Every day, over 1 billion vehicles drive along the globe's highways and byways, main streets and dirt roads.* It's a staggering number that grows ever larger when factoring in the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. Yet with every challenge comes an opportunity for innovation. As automakers embrace the challenge of reducing emissions and going green, technology companies are working by their side to provide holistic, platform-level solutions.
THE CONNECTIVITY CHALLENGE
How do you solve one of the auto industry's greatest challenges? By recognizing one of the most important factors in reducing CO2 emissions: Reducing the weight of the vehicle. To do so, companies have to rethink automotive connectivity by taking a three-pronged approach to help automakers. By designing smaller components and wire harnesses. By implementing technology that cuts out heavy metals and materials. By streamlining on-board communication networks and complex engine systems to improve efficiency. And all this needs to be done while keeping production times down and total system costs flat.
INNOVATION 1: MAKING COMPONENTS SMALLER
Reducing a vehicle's weight begins with miniaturizing its components: Trimming the electronic contacting blade, downsizing the diameter of copper wires, compressing the packing density of an engine's control units. All these innovations prove an old adage true: A little bit goes a long way.
• MCON 1.2 Contacts: This high-performance contact system cuts the blade size from 1.5mm to 1.2mm. Built for high-vibration applications, the MCON 1.2 has eight contact points and assimilates small wire sizes down to 0.13mm. Plus, the reliable design of the corresponding sealed housing series increases quality while decreasing service costs.
• HPF 1.2 Contacts: This high-pressure flat contact reduces blade size from 1.5mm or 2.8mm to 1.2mm making a big difference for sensors inside an engine compartment. The HPF 1.2 miniaturization delivers advanced temperature and vibration performance allowing customers to create smaller, lighter connectors without extra cost
• 0.50 Connectors: With a light and low profile, 0.50 connectors are 54% lighter and 34% smaller than the latest hybrid connectors in Japan. This miniaturization connector is compatible with ultra-fine wires so they can help make devices thinner, smaller and lighter. (0.50 series for only signal circuits is also available.)
** 2011 Vehicles in Operation Study, Ward's Automotive Group
INNOVATION 2: MAKING CONNECTORS LIGHTER
Companies have to push the limits of technology to reduce vehicle emissions by reducing the use of heavy metals for connectors. The innovative solutions allow auto manufacturers save weight and save money while increasing capabilities. It's a simple formula: less is more.
• Press-Fit Technology: This solder-less technology increases the number of connections per connector while downsizing the packaging volume per connection. And it does so by using less heavy metals per connection point compared to standard high-temperature soldering
• AMP MCP 2.8mm Connectors: This connector system is able to decrease the number of contacts in each connection because every contact point offers higher current capability compared to standard contact points. All while reducing the use of materials like copper, nickel, silica, tin, silver or gold
• Aluminum Crimp Technology: TE is currently developing a new generation of wire-crimps to connect aluminium wires to standard and proven terminals inside vehicles. While traditional copper conductivity is higher, aluminium has a much lower density. TE aluminium crimp delivers equal current load performance—at half the weight of copper wire
INNOVATION 3: MAKING SYSTEMS MORE INTELLIGENT
Tougher emission standards have translated into more sophisticated engines and increasingly complex on-board controls and communications. This means vehicle systems require connections that are more intelligent than ever—without adding extra weight.
• Cylinder Head Wiring Solutions: As engine and valve controls become more critical to modern injection systems, innovations enable automakers to meet their regional emission requirements. The package solution includes design to testing to manufacturing, as well as after-service training to emerging markets with tightening standards. Plus the custom-designed cable channel accelerates engine set-up while lowering the risk of assembly errors
• J1939 Control and Communication Network (CAN): J1939 provides a common path for controllers, sensors and displays and provides instantaneous monitoring of diagnostic and control systems. This solution collects data to track service and maintenance while detecting potential problems before they happen. All of which reduces fleet fuel, decreases maintenance costs and improves safety
• Sensor Technology: New legal requirements for fuel and CO2 reduction require intelligent optimizations in the power train, engine management and brake systems. Companies like TE has developed customized sensor solutions for double clutch transmissions, exhaust gas recirculation valves, turbo charger actuators, recuperative brake systems, start stop applications and E-Motor commutation for hybrid and electric vehicles. With the enhanced sensor feedback signals, automakers can implement closed loop control into a system to reduce CO2 emissions. Plus, the innovative sensor assembly structures use limited heavy metals, connection interfaces with limited soldering and the latest green plastic materials
• Latching (Bistable) Relays: While conventional monostable relays consume a permanent current, latching (bistable) relays from companies like TE only require a very short current pulse to operate—dramatically decreasing power consumption and improving efficiency of the gasoline engine or electric battery. Less fuel and less current adds up to reduced CO2 emissions, lighter batteries and better mileage
• High Current Relay HCR 200: Start-stop applications are an increasingly effective way to reduce vehicle emissions. However, while CO2 is reduced by automatically stopping the engine at traffic lights, there are two inherent challenges: a high number of components involved and an even higher frequency of start-stops. The high current relay HCR 200 is specifically designed to meet these requirements—making it an excellent solution for reducing CO2 emissions
TURNING CONNECTIVITY INTO COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE:
By rethinking automotive connectivity from multiple perspectives, companies have to help auto manufacturers reduce CO2 emissions around the world. They are making components smaller, making connectors lighter, making systems more intelligent. This is how challenges are met. How emission goals are exceeded. And how automakers go green. Companies around the globe count on TE Connectivity to develop the innovative technologies, products and solutions that make safer, smarter and greener cars.
Sameer Pagnis is the Director-Automotive of TE Connectivity, India