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Nominee 2016

Vision vom reibungslosem Antrieb

The vision of frictionless drive systems – Coating technology cuts energy loss in half

Dr.-Ing. Patrick Izquierdo (Spokesperson)
Dipl.-Ing. Manuel Michel
Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Bernd Zapf*
Daimler AG, Ulm
*Gebrüder Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen

(f.l.t.r.) Dipl.-Ing. Manuel Michel, Dr.-Ing. Patrick Izquierdo, Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Bernd Zapf

Although the number of electric cars is increasing, vehicles powered by internal combustion engines still rule the roads. An important starting point to making IC engines more fuel efficient and thus more environmentally friendly is the friction losses in the engine. How can they be avoided?

In their search for a solution, Dr. Patrick Izquierdo, engineer Manuel Michel and Bernd Zapf set their sights on the piston and cylinder liner system. This part of the engine accounts for almost 50 percent of the friction losses in the drive unit. Izquierdo and Michel, both Daimler researchers, developed a novel process for coating the cylinder walls of aluminum crankcases. This eliminates the need for special cylinder liners in the cases - and friction is dramatically reduced. Working with Bernd Zapf from the company Gebrüder Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH they refined the technology for use in series production.

Patrick Izquierdo is head of Lightweight Construction, Casting/Forging Structures at Daimler AG in Ulm. Manuel Michel is the Daimler project manager for NANOSLIDE. Bernd Zapf heads the New Business and Technology division at Gebrüder Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH in Nürtingen.

Without friction losses, a combustion engine would use twenty-five percent less fuel. Emissions harmful to the climate, like carbon dioxide (CO2), would also be lower. Friction can never be entirely eliminated, but with the NANOSLIDE® process developed by the three researchers, a significant step has been made in the right direction. The process picks up a trend in automobile manufacturing that uses lightweight aluminum for the crankcase of combustion engines. In the past, these had to have a heavy sleeve or liner made of grey cast iron or used an aluminum-silicium alloy as the bore for the cylinder. In this configuration, a lot of energy was lost when the piston moved. NANOSLIDE® makes the additional sleeve unnecessary.

This technology uses a thin sliding layer just a tenth of a millimeter thick and applied to the inner wall of the aluminum cylinder. To apply the layer, two wires made of an iron-carbon alloy produce an electric arc in which liquid metal drops form. A stream of nitrogen gas atomizes the drops and directs them onto the cylinder wall where they solidify and form a thin coating of nanometer size pores. These pores are oil reservoirs which are exposed during subsequent machining. The layer then forms a mirror-like surface with very little frictional resistance - and virtually no wear. The researchers succeeded in improving the process to such a degree that it uses 96 percent less energy and water use was reduced to zero.

The friction losses in the piston and cylinder bore system are half that of conventional manufacturing methods. This reduces fuel consumption in vehicles with gasoline or diesel engines by at least 3 percent. According to an independent study, CO2 emissions can be lowered by up to 50 million tons per year by using the NANOSLIDE® technology. Another advantage of the process is that the thick-walled grey-cast iron liner is no longer needed which means that the engine design can be more compact and lighter - an ideal requirement for combining it with an electric motor in a hybrid vehicle.

NANOSLIDE® is patented and is offered for series production by Gebrüder Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH. Using the process, any size of cylinder inner diameter can be coated in a wide range of crankcase types. The coatings can also be configured with specific properties. Numerous car manufacturers and suppliers are already using the technology which is developing into a global standard. This will secure or create several thousand jobs in Germany. At Heller, NANOSLIDE® opened up a new business segment. Daimler established the subsidiary MDC Technology GmbH in Arnstadt in 2013 to design the manufacturing process for large series production and is now using it at several production sites.

The right to nominate outstanding achievements for the Deutscher Zukunftspreis is incumbent on leading German institutions in science and industry as well as foundations.

The project "The vision of frictionless drive systems – Coating technology cuts energy loss in half" was nominated by the Federation of German Industries / Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. (BDI).

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Dr.-Ing. Patrick Izquierdo

Dr.-Ing. Patrick Izquierdo

Feb. 12, 1966
Born in Speyer am Rhein
Bachelor's Degree - Autun, France
1984 - 1990
Mechanical Engineering, Université de Technologie de Compiègne, France
1990 - 1991
Test Engineer, ABB Kraftwerke AG, Mannheim, Germany
1992 - 1995
Doctoral Student, Institute for Advanced Materials, Commission of the European Communities, Netherlands
1995 - 2000
Scientific Associate, later Head of Thermal Injection, Daimler AG, Research & Technology, Ulm, Germany
Advance Development of Cylinder Wall Coating Technology
2000 - 2007
Head of Functional Layers in Powertrain, Daimler AG, Production & Material Technology, Stuttgart, Germany
Series Development & Securing Cylinder Wall Coating Technology
Implementation in Small Series in the V8 Assembly System (M156E63) of Mercedes-AMG GmbH
2007 – 2009
Head of Technology Transfer Forging Processes, Daimler AG, Production & Technology Casting and Forming, Stuttgart, Germany
2009 - 2012
Head of Technology Transfer Pressure Casting, Daimler AG, Production & Technology Casting and Forming, Stuttgart, Germany
Further development of coating technology for casting-related process chain NANOSLIDE
Series introduction for Daimler AG V6-gasoline and V6-Diesel systems at MDC Technology in Arnstadt, Germany
2012 - 2015
Head of Production Technologies NANOSLIDE, Daimler AG, TecFabrik Powertrain, Stuttgart, Germany
Integration of NANOSLIDE technology into the flexible process chain AgiProS
Series introduction for first R4-Diesel system of the new engine family FAME
Since 2016
Head of Light Construction, Casting and Forging Structures, Daimler AG, Research & Technology, Ulm, Germany

