Monday, 24 December 2012

Nissan Etherea set for UK

Nissan is investing £250 million in manufacturing facilities at its site in Washington, Sunderland, to build the new Infiniti Etherea hatchback from next year.

The project will create an extra 1,000 jobs in the UK, including some 280 in the North-East. The Etherea is seen by Nissan as competition for the Audi A3 and the BMW 1-Series.

Etherea will be manufactured only in Sunderland and production, when it gathers momentum, is expected to hit at least 60,000 a year. Additional contributions will come from Nissan’s London design centre as well as the Nissan European Technical Centre (NETC) at Cranfield, Bedfordshire, which also handles design work as well as component and vehicle development.

Nissan’s Infiniti ‘luxury’ brand is the equivalent of Toyota’s Lexus.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Volvo set to be first with KERS?

Volvo could be set to introduce KERS-based technology in 2016, making it one of the first automakers to offer the system to customers.

Flybrid Automotive Ltd., a small, innovative and privately-owned company with a hand-picked team of engineers at Silverstone, UK, has been working on flywheel-based kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) for a few years with leading vehicle- builders, including JaguarLandRover (JLR).

In the case of JLR, the KERS has been linked to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) activated at the rear axle. The work has proved particularly beneficial and is now being extended. Initially commissioned to demonstrate fuel economy gains, the technology, still using the same basic rear axle mounted flywheel and CVT, is being directed towards enhancing vehicle performance.

However, at this juncture, JLR does not appear to have a platform that is design-ready to accept a flywheel-based KERS. In any case, Jaguar has a number of other vehicle programmes it is anxious to bring to market more quickly.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Aluminium is key to JLR’s future success

ACCESS to aluminium could become an important element of a new link between JaguarLandRover (JLR) and the Saudi Arabia government in Riyadh.

The UK-based vehicle builder, owned by Tata Motors of India, has signed a ‘letter of intent’ with the Saudi Arabia government that could pave the way for the company to build vehicles in the Middle Eastern region.

Aluminium has already become an important element of some Jaguar models and the signs are that it will become even more so as increasing attention is focused on ‘light-weighting’ of body-in-white (BIW) structures.

Jaguar already has one of the most up-to-date aluminium stamping lines in the UK at its Castle Bromwich facility in the West Midlands. The Schuler press lines are exclusively used to press skin panels and other components in aluminium.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Iveco needs CGI to meet Euro 6

Fiat Group subsidiary Iveco is set to embark on a programme to adopt compacted graphite iron (CGI) in the engines of its commercial vehicles.

Diesel engine specialists and foundry men within the Fiat organisation are already familiar with CGI, following years of development work both at Fiat’s Teksid foundry division and by the group’s diesel engine maker Iveco.

But the time is drawing near for a decisive step to be taken if commercial vehicle maker Iveco is to meet tougher Euro 6 emissions legislation. Euro 6 will emerge in two stages: newly type-approved vehicles from 1 January 2013, and all newly-registered vehicles from 1 January 2014.

The focus of attention centres on Mexico where the Teksid foundry in Monclova has ordered a full refurbishment of its SinterCast CGI process control technology, including an upgrade of its System 3000.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

‘Cut and paste’ Hotfire engine plant for JLR

The secret plant for JaguarLandRover’s next-generation Hotfire engine, now in the early stages of construction adjacent to the M54 in Wolverhampton, will effectively be a ‘cut and paste’ job of an existing UK engine facility.

The implications of this will be revealed in the nature of the machine tools and other manufacturing equipment, most of which will be sourced from Germany.

In today’s computer-generated industrial world, it almost becomes second-nature to ‘cut & paste’ individual machining cells and other process equipment to create a manufacturing hinterland. Cells for the five-Cs – cylinder heads, cylinder blocks, crankshafts, camshafts and con-rods – are all well defined in machine tool vendors’ CAD goody boxes; though today camshafts and con-rods will likely come direct from component suppliers.

It is most likely, in this respect that the £355 million Hotfire engine facility due to come on-stream in 2014 could bear a close similarity to various aspects of Ford’s Bridgend Engine Plant (BEP) - or indeed various individual aspects of other engine plants in Europe or the US. Earlier this year Ford announced plans to boost output at the South Wales plant of its 1.6-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. The move effectively will triple the production of vehicles with EcoBoost engines to 480,000 a year by 2015 up from 141,000 in 2011.