Weichai Group has more than a dozen Chinese engineers like Zhang Ying who are stationed in Europe. Chinese people participate in the development, design, and detailed design processes. Even the software, hardware tools, experimental methods, and every link used in the experiment are performed. recording. 37-year-old Zhang Ying is one of the rare women in the field of engine research. The chief product engineer of the Weichai Power Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Weichai Group) Engine Research Institute presided over the "Lan Qing WP12/13" engine. Lan Qing, the transliteration of the English word landking, means the king of land.

Zhang Ying, Weichai Diesel Engineer, promotes the era of heavy trucks in China
Zhang Ying, Weichai Diesel Engineer, promotes the era of heavy trucks in China

It is a masterpiece of Chinese automobile diesel engines. If you look beyond the era of heavy trucks in China 20 to 30 years ago, from then on, exhausted the research and development of countless Chinese diesel engine engineers, finally harvested an unprecedented sense of achievement here.

If it wasn’t for a few mistakes, Zhang Ying was now likely to teach at a podium in a township in Heilongjiang. “I never thought I would be the master of a domestically produced engine project.” In those time passes, it was even Before Zhang Ying entered the engine assembly company in Weifang, the Chinese began to make a solid accumulation for this project. The long introduction, digestion, and absorption, along with heavy setbacks, Zhang Ying and her "blue engine" are the witnesses and participants of the final sprint.

There is no car

Zhang Ying was born in a small village in Nenjiang County, Heilongjiang. His father is native to Jining, Shandong Province, and goes north to Heilongjiang when he “southeast”. In her words, “come to Weifang, I am also returning to my hometown.” When she lost her mother at the age of three, Zhang Ying grew up in the world of fathers and elder brothers. Although the academic record is always the top one in the class, in order to reduce the family burden during the junior high school graduation year, she must take a teacher who does not need tuition fees. There was a limited number of applicants for the exam and the teacher did not inform her. "For a little girl, she was disappointed at that time." Zhang Ying recalled that she had been crying for the time being blind. At one point, he intended to withdraw from school. Finally, encouraged by his father, Zhang Ying finished high school.

When Zhang Ying was tangled in the choice of life, the Weichai Group in Weifang, Shandong Province, also fell into depression in the late 1990s. The company had already mastered the most advanced 10-liter large displacement engine technology in the country. However, due to restrictions on road conditions and transportation capacity, the market cap for domestic automobile diesel engines is generally 8 liters, which is about 8 tons of truck load. Large displacement technology has not been recognized by the market.

"At that time, China's trucks have not yet entered the era of heavy trucks, but the trend can be seen from the development of European and American countries. Heavy trucks have been everywhere." Wei Dehui, vice president of Weichai Group, told Oriental Outlook that "we started in 2003. When the Lanqing WP12 was used, the 10-litre engine in China was still too large. At the time, peers were spending a lot of money to make a 7-liter machine."

Heavy-duty trucks equipped with large displacement engines are often regarded as "the blood of the country" - just as people often call highways "the country's blood vessels." The engine is the core component of the automobile. The gross profit rate is between 20% and 30%, which is more than double the total profit of the rest of the vehicle. Therefore, advanced foreign companies have built strong technical barriers in this area, and it is difficult for domestic companies to introduce core technologies.

On the other hand, since heavy-duty trucks have a vast military market, which is commonly used in the deployment of weapons such as engineering, communications, and missiles, in addition to transport vehicles, its engines have often become a key technology for the country's automobile industry. In this way, although the rapid economic growth after the reform and opening up has stimulated the development of infrastructure, expressways, and logistics and transportation, it has led to the demand for automobiles, especially heavy trucks, but for various reasons, the Chinese themselves have large displacements. Diesel engine technology has been unsatisfactory.

Until the beginning of the “Twelfth Five-Year Plan” period, China imported more than 5,000 heavy-duty vehicles each year from abroad, with an average price of more than 500,000 yuan, much higher than the average price of domestic vehicles of 200,000 yuan. There is such a story: In the 1980s, Li Xiannian inspected the troops and saw that the artillery was made domestically. The tractor was imported. He said: "There is no artillery and no car."

U.S. high-speed night is all heavy trucks

In the college entrance examination that year, Zhang Ying was going to apply for the Normal College, and Yang Yinchao was accepted by the Second Volunteer Automotive Engineering Specialty of Jiamusi University. Four years later, this girl who once wanted to be a teacher signed a tripartite employment agreement with a car company in Shandong. In that sweltering summer, Zhang Ying returned to his hometown for the first time with his luggage and was full of hope for the future—finally making money to support his family.

However, due to an accident, Zhang Ying was rejected by the company. "I can't work without it. I begged them to say that if I can do anything, I can do nothing." Going out of the gate of the unit, Zhang Ying can't even tell the southeast and northwest of the city. She stood in the middle of the road and cried.

Turning now. The classmate told her that Weichai Group is also recruiting people. Surprisingly, she became one of the most famous engine companies in China. "At that time, the body only brought the tolls." Zhang Ying said that he could only borrow money to return to Heilongjiang to handle the file problem, and sat more than 30 hours to return to Jiamusi. "When I got off, my calf had swollen to One classmate didn't eat at home and fell asleep.”

This was in 2002. The Weichai Group recruited soldiers to prepare for the R&D engine. This project finally started in the second year. “Before this was more than ten years of hard work. In fact, for the engine industry, there is no technical reserve leading to ten years and it is basically impossible to do it.” Zhai Dehui said that although the situation was difficult at that time, he went to the United States in 2000. During the inspection, we found that all the freeways on the expressway were heavy trucks at night. "So we judge this market to be very big and it is also the future direction of the country."

