Nanofibers for cabin filters
Automotive Industries spoke to Claude Mathieu, President and CEO of Mann&Hummel’s North American operations.
Filtration specialist Mann&Hummel, with 10,500 employees across 41 countries, is producing a new generation of cabin filter material which has a high proportion of nanofibers, retaining the finest particles.
The company develops complex automotive components such as air filter systems, intake manifold systems, liquid filter systems and cabin filters for the automotive industry, and filter elements for vehicle servicing and repair.
Automotive Industries (AI) spoke to Claude Mathieu (CM), president and CEO of Mann&Hummel’s North American operations.
AI: What are some of your company’s new technologies that are aimed at improving the environment-friendliness of automobiles?
CM: Mann&Hummel has always been very ‘green’ regarding product development. Our products help reduce the environmental impact of our customer’s vehicles, such as Hydrocarbon Adsorption elements for PZEV vehicles to reduce lifetime evaporative emissions, Diesel Particulate Filters to separate particulates out of diesel exhaust, and general reduction of the total vehicle CO2 emissions by weight reduction through integration and replacement of metal components with plastic. Other products are oriented to reduce their impact on the environment directly. Mann&Hummel is also involved in several global activities to establish environmentally friendly production processes in our manufacturing locations worldwide, covering critical issues such as saving energy, reducing scrap, and proper waste disposal.
AI: What does Mann&Hummel have on quality?
CM: Mann&Hummel USA is pursuing a Zero Defect Philosophy. We are working to instill the behaviors in the work force to drive continual improvement and defect prevention and to stop defects early in the process, implementing corrective and preventative actions. Quality checks are done by the operators producing the parts to strengthen their knowledge of the products and to ensure that quality is maintained throughout the process. Mann&Hummel has been working with Japanese customers and suppliers to build relationships that foster quality from the development process to the manufacturing of the products. Mann&Hummel has successfully launched products with one of the top two Asian car manufacturers and received high praise for the quality of the parts.
AI: How does Mann&Hummel view emerging markets? Are the kinds of technologies different or do these markets require the same kinds of products as developed markets?
CM: Mann&Hummel’s extensive presence in emerging markets includes two locations in China, an established plant in Mexico, a new plant in India, and the recent founding of Mann&Hummel Russia. The overall technology that is utilized in these markets is no different than that which is employed in established markets. However, the individual vehicle product offerings do vary by market regarding size, engine displacement, and emissions regulations. As these markets are very dynamic and growing at an accelerating rate, the comparative gap to these differences is closing fast. Our global presence allows us to support our broad customer base effectively in these growing markets.
AI: Tell us about Mann&Hummel’s vision for tomorrow’s cars, coaches and trucks.
CM: Mann&Hummel’s vision is to continue to develop innovative progressive technology in keeping pace with the accelerating technical advancements in the automotive and transportation industry. We are currently involved in and prepared to support technology advancements in alternative fuels and alternative powertrain/transmission systems. Our expertise in the integration of functions helps to reduce overall weight and cost, as well as space. This is critical for all technologies, but specifically for developments in gasoline and diesel hybrid drive systems. The development of high efficiency fuel filtration systems for alternative fuels in gasoline and diesel engines also requires expertise in understanding the impact of these often corrosive fuel sources, as well as their specific filtration performance needs. The focus on a ‘green’ philosophy is pervasive in the end environmental benefits of most of our products. We are also actively developing media technology to support the specific filtration requirements needed for fuel cell technology.