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July 7, 2020

Rheinmetall secures major electrical vacuum pump order

Rheinmetall Automotive has secured what it says is a major order for electrical vacuum pumps from an unnamed automaker.

By Rhodri Morgan

Rheinmetall Automotive has secured what it says is a major order for electrical vacuum pumps from an unnamed automaker.

The order extends to a lifetime volume of EUR250m (US$282m).

The components will be manufactured by Pierburg Huayu Pump Technology (PHP), a Shanghai- based joint venture company of Rheinmetall Automotive.

The ramp-up phase of production started last year, with the pumps installed in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the Chinese plants of the customer.

After lowering production volume during March and April, 2020 as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the Shanghai plant of PHP is now 100% operational and customer demand for the pumps is nearly back on schedule.

The electrical vacuum pump has been developed by Pierburg in Germany, where production started in 2017 for another order from the same customer.

Rheinmetall adds a major advantage of electrical vacuum pumps is they can be switched off when there is no braking manoeuvre, while mechanical vacuum pumps run continuously in vehicle operation even when there is no need. Furthermore, the electrical vacuum pump is not connected to the engine oil lubrication system.

The oil pump can therefore be made smaller, which in turn increases the efficiency of the drivetrain.

In hybrids, electric vacuum pumps permit pure electric driving when the combustion engine is switched off, as full braking power assistance is retained. They also allow the so-called coasting operating mode, in which the engine is shut down and decoupled in order to achieve additional energy savings due to reduced friction in the drivetrain (extended start/stop operation).

The pumps can also be used in fully-electric vehicles and even in conventional drivetrains. For today’s downsized gasoline engines, the electric pumps are also indispensable, maintains Rheinmetall, as they always guarantee an adequate vacuum level, for example to boost braking power.

“In addition to a substantial lowering of fuel consumption and emissions, the pump shows an excellent NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) performance,” added a Rheinmetall statement.

“Mainly in quietly running electric and hybrid vehicles, the noise level of the pump system has to be so low that it cannot be heard while driving.

“The pump and the integrated motor are completely in-house developments by Rheinmetall Automotive, which led to fastening solutions that enable the electric vacuum pump to be attached to body parts independent from other assemblies and without causing disturbing vibrations in the structure.”

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