Hiroshima, Japan – Mazda Motor Corporation has announced three new technologies with environmental benefits: a new moulding technology that reduces weight and plastic consumption, a new clean diesel engine, and a Smart Idle Stop system using direct gasoline injection.
The new moulding technology enables a substantial reduction in the weight of plastic parts used in vehicles, cutting the consumption of plastic resins used as raw materials by approximately 20 to 30 per cent, with associated reductions in vehicle weight. The process involves mixing “supercritical” fluid, made from common inert gases such as nitrogen or carbon dioxide, with the plastic resin raw material. The process raises the fluidity of the liquid plastic resin and causes it to expand rapidly when injected into a mould; the result is that smaller amounts of the raw material resin are needed to fill the moulds.
The technology also uses a “core back expansion” moulding process which enables thicker parts to be manufactured using less plastic raw material, through development of plastic with a multi-layer structure. The bubbles in the outer layer of the plastic are kept microscopic, to ensure each part has the necessary strength and rigidity, while the size of the bubbles in the core layer can be freely adjusted to reduce its density as desired. Substantially less material is needed to manufacture parts that are lighter, but have equal or greater strength and rigidity to conventional parts. The technology can potentially be applied to nearly all plastic parts used in vehicles.
The new clean diesel engine, which offers output and environmental performance comparable to a gasoline engine, will be progressively introduced to markets worldwide, beginning in Europe in 2009. The MZR-CD 2.2 clean diesel includes a Mazda-developed, world-first catalyst activation mechanism that enhances the removal of particulate matter from the exhaust gasses. The new catalytic combustion treatment processes enable the filter to burn off particulate matter approximately 60 per cent faster than current systems. Mazda said that, based on its assessments, the engine is clean enough to qualify for the Euro 5 emissions standards.
The new Smart Idle Stop System (SISS), independently developed by Mazda, saves fuel by shutting down the engine automatically when the car is stationary, and restarts it using direct injection technology. Mazda plans to introduce the system to the market in 2009.
While conventional idling stop systems restart the engine with an electric motor, using the same process as when the engine is started normally, SISS initiates engine restart by injecting fuel directly into the cylinder while the engine is stopped, and igniting it to generate downward piston force. The system precisely controls the correct position of the cylinders when they stop, and indexes each cylinder and initiates fuel injection before the engine begins to rotate. This enables the engine to be restarted in just 0.35 seconds, roughly half the time of a conventional electric motor idling stop system.