Tuesday 25 March 2014

Truck diesel with CGI in development

CGI or compacted graphite iron remains a significant part of Grainger & Worrall’s ferrous business, according to Edward Grainger, co-director of the company in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, UK.

Indeed it is understood the company played an important part in the development of Ford Motor Company’s Nano project which led to the announcement earlier this year of the 2.7-litre EcoBoost gasoline engine in the US.

Further performance and parts sourcing details of the EcoBoost unit have yet to be released and are expected later this year.

‘The recent Ford (Nano) announcement is significant as it is a modern gasoline engine with an ‘iron’ block. It is a great novel design,’ said Edward Grainger.

Grainger & Worrall (G&W) is at the forefront of castings development and innovation and it is understood the company continues to work on a number of CGI projects, including ‘industrial’ engines of over 8-litre engine capacity which could be used in articulated trucks.

'Big trucks,' according to Edward Grainger.

It is believed these programmes are in their early stages and their commercial future at this point is uncertain. However, they remain a potential future diesel engine application for CGI.

Edward Granger refuses to be drawn on the precise nature of the customer, the precise engine size or the application.

It can take three to four years for an engine project to move from concept through to production. This is because of the range of conditions under which engines have to operate in the field. Thus, powertrain engineers have to go through the entire gamut from process testing, through hot and cold climate testing to full durability testing.

For example, it is understood the Nano project began some three to four years ago and involved G&W in the manufacture of between 200 to 300 prototype blocks in CGI material.

The Nano vee gasoline blocks are unusual for their use of cracked main bearings. While this is a relatively common feature for in-line commercial vehicle engines, such as the MAN 11- and 13-litre engines, it is novel for gasoline engines.

And indeed the EcoBoost is the first vee gasoline engine to use CGI for high volume production.

Cracked main bearing have a significant role to play in helping to achieve low friction, one of the prime requirements of the Nano project.

Having main bearing caps of a different iron material can represent a challenge in terms of thermal expansion and hence running clearances. The use of unified CGI bearing caps and main cylinder block gives more predictable engine friction performance.

The use of CGI for a vee gasoline engine is seen by some people as being both brave and novel.

Other major foundry work at G&W includes the V8 engine blocks and heads for the Bentley Mulsanne which is regarded as a premium product that has been developed radically over the years. Production is running at 20 a week.

Other aluminium casting work includes the Volkswagen Group’s W16 blocks (above) used in the Bugatti Veyron. This comprises two VR6-like sets of cylinders mated at 72 degrees. This low volume production is currently running at 60 to 70 a year.  

                                            Twin-cam engine

Earlier this year, G&W, the world’s leading suppliers of total casting solutions, announced it had partnered with a leading Swedish engine designer to recreate a twin-cam, 16 valve engine for use with historic Volvos.

The twin-cam unit, originally developed in 1971, has been produced using the latest engine design capabilities and casting techniques and is for use with Volvo models such as the P1800, 140, 142 and 145, as well as the PV544.

G&W, which has many world championship event victories to its name and is one of the unheralded success stories of high performance engineering, has been working alongside highly-respected designer Gunnar Axelsson to develop the engine for use in competition or road applications.

The original twin-cam engine was designed and developed by Axelsson in the 1970s and was based upon Volvo’s earlier 1.8 litre push-rod unit, which featured in numerous Volvo models from the late 1950s up until 1973.

The standard 1.8-litre engine was campaigned within motorsport extensively and Axelsson developed the 1970s twin-cam version to boost the performance of the stock 120bhp unit to an impressive 225bhp.

The G&W remanufactured twin-cam engine boasts these same striking performance figures, but benefits from the UK based company’s market-leading casting methods that are used across the globe in professional motorsport to deliver even greater reliability and performance.

G&W co-director, James Grainger, said: “We worked closely with Gunnar Axelsson to produce the new engine, utilising our specialised CAD systems and capability to deliver the highest quality casting solutions. Across the automotive and motorsport worlds, our services and solutions stand for technical excellence and a true sense of partnership with our clients. It’s invigorating for us to bring that ethos to the historic vehicle community.”

Gunnar Axelsson added: “We have been working on the project for some time and with the help of Grainger & Worrall, we have developed a reliable, powerful engine that will dramatically improve the performance of a wide range of historic 1800 Volvo models.”

Two specifications have been developed for the new engine; while the stage one version produces 190bhp, a more powerful stage two evolution takes power levels up to 225bhp – ideal for competition use.

                                     Motor racing

As to Formula 1, according to Edward Grainger the company is represented across ‘the majority of the F1 grid’ without disclosing names, only admitting that some engine makers have been able to give more time to their engines than others.

‘We supply major structural castings across NASCAR, Le Mans, World Rally Championships and F1,’ noted Edward Grainger.

Meanwhile, on a completely but related front, FiatPowerTrain Industrial’s ‘super-efficient’ new Cursor 16 has been named Diesel of the Year for 2014 by Diesel magazine in recognition of FPT Industrial’s technological excellence in its new 16-litre, six-cylinder, in-line engine.

Small in size, high in power output, the Cursor 16 has a best in class power-to-weight ratio and is one of the smallest engines in its range. Suitable for construction, agricultural and power generation applications, among others, the Cursor 16 represents the top level of the Cursor family, renowned for its reliability and flexibility.

The engine uses FPT Industrial’s patented high-efficiency Selective Catalytic Reduction (HI-eSCR) technology, which has been researched, designed and developed in-house by FPT Industrial to comply with stringent Stage IV/Tier 4 Final and Euro VI emission regulations.

A compact package, the Cursor 16 ‘excels in power management, combustion efficiency and low fuel consumption that, when combined, reduce the total cost of ownership for the final customer’.

Diesel magazine has been reporting on subjects related to the development, manufacture and use of diesel engines in Europe for over 20 years and this award serves to recognise the excellence in research and innovation at FPT Industrial,” said Massimo Siracusa, vice president product engineering at FPT Industrial. “Our people have a strong passion for FPT’s mission and pride themselves on maximum quality and innovative solutions for customers. This new engine delivers on power and efficiency while adhering to required emissions legislation.”

"The Diesel of the Year award is judged on technical innovation and design, with FPT Industrial's Cursor 16 achieving this in the most exciting way: a 16-litre engine delivering 18-litre power in a 13-litre package. A compelling proposition and, in the words of FPT, a game changer," affirmed Fabio Butturi, chief editor of Diesel magazine.

According to FTP Industrial 'further technical details and information on the new engine will arrive soon.' The engine does not have a CGI cylinder block, noted a spokesperson for FTP Industrial.

According to Edward Grainger, G&W has worked on the Cursor 16 programme. The company's involvement related to the bedplate and this is in grey iron.

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