Stanadyne's latest fuel pump for gasoline direct-injection (GDI) applications generates 350 bar of injection pressure from a meager footprint and has claimed market-leading noise levels. (Stanadyne)
Stanadyne pumps up the volume
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Although the auto sector continues to intensify its focus on electrification, planners and analysts remind almost daily that internal combustion-based propulsion will continue to the baseline for a decade or more. Consequently, Stanadyne—the Windsor, Conn.-based specialist supplier of high-pressure fuel pumps for the crucial gasoline- and diesel-engine direct-injection systems to fuel engines for the foreseeable future—intends to play a larger role in the IC-engine Renaissance that really isn’t a “rebirth” at all.
Noting that the global market for gasoline direct-injection (GDI) is projected to grow to $13 billion by 2026, Stanadyne president and Chief Technology Officer John Pinson said the company is planning to expand in the GDI space and take on sector heavyweights such as Bosch, Delphi and others with advanced fuel pumps that deliver new levels of quietness and efficiency-enhancing injection pressures.
“Stanadyne is unique in the industry,” Pinson told Automotive Engineering in an interview at the SAE’s WCX 2018 conference in Detroit. “We’ve decided to focus on best-in-breed pumps.” For Pinson, an MBA and mechanical engineering PhD, “best-in-breed” means extraordinarily low emitted noise and industry-leading injection pressures—both of which translate to added value for customers of the million-plus GDI and diesel common-rail fuel pumps the company annually produces.
Pinson presented a new-generation GDI pump of near-solid billet that seems barely larger than a few sugar cubes and can generate 350-bar (5076-psi) injection pressure. Although he didn’t detail the weight of the unit, it appears markedly lighter than the listed weight for the2.6-lb (1.2-kg), 300-bar (4350-psi) GDI pump Stanadyne currently has in production. He also noted that for some applications that might specify two pumps, a single Stanadyne GDI pump sometimes is sufficient.
He said Stanadyne currently has more than 5 million 200-bar GDI pumps on the road and, to his knowledge, produced the first-ever production 200-bar GDI pump in 2006 for Daimler. For its next market-penetration push, the company just completed a new production line for its Jacksonville, NC assembly plant that will add an additional 1 million units of capacity to the existing 1.1 million-plus production of two pump models. Output from the Jacksonville site is expanding to address Stanadyne’s increasing North America demand, Pinson said; the company also has manufacturing facilities in Italy, India, the UAE and China.
Sub-micron machining = quiet pumps
Pinson said the increasing addition of electrification to automotive powertrains and differing regional needs represent opportunity for new innovation—and new supplier relationships.
“The market dynamics are very interesting,” he explained, saying that China is seeking new levels of fuel efficiency because it is concerned about energy security, while other regions are focused on improved refinement or are dealing with shifts in gasoline- and diesel-engine market drivers.
He believes Stanadyne’s 140-year history of experience in precision-machining engine components positions the company to simply offer a better product. He points to the patented QuietTech control valve design for GDI pumps: “From a noise standpoint, we’re the quietest on the market.” The deep experience with fine machining—these compact dynamos work at upwards of 200 strokes per second—brings the ability to offer ever-higher injection pressures at affordable prices. At least to a point.
“You do pay for pressure,” Pinson said. Above about 350 bar for GDI, “it starts to get expensive.”
But 350-bar pressures should deliver what’s required for the foreseeable gasoline-engine future, he believes, adding that new electrification techniques might enable “decoupling” the injector pump from the engine altogether—at least for smaller engines such as 3-cylinder's.
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