Home Interviews Talking to: Chris Dias

Talking to: Chris Dias

Talking to: Chris Dias

Managing Director, Emitec India

Emitec India, a subsidiary of Emitec GmbH, was set up at Pune in 1996 to produce a durable component out of a metal substrate for catalytic converters made from thin steel foils. Since then the India operations have been focused on developing products that can improve diesel technologies, emission control processes and the selective catalyst reduction (SCR) technology, which uses ammonia to directly reduce NOx. In this interview to HUNED CONTRACTOR, Chris Dias explains the technologies that help in reduce emissions.


What have been the product developments at Emitec India over the last one year?

There has been a substantial amount of activity based on: (a) The continuing need to challenge costs in a flat market, and (b) In preparation for the upcoming emission legislation which is of course still under discussion as part of the Auto Fuel Roadmap 2025. On the cost drive we are in the process of expanding the domestic product programmes to include localisation of production of metallic substrates in the diameter range of 70 mm and above to adequately cover the local demand for application in the LCV sector.

This would enable us to deliver substantial cost down benefits to the market, especially in view of the weak rupee scenario. We are also in preparation for incorporating our new ‘thin-walled’ system construction in the domestic market. As you may be aware, we have expanded our market presence into the area of SCR technology for passenger and commercial vehicles with the introduction of a range of highly integrated and cost-effective urea dosing pumps and modules.

Could you elaborate about the catalytic converter technology?

Lightweight catalytic converters with a jacket that is only 0.5 mm thick were first used in the Porsche Panamera and a number of Cayenne models. Rigidity increases if the thin jacket has a bionic structure that consists of many concave shapes. Significant weight reductions can be achieved by combining the structure with turbulence-generating PE profiles (PE = perforated). PE catalytic converters are also more powerful and less expensive.

This new type of lightweight catalytic converter is now being used for the first time in BMW’s new motorcycle R 1200 GS. Because of the motorcycle’s innovative cooling system, with a mixture of air and liquid cooling, and vertical cylinder flow, these lightweight catalytic converters have to perform reliably at all times under high thermodynamic conditions. BMW is going to fit its entire K50x series with this lightweight catalytic converter in future.

In contrast to conventional catalytic converters with their smooth shells, the jacket of the lightweight catalytic converter made by Emitec in Germany contains numerous concave structures, which has made it possible to reduce the thickness of the jacket from between 1 and 2 mm to just 0.5 mm. The vault structures ensure that this 0.5 mm thick jacket offers substantially higher resistance and durability under thermal shock loads. This is due to the smaller difference between the thermal capacities of the matrix and the jacket. The lightweight catalytic converters last almost twice as long, even
when subjected to high thermal shock loads.

Compared to smooth catalytic converter shells, a much smaller number of catalytic converter cells show signs of plastic deformations under thermal shock conditions. The lightweight catalytic converter beats all its predecessors, especially in the hot shake test with strong vibrations of up to 10 g (ten times the gravitational acceleration of the earth). 

Flat twin engines, like the one in the new BMW R 1200 GS motorcycle, that are not protected against environmental impacts, are generally subject to high thermal shock loads. Emitec will be presenting this new motorcycle at stand B32 in Hall 5.1 at the IAA 2013 in Frankfurt.

What about the SCR dosing modules?

Selective catalytic reduction has become the most popular solution whenever particularly harmful nitrogen oxides have to be drastically reduced, usually by over 90 per cent. Without SCR systems it would generally no longer be possible to meet strict current and, especially, future emission limits for diesel vehicles in Europe and the US. Emitec in Germany has been developing SCR systems that are particularly powerful and yet very compact for many years.

Since the takeover of NoNOx in 2010, Emitec has been able to supply the right SCR technology for any type of vehicle (cars, trucks and non-road) or application – from stationary machinery and power stations to locomotives and ships with engines that operate in the megawatt range. The range also includes dosing modules with flow rates up to 1,000 litres per hour. Both airless and air-assisted SCR modules are available.

The NoNOx division has by now been successfully integrated in the company. A new plant for the development and production of SCR systems was opened in France at the beginning of 2012. Emitec’s extremely compact Gen III and Gen IV dosing modules for SCR systems are welded or bolted directly to the inside of the AdBlue tank. This provides optimum protection against even the harshest and dirtiest environmental conditions, including ice and snow. Despite being integrated in the tank, every important component is easy to replace for servicing. The supply module contains a control unit (Gen III only) and fill level and quality sensors. With an installation size of only 0.7 litres the new generation is significantly smaller than other commercially available systems whose volume is usually well over 1 litre.

What are your growth plans for 2014?

As you are aware, we currently service and applicate a million two to three-wheelers per month with Emitec’s metallic substrates and we continue to ensure adequate manufacturing capacity to service the growing domestic demand including the projected 2020 demand estimated to be in excess of 30 million units annually.

Additionally, we continue to service the growing demands in China and ASEAN coming out of increasingly tighter emission legislation in these regions.

What are the challenges the present scenario has brought on?

The slowing down of the economy coupled with the weakening rupee has posed many a challenge for the automotive industry and the component industry sector that we are an integral part of.

While we could have all hoped for a continuation of the strong growth rates of the last couple of years, we have welcomed the challenges to streamline our Indian operations to build an increasing level of efficiencies and cost-consciousness while accelerating our efforts on localisation of technologies. These efforts have already started to bear fruits as we continue to improve both our market share with topline and bottomline growth.

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