An R&D company invented a new engine capable of both generating and storing energy. The company was looking to prove the technology, enhance their intellectual property and then license the concept to a major engine OEM based on JVS Engineering as the supplier.
JVS Engineering was brought in as a partner for its manufacturing capabilities and expertise in Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) systems. As there was no technology available to meet the high speed and precision requirements, the team set out to invent a new solution capable of achieving the demanding actuation speed targets while ensuring manufacturability.
There were three main areas for the teams to tackle: developing the technology, rapid prototyping and identifying IP. The collaboration included a technical research consultant in Europe and Texas, which required weekly web conferences to brainstorm solutions, share knowledge and track project progress.
The current design was a fixed timing solution that limited the potential fuel economy benefits. The engine was in its earliest stages of development, allowing flexibility in the VVA concept, design, and packaging in the cylinder head; and ensuring that the VVA system integration was feasible was a critical deliverable for the project. The technical requirements for high operating speed, aggressive valve lift profile, and valve timing accuracy exceeded the capabilities of current VVA technology at JVS and in the industry.
The open communication within the team enabled the sharing of knowledge from diverse experiences in hydraulics, electronics, and valvetrains together with a belief that a solution capable of meeting the extreme technical requirements.
The concept selection was a systematic approach, through the use of brainstorming and Pugh analysis. A quantitative method of rating alternative concepts was developed with criteria such as effective mass and effective stiffness. The ranking and weighting of concepts was done by a cross-function group including the customer, technical research consultant, development engineering, and advanced manufacturing. Detailed simulations, including hydraulic analysis, FEA, kinematic motion and CFD, were completed on several of the designs in order to establish the leading concept. Certain aspects of concept functionality were confirmed through rig tests. These tests uncovered lessons that were applied to the final design.
A lost motion VVA system based on a mechanical load path was selected to achieve the high speed and precision of valve motion demanded by the application. The lost motion system provided the flexibility of motion to optimize the fuel economy benefit from the novel engine while achieving excellent control of valve seating under all operating conditions.
In tandem with the design process, a continuous review of the concept was performed to identify potential IP for protection. Delivery of a fully functional prototype system, with the support of JVS Engineering manufacturing capability allowed the client to sell a product, not just an idea. The team applied for several patents and began the licensing process.
The collaborative effort of JVS Engineering and their partners resulted in a VVA system that far exceeded the capabilities of existing VVA systems. The client has seen 20 percent fuel economy improvement with a solution designed for high-volume production. The client has expanded its IP portfolio enabling the generation of additional opportunities and value of the company.