Learning is a continuous process which is possible at MANN+HUMMEL thanks to the high level of technologies available and the strong partnership developed with different laboratories with open innovation. I joined MANN+HUMMEL as an Acoustic Engineer in 2007, and then moved to the CI (Innovation and Corporate Strategy) group as an Innovation Project Manager in the field of engines and thermodynamics with the plan to both discover and learn. It has been a good opportunity to increase my knowledge regarding the engine and mix it with my experience in acoustics. Actually, we can do quite a lot with pressure waves to improve engine efficiency. I wanted to go further with regards to engine topics and the opportunity of obtaining a PhD presented itself. I decided to take it because of the technical challenge, but also because of the chance to stay for 1.5 years in Germany between the FKFS (Research Institute for Automotive Engineering and Automotive in Stuttgart, Germany) and MANN+HUMMMEL Ludwigsburg and learn more about the German way of life.

This PhD is not only a good opportunity for me to improve my knowledge and increase my education, but it is also meaningful for MANN+HUMMEL as it aims to develop a better understanding and competences on the complete engine system, from the intake system, well-known within MANN+HUMMEL, to the combustion and the exhaust system where we are not absolute specialists.

The PhD title is “Benefit of air intake optimization for new turbocharged gasoline engine”. The first objective is to be able to understand the impacts of each change in air intake on the complete engine system. The second main objective is to propose and validate new solutions on the intake system to enhance performance and to reduce pollutants emission, fuel consumption and CO2.

The outcomes of the PhD will help to select the right technologies to bring to the market and will provide the proof of value to convince our customers.

As an air intake system supplier, why does MANN+HUMMEL need an overview on the complete engine?

In the last decades, a lot of new technologies have been proposed to improve fuel economy and it is currently difficult to achieve definitive steps in the right direction. Nevertheless, due to pressure from new regulations, there is a need to find ways to lower CO2 emission or reduce NOx and every change can help. On the other hand, as it is difficult to find cost efficient solutions which are providing a 10% enhancement, it is necessary to ensure that even smaller gains we are providing do not result in a loss on another side. For example, bringing EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) in a gasoline engine helps to reduce thermal lost in the engine, but it also has the drawback on the combustion making it slower and less efficient. Knowing all side effects of a technology is the key point to convincing our customers to go further with us into development.

The PhD is taking place for MANN+HUMMEL in the advanced development group, which aims to develop new products and innovative technologies which can be used in the coming years to maintain the turnover and profitability of the company. One of our challenges is to select the right idea which can meet the trend and be converted in an innovation. As Charles Vaillant, Group Vice President Technology, says “an innovation is an idea you bring in the market”.

Why are we collaborating with FKFS?

It was decided to collaborate with the FKFS because of their strong knowledge regarding combustion, as they are developing their own modelling code to simulate it. As they are working with German car manufacturers, it also brings about a good chance to challenge our ideas. At the same time, l’Ecole Centrale de Nantes can bring a strong knowledge of gas dynamics, as well as access to dedicated test facilities such as an engine test bench or a vehicle test bench. Finally, the complementarity between those institutes should benefit MANN+HUMMEL.

I will be happy to exchange with those of you interested in more Details.