During the past 10 years, we’ve seen significant progress in the evolution of the diesel engine—namely in the areas of fuel economy and reduced CO2—to drive down fleet operating costs and meet stringent emissions legislation. To achieve these targets, manufacturers are developing powertrain strategies that require higher output from smaller-displacement engines, increasing thermal and mechanical loads.
Significant emphasis is now being placed on strategies to increase in-cylinder combustion efficiency, thereby reducing total fuel consumption while utilizing current aftertreatment solutions to address resulting particulate and NOx emissions. These strategies drive higher temperatures and pressures, and further intensify the need for development of improved base engine components. At Federal-Mogul, we work closely with our customers to develop innovative solutions to meet higher durability and performance requirements, with fuel economy and value for cost as the drivers for success.
Low-viscosity oils for their contribution to fuel economy will further put component wear surfaces to the test. Federal-Mogul provides both strength and temperature-resistant solutions—including a polymer-coated engine bearing called IROX, designed to withstand high mechanical stress in heavily loaded engines—and addresses lubrication challenges with lower viscosity oils. Our piston ring coating solutions like DuroGlide provide fuel economy savings up to 1.5% and provide superior scuffing protection and wear resistance for commercial and industrial engines.
Parasitic loss also impacts fuel economy. Efforts to reduce loss within the engine may decrease effective cooling flows, requiring greater component durability and the need to utilize exhaust temperatures for waste heat recovery improvements. In both instances, in-cylinder temperatures will increase, particularly in the piston crown. Federal-Mogul’s Monosteel piston was designed to operate at elevated engine temperatures, without compromising engine durability.
Innovative technology must provide the right value proposition to attain customer acceptance. Federal-Mogul recently replaced a composite steel/aluminum piston in a heavy-duty application with its DuraBowl aluminum piston, providing higher durability and better value. The DuraBowl re-melting process strengthens the piston crown, improving fatigue strength and extending piston life by 4-7 times that of a conventional cast piston. DuraBowl can also replace the use of steel pistons in certain lower-rated applications, which contributes to reduced weight, and ultimately, greater efficiency.
Providing solutions to base component challenges is critical to the success of the diesel engine’s continued evolution. Competencies in advanced material development, low-friction coatings, and precise surface contours and finishes are required to provide effective solutions. We give careful attention to being a strategist, helping our customers find the right degree of innovation that is “fit for purpose.” Our shared goal is to attain market and regulatory demands with the right value to continually advance the world’s preferred power source for commercial vehicles—the diesel engine.
Rainer Jueckstock, co-CEO Federal-Mogul and CEO Federal-Mogul Powertrain, wrote this article for SAE Off-Highway Engineering.