Company News, 2013-06-27, 11:04 AM
InCar® plus: Solutions for automotive efficiency
InCar® is now InCar®plus! Under the motto “Solutions for automotive efficiency”, ThyssenKrupp’s biggest ever research and development project for innovations in automotive engineering is being expanded. More than 30 projects involving over 40 individual solutions are being launched to develop products for the powertrain, chassis & steering and body areas, with a particular focus on eco-friendly solutions around technology trends such as energy efficiency, electric vehicles and lightweight construction. Whether it’s weight, cost-efficiency, sustainability or functionality: Every InCar®plus innovation will be demonstrably superior to the current state of the art in at least one of these points. The full results of InCar®plus will be available in September 2014.
Dr. Reinhold Achatz, head of research and development at ThyssenKrupp AG, has great expectations for InCar®plus: “For ThyssenKrupp, InCar®plus innovations and technical progress are key factors in managing global growth and the use of finite resources in a sustainable way. Our engineering expertise enables our customers to gain an edge in the global market and manufacture innovative products in a cost- and resource-efficient way. This in turn has a positive impact on our own performance. The results of InCar®plus will further improve our already strong position as a partner to the international auto industry.”
InCar® - A technological and commercial success
The brand name InCar® stands for ThyssenKrupp’s expertise in automotive technology. Since its launch in 2009 the project has produced more than 30 innovations for the body, chassis and powertrain that have boosted the perception of ThyssenKrupp as a development partner to the auto industry among customers, the media and the general public. Over 100 joint development projects have been agreed with auto manufacturers, and numerous prototype and production orders have turned InCar® into a commercial as well as technological success. It is the first time an automotive supplier has created such an extensive package of independently developed innovations.
InCar®plus – Solutions for automotive efficiency
But InCar®plus is not simply a continuation of the predecessor project. The “plus” stands for ThyssenKrupp’s strategy going forward. Demand for “more” will be met in a “better” way – better for customers and better for the environment.
Highlights from the sub-projects
The conventional internal combustion engine will remain the dominant form of propulsion for vehicles in the foreseeable future. ThyssenKrupp is giving it new impetus with further improvements to the valve train and crank train. The aim is to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by increasing engine efficiency. For example, systematic further development of adjustable camshaft technology will contribute to meeting future emissions standards. The powertrain sub-project is also concerned with innovative solutions for electric drive systems. Through increases in efficiency, future drive systems will better meet car drivers’ mobility requirements.
Electric steering systems are already making a major contribution to greater efficiency in many vehicles today thanks to their low energy requirements. Gradually replacing hydraulic systems, they also make a key contribution to greater safety and convenience. Modern driver assist systems such as automatic parking and lane keeping assistance require this change in technology. Innovations from the chassis & steering sub-project will help open up this technology to new classes of vehicle and make it more efficient. Another key area of research is multi-material construction for shock absorber tubes and steering columns, combining carbon fiber reinforced plastics or aluminum with already established materials. Last but not least, the to-do list includes cost-efficient high-volume manufacturing processes for the new InCar® plus products.
Cost-effective weight reduction is also the focus of the body sub-project. New steel grades, innovative sandwich products and optimized processing techniques will meet rising customer demands for affordability and safety. Using resources responsibly and reducing material usage are more important than ever today. From material production to usage to recycling, the project will take a holistic look at CO2 reduction and energy and water consumption. The engineers will also focus on the body-related areas of seats and wheels – components that constitute significant weight drivers in the vehicle and have to meet customers’ and manufacturers’ high demands in terms of comfort, functionality and design.