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Old 26th February 2010, 21:49   #1
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Default Visit to the GM Technical Design Centre - Bangalore

To mark the launch for the Cruze Automatic, we were invited to the GM Powertrain Design Centre located in ITPL. This visit was conducted prior to the launch. Although things got late since the journalist's bus got stuck, us early birds managed to have a conversation with Dr Rohit Paranjape - Director, Powertrain Design. Once the remaining folks came, we were first treated to a presentation. Some points
  • Started in 2007 with 150 engineers, now staffed with 700 engineers
  • Centre covers over 200,000 square feet of space
  • Powertrain – denotes engine, transmission and associated control systems. This covers petrol, diesel, and electric powered vehicles.
  • Future concentration will be in greener technology – looking into Hybrids of various types. Low Hybrid – where the electric motor is less dominant and provides supplemental power like in the Honda Civic. Medium hybrid where both motors play a role – the Prius. Plug in where the electric motor charged by plugging into the grid - powers car and petrol engine merely charges battery and ancillaries when depleted.

    Why set up in India?
  • Advantage of talent and being located in an emerging market
  • Although the centre deals with all elements of powertrains, the prime centre of excellence is in automatic transmissions. Biggest auto transmission design centre outside the US. The centre has touched designs from the Spark manual transmission to the big truck autos.
  • Other GM design centres in North America, Brazil, Europe, Australia, China and Korea.
  • Important role of the centre are to prepare the cars to be released in India. The Tavera, spark LPG, Aveo CNG, Cruze and Electric Spark are all configured and validated t the centre. Real time product validation happens at Bosch and ARAI facilities- that accounts for the early sightings of earlier Chevy’s as also Skoda’s and VW’s in Bangalore
  • Centre also testing and localizing engines being produced at Talegaon
  • GM is a leader in Auto Transmissions since 1939. Automatics are smoother, reliable and durable (though not as fun!). GM automatics are also found in BMW’s, Ferrari’s, Rolls Royce, Jaguars and Volvo’s.
  • Although the talent was there, skills were limited. Engineers had never got their hands dirty so back to basics training was given.


We were then taken to the tear down room where engineers learn to strip and rebuild transmissions. Most engineers since at consoles and design virtually. Some pictures of these. Competitor transmissions are evaluated but in another facility.

As we walked in, we saw two engines mounted on rigs The work area was clean - not surgical but cleaner than a dhaba kitchen no doubt!

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There were no dismantled engines - I think that is somwwhere else the engines were used to illustrate how overall powertrains function. All around were plenty of tranmissions in various states of build. Enough to mindboggle your typical gearhead

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The 4wd drive hybrid transmission. Note the orange power cables. The tranmission houses two motors each weighing 35kg each. I wonder if added weight really reduces carbon footprint

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the Cruze 6 speed auto

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The rear wheel drive transmission - used in corvettes and similar
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The mother of transmissions used in trucks

Assortment of components

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Valve body which trasmits fluid as required. Watching one being made would be fascinating

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Planetary Gears
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We then moved to the Controls Design centre. No pictures were allowed but we were shown a virtual simulator rig where different parameters could be measured virtually at different speeds, /frankly, it looked like a videogame with no pictures and plenty of data. It can replicate to 95% accuracy.

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It was then over to the Powertrain facility but beyond virtual consoles, nothing could be seen except the data centre which we were not allowed to enter. All we saw was the mother of a 6.6 L V8 diesel. Wonder what Pete's box would do with that! Since we had to rush off for the press conference. This visit was cut short.




All in all, an interesting visit. It is now a bit like chip design, everything virtual until the final prototypes. I suppose that makes cars cheaper.

And then it was off to an audience with Mr Slym
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Last edited by ajmat : 26th February 2010 at 21:57.
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Old 27th February 2010, 00:52   #2
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A great post Ajmat, very intersting...
Good to see GM is very serious about the Indian market and is investing heavily in design and development. Indian has the engineering talent and good to see it being utilized and honed.
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Old 27th February 2010, 05:50   #3
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Quote:
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Attachment 296002

the Cruze 6 speed auto
The Cruze 6-speed auto looks more like a CVT to me. I could be wrong though.
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Old 27th February 2010, 07:55   #4
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Can somebody give me an exact location of this Place? If it is near ITPL, I would be doing a big injustice to myself by not going there.
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Old 27th February 2010, 09:15   #5
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It is in ITPL located in different floors but you cannot see anything except a few engines in reception. Security is tight
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Old 1st March 2010, 12:01   #6
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Neat report Ajmat.

Would have loved more pics of each item shown, from different angles etc. Have any?

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....The 4wd drive hybrid transmission. Note the orange power cables. The tranmission houses two motors each weighing 35kg each.
Any more pics of this in particular?
Hard to tell that there are two motors in there!! 35kgs each is hard to believe!

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Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
....The mother of transmissions used in trucks
BEAST!

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....Valve body which trasmits fluid as required. Watching one being made would be fascinating
Any idea if it is extruded? Cast? cut?
Is it one part or two fused together somehow?

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Old 1st March 2010, 12:37   #7
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Hey great report Ajmat! Never knew so much of work happens here in India. Did you get any info on the Spark hybrid? Was it designed in India along with Reva?
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Old 1st March 2010, 13:59   #8
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coincidentally yesterday night there was an episode in one of the channels talking about the GM Bangalore tech design centre. Dont recall which one though, but the episode also featured the VW golf and figo.
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Old 1st March 2010, 14:20   #9
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wow, this looks awesome, were you there for training/industrial visit?
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Old 1st March 2010, 14:51   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Hey great report Ajmat! Never knew so much of work happens here in India. Did you get any info on the Spark hybrid? Was it designed in India along with Reva?
It is designed in India. Maini is engineering and building the electrics . GM validate and design the control systems as well as transmission

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Any idea if it is extruded? Cast? cut?
Is it one part or two fused together somehow?

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The valve body is a machined item. It is a facinating piece. I kept looking at it for ages

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wow, this looks awesome, were you there for training/industrial visit?
This was a press visit. We were invited by GM
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Old 1st March 2010, 18:53   #11
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Quote:
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The 4wd drive hybrid transmission. Note the orange power cables. The tranmission houses two motors each weighing 35kg each. I wonder if added weight really reduces carbon footprint
FE ~goes up from 15 to 21 mpg on the full size pickup truck.

Plus, this thing is rated to tow almost 4 tons !!

Also stuff like Aluminum body panels offset the weight gain from Hybrid components.

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Did you get any info on the Spark hybrid? Was it designed in India along with Reva?
Jaggu, Spark is a full EV like the Reva.

Last edited by Mpower : 2nd March 2010 at 03:26.
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Old 3rd March 2010, 16:15   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPIKE ARRESTOR View Post
wow, this looks awesome, were you there for training/industrial visit?
Heres the "main" reason for this visit :
Cruze LTZ Automatic - Official Release (Cruze LTZ Automatic - Official Release + faux pas)

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The valve body is a machined item. It is a facinating piece. I kept looking at it for ages
Nice.

OT: That reminds me of this medical convention i went to. There was a system for machining Stents and all kinds of other tubing. Heres one of the samples that i managed to get :

Visit to the GM Technical Design Centre - Bangalore-img_3329.jpg

Thanks to the cut, the left side of it is flexible!

Also dont miss the "flames" on the RHS

cya
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