All of the transmissions available in the Driveline gearboxes market today is continuing to grow exponentially in the last 15 years, all while increasing in complexity. The effect is usually that we are actually coping with a varied amount of tranny types including manual, conventional automatic, automatic manual, dual clutch, constantly adjustable, split power and 100 % pure EV.
Until extremely recently, automotive vehicle manufacturers largely had two types of transmitting to pick from: planetary automated with torque converter or conventional manual. Today, however, the volume of options avaiable demonstrates the adjustments seen over the industry.
This is also illustrated by the countless different types of vehicles now being manufactured for the marketplace. And not simply conventional vehicles, but also all electrical and hybrid vehicles, with each type requiring different driveline architectures.
The traditional development process involved designing a transmission in isolation from the engine and all of those other powertrain and vehicle. However, that is changing, with the restrictions and complications of this method becoming more widely recognized, and the continuous drive among producers and designers to deliver optimal efficiency at reduced weight and cost.
New powertrains feature close integration of components like the prime mover, recovery systems and the gearbox, and in addition rely on highly sophisticated control systems. This is to make sure that the best degree of efficiency and overall performance is delivered all the time. Manufacturers are under increased pressure to create powertrains that are brand new, different from and better than the last version-a proposition that’s made more complex by the necessity to integrate brand components, differentiate within the market and do it all on a shorter timescale. Engineering teams are on deadline, and the development process must be better and fast-paced than ever before.
Until now, the use of computer-aided engineering (CAE) has been the most common way to develop drivelines. This technique involves components and subsystems designed in isolation by silos within the business that lean toward tested component-level analysis tools. While these are highly advanced equipment that allow users to extract very dependable and accurate data, they are still presenting data that’s collected without concern of the complete system.
While this may produce components that all work nicely individually, putting them with each other without prior consideration of the entire program can create designs that don’t work, resulting in issues in the driveline that are difficult and expensive to correct.