The variety of transmissions available for sale today is continuing to grow exponentially within the last 15 years, all while increasing in complexity. The effect is certainly that we are now coping with a varied number of tranny types including manual, typical automatic, automatic manual, dual clutch, continually variable, split power and real EV.
Until very recently, automotive vehicle Driveline gearboxes manufacturers largely had two types of tranny to choose from: planetary automated with torque converter or conventional manual. Today, however, the volume of options avaiable demonstrates the adjustments seen over the industry.
That is also illustrated by the many different types of vehicles now being manufactured for the market. And not just conventional vehicles, but also all electrical and hybrid vehicles, with each type requiring different driveline architectures.
The traditional advancement process involved designing a transmission in isolation from the engine and the rest of the powertrain and vehicle. Nevertheless, that is changing, with the limitations and complications of this method becoming more more popular, and the continuous drive among manufacturers and designers to provide optimal efficiency at decreased weight and cost.
New powertrains feature close integration of elements like the primary mover, recovery systems and the gearbox, and in addition rely on highly sophisticated control systems. This is to ensure that the best amount of efficiency and functionality is delivered at all times. Manufacturers are under improved pressure to create powertrains that are brand new, different from and much better than the last version-a proposition that’s made more complex by the need to integrate brand components, differentiate within the market and do it all on a shorter timescale. Engineering teams are on deadline, and the advancement process must be more efficient and fast-paced than previously.
Until now, the use of computer-aided engineering (CAE) has been the most common way to build up drivelines. This process involves parts and subsystems designed in isolation by silos within the business that lean toward tested component-level analysis equipment. While these are highly advanced equipment that enable users to extract extremely reliable and accurate data, they remain presenting data that’s collected without concern of the whole system.
While this can produce components that all work nicely individually, putting them with each other without prior factor of the entire system can create designs that don’t work, leading to issues in the driveline that are difficult and expensive to correct.