The variety of transmissions available in the market today is continuing to grow exponentially within the last 15 years, all while increasing in complexity. The effect can be that we are actually dealing with a varied amount of transmitting types including manual, typical automatic, automated manual, dual clutch, continuously adjustable, split power and 100 % pure EV.
Until very recently, automotive vehicle manufacturers largely had two types of transmission to select from: planetary automated with torque converter or conventional manual. Today, however, the volume of choices available demonstrates the changes seen across the industry.
This is also illustrated by the many different types of vehicles now being produced for the market. And not simply conventional vehicles, but also all electrical and hybrid automobiles, with each type needing different driveline architectures.
The traditional Driveline gearboxes advancement process involved designing a transmission in isolation from the engine and the rest of the powertrain and vehicle. However, this is changing, with the limitations and complications of the method becoming more more popular, and the continuous drive among producers and designers to deliver optimal efficiency at decreased weight and cost.
New powertrains feature close integration of elements like the prime mover, recovery systems and the gearbox, and in addition rely on highly advanced control systems. That is to guarantee that the best amount of efficiency and performance is delivered at all times. 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 elements, differentiate within the market and do it all on a shorter timescale. Engineering teams are on deadline, and the development process needs to be more efficient and fast-paced than previously.
Until now, the usage of computer-aided engineering (CAE) has been the most common way to build up drivelines. This technique involves components and subsystems designed in isolation by silos within the business that lean toward tested component-level analysis tools. While they are highly advanced tools that allow users to extract extremely reliable and accurate data, they are still presenting data that is collected without consideration of the whole system.
While this can produce components that all work very well individually, putting them together without prior thought of the entire system can create designs that don’t work, leading to issues in the driveline that are difficult and expensive to improve.