Electronic assistants are essential for modern vehicles in particular: The number of electronic components and systems is steadily increasing, as the communication between the individual components and systems grows more complex.
As a result of the three megatrends of automated driving, energy efficiency and vehicle digitisation, the number of assistance systems, comfort packages and electronic systems in the drivetrain and exhaust gas system is climbing steadily, which has also impelled an increase in the number of sensors and control units. All these vehicle components need to be able to communicate seamlessly with each other to ensure efficient vehicle function.
These electronic parts already generate enormous amounts of data, all of which have to be correctly processed. As development of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) progresses at a rapid pace, the amount of data has to increase to keep up.
Dominik Overmann, head of the electronics product team at Meyle, provides insights from the Hamburg-based manufacturer’s development team.
The market for electronic parts is growing. In what ways can that be felt at Meyle? And what does your answer to the growing demand look like?
Dominik Overmann: “Electronic parts have long ensured functional safety for vehicles. The trend of electronic systems making drive systems more efficient isn’t new either, but continues steadily in the name of sustainable mobility. The number of assistance and safety systems has also been growing at a rapid pace for some years now. From 2022, 30 additional assistance systems will be required by law in all new vehicles registered in the EU, which will further increase the amount of electronic components in vehicles.
“That’s why we at Meyle have been systematically and continuously expanding our electronics portfolio for several years. We’ve managed to launch around 1,600 new electronic parts in recent years and will accelerate our efforts, with plans to nearly double our portfolio this year. Generally speaking, development, customer enquiries and market developments tend to merge together at Meyle, allowing us to offer wholesalers, workshops and drivers an adequate product portfolio that fit our premium quality standards.”
In addition to an extensive product portfolio, the ability to identify the right parts is also important for workshops. How exactly does this apply to electronic parts?
Overmann: “First of all, electronic components need to fit physically like all other spare parts. In concrete terms: You need to have the right connector and cable length. To ensure seamless function, the sensor signals, resistors, voltage and current consumption also need to correspond to the specifications in question. Installing the wrong parts may lead to malfunctions that could possibly damage the vehicle, resulting in longer and repeat visits to the workshop.”
What solutions does Meyle offer to improve product and application data and thus ensure that the wrong parts aren’t even installed?
Overmann: “Our engineers and application data managers work hand in hand even in the development stage for new products. For example, if two sensors are identical in terms of their specifications and only differ in the colour of the connector, we will combine them. This knowledge will require extensive testing and close collaboration in a team. Additional parameters that need to be taken into account particularly when it comes to electronic components are the replacement of original part numbers and disassociation of engine codes. The right parts need to be installed to ensure seamless communication between various components at all times. The result is well-functioning vehicles over the long term and satisfied customers.”
Meyle promises ‘better data’ for workshops. What exactly does that mean? How does Meyle ensure that the quality of the product data is as high as possible?
Overmann: “Some time ago, we at Meyle made the decision that product management, engineers and application data managers need to work together as a team in order to guarantee high product quality as well as application data of the highest quality possible for our electronic components. We also developed systems that enable system-supported product data management, with the aim of promoting clear and complete allocation of the right electronic component to the matching vehicle. The supersession chains of the original part numbers are thus routinely assessed in order to identify potential for optimisation and/or consolidation of our portfolio early on. This is where our manufacturing expertise comes into play. Our Meyle engineers are not only familiar with the specifications through collaboration with their own production facilities, but also define these stringent standards for all electronic components in full accordance with OE specifications – and even beyond.”
Can you provide us with a specific example from the Meyle portfolio?
Overmann concluded: “A variety of exhaust temperature sensors in our competitors’ products have up to three different product numbers. Meyle can combine all of these to create a single item without compromising the specifications. For our customers, it allows for optimised storage with fewer items and a higher rate of turnover, as I said, without compromising on quality. Another unique selling point is our new Meyle ABS sensor repair kit. Through our close collaboration with workshops, we were able to develop a solution that allows customers to replace the sensor ring and the associated ABS sensor quickly and inexpensively without the need to switch out the wheel hub, assuming that it’s still functional. Meyle is the first manufacturer in the market to offer this complete solution.”