Leveraging ZF’s recent acquisition of WABCO, the expanded facility will play an even greater role in the testing and development of new solutions and technologies to help drive the commercial vehicle industry’s vision of an autonomous, connected and electric future.
The test track has a new 3.6 kilometre oval circuit which incorporates a mix of curves and straight sections to replicate a wide range of road conditions to simulate real-life highway driving conditions. Significantly advancing ZF’s testing capabilities, it will support the development of advanced technologies including lane departure systems, traffic jam assistants and highway pilots up to autonomous driving. The extended facility also includes a new state-of-the-art 1,000m² project and customer centre as well as two additional truck halls.
“Leveraging the recent acquisition of WABCO, this investment underlines ZF's focus on developing and testing technologies such as autonomous driving and e-mobility even faster for our customers in line with the Group strategy 'Next Generation Mobility'," said Wilhelm Rehm, Member of the Board of Management of ZF Friedrichshafen AG with responsibility for Commercial Vehicle Technology, Industrial Technology, Materials Management. "This unique test track consolidates ZF's position as a global technology leader and offers exactly those extensive dynamic test possibilities which are necessary to fully exploit the growth opportunities for our company in the commercial vehicle segment.”
"The expansion of the test track in Jeversen by the ZF Group is of great importance for the research and development of vehicle systems for automated and networked driving,” said Dr. Bernd Althusmann, Lower Saxony's Minister of Economics, Labour, Transport, and Digitalization. “ZF's Commercial Vehicle Control Systems division is developing complex assistance systems for commercial vehicles there and thus contributes to realizing the vision of future autonomous, connected, and electrified driving. As this investment clearly demonstrates, in the mobility state of Lower Saxony we are focusing on advanced future technologies and innovative solutions which will help pave the way for tomorrow's mobility."
“The expanded and modernized test track offers us the necessary capacity to significantly expand the development and testing of cutting-edge technologies," explained Dr. Christian Brenneke, Senior Vice President Product Engineering with ZF's Commercial Vehicle Control Systems Division. " Today, the test track already plays a central role for our innovative systems that make trucks, buses and trailers safer and more efficient. As we increasingly focus on autonomous, networked and electrified vehicles, the growing complexity of the systems we develop requires ever more advanced test and validation capacities. The extension of our test track enables us to test innovative driver assistance systems up to fully automated driving and mobility concepts."
"In addition to setting new standards for a progressive and forward-looking test environment, the test track expansion represents a clear and significant further commitment by ZF to the region and to Germany as a research and development hub," added Alexander Rohde, Managing Director and Track Project Leader, with ZF’s Commercial Vehicle Control Systems division.
The test track is named after Erich Reinecke, a former WABCO Vice President of Group Engineering, who died in 2008. During his career, Reinecke played a major role in the development and market launch of a multitude of electronic control systems for commercial vehicles.
Because this gives the sensors immediate access to both cabin air and external air, the air conditioning system can react quickly and precisely to changing pollution levels and use the appropriate cleaning strategy to keep the air in the vehicle clean. The new solution from MAHLE offers several advantages in comparison with other systems available on the market: thanks to the functional integration within the air conditioning system, the solution is more compact, lighter, and cheaper. For this purpose, MAHLE has rounded out its innovative concept with newly developed fine-particulate filters that offer even greater efficiency.
“Customers will find that the air in the vehicle cabin is noticeably cleaner and the fine-particulate values in the car are lower thanks to our new smart air conditioning system,” explains Laurent Art, Director Advanced Engineering Thermal Management at MAHLE. “Furthermore, this new system lets them check the air quality in the vehicle in real time.”
Existing solutions measure the level of pollution using a complex stand-alone sensor or array of sensors, which is or are often connected via hoses to the central heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit.
New generation of fine-particulate filters
In conjunction with its innovative sensor concept, MAHLE has developed a new generation of fine-particulate filters. The high dust extraction capacity exhibited by these filters is near constant over their entire lifetimes, ensuring good cabin air in the long term. Fine particulates, solid particles, harmful gases, and environmental odors in the incoming air are reliably kept out of the vehicle cabin. Typical particles, such as brake dust, diesel soot, and tire debris, which are produced and transported by traffic on the road ahead, do not enter the cabin. The sensors integrated into the smart air conditioning system from MAHLE also ensure optimal service life for the filter elements. Furthermore, the filter protects the components within the air conditioning system from exposure to polluted air.
