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 result is usually that we are actually dealing with a varied quantity of tranny types including manual, standard automatic, automated manual, dual clutch, continuously variable, split power and pure EV.
Until very recently, automotive vehicle producers Driveline gearboxes largely had two types of transmitting to pick from: planetary automated with torque converter or conventional manual. Today, nevertheless, the volume of options avaiable demonstrates the changes seen across the industry.
That is also illustrated by the countless various kinds of vehicles now being produced for the marketplace. And not only conventional automobiles, but also all electric and hybrid vehicles, with each type needing different driveline architectures.
The traditional advancement process involved designing a transmission in isolation from the engine and all of those other powertrain and vehicle. However, this is changing, with the restrictions and complications of this method becoming more widely recognized, and the constant drive among manufacturers and designers to deliver optimal efficiency at reduced weight and cost.
New powertrains feature close integration of components like the prime mover, recovery systems and the gearbox, and also rely on highly sophisticated control systems. That is to make sure that the very best amount of efficiency and overall performance is delivered all the time. Manufacturers are under increased pressure to create powertrains that are completely new, different from and better than the last version-a proposition that’s made more technical by the need to integrate brand elements, differentiate within the market and do everything on a shorter timescale. Engineering teams are on deadline, and the advancement process needs to be better and fast-paced than previously.
Until now, the use of computer-aided engineering (CAE) has been the most common way to develop drivelines. This process involves elements and subsystems designed in isolation by silos within the business that lean toward proven component-level analysis tools. While these are highly advanced equipment that allow users to extract very dependable and accurate data, they are still presenting data that’s collected without account of the whole system.
While this can produce components that all work nicely individually, putting them collectively without prior account of the entire program can create designs that don’t work, resulting in issues in the driveline that are difficult and expensive to correct.