What we do
The transmissions system includes the gearbox (manual or automatic), the clutch (if applicable), the shifters\gearlever, the driveshafts, and on all wheel drive (AWD) vehicles, the additional components require to get drive to all four wheels. This could be a Power take off unit (PTU) or transfer case, any additional front\rear couplings, the propshaft and rear axle.
The transmission system interfaces with the driver in a number of ways:
- Directly, through driver interfaces like the clutch, gearchange or gear shifter and any AWD controls.
- Directly, through any noise, vibration or harshness (NVH) issues.
- Directly, through any quality issues such as breakage or malfunction.
- Indirectly, through its efficiency and ratio spread which impacts vehicle fuel economy and performance .
- Indirectly, through its torque-to-wheel management which impacts the vehicle capability, especially for AWD applications.
The SMTC Transmissions and Driveline engineering team's main responsibility is to engineer transmissions and systems to deliver these requirements. MG and Roewe vehicles are currently predominantly FWD using combination of manual and automatic transmissions and an AWD SUV (Roewe W5) has recently been launched in China. In the near future, Dual Clutch automatic transmissions (DCTs) will join the model ranges and more AWD vehicles are under development.
MG and Roewe transmission systems come from a variety of sources. Some are fully engineered and manufactured within the group, while some are supplied from within the group and partner engineered. Some transmission system are bought in as completely engineered units.
The role of the SMTC Global Transmissions Engineering team is to take transmissions from concept through to series production. Key steps in this process are:
- Benchmarking and generation of technology route maps to make sure the market needs are understood now and in the future, as transmissions tend to have a long shelf life.
- Target setting, covering all the transmission's objectives to satisfy customer, legislative, manufacturing and business requirements.
- Concept design proposals, perhaps for a new in-house produced transmission or the application of supplier engineered product into an MG or Roewe vehicle.
- Detailed design proposals.
- Generation of a Design Verification Plan (DVP) to ensure that the design proposal is fit for purpose. This will cover the steps of design analysis, component and system testing on rigs, in-vehicle and rig testing of engineering prototypes of complete transmissions and final testing and sign off of manufactured samples.
- Evolution of the design through development and testing of prototypes and manufacturing stages, progressing to a fully signed-off design.
- Support for any in-manufacturing or in-field problems after start of production.
This process is carefully managed by a ‘gateway’ methodology named GvDP to ensure the correct development stages are followed. The design of gear systems in particular is very dependant on the manufacturing techniques used in their production (shaping and heat treatment), so it is a particular requirement in the design process to work closely with the manufacturing teams to ensure the design and process are in harmony to deliver a quality product.