evolve and support the ICE.

Q: Apart from emissions, OEMs are also looking at reduction in NVH, how do you plan to address it?

Moster: All our customers are looking at improving the efficiency, downsising and improving the noise performance. Our systems, being mechanical, do generate noise. For the past 5 years we have been working on this and will continue to work, because when the hybrids come into play, customers will be much more sensitive to some of the noises generated by the IC engines. Developing lower NVH technology for our mechanical systems is going to be a key trend for us.

Q: How VCT is going to benefit the end-customers?

Moster: VCT is going to give big savings in fuel economy. We can say that VCT delivers fuel economy and performance improvement for more customer strategies. For some customers their focus might be on the emissions and that may be how they calibrate the VCT, especially for the exhaust phasers. Generally speaking, most of the VCT systems today are focused on fuel economy and performance improvement as part of the downsising trend.

Q: BorgWarner VCT is a global product and now you are bringing it to India. What kind of customisation you will be making to suit the Indian conditions?

Moster: Quite frankly, every VCT application in the world has some customisation to it, just like every timing drive system in the world has some customisation. Evey engine is different, so every single application we apply has some customisation. We have some core elements, that we try to keep common like the internals of the VCT and then we have to customise them for different customers applications. Sometimes the travel of the VCT needs to be changed, the package space needs to be changed etc. We are customising our VCT for the Indian market based on the customer requirements.

Q: When you say VCT system, what are all the components that go into it?

Moster: We supply the timing systems, so we have a chain from the crank to the camshaft and on the camshaft a VCT module is fixed. We supply the whole system. It is basically a chain, 1 or 2 VCTs, the sprockets, we have hydraulic touching device on the chain system that helps control and manage the noise, load and thus it increases the efficiency of the drives. We tune every drive specifically for each customer. We simulate the drive dynamics, we decide the turning of the tensioner upfront and then we confirm it on the customer’s engine. So these are all the types of custom engineering that have to be done for every single customer and we do that all here in India.

Q: Any plan to bring more new products to India?

Moster: You can see continuous evolution of our products. What are going to be new will be the chain drive products, specifically developed for P2 and P3 (location of the electric motor in the vehicle. P2 is before the transmission and P3 is after the transmission) products. BorgWarner has developed the entire P2 and P3 modules that we sell to the customers. We develop special low friction, low noise chains for that space. We have around 25 active application around the world and soon we will bring some of them to India, since the French and Japanese customers are applying them. I don’t know when, but certainly in the next 5 to 7 years.

Q: Are you looking at exporting the made in India VCT?

Moster: Our strategy is to do the engineering locally and manufacture it here. What we will use for India is to support Southeast Asia also as we do not have any plant there. If we see opportunities come up for VCT business in Southeast Asia, certainly India would be our target manufacturing region.

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