VCM is an electro-hydraulic valve train system for four-stroke gas and diesel engines, developed by ABB for the engine builder MTU. The 12 VCM actuators were tested on the S4000 gas engine on MTU’s own combined heat and power plant in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Measurements were taken during the first 12 months of operation. The valve lift curves showed excellent repeatability and VCM actuators showed no evidence of either wear or aging effects.
VCM was developed from similar technology used in the automotive industry, in collaboration with engine component specialist, Schaeffler Technologies GmbH & Co. KG. VCM allows a stepless variation of engine valve timing and valve lift from one engine cycle to the next, adjusting the amount of air or air-fuel mixture entering the cylinder. This increases the adaptability of the engine’s performance in multiple ways, providing the flexibility for best performance and fuel economy. Successful running of each VCM actuator for 7,000 hours on an engine in the field is an important milestone for serialization of the technology.
Dr Andreas Lingens, Executive Vice President Research & Development, MTU commented: “Our objective is to improve engine technology in line with our customers’ needs. Developing VCM with ABB has shown MTU its potential for improving the flexibility and therefore the performance of the S4000 engine. We believe this technology can bring significant benefits for operators of advanced single- and two-stage turbocharged engine platforms.”
MTU Friedrichshafen is the core business of Rolls-Royce Power Systems. MTU develops and produces large high-speed engines and propulsion systems for ships and heavy land, rail and defense vehicles, as well as drive systems for use in the oil and gas industry and in power generation.
VCM can bring benefits for applications across the marine, rail, off-highway truck, and electric power generation markets. It is particularly effective for all two-stage turbocharging systems, such as ABB’s Power2®. Combining the capability for VCM to control air intake with the increased turbocharging efficiency of a two-stage turbocharging solution, it is possible to achieve additional efficiency gains.
ABB thanks both our development partner Schaeffler Technologies for their collaboration and MTU for their support in enabling this milestone to be achieved.
Learn more about the possibilities that VCM brings for advanced high performance four-stroke engines.