TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Denso International America Inc. will be one of the first parts suppliers in North America to add modularity to the engine.
The company plans to make integrated air-fuel modules, combining vehicle parts that allow fuel and air to flow to the engine compartment. Currently, no air-and-fuel modules are used on a production vehicle.
Denso has a contract with an unspecified U.S.-based automaker to make its first air-fuel module early in the next decade, said Sujit Jain, director of engine management systems for Denso, based in Southfield, Mich. Jain spoke on Monday, Aug. 2, at the annual Management Briefing Seminar held here by the University of Michigan's Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation.
The module would integrate the air intake manifold, the air induction system, fuel injectors, throttle body, wire harnesses and sensors into one unit, Jain said.
Denso currently makes most of those parts, except for the air intake manifold, he said. Denso will coordinate the activities of 15 outside suppliers. The program started in January 1998.
The modular piece will reduce weight from 28.6 pounds to 19.8 pounds for the total system and will simplify assembly by eliminating fasteners, Jain said.
The parts will be molded to the manifold body instead of connected mechanically, he said.
But Denso could have company in a rapidly expanding market. With modularity taking hold in other sections of the vehicle, the engine area is ripe for the trend, he said.
Among companies planning some form of an integrated air-fuel module are Siemens Automotive, Mann & Hummel GmbH and Dana Corp.