During the past decade alone, the level of electronics and electronic systems used throughout a typical vehicle has significantly increased, with electronics now accounting for 30 per cent of a vehicle’s total production cost.
Therefore, workshops are now faced with the challenge of servicing vehicles fitted with everything from start/stop technology to Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) and even the prospect of maintaining an electric vehicle, which all has an enormous impact on the aftermarket, especially as many of these new components, such as sensors, are intrinsically integrated into the vehicle’s engine management system. Fortunately for technicians, Hella has been at the forefront of sensor technology development and this position is reflected with its extensive range of original equipment (OE) products that include intelligent battery sensors (IBS), vacuum pumps, accelerator pedal sensors, oil level sensors, air quality sensors, knock sensors and map controlled sensors.
Hella is a leading innovator in intelligent battery sensor (IBS) technology, with its products being used by a number of vehicle manufacturers worldwide. Therefore, its new aftermarket range conforms to exacting OE specifications and is adapted to suit individual applications. The IBS assumes a key role in successful energy management: it measures the current, voltage and temperature directly at the battery. By producing data on the state of charge, state of health and state of function, the IBS enables the engine to reduce CO2 emissions. In addition, the sensor can help reduce the risk of a breakdown caused by a weak battery. Offering flexibility for different cable variants and integration solutions, it is compact and currently supports a number of BMW, Ford and Vauxhall applications, making it a cost effective option.
Traditionally, the vacuum required to operate most power-assisted braking systems was generated through the engine’s air intake. However, with the surge in new engine design, such as that used for hybrid vehicles and so called ‘down-size’ engines, the vacuum produced by the engine has become insufficient and electric vacuum pumps have been introduced to ensure the reliable operation of power-assisted brakes. Hella’s electronic range includes 13 variants of vacuum pump with further growth planned, from compact to high performance pumps, providing a suitable solution for every application. These pumps offer a reduction in energy consumption, due to their on-demand pump, so reducing CO2emissions. In addition, they are maintenance-free, as they are dry running and self-lubricating, which means there is no requirement for their connection to the oil circuit.
In modern vehicles, the accelerator pedal is generally no longer connected mechanically by a cable or throttle linkage; instead a sensor measures the position of the pedal and transfers this data to the electronic control unit (ECU) so that the throttle is adjusted accordingly. Advantages of sensor technology include smooth and precise activation, which contributes to reduced CO2 emissions, and, in concert with the ECU, a reduction of wear on the clutch and drivetrain. As a consequence of the company’s OE work, Hella is a market leader in this area and its range is expanding rapidly, covering a variety of applications, including BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Vauxhall and VW amongst others.
Oil level sensors are used to determine whether the engine has the correct amount of oil, under all operating conditions. These sensors are able to continuously assess the level of the oil while the vehicle is being driven, which is significantly lower when the engine is running compared to standstill mode, and therefore gives the driver ample warning of any risk to the engine. Moreover, the information they send to the ECU provides accurate temperature measurement, which helps to reduce fuel consumption.
The Hella sensor range includes: air-mass, crankshaft, temperature, camshaft, wheel speed, lambda, throttle position and exhaust emission pressure sensors. This extensive range further demonstrates Hella’s vast capability and expertise in the field of vehicle electronics.