Search This Blog

November 24, 2015

New Medium-Duty Engines from Daimler Trucks

The upcoming DD5 is a 5.1-liter in-line 4-cylinder diesel 
will be based on the OM934 and like that engine’s 
derivative OM936, there will also be a partner DD8, 7.7 liter six.
Detroit will build two new engines that will fill out Daimler Trucks North America’s (DTNA) diesel engine line. The upcoming DD5 and DD8 will form the Medium-Duty Engine Platform, complementing the Heavy- Duty Engine Platform (HDEP) of  the DD13, DD15 and DD16.

The announcement was made mid-November during the launch of American production of the DT12 transmission in Redford, Michigan. The Redford plant produces the HDEP engines for NAFTA. It also produces a wide range of steer and drive axles for the Freightliner, Western Star, Thomasbuilt buses and FCCC chassis and package cars.

From 2018 and with a $325 million investment, it will be home to production of the two new engines and 160 new jobs.

To an audience of local dignitaries and 2,000 production workers, Dr. Frank Reintjes, head of truck powertrain for Daimler Trucks, introduced the latest addition to the Detroit DD lineup: a new 5.1-liter, 4-cylinder DD5 that will debut in mid-to-late 2016 for medium-duty M2 Freightliner trucks.

Initially, the DD5 will be shipped to the United States from Mannheim in Germany, but at the transmission launch ceremony DTNA president Martin Daum said plans call for production of the engine in Redford by 2018.

In the interim, a 6-cylinder version of the engine will be launched in 2017 to be designated the DD8. With two additional cylinders, that engine will have a 7.7-liter displacement. Initially, engines will be for the Freightliner M2 mediums. By 2018 all DTNA truck and bus brands will have the DD5 and DD8 engines available.

The engines have been available in Europe, designated OM934 and OM936 for the 4- and 6-cylinder, respectively, since 2013 in a number of Mercedes-Benz trucks. According to Reintjes, both engines will be fully compliant with U.S. greenhouse gas emissions legislation scheduled for 2017.

In their European ratings, package size and weight, the engines are clearly targeted at Cummins ISB and ISC engines available in Daimler commercial vehicles here. According to Daum, that will continue in line with the DTNA policy of offering customers choice in main components, Cummins’ engines will continue to be available.

There was little detail about the upcoming 5.1-liter DD5 or 7.7-liter DD8 to be built in the Redford Plant. Mechanically, they will be the same as the European engines, but will have different electronic “personalities” to fit with market needs here. There are no plans to offer the engines to other nameplate manufacturers, such as the big diesel pickups from Dodge and Nissan that use Cummins power.

Freightliner currently has in excess of 40 percent share of the heavy-duty truck market. In the last few years, it has gained momentum in medium duty so it now has a comparable share. The availability of a Detroit engine in Freightliner mediums is a new opportunity to grow this business and also offer more Daimler content in the vehicles, Daum said.

The DD5 and DD8

In the Detroit in-plant display area, a cutaway show version of the DD5 revealed a two-stage turbocharged 4-cylinder with dual overhead camshafts. The latter are built-up cams like those used in the HDEP engines and the 4-cylinder also features gear-driven accessory drive. The Euro OM934 features a variable exhaust cam drive that will likely also be featured on the American DD5.

Following the theme ‘Made-in-Detroit,’ all presenters underscored the fact that Detroit is leading the charge in creating new jobs in the Motor City. Moreover, Daimler managers were adamant that production would stay in Redford and not be outsourced. Worth noting is that Redford produces all the connecting rods for HDEP engines worldwide, with production running three shifts and 3,024 connecting rods every day.

November 23, 2015

Daimler Adds DT12 Production to Redford

The DT12, 12-speed automated transmission goes into
 production at the Detroit plat in Redford, Michigan. 
The transmission introduced only two years ago 
now features in 40% of Freightliner production.

The 12-speed DT12 automated transmission offered in Freightliner and Western Star brands by Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has, in just two years, reached a 40 percent penetration in DTNA’s commercial vehicle line-up. Small wonder, then, that it is now in production at the Detroit plant in Redford, MI, just outside of Detroit city.

The transmission was already well proven in Daimler’s European Mercedes-Benz trucks before it launched in the United States and production for the states has been out of the transmission plant in Gaggenau, Germany. But the intention all along was to bring production here and to that effect, teams from Detroit trained in Gaggenau for up to six months to ensure a smooth start-up of American manufacture.

And it has been smooth. The plant began building the transmission only a month ago in late October and is already running at 120 units per day.

So the Redford Detroit plant now makes DD13, 15 and 16 engines (the heavy duty engine platform or HDEP), a complete range of drive and steer axles and now transmissions stamping the Detroit brand on the whole made-in-Detroit powertrain.

And at the inaugurating ceremony in November, that made-in-Detroit sentiment was to the forefront, with guests from Michigan governor Rick Snyder to state legislators and senior managers that included trucks chief Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard and DTNA president Martin Daum.

“Michigan has long-been the world’s automotive leader and we are proud that Daimler will continue to play a big role in our state’s reinvention moving forward,” said Gov. Snyder. “This is an investment in Detroit and the hardworking people of Michigan.”

Dignitaries in Redford, from left - Roger Penske “savior of Detroit
Diesel”; Martin Daum, chief executive DTNA, Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard,
chief executive, Daimler Trucks; D. Frank Reintjes, Chief of
Daimler Truck powertrains; Detroit plant operations chief Jeff Allen;
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder 
Also present was Roger Penske, who received a standing ovation from the nearly 2,000 Detroit staff, assembled for the occasion.

And it’s easy to see why Penske is so popular at Detroit.

The plant is the old headquarters of Detroit Diesel Allison. In its latter days when it was owned by General Motors, Detroit Diesel penetration in the heavy truck market had fallen to just 3 percent. It had been impacted by the troubled Silver 92, two-cycle engine but it was on the point of launching the Series 60 in a cooperative venture with John Deere. But Deere backed out.

In stepped Roger Penske in 1988, purchasing the plant and bringing a whole new attitude on board. Within six months he had shaken things up with fresh paint and strong leadership and launched the Series 60 as his engine, an engine that turned the company around and gained a 30 percent penetration by the time it was superseded by the global DD15.

The Series 60 has only just gone out of production in Redford. Those markets with lower emissions expectations are still served by Series 60, though the engines are produced by Detroit Reman in Tooele, Utah.

The additional space freed up in Redford, plus a significant 100-million-dollar investment and the employment of 170 new workers is what makes it possible to assemble the transmissions there.

The DT12 is a sophisticated electronically controlled non synchro transmission. Electro magnetic X- Y-shifters and automated clutch select gears as a driver would, giving the fuel economy of a manual with the ease of driving of an automatic, said Dr. Bernhard at the launch. 

In driving, the transmission skips shifts for smooth shifts and maximum economy. It is part of the standard spec for the Freightliner Cascadia Evolution.