“We are proud and grateful for this award, which is a true testament to the outstanding journey and performance of our Muscle Shoals’ facility,” stated Chris Smith, President of Constellium’s Muscle Shoals and Bowling Green plants. “This recognition is a result of our employees’ hard work and our steadfast commitment to excellence, which has allowed us to build strong relationships with our customers, suppliers and community. We look forward to continuing to grow in Alabama.”
One of Constellium’s largest sites, with over 1,200 employees, Muscle Shoals is an aluminium rolling facility and a beverage can and automotive recycling centr. With the widest strip mill in the US, the plant produces aluminium can sheet and Auto Body Sheet substrate. Known as Element 13, Muscle Shoals’ recycling facility is one of the largest recyclers of used aluminium cans in the world and has the capacity to recycle the equivalent of 20 billion cans per year.
According to the agreement, New Energy will supply BASF with up to 4,000 metric tons of pyrolysis oil per year derived from waste tires. In a pilot phase, first volumes of the pyrolysis oil have already been utilized successfully in BASF’s integrated chemical production site (Verbund) in Ludwigshafen, Germany.
The agreement is part of BASF’s ChemCyclingTM project which was started in 2018 and focusses on chemically reprocessing post-consumer plastic waste on an industrial scale. Since 2020, first commercial products are in the market.
The focus of the project remains the use of mixed plastic waste, which would otherwise end up in landfill or incineration. In addition, BASF also sees an opportunity to increase recycling rates for end-of-life tires. “So far, there was no technology that allowed the recycling of pyrolysis oil from tires into high value applications. By further broadening our raw material base to waste tires, we can create a new circular value stream. Moreover, we establish a second recycled feedstock in our ChemCycling project with which we can manufacture high-performance products for our customers’ demanding applications”, said Dr. Christian Lach, Project Leader ChemCycling at BASF. Waste tires fall within the definition of post-consumer plastic waste according to DIN EN ISO 14021:2016-07.
BASF and New Energy are both committed to work on solutions for the global plastic waste problem. The two parties have therefore additionally signed an agreement for a feasibility study that targets the adaption of New Energy’s proprietary pyrolysis technology to the conversion of other plastic waste streams.
“The collaboration with New Energy underlines BASF’s ambition to use recycled raw materials in the chemical industry and lead the transition to a circular economy for plastics,” said Lach. “Partnerships with agile, innovative companies are key to achieving these ambitions. We are happy that we have found such a partner in New Energy, in addition to our partnership with Quantafuel that will soon supply us with pyrolysis oil derived from mixed plastic waste from their commercial scale plant in Skive, Denmark.”
Viktor Varadi, CEO of New Energy, added: “We are proud that our technology provides value to BASF, and through this collaboration to their customers. We spent almost a decade to develop and optimize our technology and are now successfully operating an industrial-scale plant which turns waste tires into secondary raw materials. This puts us at the forefront when it comes to establishing a circular economy for tires. Our objective is to achieve quantifiable environmental benefit. The reduced need for primary fossil resources clearly serves this objective as well as the reduced carbon footprint of the newly manufactured products.”
BASF feeds the pyrolysis oil supplied by New Energy into its integrated Verbund site in Ludwigshafen, thereby replacing fossil resources. The share of recycled raw material is allocated to certain products manufactured in the Verbund by using a third-party audited mass balance approach. The products which carry the name suffix “CcycledTM” have the exact same properties as those manufactured from fossil feedstock. Customers can therefore further process them in the same way as conventionally manufactured products and use them in applications with high demands regarding quality and performance, such as automotive parts.
To meet these requirements, Covestro and its partners have developed a premium concept with material solutions for the interior and presented it for the first time at the K 2019 plastics fair.
“In particular, a high-quality and individual design has considerable influence on consumers' buying decisions while providing car manufacturers opportunities for brand differentiation,” explained Jochen Hardt, Global Marketing Mobility in the Polycarbonates segment at Covestro. “Here, the focus is on the design of surfaces using colours, optics and haptics, with light effects and functions. Products from Covestro open up almost unlimited possibilities.”
Plastics such as the polycarbonate Makrolon and the polycarbonate blends Bayblend and Makroblend are lightweight and robust and ensure good thermal and electrical insulation. They can be used to implement a wide range of design solutions, with glass-like surfaces, many colours and options for integrating displays, sensors and cameras.
Wafer-thin layers of natural materials such as wood and marble will play a vital role in the car interior of the future. On the surface of injection-molded components made of the polycarbonate Makrolon Ai (derived from "Automotive interior"), they are ideal for creating a feel-good ambience.
With lighting, the effects can be enhanced even further. One example is the floor in the prototype car interior concept: Here, light from a polycarbonate part shines through a wafer-thin layer of marble. This effect could also be created by coating it with a digitally printed film.
