Air intake management

Before unfiltered air enters the combustion chamber, it must be fed through the engine compartment and cleaned of dirt particles as efficiently as possible.

The MAHLE product portfolio covers the entire scope of air intake management: from air duct to air filtration to air intake modules with electrical intake pipe actuators—but also resonators and sound generators.

As the processes in the engine become ever more complex, the demands on the intake system also increase. Emissions regulations and consumption specifications, shorter model cycles, and rising expectations for performance in shrinking packages are the cornerstones of modern development. For example, MAHLE was recently able to take another substantial step forward in the development for modern combustion engines with the integration of charge air cooling in the air intake module.

MAHLE electric intake pipe actuators provide good mixture preparation in four-valve engines with targeted, map-controlled charge motion of the incoming air. For diesel engines, channel deactivation is used to induce a swirling motion in the combustion chamber. For gasoline engines, the narrowing of the channel and the guiding of the incoming air in the upper half of the channel generates cylindrical tumble flow. Both ensure good swirling of the mixture, thus improving exhaust gas emissions and partial load consumption.

Increasingly smaller package constraints require higher filtration performance, especially with respect to particle retention efficiency. This trend requires the use of high-performance filters, more complex flow guidance design, and new filter element concepts.

As a technology leader in the area of plasticized filter elements, MAHLE can react flexibly to any package constraint with the application of a wide range of design types.

Requirements for air duct components, such as pipes for unfiltered and clean air, are continuously increasing. The trend toward a modular system approach demands more flexible and lightweight components that can be employed even under very tight installation space conditions. Another challenge consists in the low-cost, effective production of what are often very complex shapes. The increasingly difficult installation and removal conditions for service purposes are central aspects in the development of current air guidance products.

The materials used thus far include mainly petroleum-based plastics. In its search for alternatives, MAHLE has investigated various bio-based plastics and most recently validated a material for air duct components as ready for series production, which protects the environment and does not affect the food chain.

Besides the focus on efficiency, vehicle and engine development is still about emotions. The sound of an engine plays a critical role: it represents the performance characteristics of the powertrain, and is also an inherent component of a brand's unique properties and its recognition factor. Turbocharged engines, in particular, lose much of their “natural” sound, which is why sound design plays an important role in development. MAHLE uses cutting-edge simulation methods to optimize acoustics in line with customer requirements when developing resonators or sound generators that are integrated directly in the air guidance system.

Oil mist separator systems reliably clean the gases from the crankcase that are contaminated with oil mist. Oil consumption can thereby be further reduced and emissions limits be met. The oil mist separator integrated in the crankcase ventilation system separates gaseous and liquid components. The separated oil is fed back into the oil circuit and the cleaned air is recirculated to the intake system.

MAHLE supplies plastic engine and cylinder head covers per customer requirements, either as part of the intake system or as a separate functional or design component. In addition to high component strength with lower weight and the compliance with requirements for engine acoustics and leak tightness, MAHLE engine and cylinder head covers also fit into the design concept of vehicle and engine manufacturers.