The idea of common parts that fit perfectly in different installation spaces and engines sounds like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. Nevertheless, the new air intake system from MANN+HUMMEL for the global compact car platform of an US-American car manufacturer does just that.

Car producers seeking to remain competitive have to exploit all possible potential for cost-efficient production processes. In this process establishing common parts is ideal as they enable components to be used in as many different models as possible without the need to make modifications or completely new parts. The obvious advantage is achieving higher volumes due to fewer variants and thus reducing costs. Apart from that, common parts promote lean production. Fewer variants also save warehousing space and this in turn reduces the logistics costs. However, while a common parts strategy offers manufacturers many advantages, the supplier on the other hand has to master complex technical challenges during the development process.

This was also the case for a project which once again demonstrates the excellent working relationship between MANN+HUMMEL and its customers. The US-American manufacturer required an air intake system for its global compact car platform where the use of five different engine variants resulted in challenging installation spaces. MANN+HUMMEL therefore developed an air intake system based on a modular design using common parts which can find application in all the models. The development process and series approval for common parts used in models for a complete platform is considerably more complex than for a design used in a single product. This is because when a component is modified, the functionality of the component has to be verified for each model variant.

In the project, the filtration experts at MANN+HUMMEL developed an air intake system which delivered excellent performance in all of the variants, whereby each of the individual components were developed through intense innovation and ingenuity. An example here is the new MICROGRADE A-C-G3.1 F1 filter media which achieves an impressively high dust loading capacity at the required filtration efficiency.

Variants – but not too many

Obviously with five different engine variants it is not possible to design the complete air intake system only using common parts. Nevertheless, MANN+HUMMEL succeeded in keeping the number of variants down to a minimum. For example, a blow molded section is used for the clean air duct in two engine variants and the dirty air duct integrated in the front end is even used in all five variants.

Components like these show why a long-standing partnership proves itself. The ingenious modular system allows the common parts to fit perfectly in the installation spaces of the customer platform. As a result, all five engine variants are perfectly supplied with clean air.