AD #2020 – High-Tech EGR From BorgWarner, How Industry Can Save Billions, The Next Industrial Revolution
January 9th, 2017 at 11:45am
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- Living in Perfect Harmony
- Autonomy & Terminology
- High-Tech EGR From BorgWarner
- Cars About to Get a Whole Lot Smarter
- The Next Industrial Revolution
- BMW Body Scanner
On today’s show… the auto industry can save billions by harmonizing standards…Ford experiments with collaborative robotics…and why connected vehicles will make today’s cars look dumb. All that and more coming right up on Autoline Daily.
This is Autoline Daily the show for enthusiasts of the automotive industry.
LIVING IN PERFECT HARMONY
Europe and the United States could save billions if they harmonized their automotive regulations, according to a study by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor. The study was conducted for the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers. It estimates that common regulations could cut costs by $800 to over $1,000 per vehicle that is exported to the other market. Today, automakers have to use different materials and tooling to bring their cars into compliance. For example, they have to use different windshield wipers, reflectors, headlamps, airbags, and even trunk releases. Put it all together and those regulatory differences cost over $2 billion a year. The Alliance of Auto Manufacturers is using this study to push passage of TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that is currently being negotiated between the U.S. and the EU.
AUTONOMY & TERMINOLOGY
To understand what’s going on in the automotive industry you need to know the terminology that’s being used and these days there can be some confusion when it comes to autonomous cars. In the past we used the terminology from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that runs from Level Zero to Level Four, with Zero the equivalent of a Model T to Four being a fully autonomous car like Google is testing. But now the agency is using terminology from the Society of Automotive Engineers that runs from Level Zero to Level 5. In fact, the SAE even has a standard for this J3016. It’s a bit more detailed than NHTSA’s rankings, with Level Three being a semi-autonomous car like you can get in a Mercedes S-class. Level Four is a car with fully autonomous capability, but still comes with a steering wheel and you can drive it. Level Five is a fully autonomous car where you don’t need a driver at all. We think it’s important for you to know this because the SAE standard is now what the industry is using.
Still to come…a new EGR valve from BorgWarner shows just how complex the modern car has become.
HIGH-TECH EGR FROM BORGWARNER
The general public doesn’t appreciate the scale of the automotive industry or how complex the modern automobile has become. For example, take look at this picture of an EGR valve. Doesn’t look like much, does it? But when you look at this animation of all the parts that go into this valve, you start to appreciate how much science and engineering is needed to make it. The valve takes in exhaust gas at 875 degrees Celsius, cools it down to 150 degrees, and precisely recirculates it back into the engine. That lowers combustion temperatures, which reduces carbon monoxide, NOX and particulates. It also allows for a leaner mixture, which improves fuel economy by 3%. This particular exhaust gas recirculation valve is made by BorgWarner for the Hyundai Ionic and Kia Niro hybrids. And again, this is a great example of how much science and engineering goes into every part and component on today’s cars.
CARS ABOUT TO GET A WHOLE LOT SMARTER
And speaking sophisticated vehicles, supplier Delphi thinks that future connected cars will make today’s seem dumb by comparison. The average premium car today operates with 100 million+ lines of code. That’s about 4-times that of a fighter jet. But in the 2020 timeframe Delphi believes connected cars will operate with 200 billion+ lines of code. To support that, data speeds in cars will have to increase over 2,000% using high-speed ethernet. Power will go from 12V up to 600V with a mile more of wiring, an additional 70 connections and 700 more diagnostic parameters. This will require a centralized brain, or supercomputer, that can make decisions 34,000-times faster than a human. With that amount of data producing ability, it’s easy to see why OEMs are fighting to keep it to themselves.
Coming up next…a look at some new manufacturing techniques from Ford and BMW.
THE NEXT INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
The robots used in assembly plants are huge, powerful machines. They can be so dangerous that they have to be fenced off and guarded by light curtains. Those light curtains, or light sensors, will immediately shut down the robot if someone goes into the fenced off area. But now there’s a new kind of smaller robot, one that’s so sensitive it will stop moving as soon as you touch it, even if you only use a finger. They call this collaborative robotics, where robots can work safely in conjunction with humans. Ford may be the first automaker to use collaborative robotics. At its assembly plant in Cologne, Germany it’s experimenting with two collaborative robots, or co-bots, to install shock absorbers in Fiestas. Ford is working with Kuka, the German robot company and says this will not replace any humans in the plant. Well, maybe for now that’s true. These robots typically cost about $45,000 installed, programmed and ready to go. So they pay for themselves in less than a year. Many manufacturing experts believe that collaborative robotics will end up replacing a lot of people.
BMW BODY SCANNER
Like any good that’s manufactured, cars rolling down the assembly line are subject to quality checks. In the past, when it came to measuring body panels, that meant pulling them off the line, clamping them in jigs and manually measuring every single dimension. In some cases, parts of the car had to be ripped apart to test them. But now BMW has a much simpler and faster solution. It’s testing out a fully-automated, optical measuring cell that uses non-contact sensors to scan the car. They then use that to make a 3D model, accurate to within microns. This allows barely visible deviations to be identified at an early stage. The data can then be used to make sure the manufacturing process maintains statistical control. BMW will first use this to make the next generation 5 Series.
But that’s it for today, thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.
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