BorgWarner is expanding its Chennai facility to manufacture electronically-controlled variable speed Visctronic fan drives for Cvs.

Story & Photoes by:

Bhargav TS

BorgWarner Cooling Systems (India) Private Limited, a subsidiary of US-based BorgWarner Thermal Systems Inc, is expanding its Chennai facility to manufacture electronically-controlled variable speed Visctronic fan drives for commercial vehicles. The Chennai plant will be the fourth manufacturing location to produce Visctronics product technology after US, Europe and China. At present the Chennai plant manufactures viscous fans and fan drives for supply to commercial vehicles and engine manufacturers like Tata Motors, Tata Cummins, Ashok Leyland, Daimler, Mahindra & Mahindra, VECV and others.

BorgWarner chose to manufacture its technically advanced Visctronic fan drives by setting up a line at its Chennai facility because of the accelerating demand for more effective and efficient airflow solutions to deal with stringent emission regulations and higher specific engine outputs. “In order to serve the Indian market the Visctronic drive will be made here with 60-70 per cent local content. The plant will manufacture high volume actuators and other sub-systems. Only a few highly-engineered components and low-volume actuators will be imported. We will commence this operation from first quarter of 2017,” stated G Murali, Director & Plant Head, BorgWarner Cooling Systems (India). He added, “The new line and all the controls and electronics will be similar to those manufactured at the BorgWarner’s European and US facilities.” BorgWarner is making substantial investment for the new line to cater to domestic and specific export market requirements. Some customers, according to G Murali, have rolled out Visctronic fan drives in their trucks. There are others with whom discussions are on for migration to Visctronic from traditional Viscous fan drive technology.

Mirroring assembly

In an effort to employ the best practices that BorgWarner has been following globally at their Chennai plant, the company has brought in certain line-building capabilities and are integrating them into the pre-production planning of the Chennai plant. It has also built a ‘look alike (assembly) line’ by using scrap materials. This miniature line will help the operators to understand how the new line is going to be. Their suggestions are helping to build the actual line. The new line, once comissioned, will be able to meet the rising demand and serve other customers too. Much work has gone into the takt-time and equalisation techniques to maximise productivity.

Many advantages

The Visctronic fan drives have many advantages as they use specially calibrated software to communicate with the engine’s electronic control unit (ECU), constantly responding to the engine’s cooling needs. “Visctronic fan drive operates only when needed. It thus reduces the average fan speed and power consumption. When the engine requires more cooling, the fan drive will automatically engage to provide efficient air cooling at the right time. In this way, Visctronic fan drives deliver improved fuel economy, lower emissions and reduce NVH for increased driving comfort,” averred G Murali.

Apart from improving fuel economy, lowering emissions and NVH, visctronic fan drives, through precise airflow management, enable tighter control of engine temperature. they free up engine power so that the performance of the vehicle is enhanced. Smoother speed transition is made possible. Since a Visctronic fan drive is electronically controlled, vehicle or engine manufacturers have a lot of flexibility in terms of where they want to measure the temperature and how the air flow is to be modified or routed. The measurements are possible from zero to the maximum stipulated RPM of a given engine. Thermal shocks may thus be avoided since uniform gradients of temperature are possible. While the improved temperature control helps extend engine and component life, the self-contained unit is maintenance-free. The system incorporates input and output ports to receive and send signals from the ECU. Therefore the system allows for a possible fuel savings of up to 2.5 per cent.

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Controlled coolant pump

The major trends seen in thermal management, both globally and in India, are in the areas of air flow, coolant flow and electrification. We are adding new innovative products to each vertical with a focus on reducing fuel consumption and emissions in powertrain. In the coolant management systems, G Murali mentioned that the the company is currently working on variable flow coolant pump technology. This technology would soon commence production. Said G Murali, “Due to stringent emission norms that are in the making in India, OEMs are keen to understand how they could increase the efficiency of their engines and also use controlled coolant pump technologies. So we are currently talking to OEMs.” He added, “For select projects we have started working with international OEMs. Our airflow and coolant flow technologies increase engine efficiency for improved fuel economy, while reducing emissions to help satisfy BS IV emission standards.”

Eco-friendly products

Focus at BorgWarner is on eco-friendly products. The BorgWarner Morse Systems India Pvt. Ltd., another business vertical of the BorgWarner Group, manufactures products like engine timing systems, silent chains, roller and bushing chains, tensioners, sprockets, arms and guides. The company has been making inroads into the Indian market for sometime now, and has earned the respect of many OEMs in India. Emphasis as mentioned earlier is on eco-friendly products. BorgWarner Emission Systems, specialising in the emissions technology space, manufactures products for air management and emissions control in passenger vehicles, light trucks and various other types of commercial vehicles. In India it manufactures exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) coolers, tubes, valves and modules.

Apart from eco-friendly products and solutions, the various business verticals of BorgWarner are working towards enhancing the performance and increasing the fuel efficiency of engines and vehicles. BorgWarner is one of the first companies to bring the newest, and latest technology products to India. BorgWarner entered India in 2002 by establishing a plant at Chennai to manufacture products that were largely mechanical in nature. The manufacture of viscous fan drives and fans marks a distinct shift whereas the manufacture of visctronic fan drives points at a long and successful journey. As the CV industry evolves, and CVs modernise, become efficient, and safe, they owe their success to products like the visctronic fan drives. As hybridisation and electrification sets in, the manufacturer of visctronic fan drives is set to face new challenges. It is in view of the same that it is broadening its product portfolio to help OEMs to meet changing as well as increasingly stringent requirements. The company has come to offer solutions across the entire propulsion spectrum, from vehicles with IC engines to those that are hybrid and electric in nature.

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