An air-conditioned room, employees in white coats, and a quiet humming sound. Is that the image of an engine production bay? Sounds more like a dental surgery. Yet this large, sterile room is the manufacturing facility at the mtu Electronics Center. Low clicking and clunking noises are coming from a large white robot. A pick-and-place machine puts miniature components weighing just 5 mg, such as capacitors, resistors and diodes, onto a printed circuit board with millimeter precision. Depending on the electronic assembly in question, between 1,500 and 2,000 parts are placed via large rolls onto the PCB, where they are soldered into place. Connections are made.
They are connections without which the vehicles would not be able to move
independently, yet which are invisible to the train driver, haul truck driver or ship’s
captain. And they’re not the only ones. The locomotive builder, haul truck maker and shipbuilder also benefit from the many thousands of connections which mtu supplies between engine and vehicle or vessel. “Without wishing to sound arrogant, no other manufacturer makes it as easy for vehicle manufacturers to install their engines into vehicles and vessels,” said Martin Gohlke, who runs Automation Systems Development at mtu. “We are not just an engine maker, we’re a manufacturer of entire drive and propulsion systems,” he added. And these systems consist of an engine and the associated automation system.
One simple movement – complex connections
Here’s an example: A train driver wishes his train to accelerate. In the cab, he uses
the control lever on the driver’s console to send a signal via the vehicle control system and the mtu
interface to the mtu
automation system, which receives the message, processes it and forwards it to the engine governor, which in turn passes it to the engine. That’s quite a few connections already, but there are more. Within the engine, a further complex process is set in motion: Higher speed means that more fuel and more air have to arrive in the cylinder simultaneously. At the same time, the fuel pressure has to rise to ensure the fuel atomizes better.