In this way, although previous attempts have not received sufficient returns, at this decision-making level, Weichai Group decided to continue to advance into large-displacement car engines. "Blue Engine" was launched.

Imported technology from 350 million yuan to 1 billion yuan

At the time, Weichai Group, which had a business focus on marine engines and generators, participated in the Steyr technology introduction in the 1980s together with more than a dozen vehicle and engine companies.

Due to indigestion, the investment in Steyr heavy-duty truck technology rose from the initial planned RMB 350 million to the final over RMB 1 billion, and the project acceptance was postponed from the originally planned mid-1980s to 1995. Steyr's collapse occurred when the first batch of auto parts-assembled cars were sold and turned into domestic parts production. Zhai Dehui said: “At that time, Europe was an era of refined social division of labor. With some supporting technologies, Steyr also purchased or imported from other companies.” Although he acquired engine technology, pumps, superchargers, and pistons still needed to be from the West. import.

Steyr can only produce less than 50% of its own parts. China's demand for Steyr heavy trucks' national production is 70%. As the domestic parts and components companies cannot meet the European quality standards, European companies have been reluctant to produce because orders are too small, and the quality of Steyr heavy trucks has plummeted.

Soon, most of the companies involved in the project gave up and followed up the restructuring of the heavy-duty truck group that was established for the introduction of Steyr Technologies in 2000. Steyr was bought by German companies in the 1990s. However, for the Weichai Group, “Looking back, this is a very successful introduction.” Yu Dehui said that the 10 litre engine that is slightly “backward” in the imported technology of Steyr is not bad and can adapt At that time, the demand in the Chinese market “was not the best in terms of being the most advanced. Apart from satisfying market demands, we must also consider our own basic capabilities.”

Since then, the Weichai Group has continuously sent technicians to Austria in hopes of solving the problem of engine digestion and absorption. “To a certain extent, it has gradually become one of our R&D centers.” Yu Dehui said that apart from learning, a large number of technical personnel European experience has also become a window for Weichai Group to observe the world's heavy truck technology and market.

In 2004, Weichai Group selected nearly 10 technical personnel to study and cooperate in Austria. Zhang Ying, who is skilled in three-dimensional design, is also among them. "The original design was carried out at a two-dimensional level." Zhang Ying said that to the Lanqing project, due to the improvement of technology and requirements, three-dimensional design must be carried out. Taking advantage of this self-study, she became the youngest member of the overseas team. "At that time, I was very happy. When I was studying a lot of things and holding drawings, I felt very powerful," she recalls.

Chinese engineer's notes

In the second year, they created the first Lanqing WP12 diesel engine that was developed independently and meets the “National III” emission standard—that is, the 12-liter engine. The key turning point is this 12-liter engine project. "In fact, Steyr has this demand, their original technology is also limited to the level of 10 liters." Qi Dehui said that steyr from the past 10 liters of the project led, after 10 years of digestion, to the 12-liter project, The Chinese have been able to equalize with Austrians. Qi Dehui said that in the key ten years, Weichai Group suffered a great deal of hard work to maintain the development of large displacement engines.

The annual travel expenses for scientific researchers sent to Austria have become a burden for the company. Although some people raised objections, they finally insisted on it. In the same year, in 2003, Weichai Group established a joint research and development center with AVL Austria in this small town in Steyr. The latter is one of the world's largest internal combustion engine development companies. Previously, Weichai Group also had contact with Volvo and other parties. As a result, the other side agreed that the technology platform exported to China can barely meet the “Euro III” standard, but there is not much room for upgrading when “Euro IV” is about to be fully applied in Europe.

After arduous negotiations, the Chinese and Austrian parties jointly funded research and development. The Weichai Group proposed projects and assumed major expenditures. At the joint R&D center, AVL engineers were paid by Weichai Group, which greatly accelerated the progress of the project and allowed it to be completed approximately two years ahead of schedule. After six months of study in Austria, Zhang Ying became a member of the core team of the Blue-Green project. “First of all, the chance is good. At that time, there are not many people who enter the factory every year. It is not like hundreds of thousands in the current year.” Yan Dehui said.

Another important condition is that old engineers are generally unfamiliar with 3D design, and Zhang Ying’s 3D drawing is very good. With good temperament, he was selected to study in Europe. In the entire WP12 project, there are more than a dozen Chinese engineers like Zhang Ying in Europe. Development, design, and detailed design have Chinese participation, even software, hardware tools, and experimental methods used in the experiment. All links are recorded. The efforts of Weichai Group and Zhang Ying have been confirmed by the market after the beginning of the new century.

On the one hand, the national highway network is rapidly improving. In the 10 years since 2004, the annual growth rate of highway mileage in the country was around 10% to 20%. Miao Dehui said that the maximum allowable load for a Chinese highway is currently 55 tons, which is 40 tons in Europe and only 36 tons in the United States. "Correspondingly, Europe is mainly a 13-liter engine, and the United States is 15 liters. Therefore, China's current 12-liter engine is not large." Yu Dehui said that large-displacement engines operate at low speeds, Can reduce the probability of the problem, or that the reliability of the machine; and small-displacement engine running at high speed, the possibility of a problem is much greater.

In 2009, Weichai Group decided to develop a 13-liter diesel engine. At this time, Zhang Ying they have been able to independently advance the progress of the project. Zhang Ying explained that compared with the WP12, the WP13 has achieved high reliability, high power enhancement, and low fuel consumption. In addition, the new technology has improved the climbing ability of heavy trucks, and the 2% slope can run without shifting. Today, Zhang Ying will remember his own teacher dream. However, she prefers to explain to her 6-year-old son while driving a car, how the engine runs and pulls both of them forward.

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