September 27, 2006 Antonov chief executive John Moore delivered a paper outlining the development of the world’s first two-speed supercharger drive at the Global Powertrain Congress last week. The paper outlined the technical and commercial development of the variable drive supercharger - a highly compact and efficient automatic shifting mechanical transmission system. The world’s first compact two-speed automatic drive system for centrifugal superchargers was developed by Antonov for sale initially to the US tuner market. Its introduction is well-timed when major vehicle manufacturers are considering engine downsizing for greater efficiency, lower fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions.
Smaller displacement engines benefit from forced induction to maintain their low end torque and driveability, which leads to supercharging which, in turn, can benefit from a variable drive to better match the characteristics of the supercharger to the engine.
Moore’s presentation explained the characteristics of this first application of the Antonov Mechanical Module (AMM), which is derived from Roumen Antonov’s original concept for a lower cost and more efficient mechanical automatic transmission. The paper described the operating principles of the base technology, the design development process for a supercharger variable drive application, and the effect of the system on the performance of the vehicles to which it has been fitted. Moore also discussed the issues of balancing investment against the piece cost of components for initial low volume production.
“By driving the supercharger faster at low engine speeds, higher boost ratio can be obtained to provide additional low speed engine torque,” Moore told delegates. “As engine speed rises the unit automatically changes up to enable the supercharger to continue to operate effectively at higher engine speeds. The ability of the mechanism to operate as a passive device without the need for additional external control or hydraulics offers low cost, high efficiency and simplicity of application.”
Many industry pundits consider the trend to smaller engines unavoidable in pursuit of improved powertrain efficiency and the ultimate market potential of forced induction systems could be a significant share of the 100 million engines per annum forecast to meet the needs of annual global vehicle production over the next 10 to 20 years.
A published copy of the Antonov paper and other conference proceedings is available from the International Council for Powertrain Engineering and Management (ICPEM), a non-profit organisation.