Continental dedicates new tech center to piezo ignition

June 14, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
For the past twelve years, automotive supplier Continental has been manufacturing piezo injectors for diesel engines at its site in Limbach-Oberfrohna/Stollberg. With their ultra-fast operation, piezo injectors have revolutionized common rail injection systems. Production of the injectors requires exceptionally efficient machinery, and Continental decided to develop this equipment itself. To this end the company is currently building a new technology center in Limbach-Oberfrohna which is due to open for business in December of this year.

Production of piezo injectors requires machinery that is made to measure for the specific systems concerned. Developing this technology will be the core task of the new Center, where experts from Continental will join forces with the machinery manufacturers to build prototypes and bring them to a state of readiness for series production. The new tech center will also be a catalyst for the production-friendly design of new types of injector, as well as offering production workers a chance to familiarize themselves with the product, production equipment and manufacturing process in the run-up to start of production of a new injector.

Continental is investing €1.7 million in the construction of the center which will ultimately provide work for around 100 employees. The two-story building will offer 1,200 square meters of floor space. The lower floor will host the instrumentation facilities while the upper floor will feature office space and meeting rooms. A link will connect the Center to an existing complex where the sample injectors will be manufactured.

Piezo technology, which was developed in the mid 1990s, optimizes diesel engine injection cycles in terms of the number, precision and stability of the injections, thereby reducing fuel consumption and emissions while at the same time enabling an increase in output. Continental has already been honored for its latest piezo innovation – a diesel injector with direct drive – which will go into volume production in 2014. The system won the Innovation Award for Climate and Environment, jointly presented by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Federation of German Industry (BDI).