Market and stakeholders
One of EFI Automotive’s major markets is engine sensors. An engine sensor plays an essential role in the operation of an engine, it is thanks to it that combustion can be controlled and made more efficient while reducing pollutant emissions. Meeting with Philippe Grébert, Product Line Manager.
A key market for the group, which has been an expert in this field for decades and is one of the market leaders in Europe. But by the way, what is the purpose of a sensor? On an internal combustion engine, there are two main families of engine sensors: crankshaft and camshaft sensors. The first gives information on the position of the pistons in the combustion cycle during the four strokes of the engine cycle (intake, compression, combustion and exhaust). The second allows to detect the exact position of the camshafts that operate the valves to allow air to enter the cylinders and then let the burnt gases escape. “Thanks to the information collected via these sensors, we are able to calculate the best time to proceed with injection, the time when it will be most effective,” explains Philippe Grébert, Product Line Manager, “This enables us to reduce the engine’s consumption and reduce the polluting emissions regulated by international standards. “Because the engine must not only move the vehicle efficiently, it must also comply with international standards at the same time. These were introduced in the 1990s and limit emissions of four main pollutants: nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, fine particles and unburned gases. More recently, the European Union has also regulated the maximum threshold for CO2 emissions. “The balance between efficiency and compliance with regulations depends directly on the reliability of the information provided by our sensors,” says the engineer. “That’s why we have an imperative of quality and reliability.”
The development phase of a project around sensors is about two years. It includes the definition of the design, the integration of customer specifications and a validation process through strict tests. Once the product is validated, it goes into production and must pass a quality control at each stage of its manufacture. Then, before being shipped to the customer, the sensor is subjected to a final control carried out internally: “At EFI Automotive, we control 100% of the sensors that leave our factories” insists Philippe Grébert, “and today we have an extremely low return rate, less than 5 per million units produced”.
The motor sensor market is in transition with car manufacturers increasingly turning to the production of electric vehicles. EFI Automotive has long anticipated this transition and has adapted its know-how to the specific needs related to electric motorization. “We have organized ourselves to be able to offer our customers suitable sensors,” explains Philippe Grébert, “we have created a new specific family of sensors that are brought, in an electric motor, to operate in an absolute position within an assembly where the rotation speed is extremely high.”
Analyses and forecasts diverge but agree that the proportion of electric car sales will increase. Worldwide, the internal combustion engine is still in the majority, but no one knows exactly for how long. For EFI Automotive, whatever the evolution of the automobile, the group will be ready to meet these new challenges.