INTERVIEW: BorgWarner's director of marketing Gunter Kraemer

By Ian Henry | 8 January 2015

We spoke to Gunter Kraemer about BorgWarner’s recent expansion in the rapidly growing turbocharger market.

Can you give us an idea of your production network for manufacturing turbochargers?

We have plants all around the world, in the US, Brazil, Mexico, China and South Korea, and a joint venture in India, plus four European plants in the UK, Germany, Hungary and Poland.

How do you use these plants – just for the local market or do they supply on a wider geographic basis?

In general, our plants supply their local markets, but one of the Chinese plants exports to Malaysia and other markets around Asia while our plant in South Korea supplies to customers in Japan.

How has this network grown in recent times?

We have grown our turbocharger production capability as the global market has grown and in response to customer demand. For example we have increased capacity at our Bradford plant in the UK which supplies turbochargers for the new JLR engine plant. This plant was formerly focused on the CV market which meant lower volumes, so it has undergone quite a change.

Have there been other developments in Europe?

Yes, we have started to expand our plant in Hungary again, increasing our existing capacity and will increase employment to at least 200, although there could be many more workers here in due course.

You have just opened a new plant in China: can you tell us a bit more about this factory?

Our new plant in Taicang officially opened in September this year and is actually our second plant in China.  Our first plant is in Ningbo which opened back in 2006.   In 2012, we also opened an engineering centre in Ningbo.

What prompted the decision to open a second plant?

We see the light vehicle turbocharger market in China doubling, to more than 8.5m units a year, in the next five years as the Chinese authorities impose tougher emission rules across the country.  We hope to take a significant proportion of this market at many different car companies. 

How large will the new plant be?

We will start with around 150 employees and more than treble this by 2018; the factory building will cover about 15,000 square metres.  The factory is also a green, environmentally-friendly plant which makes use of geothermal energy sources for example and does not emit any carbon dioxide.

You have a wide range of customers and applications in turbochargers; can you give us some detail on some recent new contracts?

Let me start with the Chinese market; here we are supplying the turbochargers for Volkswagen’s latest four-cylinder petrol engine for this market.   The turbocharger will help the engines generate output of 96-101kw and will be produced in high volumes. 

Which turbocharger do you use here?

We are using our B01 unit which has an integrated waste gate and a mixed flow turbine.  This generates low inertia and a faster response at low engine speeds which is consistent with Volkswagen strategy of engine downsizing.

Is there another project on which you can give us some further details?

We are supplying our regulated two-stage turbocharger system (R2S) for the new Volvo 2.0 litre diesel engine.  This will be used on almost all new Volvo models. For example our unit will be on the V40 D4.

What are the specific benefits of the two-stage system?

We use two turbochargers, of different sizes, which allow the turbine and the compressor sides of the system to adapt to requirements on a constant basis, and also deliver boosting pressure across the entire engine speed range.  For example, at low engine speeds, all of the exhaust gas flow is directed into the small, high pressure turbocharger; this gives a very quick rise in boost pressure.  At higher engine speeds, the waster gate valve opens and the exhaust gas is also directed into the larger, low-pressure turbo.