FRANKFURT, GERMANY , September 9, 2003 - Tenneco Automotive (NYSE: TEN) is focusing on consumer preference as the driver for product development. This focus has already resulted in serial production for diesel particulate filters and an electronic suspension, two of the hottest technologies on show at the IAA this year.
On its stand (Hall 4.1, Stand A10) the company will demonstrate how its Emission Control and Ride Control Original Equipment business units partner with their OEM customers to develop technologies that respond to increasing consumer demand for exhaust solutions that are environmentally friendly and suspension solutions that do not trade comfort and safe-handling for flexibility.
Hari Nair, Managing Director for Tenneco Automotive Europe, said: "Our OE businesses are increasingly involved in new product development in the early stages of vehicle design. This enables us to work closely with our OEM customers on meeting consumer requirements. This is an approach that benefits manufacturers, suppliers and customers alike."
Tenneco Automotive has been in serial production on diesel particulate filters (DPFs) for PSA since 2000 and has already produced more than 300,000 units for the French manufacturer, making Tenneco Automotive the largest producer of DPFs in the world. Tenneco Automotive DPFs are currently present on the Citroën C5, Peugeot 406, 2002 Peugeot 807, Citroën C8, Fiat Ulysse and Lancia Phedra. Current production is 700 units daily, a number that will increase based on current booked business. Serial production for DaimlerChrysler will begin in 2004. The company will show its additive DPF on the stand and experts will be available to discuss coated DPF technology currently being developed for a number of other manufacturers.
Also on the emission control side, Tenneco will show fabricated manifold converters that provide the faster light-off required to meet future emissions regulations, as well as providing significant weight reduction. These are produced using an innovative hot-spun process that offers potential cost savings due to lower manufacturing, tooling and material costs, and weight reduction up to 20 percent compared to conventional converters. The hot-spun process provides both design flexibility and standardization, leading to improved product quality and potential cost savings of up to 25 percent. Selected models of Ford, Citroën, Peugeot, Fiat and General Motors vehicles are currently using these in Europe.
"The broad issues of tighter regulations for emissions and fuel economy offer us a great opportunity to support our customers as they continue to develop cleaner powertrain solutions. We continue to work with our customers to meet regulatory standards with the best, most appropriate technology," said Nair.
Tenneco Automotive began serial production of its Computerized Electronic Suspension (CES) shocks and struts for Volvo on its S60 R and V70 R performance vehicles at the end of last year. The Swedish manufacturer subsequently offered CES as an option on its S80 luxury vehicle, production of which began earlier this year. CES solutions are currently being developed for other manufacturers' vehicles.
A powerful electronic control unit (ECU) lies at the heart of the CES to exploit the full potential of its electro-mechanical valving system, developed jointly with Öhlins Racing. The ECU processes data sent by a group of sensors placed at key locations on the vehicle that feed steering wheel angle, vehicle speed, brake pressure and other chassis control data to the ECU in real time, allowing it to adjust independently the damping level of each shock absorber valve. CES dampers allow a large separation between maximum and minimum damping levels and adjust instantaneously to assure the optimum in riding comfort and firm, safe vehicle control.
Another innovative suspension system is the Monroe Kinetic system with which the Citroën World Rally Championship (WRC) team has been winning a significant number of WRC events this year, proving the traction and handling benefits associated with this unique and innovative technology.
The Kinetic system works by interconnecting the suspensions of all four wheels of a vehicle, using the relative loading of all four during an input to passively optimize the suspension response through very simple hydraulic "logic". In this way, the system is able to "recognize" modes in which it should be stiff (roll) and those in which it should be soft (single wheel, bounce) - even if multiple inputs are superimposed. This maintains more even loading between the four wheels, resulting in improved traction and more predictable handling, particularly on loose or broken surfaces.
The improved wheel loading will also enhance operation of other vehicle systems such as ABS or traction control. And because the Kinetic system does not generate roll stiffness in modes other than roll, the system allows a single wheel to move more freely than with conventional suspension systems - resulting in significant comfort benefits as well as improved off-road traction and enhanced ability to traverse obstacles. Kinetic is being evaluated by a number of vehicle manufacturers for passenger car applications.
Excellence in innovative product development is supported by Tenneco Automotive's world-class R&D; and engineering facilities in Edenkoben, Germany, and Sint Truiden, Belgium. A key life exhaust test rig to handle durability/lifetime analysis, evaluation and validation under road load conditions, was commissioned this month in Edenkoben for a total investment of $3 million. The key life test rig offers customers a reduction in total development cost and significantly shorter development time. This represents the first of its kind at a supplier site in Europe.
Tenneco Automotive is a $3.5 billion manufacturing company with headquarters in Lake Forest, Illinois and approximately 19,600 employees worldwide. Tenneco Automotive is one of the world's largest producers and marketers of ride control and exhaust systems and products, which are sold under the Monroe® and Walker® global brand names. Among its products are Sensa-Trac® and Monroe Reflex® shocks and struts, Rancho® shock absorbers, Walker® Quiet-Flow® mufflers and DynoMax® performance exhaust products, and Monroe® Clevite® vibration control components.