Traditional "analog" thermostat temperature-control systems for vehicles will soon be a technology of the past if inventor Tom Hollis has his way. Switching to digital can manage critical fluid systems in a way that significantly improves fuel economy, reduces emissions and engine, driveline wear to help extend the life of fluids critical in the operation of engine components. The Digital Rotary Control Valve (DRCV) will provide a "true" powertrain thermal management system that, after mapping, will always allow the engine/transmission to function at their "known" optimum operating temperatures, under all driving conditions. The computer-regulated system monitors temperatures at several under-hood locations and controls the single DRCV to maintain optimum engine and transmission temperatures, throughout all engine load conditions and extreme ambient temperature ranges.
It is nominated for an International Plastics Design Competition People's Choice Award, which will be announced at the NPE in Chicago. Developed by Hollis and manufactured by the Minco Group, which includes All Service Plastic Molding, for MileageMatrix Inc., the component relies on DuPont™ Zytel® HTN PPA (Polyphthalamide) resins for the valve body, tube and diverter. The materials' resistance to continuous exposure to hot long-life coolant up to 130°C, and retention of properties with moisture proved optimal for this application.
Critical to the components' success is its ability to provide precision temperature function between engine/transmission and radiator. Results from an initial, three-year test program shows fuel economy can improve 8% during the winter, and Hollis said they expect year-round fuel economy improvements greater than 5%. The component is currently being tested to rigorous OEM specifications. Hollis also noted that engine oil temperature is always maintained well above the "dew" point, greatly extending the oil-change interval as moisture quickly evaporates. This could result in reduced oil use and fewer used oil filters for disposal.