But the high transparency of polycarbonate itself can also be used to create lighting effects, for example by illuminating the background or edges. The light can be dynamic and communicative, but also atmospheric, relaxing and cozy. Covestro anticipates growing demand for increasingly personalised lighting experiences and functions.
Polycarbonate also forms the basis for continuous fibre-reinforced thermoplastic composites called Maezio. The unidirectional arrangement of the fibres lends the surface a special aesthetic effect. In addition, the seat shells made from it and a new space-saving table are very light and exceptionally robust.
The use of paints and coatings in car interiors is also multifaceted. Many colours as well as optical and haptic effects are possible here. Covestro was a pioneer in the development of water-based coatings with a very low content of volatile organic compounds (VOC). In the interior concept, the waterborne floor topcoat is based on the polyurethane (PU) raw materials Bayhydrol and Bayhydur, which give it durability and individuality. The aqueous INSQIN® PU technology for textile coating is used in the headrests, instrument panel and seats.
Covestro is also a pioneer in the use of predominantly organic-based PU raw materials such as the coating hardeners Desmodur eco N 7300 and Bayhydur eco 701-90 and the urethane acrylate dispersion Bayhydrol eco 2877.
The floor of the interior has been completely redesigned with PU materials to create a pleasant and homelike setting. Baypreg is a two-component polyurethane system that is lighter than steel, providing significant advantages. The combination of Baypreg and glass fibre mats with core materials such as paper honeycomb or foamed polycarbonate enables a significant reduction in weight while providing high mechanical strength.
The Baynat PU system provides effective sound absorption. It makes self-supporting components possible and has long been used in vehicle headliners, but it is likely to play a particularly important role in the quiet electric car of the future when it comes to absorbing the noise of other passengers and the world outside. The soft Bayfit polyurethane system is recommended for even greater damping of noise and vehicle vibrations. It is usually foamed in cavities for this purpose.
The complete BorgWarner EGR module includes cooler and valve and is the company's first gasoline EGR module to be used on mild-hybrid engine technology for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) region. Its compact package reduces weight and therefore lowers the emissions of Fiat's naturally aspirated 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine.
"We are pleased to expand BorgWarner's long-term relationship with FCA and support them on their way to hybrid mobility by reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency by supplying our gasoline EGR module," said Joe Fadool, President and General Manager, BorgWarner Emissions, Thermal and Turbo Systems. "Our ability to develop and manufacture this compact EGR module in-house demonstrates a high level of expertise and added value for our customer."
The technology is used to contain combustion temperatures and increase engine efficiency by recirculating exhaust gas back into the intake air, delivering reduced brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC) and improved fuel economy, supporting industry goals for cleaner-running hybrid applications.
Moreover, it also reduces brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC) due to dethrottling within the part load area. Featuring hybrid tube technology and materials, BorgWarner's EGR coolers are proven to resist fatigue caused by the high temperatures in gasoline engines. Additionally, the valve directly measures valve lift which increases the accuracy of EGR control.
BorgWarner offers a broad range of versatile and multifunctional EGR solutions for gasoline and diesel applications in the light- and commercial-vehicle markets. These solutions include individual components as well as complete modules equipped with valves and coolers for high- and low-pressure EGR systems.
This new plant expands Magna’s powertrain capabilities within the region and brings additional capabilities to its Kechnec campus. The neighboring transmission plant was opened 15 years ago by Getrag, which Magna acquired in 2016 and currently makes transmissions for BMW Group. Magna’s long-standing relationship with the local community and education system will help ensure a pipeline of highly skilled employees for its Kechnec operations.
“It is an exciting time in the automotive industry and for Magna, especially in our powertrain business,” said Tom Rucker, President Magna Powertrain. “We stand ready with our products at the forefront of electrification and a portfolio that provides sustainable, innovative powertrain solutions for today and the future.”
The new metalforming plant is expected to start production in August 2021 with a workforce of approximately 50 people, and marks Magna’s fourth location in Slovakia.
“Achieving the 30-million-sensor milestone is thanks to the commitment of our team, especially during a difficult and complicated year,” said Amit Kapoor, Head of Continental’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems business in North America. “Developing and producing ADAS products is essential to making vehicles safer and more efficient, now and in the future. We’re proud of our team in Seguin, and around the world, as they are leading the charge to the future of mobility while supporting safer vehicles on the road today.”
The Seguin radar sensor production includes short-range radar (SRR) and the premium advanced radar sensor (ARS). The SRR helps monitor the drivers surrounding environment and assists the driver in avoiding dangerous situations immediately around the vehicle. For example, it enables blind spot detection, adding a layer of safety for the driver to safely change lanes.
