The outlook for the heavy-duty/off-highway market in 2010 and beyond has regional differences that global players must acknowledge in order to develop strategies to address each unique regional requirement.
In most mature regional markets—with the exception of Latin America and other developing countries—global demand for agricultural equipment is softening as farm income has lessened, among other factors. On the other hand, construction equipment sales are looking up, particularly as construction is on the rise in several regions of the world. Industry forecasters expect global demand for light- and heavy-duty equipment to increase by as much as 10% in the next year as the off-highway industry rebalances itself and begins to refresh its fleets.
These market demand shifts are cyclical and, to a certain extent, foreseeable and manageable. The primary market development restriction facing Federal-Mogul and the OEMs it serves is government regulation of diesel exhaust emissions.
According to the EPA, nonroad diesels contribute 47% of mobile source particulate matter and 25% of mobile source NOx, which signals tremendous opportunity for companies such as Federal-Mogul to offer solutions to reduce these emissions to levels that represent a dramatic 95% across-the-board reduction since the mid-1990s. (By comparison, on-highway diesels have had nearly twice that time–almost 30 years–to achieve the same levels.)
To achieve such dramatic emissions reductions, diesel engine manufacturers are quickly downsizing their engines and designing them to operate under increased mechanical and thermal loads, to run hotter and with higher cylinder pressures. Exhaust manifold flanges that once operated in the 400-600°C (752-1112°F) range now have to survive in environments up to 1000°C (1832°F). And the typical 1960’s cylinder pressure of 110 bar (1595 psi) could likely double by 2020.
Because Federal-Mogul’s role in this process is to help vehicle and equipment makers meet demands of customers and regulators anywhere in the world, we developed “enabling technologies” to help our customers overcome these challenges. Just a few examples include High Temperature Alloy exhaust gaskets that combine proprietary alloys with an ultrahigh-temperature coating to withstand the extreme operating conditions of a modern diesel engine. Unlike conventional stainless steel, graphite, or mica-based gaskets, HTA technology maintains effective exhaust seals at temperatures beyond 850°C (1562°F).
Another is Federal-Mogul’s 250-bar (3625-psi) combustion seal cylinder head gasket technology that addresses the trend of increasing cylinder pressures expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Older style combustion seals do not have the recovery needed to maintain sealing under these conditions.
Also, Federal-Mogul is preparing to release the Magnum Monosteel piston. It retains the cooling and strength characteristics of the Monosteel design, while reducing sliding friction and reciprocating mass for improved fuel economy.
Earlier this year, in response to the demands of higher loaded engines, Federal-Mogul introduced the IROX polymer coated bearing shell that reduces friction losses in diesels and a variety of other engine types.
Lastly, Federal-Mogul’s Vehicle Safety and Protection specialists have developed a textile sleeve that provides protection for adjacent components and surfaces and can withstand temperatures up to 750°C (1382°F). The flexible knitted sleeve, sold under the THERMFLEX brand, when installed on vehicle exhaust pipes, prevents exhaust gases from losing heat as they flow through the exhaust system.
Federal-Mogul is helping customers meet the challenge of ever-more-stringent emissions standards for heavy-duty/off-road vehicles by providing leading technology and innovation to increase engine efficiency, reduce friction, and manage the impact of higher engine loads. The way we see it, stiffer regulation drives technological opportunity.
Rainer Jueckstock, Sr. Vice President, Powertrain Energy, Federal-Mogul, wrote this article for SAE Off-Highway Engineering.