LONDON - Honeywell Transportation & Power Systems, the world's largest supplier of turbochargers, expects to benefit from a rapid rise in demand for turbos in Europe.
Honeywell's turbo production grew rapidly to reach 5.4 million in 1999. William Amelio, president and chief executive of the Honeywell unit, said he expects growth to continue in the next few years.
Honeywell, which acquired AlliedSignal Inc. last month, operates under the Garrett brand name in the turbocharger market.
Recent growth in sales has been driven by the increasing share of turbocharged diesels across Europe. Car applications were up 35 percent in 1999, and now account for half of Honeywell's turbo volume.
'There are two percentages working in our favor,' said Amelio, 'the growth of the diesel market in total, and the growth of TDI engines within that total.'
Amelio said there are at least two other major new markets opening up, including the growth of GDI (gasoline direct injection) engines.
'There is an interest to get turbochargers and new boosting devices on gasoline,' he said.
The other major potential is with diesels for sport-utilities in North America.
North America's domestic carmakers are worried about future corporate average fuel economy requirements, Amelio said. 'They want to make sure they are well ahead of the regulations.'
Honeywell is working on North American vehicle programs for launch in 2001.
Honeywell also sees prospects for its new integrated supercharger active throttle device, which Amelio said will change the economics of supercharging.
'With this supercharger you will actually get a fuel economy saving of 8-12 percent,' he said.
The global supercharger market is just a few hundred thousand units a year at present, but 'there is a huge market there for this device,' said Amelio. 'We have more interest than we know how to deal with.'
The first pre-production prototypes are expected during 2000. Volume production of engines fitted with the new device will begin in 2003.
Meanwhile, Honeywell has been cutting development times for turbochargers with web-based applications that allow the company to work more closely with customers.
For example, Amelio said that when designing a turbocharger the supplier must match the compressor-wheel, the size of the unit and the turbo flow, with the engine specification.
'That is a sophisticated procedure,' he said. 'By making that a web-based application we actually have our customers do the matching themselves to make the job of simulating turbocharging much easier.
'The development of an engine sometimes takes as long as three years. We believe we can take six or eight months out of the process because we can cut down a lot on the time it takes to simulate turbochargers.'
At the same time Honeywell has been cutting costs by outsourcing more turbo component production.
'We used to do machining of all of our compressor housing,' said Amelio. 'Today, almost all of that is done outside.'
The company is also shifting production to new locations.
'We are migrating a lot of our work to where it makes sense,' he said. 'We are moving to low cost regions such as China, Mexico and eastern Europe.'