As China’s economy continues to grow at a brisk pace, the demand for heavy-duty trucks and off-road equipment has never been greater. In fact, while on-highway diesel engines are expected to growth at 2.4% on average each year from 2010 to 2015, the heavy-duty truck engines are expected to grow at 4% during the same time period. Within the on-highway heavy-duty engine segment, the 12L size enjoys an especially impressive growth rate – 30% on average each year between now and 2015. This means that by 2015, around 17% of all heavy-duty truck engines in China will be 12L ones compared to just 7% today.
Against this context, Honeywell’s capture of Weifang Diesel’s WP12 engine program in late 2009 not only bolds well for the company’s future in this growing engine segment, but also has demonstrated the company’s capability in fast product development for one of the top commercial vehicle engine makers in China.
According to Weifang Diesel’s official web site, the company’s engines that are 10L or above account for more than 80% of heavy-duty commercial vehicles (those above 15 tons) in China and more than 76% of engineering equipment. Today, the company is ranked No. 44 among China’s top 500 machinery enterprises.
“We feel very honored and privileged to be the turbo supplier for Weifang Diesel’s Nanqing engine series,” said Dinggui Gao, General Manager of Honeywell Turbo Technologies in China. “We are proud of the contribution we have made to this flagship engine line that represents the latest in heavy-duty diesel engines in China.”
The boosting solution Honeywell provided to Weifang Diesel is a GT42 turbo based on a proven wastegate technology but specially tailored to the engine requirements of WP12. “We started with using Honeywell’s proprietary simulation software to generate seven to eight hardware models,’ says Bo Zhu, Honeywell’s customer manager for Weifang Diesel. “And this quick prototyping process was combined with rapid testing on an engine that we borrowed from the customer.” And the result was the quick identification of a winning solution that met the aggressive customer requirements on fuel efficiency (a 5% improvement vs. previous generation), low-end torque and peak performance.
And the speed of getting all these done is commensurate with the speed characteristic of how rapidly things get done in China. The design freeze was achieved in 3 months compared to the normal 12 months. The time between customer approval and manufacturing was reduced from 6 months to 3. In addition to simulation, fast prototyping and on-site engine testing, close collaboration with Weifang Diesel engineers and concurrent development and qualifying of suppliers also contributed to the sharp reduction in time to market: from 24 months to 6 months.
“There is no doubt that our extremely fast response was a key factor in us being awarded by Weifang Diesel its prestigious WP12 engine program,” says Bo Zhu. “This has proved that we not only have the technology, but the drive and commitment to deliver value through rapid development, qualification and manufacturing.”