Friday 25 October 2013

VW opens fifth plant in China

Volkswagen has inaugurated its Shanghai-Volkswagen plant in Ningbo, south eastern China. The plant is designed for an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles.

The Ningbo plant is located some 150 km south of Anting (greater Shanghai area) and will create 5,700 new jobs. The facility has its own press, body and paint shops and final assembly unit.

Production begins with the new ŠKODA Superb. Volkswagen and ŠKODA models based on the MQB platform will follow in the next stage.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Ricardo brings new life to CryoPower…

Ricardo’s CryoPower cryogenic split-cycle engine concept is predicted to have a thermal efficiency of 60 per cent – significantly more fuel efficient than current engine technology.

Now a new progress feasibility prove-out of this concept through design, analysis and rig-based testing of critical sub-systems has been initiated funding from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB).

If successful, according to Ricardo, the research “will help ultimately” to deliver an engine with the potential to transform the environmental performance of long haul trucks and other heavy vehicles

As it backs dual-fuel with CAP

Clean Air Power (CAP) of Aston Way, Leyland, Lancs., UK, is hoping that by teaming with Ricardo the two companies can develop new products to serve the growing market for dual-fuel powered commercial vehicles.

CAP, a global leader in dual-fuel technology, has signed up with Ricardo Inc. in the US to further develop the dual-fuel engine technology business.

The agreement aims to bring together CAP's dual-fuel technology of compression ignited diesel engines that use natural gas with diesel pilot ignition and Ricardo’s systems integration expertise. Ricardo is headquartered at Shoreham, UK.

Scania mounts Euro 6 roadshow

Scania has mounted a roadshow in its home country of Sweden to demonstrate its new line of Euro 6 trucks

The trucks being demonstrated in the roadshow all meet Euro 6. Scania claims it has 15 truck models that meet  Euro 6.

With its latest roadshow Scania is not only offering Euro 6 diesel engines, but also Euro 6 engines for alternative fuels, such as 100 per cent biodiesel or gas.

Combine harvesters in Brazil for example use Scania V8 engines whereas PMC pea harvesters made in the UK use 12.7-litre engines. Scania is making overtures to Claas in Germany in a bid to get it use its V8 engines in combine harvesters .

Monday 21 October 2013

Aston Martin follows Bentley with SUV

Aston Martin’s Lagonda’s sport utility vehicle (SUV) has moved a step closer to reality and will be a joint development with Mercedes AMG.

The idea, first mooted with the Lagonda concept vehicle launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 2009, must have been hastened with the news last March that Bentley would develop an SUV, taking that marquee into unchartered waters.

Volkswagen AG has set the pace in developing SUVs in Europe, not only through its own brands but through links with Porsche.

Friday 18 October 2013

Honda F1 base to be in Milton Keynes

Honda is to base its European Formula 1 racing operation in Milton Keynes, UK from June next year in order to continue work on its 2015 season F1 engine.
The company is developing the new engine under a joint programme with McLaren. McLaren currently uses engines from Mercedes-benz. Honda claims it has just fired up the new engine. Red Bull racing is also located in Milton Keynes.
Manabu Nishimae, president of Honda Motor Europe Ltd, commented, "It's exciting to hear the cry of our new born Formula One engine for the first time. Our engineers are working hard to develop the engine and we are all looking forward to the start of the 2015 season."

Charles Morgan has ‘no role’ in Morgan

Charles Morgan no longer has a role as ‘ambassador’ of UK sports car maker Morgan Motor Company according to news reports.

Morgan, 62, stepped down as managing director of the sports car company seven months ago but retained the title of ‘ambassador’. But the current managing director Steve Morris has said that Morgan has ‘no role at all’.

Speaking at a conference in London this week, Morgan said: “I ought to say a few words of explanation. I have a 30 per cent shareholding. I am also one of the beneficiaries of a trust whose two trustees share 48 per cent of the company.”

Tuesday 15 October 2013

GM disappoints with its 2015 SUVs

Anyone expecting General Motors (GM) to slot in its ‘stillborn’ 4.5-litre V8 turbodiesel into the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade full-size sports utility vehicles (SUVs) is disappointed.

Instead, The General took the low road and announced these vehicles would carry the well-tried 5.3-litre and 6.2-litre EcoTec3 V8 engines and six-speed transmissions. This is the same line-up the company introduced in the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

But this may not be the end of the story. For surely GM cannot afford to write off all the engineering expertise it poured over a number of years into the compact V8 diesel it shelved just prior to its 2009 bankruptcy and reorganization.

Smart Ubisense scores in the US

Ubisense Group plc, a market leader in real time location intelligence solutions, has been selected as preferred supplier to a global automotive OEM for its factories in North America.

Initial orders valued at more than $500,000 have been placed for implementations in the first two plants while the full project contract is estimated to have a multi-million dollar value over the length of its three-year rollout programme.

The scope of supply includes the recently launched Smart Factory System installed across multiple facilities. Applications ranging from tool and assembly line control to process tracking and yard management are to be deployed in a project roll-out across multiple production lines including vehicle assembly as well as engine build.

Monday 14 October 2013

Columbus readies for the new ISV5.0

Journalists have been guided through Cummins’ first engine plant, the Columbus Engine Plant, otherwise known as CEP, where the new ISV5.0 will be built. Pilot engines are going down the line.

