Interview with Ben DeLand, GKN Automotive

Interview with Ben DeLand, GKN Automotive

Ben DeLand is Director of Electrical {Hardware} Engineering at GKN Automotive. Based mostly in Auburn Hills, he leads the event of Traction Inverters and Digital Management Models for GKN’s eDrive and All-Wheel Drive programs. Ben joined the enterprise in 2015, holding quite a lot of engineering roles centered on constructing GKN Automotive’s electronics capabilities.

The EV Report not too long ago had the chance to attach with Ben and be taught extra about GKN Automotive and the function it performs within the EV market.

Who’s GKN Automotive?

GKN Automotive is the worldwide chief in drive programs, with over 80 million driveshafts delivered yearly (ICE, hybrid, & EV) and over 2 million eDrive programs delivered to this point which are propelling electrical and hybrid automobiles. We’re skilled system growth and system integration companions for our prospects, providing an agile and customer-focused growth course of.

Interview with Ben DeLand, GKN Automotive

Give us a fast background on GKN Automotive. How did GKN construct itself into its present place as a number one drive system provider?

GKN Automotive has a wealthy and intensive heritage, with the corporate’s origin reaching again to iron manufacturing in the course of the 18th century. Within the Nineteen Fifties, GKN utilized its substantial expertise and scale with metal manufacturing to enter the automotive trade.

Driveshafts (Torque Switch)

After coming into auto, GKN Automotive shortly turned driveshaft innovators and remodeled the trade with its Fixed Velocity Joint (CVJ) know-how. Within the driveshaft market, GKN has been completely dominant for greater than half a century, having fun with >40% of the market share.

AWD Methods (Torque Administration)

The intensive expertise with Driveshafts (Torque Switch) gave us the chance to step into Torque Administration alternatives. By pure development and the acquisition of Getrag’s Driveline enterprise, GKN Automotive turned a number one AWD provider. This set the inspiration for us to be eDrive leaders.

How has being a pacesetter in AWD programs helped GKN Automotive within the innovation of eDrive know-how?

The event of AWD programs supplied the inspiration for eDrive system growth (Torque Technology).

  • With AWD, we constructed our expertise in gearsets and actuators, which immediately interprets to eDrive gearbox growth.
  • AWD allowed us to develop complicated electronics and software program programs with state-of-the-art security and cyber security measures. This ready us for the justifiably rigorous security requirements of eDrive programs
  • AWD allowed us to be system integrators. It pressured an understanding of auto integration and the complexities of harmonizing your system with the automobile. As drivers demand as little vibration, noise, and harshness from their automobile, this can be a essential ability, which few suppliers have.

How a lot AWD know-how carries over to eDrive know-how?

A stunning quantity! First, eDrive programs include the Torque Administration gadgets that had been beforehand supplied by separate AWD Methods. Differential programs and disconnect gadgets might be utilized on to eDrive programs with little modification. Moreover, bearings programs, respiration programs, and lubrication programs are extraordinarily related between AWD and eDrive. The electronics used on AWD present the foundational elements of the controller in an eDrive system.

GKN eDrive

What programs are distinctive to eDrive programs and electrification?

Apart from some minor gear uniqueness, the plain new system is the traction motor. Whereas GKN Automotive’s AWD expertise supplied expertise with low-voltage motors, the traction motor is a high-voltage, high-power machine that’s liable for the torque era that propels the automobile. Our engineering staff in Zumaia, Spain has been innovating, nevertheless, for a few years with a number of traction motors in manufacturing. So whereas completely different than AWD, now we have substantial expertise with traction motors and have made cutting-edge designs with superior cooling options.

How does GKN Automotive help the electrical automobile trade? or What function does GKN Automotive play within the EV market as we speak?

GKN Automotive was an early adopter in eDrive programs for hybrid automobiles and early EVs, supplying electrical drive programs for over 20 years. We provide a excessive degree of product flexibility for our prospects. The complexity ranges from offering full eDrive programs (motor + inverter + gearbox) with automobile integration help all the way down to offering particular person parts that our prospects can combine into their very own programs. For instance, GKN has a robust popularity for gearbox design & manufacturing. Lots of our prospects want to have eDrive system possession – they might design & manufacture the motor & inverter however ask GKN to design the gearbox.

GKN Automotive can also be the main sideshaft provider for EVs, which have some key variations from combustion engine facet shafts.

What has been the most important problem in transitioning your know-how to electrification?

The tempo of transition to electrification out there has been thrilling the previous couple of years. We might contemplate a few tendencies:

The shopper demand for pace, acceleration and excessive torques has so far been insatiable.

This race for energy locations distinctive technical calls for on the eDrive programs GKN Automotive provides. The objective is to squeeze each attainable ounce of energy out of the unit, and this has pushed our know-how towards superior cooling mechanisms and complex controls strategies.

Vary nervousness for customers is a continued barrier for mass adoption of EVs

Our prospects constantly demand greater and better effectivity ranges from the eDrive system to get the longest attainable vary out of their batteries. Reaching these effectivity requirements has pushed our engineers to innovate and problem the established order of our mature programs. Effectivity is a big focus space for GKN Automotive and one which our engineers are excited to be creating. Reaching excessive ranges of effectivity not solely serves our buyer wants, but additionally helps us obtain our mission of making a extra sustainable world.

To be taught extra about GKN Automotive, go HERE.