The ARS is a premium long-range radar applied for forward looking applications like Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and safety functions such as forward collision avoidance. Combined with other sensing technologies, ARS is the key enabler for automated driving.
According to estimates from the National Highway Safety Transportation Association, more than 36,000 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2019. Continental believes it has a responsibility in driving that number toward zero.
“The groundbreaking radar technologies continue to help us get closer to achieving Vision Zero – zero fatalities, zero injuries and zero crashes,” added Kapoor. “Technology enables safer, more efficient travel. By utilizing various sensors, we can better understand a vehicle’s surroundings, helping to maximize road safety.”
At closing, Adient received cash proceeds of $309 million related to the sale of Adient's 30% ownership stake in Yanfeng Global Automotive Interior Systems Co., Ltd. (YFAI) to Yanfeng and approximately $20 million related to the sale of certain mechanisms business patents and other intellectual property to Adient Yanfeng Seating Mechanisms Co., Ltd. (AYM).
In addition to the $309 million paid at the closing for its 30% ownership stake in YFAI, Adient is entitled to receive an additional $60 million for the sale of such stake, payable on a deferred basis. With respect to each YFAI fiscal year ending after the closing, starting with the year ending Dec. 31, 2020, Adient will be paid an earnout in an amount equal to 30% of YFAI's distributable earnings for such year until such time as the $60 million deferred purchase price is fully paid.
Also, Adient and Yanfeng extended the term of Yanfeng Adient Seating Co., Ltd.'s (YFAS) joint venture agreement to December 2038.
Founded in 2012 by CEO Austin Russell, Luminar is the leading autonomous vehicle and LiDAR technology company for consumer cars and trucking. Luminar is partnered with 7 of the top 10 global automakers and is set to power the introduction of highway self-driving and next-generation safety systems. Over 350 people strong, Luminar has built a new type of LiDAR from the chip-level up with breakthroughs across all core components.
As a result, Luminar has created the only LiDAR sensor that meets the stringent performance, safety and cost requirements for Level 3–Level 5 autonomous vehicles. Integrating this advanced hardware with Luminar’s custom developed software stack enables a turn-key autonomous solution to accelerate widespread adoption with automakers.
Starting in 2022, Luminar’s hardware and software will be integrated into Volvo’s global vehicle platform, the foundation for their next generation of consumer vehicles. In parallel, Luminar’s technology will also enable a new benchmark for vehicle safety surpassing today’s advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) with proactive safety features.
“This milestone is pivotal not just for us, but also for the larger automotive industry,” said Austin Russell, Founder and CEO of Luminar. “Eight years ago, we took on a problem to which most thought there would be no technically or commercially viable solution. We worked relentlessly to build the tech from the ground up to solve it and partnered directly with the leading global automakers to show the world what’s possible. Today, we are making our next industry leap through our new long-term partnership with Gores Metropoulos, a team that has deep experience in technology and automotive and shares our vision of a safe autonomous future powered by Luminar.”
Alec Gores, CEO of Gores Metropoulos, commented, “Luminar represents a rare opportunity to invest in the leading player in autonomous driving technology for cars and trucks. We are excited to partner with a visionary founder like Austin who has developed from scratch the only lidar technology that meets the most stringent OEM specification requirements for safety and performance. Luminar is well positioned to dominate the autonomous landscape and together, we look forward to shaping the future of automotive transportation.”
This was announced by Dr. Robert Hentschel, SVP Engineering at Valmet Automotive, during a visit of Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister of Economic Affairs of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. The construction of prototypes and small-series vehicles is one of the important entrepreneurial pillars of the Valmet Automotive Group. So far these vehicles have been produced mainly in Bad Friedrichshall on behalf of customers. The company has been manufacturing in Helmstadt-Bargen since 2014.
The decision taken in 2019 to expand production for prototyping and small series in Helmstadt-Bargen is part of the Valmet Automotive Group’s strategic focus on electric mobility. At the location nearby Heilbronn, new solutions for urban mobility are to be implemented in addition to the traditional business.
“We are meeting with vital interest, especially from start-up companies and firms that are entering the market with innovative products,” said Robert Hentschel during the visit of Mrs. Hoffmeister-Kraut. The start of production of an all-electric urban vehicle, for which Valmet Automotive also provides development services, is scheduled for 2021.
In Helmstadt-Bargen, Valmet Automotive has a production space of around 8,500 square metres. The company employs there 62 people in the units of body construction, mechanics and models.