Dipl.-Ing. Manuel Michel

Dipl.-Ing. Manuel Michel

January 26, 1981
Born in Stuttgart–Bad Cannstatt, Baden Württemberg, Germany
Abitur (Higher School Certificate)
2001 - 2005
Industrial Engineering, University - FH-Lausitz, Senftenberg (Brandenburg Technical University)
Master Thesis in Production and Material Technology, DaimlerChrysler AG, Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, Germany
2005 - 2008
Doctoral Student, Production and Material Technology, Daimler AG, Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, Germany
Mechanical Engineering, Chemnitz Technical University
2008 - 2011
Scientific Associate, Research and Advance Development, Light Construction, Materials, Production, Daimler AG, Ulm, Germany
2011 - 2015
Head of Project House NANOSLIDE, Research and Advance Development, Light Construction, Materials, Production, Daimler AG, Ulm, Germany
2015 – 2016
Project Manager of Mercedes Inhouse Consulting, Daimler AG, Böblingen, Germany
Since 2016
Project Manager Research and Advance Development, Powertrain & Alternative Drive Systems Daimler AG, Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, Germany

Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Bernd Zapf

Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Bernd Zapf

January 28, 1961
Born in Kirchheim unter Teck, Germany
1967 - 1977
Elementary and Secondary School
1977 - 1980
Vocational Training: Informational Electronic Technic, Gebr. Heller Machinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen, Germany
1980 - 1985
Technical Informatics at Esslingen Technical University
1985 - 1989
Development Engineer for Digital Drive Technology, Gebr. Heller Machinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen, Germany
1989 - 1997
Group Manager Development of Digital Drive Technology, Gebr. Heller Machinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen, Germany
1997 - 2004
Senior Manager Development of Control and Drive Technology, Gebr. Heller Machinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen, Germany
2005 – 2009
Senior Manager Automotive Development, Gebr. Heller Machinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen, Germany
2010 - 2015
Senior Manager New Business & Technology Head of CylinderBoreCoating TechnologyCenter, Gebr. Heller Machinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen, Germany
Since 2016
Senior Manager /Authorised Officer for New Business & Technology, Gebr. Heller Machinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen, Germany
Industry 4.0
CFK for machine components and thermal coating outside the cylinder bore
Additive Manufacturing for Metal
Hydraulics-free machine
CAD-CAM virtual machine for 5-axis machines



Dr.-Ing Patrick Izquierdo
Daimler AG
Group Research & Sustainability
Powertrain & Alternative Antriebe
89013 Ulm
Phone: + 49 (0) 731 / 50 52 756
Mobile: +49 (0) 160 / 86 32 299
Fax: +49 (0) 711 / 17 79 02 29 33


Troy James Branch
Daimler AG
HPC 1103
70546 Stuttgart
Phone: + 49 (0) 711 / 17 25 421
Mobile: + 49 (0) 160 / 86 26 084

Marcus Kurringer
Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH
Gebrüder-Heller-Straße 15
72622 Nürtingen
Phone: + 49 (0) 7022 / 77 56 83

A description provided by the institutes and companies regarding their nominated projects

A new coating technology for cylinder liners in car engines supports climate protection. The resource-saving NANOSLIDE® technology reduces friction and allows weight reduction. This, in turn, can significantly reduce fuel consumption und CO2 emissions.

Frictionless environmental protection
In terms of the future mobility, Daimler is intentionally not focussing on merely one drive system, but on the coexistence of different technologies. These are ideally geared towards the corresponding customer demands and vehicle types. Optimising modern combustion engines play a crucial role as part of the Mercedes-Benz roadmap for sustainable mobility.

The friction between piston and cylinder liner represents one of the greatest individual friction values within combustion engines. The extremely thin and low-friction NANOSLIDE® coating on the inside of the cylinder liners, potentially cuts consumption by several percent as, particularly in partial load range, up to 25 percent of the fuel energy is used to overcome friction inside the engine. The technology helps to save weight and thus significant contributor to reducing CO2 emissions.

