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Woco and alternative drivetrain systems

Hybrid drivetrains, electric drivetrains, fuel cells, natural gas drivetrains – the progress made in these areas heralds foreseeable changes in drivetrain technologies used in vehicles. Will conventional gas or diesel combustion engines really be replaced so quickly? What will become of all the functional solutions for combustion engines conceived and realized to date? Are future, alternative drivetrains already of relevance given today’s new products?

These are just a few of the many questions we are dealing with, and have to deal with, today. With Woco’s expertise in acoustic, actuator, and polymer technologies, it is well placed to support these trends with innovative, cutting-edge solutions. Core mission statements such as "Woco develops and manufactures products that noticeably improve the acoustic comfort and safety of vehicles, and their use also results in a higher level of environmental protection due to a reduction in noise and consumption" and "Woco’s functional solutions allow for the use of different materials", indicate the long-term applicability of our expertise, and the flexibility needed to produce innovative, cutting-edge solutions. What are the alternative drivetrains, and with which product solutions are we already represented in this market?

Hybrid drivetrains: Hybrid drivetrains in vehicles operate with two or more different types of power source in the drivetrain. The combination of a combustion engine with an electric drivetrain is most well-known hybrid. There are currently a number of distinctive hybrid-drivetrain versions: micro-hybrid, mild-hybrid, and full-hybrid; vehicles fitted with the latter type are able to run solely on electricity over relatively long distances. Products such as acoustic or thermal encapsulation systems, valves for cooling systems, seals, gaskets, and decoupling devices have already been developed and are currently in use.

Natural gas drivetrains: Here the combustion engine operates with natural gas instead of gasoline or diesel. There are two different types of natural gas: liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) which is stored in its liquid state, and compressed natural gas (CNG), which is stored in its compressed, gaseous state. Woco provides this sector with technologies in the form of products such as special diaphragms for pressure regulation, seals, gaskets, decoupling devices and other technical components.

Fuel cell drivetrains: Fuel cell drivetrains are powered by an electric motor, where electrical energy is generated by the fuel cells using hydrogen or methanol as energy sources. Here, chemically bonded energy is converted into electrical energy with an efficiency of less than 60 percent. Since starting this development for passenger vehicles Woco has a broad range of components in its offering ‒ including the entire air supply system, partial exhaust system components, and complete exhaust systems.

Electric drivetrains: These are drivetrains with one or several power-controlled electric motors. The electrical energy from the batteries is converted directly, or via a transmission, into mechanical energy. Batteries are used for electric energy storage, storage, and among the different types, li-ion batteries are currently the most viable. For these types of drivetrains, Woco offers, among other things, water valves for cooling batteries, sealing systems for cable bushings, as well as acoustic dampers and damper systems. Not to mention solutions for the vehicle “sound design” – to ensure that the vehicle is audible when driving through a city, for instance.

Woco offers standard and innovative solutions for all alternative drivetrain technologies, and is capable of manufacturing these even using the latest production technologies.

Author: Dr. Anton Wolf