MAHLE Electronics—the key to integrated systems solutions

Electric components account for a growing range of tasks in combustion engine drives. They operate separately from the combustion engine, off-load it, and significantly increase the drive’s efficiency throughout the system.

The first step in electrification is to replace hydraulic and pneumatic actuators with electric actuators. Because they allow faster, more precise control, electric actuators improve combustion, for example, thus reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

In a second step, MAHLE makes the engine accessories “intelligent”: Equipped with an electric motor, engine accessories can run independently of the engine speed and pressure. They can therefore be designed purely based on specific requirements and with extreme precision. They also support stop-start functions in the combustion engine and can be powered by the energy recuperated during braking phases.

Control and power electronics from MAHLE

HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) are responsible for heating, ventilating, and air conditioning the vehicle and provide comfortable cabin temperatures in the summer heat and winter cold. In addition to comfort, they also improve passive safety, because driver performance lasts longer with their help, and they keep the windshield free of ice and fog in the wintertime. In the field of power electronic components for HVAC systems, MAHLE provides PTC auxiliary heaters and associated control electronics for both combustion and electric vehicles. They heat up the cabin air to the desired temperature very quickly and require very little energy. Regulators from MAHLE for fan motors in the HVAC system set the fan speed very precisely to meet the requirements of the air conditioning system. They also protect the system from damage due to overheating, for example.

Just a few years ago, vehicle engine cooling was relatively simple in design and its primary task was to protect the engine block against overheating. With requirements for fuel consumption, emissions, and passenger comfort, as well as increasing electrification of the powertrain, cooling of the powertrain has transformed more and more into complex thermal management. Precise control of the cooling air flows in the cooling circuit is increasing in significance. High-performance control units from MAHLE for fan motors allow switching of cooling air flows to meet demand, enable rapid engine warm-up, reduce consumption and CO2 emissions, and prevent overheating of the cooling system.

Today’s exhaust gas aftertreatment systems are an important part of the overall engine system for further reducing pollutant emissions. In order to reach the operating temperatures necessary for cleaning diesel particulate filters even in short-range operations, MAHLE is developing control units that handle the temperature management of the system. They do this, for example, by briefly raising engine output at idle so that more hot exhaust gases reach the filter, by injecting chemical substances to promote particle burn-off, or by increasing the temperature in the exhaust gas tract by injecting fuel or with electrical heaters in the exhaust gas system. addition to electric controls, MAHLE also supplies the sensor elements needed for particulate filter management.

Glow controllers from MAHLE support the starting process in diesel engines at cold temperatures. They enable better combustion of the diesel fuel mixture, thus reducing emissions. The controllers are designed for glow plugs with a voltage of 4.4 volts, which reach their full glow temperature very quickly. The systems from MAHLE can actuate up to four glow plugs—both metal and ceramic—independently of each other. A protection system shields the individual channels and ensures robust and reliable protection against short circuits and overheating. Glow controllers from MAHLE are designed for operating voltages from 6 to 16 volts. A wider temperature range from –40°C to +90°C allows them to be positioned flexibly in the engine compartment.

Horns are legally mandated for cars and increase safety in street traffic, because the driver can warn other vehicle operators acoustically in case of danger. MAHLE supplies both electronic horns and the associated control electronics. Due to their robust construction, the service life has been increased by a factor of 20 in comparison with conventional concepts.

Sensors capture important measurement parameters in the vehicle and pass them along to the controlling devices. This makes them an important part of today’s vehicle electronics. The MAHLE product range includes temperature sensors, thick-film resistors for tank level indicators, steering angle sensors, and encoders—for example for electric window lifts.