The last engine built at CEP was the N14 line. At one time the N14 accounted for more than half the heavy-duty road-going engines sold in America, and it developed an enviable reputation for being “bulletproof” according to .

Cummins no doubt hopes the new ISV5.0 (which it has been developing for the last 13 years according to sources) will prove just as robust as the N14. The plant still does machining on ISX blocks and heads but has been under-utilized since that engine assembly was moved to Jamestown, New York in 2001.

Wednesday 9 October 2013

SCOOP: CGI set for four-cylinder engine blocks

Confirmation that four-cylinder engines with compacted graphite iron (CGI) cylinder blocks are now not far away from volume production comes with the revelation that Grainger & Worrall (G&W) has been casting prototype blocks for some time.

According to sources, the company has been casting four-cylinder blocks for over 12 months. Typical batch sizes range from 50 units, plus or minus 10 or 20 units.

It is understood the engines are destined for a European passenger car. The cylinder blocks are small, compact four-cylinder units, according to well-placed sources.

Centre for next-generation vehicle testing

Next year will see completion of Ricardo’s £10 million Vehicle Emissions Research Centre (VERC) the company is building in conjunction with Horiba UK.

With its new facility Ricardo will be able to offer companies such as JaguarLandRover (JLR) and other vehicle builders the capability to test new vehicles for a global market to far more extreme limits than would previously have been possible.

Ironically, Ricardo, Horiba and JLR already have a close working harmony. Horiba UK is one of JLR’s principal suppliers of emissions testing equipment with Solihull and Whitley being recent recipients of equipment; Ricardo is JLRs’ preferred supplier for bespoke powertrain assignments and Horiba UK and Ricardo are now united in this ground-breaking research facility that is expected to be compete in the second half of 2014.

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Renault-Nissan plant biggest in Africa

The second production line at Renault-Nissan’s plant in Tangier, opened today, will make it the biggest plant in Africa, allowing the facility to produce 340,000 vehicles a year.

The public-private partnership between Kingdom of Morocco and Renault-Nissan Alliance enhances the international reputation of the "Made in Morocco" label.

The inauguration of the line was presided over by Abdelkader Amara, Moroccan Minister of Industry, Trade and New Technologies, and in the presence of Jacques Prost, managing director of the Renault Morocco group, and a number of key figures in politics and economics.

Monday 7 October 2013

‘Breakthrough’ rotary engine to run in six weeks

The Libralato rotary engine now under development at Loughborough University, UK, is expected to conduct its first fired trials under its own power within the next ‘five or six weeks’ according to sources.

Described as ‘breakthrough technology’ and ‘an eco-engine for the 21st century’ the engine runs on gasoline but its inventor claims diesel-like efficiency and a 50 per cent mass reduction.

Invented by Dr Ruggero Libralato, the rotary engine has an asymmetrical geometry of expansion and compression volumes and does not need to convert the liner motion of a piston engine into rotary motion.

Saturday 5 October 2013

G&W completes £1.25 million investment

World-leading castings, machining and up-front engineering services business, Grainger & Worrall (G&W), has expanded its portfolio of manufacturing capabilities by investing in a second twin pallet five-axis CNC machine.

The machine’s arrival marks the culmination of a £1.25 million investment in equipment and infrastructure at the company’s facility in Telford, Shropshire. This expenditure has been part of an on-going programme over the last two years which has seen G&W spend more than £6 million at its Shropshire premises.

The company is well known in the automotive industry both for its casting supply technology – especially in the area of compacted graphite iron (CGI) prototype components – and its importance of its role in the component supply chain. It now employs some 400 members of staff, operates six foundries, precision machining facilities and an extensive engineering resource. This blogspot estimates its turnover is in the region of £40 million per year.

GM to bank-roll Millbrook’s pension scheme

It is rumoured that the cost to Rutland Partners of buying Millbrook Proving Ground Ltd is just under £15 million; a figure somewhat lower than some people expected. As part of the consideration, Rutland will not have to fund the employees’ pension scheme. It has not been disclosed how Rutland will finance the deal.

Also as part of the deal, there is a continued agreement from General Motors (GM) and Vauxhall Motors for Millbrook to maintain production of ‘blue light’ vehicles and other conversions. In this event, Millbrook will be a sub-contractor to Vauxhall.

GM will continue to provide durability, testing and engineering design work to Millbrook for a range of Vauxhall/Opel vehicles.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Millbrook acquired by Rutland Partners

As exclusively reported in this blogspot on 25 September, Rutland Partners of Regent Street, London has now confirmed it has acquired Millbrook Proving Ground Limited. The wait is over - this blogspot first revealed Millbrook being placed 'for sale' a year ago in October 2012!

The venture capitalist company exchanged contracts with General Motors (on 2 October) for the acquisition of Millbrook Proving Ground Limited for an undisclosed amount with additional funds being made available for the development of new facilities.

The nature of the ‘new money’ and new investments has not at this stage been disclosed. The consideration could be a multiple of Millbrook’s trading profits. For example, Rutland acquired Pizza Hut UK Restaurants for £20 million and the renowned test centre might seem a strange bedfellow alongside the Edinburgh Woollen Mill business which Rutland acquired for £80 million.