NANOSLIDE® a resourceful engine technology
Twin-wire arc spraying (LDS®) is used to apply an extremely thin iron-carbon alloy coating to the inner surfaces of the cylinders of crankcases. Rapid cooling ensures an ultrafine to nano-crystalline material microstructure. After an in-house designed multi-stage finishing, the sliding layer is only about 0.1 to 0.15 millimetres thick. In its final state, the resulting "NANOSLIDE" layer has a "mirror-like" and microporous surface and thus excellent sliding and also wear-resistant properties. The advantage is the process-induced micro-porosity that creates micro-oil reservoirs and thus, despite an extremely smooth surface, ensures lubrication.

NANOSLIDE® reduces friction losses in the piston / cylinder liner system by up to 50%. This reduces fuel consumption in passenger cars with petrol and diesel engines by at least 3%. As a prerequisite for the combination in hybrid drive systems, the engines can be designed significantly more compact, lighter and smaller by doing away with grey cast iron liners. This allows a fast, economical and global reduction of CO2 until a long-term industry wide pure electric drive systems can be realized.

NANOSLIDE® a resourceful production technology
For a broad industrialization of NANOSLIDE® technology as an innovative, economical and economical process, it was important to develop and implement resource-efficient process steps.

A critical and necessary process step before the actual coating was to activate roughening of the cylinder inner wall for the mechanical grouting of the sprayed layer on the aluminium substrate. This was at first done by means of high pressure water jets (HDWS). At 3,000bar, the operation of the HDWS system required a lot of electricity and much water. In addition, a relatively expensive technology for a water treatment process was needed.

For the widespread implementation of NANOSLIDE® on a large-scale, development of an alternative manufacturing method for the roughening was essential. The new manufacturing process had to allow equivalent surface activation for the necessary adhesion even with a significantly reduced use of resources. It had to be able to be integrated and operate economically within a tightly scheduled production process.

The new manufacturing process "mechanically roughening" was developed for easy binding of the sprayed layer to the aluminium engine block. Since the beginning of 2016, "mechanically roughening" has become a pre-treatment step in the process. It produces micro and macro structures which enable a perfect adhesion. The process can be implemented by means of an integrated innovative cutting tool.

Significant savings in electrical energy is achieved through this new, innovative process step. The consumption of electricity compared to the HDWS process was reduced by 96%. Water resources, including the extensive water purification (separation of water and aluminium-residue), could be completely eliminate through "mechanical roughening". The aluminium chips produced during "mechanical roughening" are recycled and fed to the casting process as a secondary material. "Mechanically roughening" thus supports high standards of an environmentally sound production.

The involvement of cooperation partner Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH from Nuertingen, lead to the optimisation of the steps in the process, as well as in the mechanical engineering. Thanks to our collaboration in development, we were able to mutually develop an ideal solution for the process and quickly transfer into a system technology suitable for large-scale production series.

Industrialising NANOSLIDE® and roll-out at Daimler AG
The NANOSLIDE® method, based on more than 40 patents, involves a number of inventions and ideas. In 2013, Mercedes-Benz introduced the technology to the market on a large scale with the turbocharged V6 petrol and V6 diesel engines. NANOSLIDE® technology is also applied to new generation four and eight-cylinder engines of Mercedes-AMG. The current Mercedes Formula 1 V6 turbocharged engine also benefits from the advantages of NANOSLIDE®.

NANOSLIDE® is used for the very first time in a four-cylinder diesel engine (OM 654) with the launch of the new E-Class in March 2016. The combination of the innovative steel pistons with the evolved NANOSLIDE® cylinder liner coating results in consumption and CO2 emission cuts of up to four percent. The reduced consumption in the E 220 d is even more evident within the lower and mid-range rpms which are so vital in everyday driving situations.

Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH operates to supply OEMs on a global basis. Internationally NANOSLIDE® and the CBC Technology from HELLER are very popular amongst OEMs. Since 2014, 13 European, American and Asian automotive companies have launched trial productions of crankshafts featuring NANOSLIDE® technology.

About Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH
Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH develops and produces tooling machines and production systems for machining with a workforce of around 2,530 employees around the globe. The company's product range includes four and five-axis processing centres, milling and machining centres, machines for crankshaft and camshaft processing as well as flexible production systems. Its customers include automotive manufacturers and their suppliers, general engineering and electrical engineering as well as aerospace, energy technology and contract manufacturing companies, including companies from many more industries. Five production sites in Europe, North and South America as well as Asia guarantee reliable customer supplies. Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH also operates on all important markets thanks to 30 sales and service subsidiaries as well as qualified service partners.

About Daimler AG
Daimler AG is one of the most successful automotive manufacturers worldwide. With the Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses and Daimler Financial Services business areas the vehicle manufacturer is amongst the largest suppliers of premium passenger cars and tops the list of the world's largest commercial vehicle manufacturers. Daimler Financial Services offers financing, leasing, fleet management, insurance cover, investments and credit cards as well as innovative mobility services. Daimler sells its vehicles in almost all countries around the world and operates production sites in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa.;

The right to nominate outstanding achievements for the Deutscher Zukunftspreis is incumbent on leading German institutions in science and industry as well as foundations.

The project "The vision of frictionless drive systems – Coating technology cuts energy loss in half" was nominated by the Federation of German Industries / Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. (BDI).

Nominee 2016 · TEAM 3