11 December 2012

Proton officially acquires Petronas engine technologies

It has been so long and after so many false start, and finally it happens. According to Business Times Proton Holdings has acquired all seven engine technologies and 117 engine technology patent owned by Petronas. The acquisition was performed from Petronas Technology Ventures Sdn Bhd, a technology commercialization arm of Petronas for a sum of RM63 million. The acquisition was completed today, witnessed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

According to Datuk Seri Khamil Jamil, Proton will have immediate access to the Petronas engine family including the 2.0L and 2.2L in-line 4 engine, which is design-protected for both naturally aspirated and turbocharged application. It is unclear whether the patent and technology acquired  covers the other engine as well, as Petronas engine ranges from the small capacity for bike and snowmobile application right up to the 2.2L turbocharged unit which is the flagship unit.

Petronas engine journey started way back in 1996 with its technology partner Sauber Petronas Engineering AG. In 1998, the giant oil and gas company revealed its E01 engine, a high spesific output 2.0L engine with racing technology. Little the public knew that the engine has evolved into several variant, and grown into the fuel efficient commercial engine with reasonable power output.The 4 cylinder mill, codenamed NE01, was designed to have several engine displacement and can support both high pressure boost as well as naturally aspirated cylinder pressure option. It has variable valve timing and all-aluminium in its construction. By holding to all Petronas IP's too, Proton will now have direct access to the derivatives spawned from NE01 including the diesel version as well as the gasoline direct injection (source).

The engine is already well under testing under the hood of Proton Exora and Preve and set to be mass produced from 3rd quarter of 2013 onwards. The engine will find its way into Proton and Lotus cars, as well as other car as Proton is open for collaboration with other OEM as Petronas has previously has some agreement with the manufacturing parties in China to manufacture NE01 (source).

The journey that started in 1996, and grew to cover many engine type and sizes was halted in 2010. That was when Petronas called it a day as far as non-core bussiness is concern. Now that the engine is out in the public, and no longer shroud in secrecy, I am glad that engine now can see the day light and will start powering cars on our road. My stint there as a simulation engineer performing structural and CFD for intake manifold, exhaust manifold, cylinder block, cylinder head, water jacket, conrod and crankshaft will remain as one of those nice memories in life, a chapter which I have nicely close but vividly remembered.

For those technical geeks, and which to read more about Petronas engine technologies and know-how, you can view some on SAE pages linked here : http://www.sae.org/search?searchfield=petronas&typ=paper. You can also look around at simulation software conference proceeding, just so you know that these project was massively beneficial in developing the national engineering talents, and their fruitful knowledge is there for the whole world to see, and appreciated.


No comments: