IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Vicura AB - the supplier of transmission technology to Saab

You may remember that Saab's transmissions development was divested to a new company called Vicura AB January 1st this year. Following the divestment I'm not sure if Saab is related to Vicura AB in any other way except being their biggest customer.

Today Swedish has an article about the company and their plans for the future. As noted, Saab is still their biggest customer and so in the future Saab may very well use Vicura’s transmissions and drive train technology. I know I wouldn’t mind a Vicura dual clutch transmission! And as mentioned in the article, the engineers at Vicura did develop the transmission which is used in Saab’s ePower electric cars.

Anyway, the article is a nice read for those interested in the Saab family in the wider sense. Below is a translation of the article.

The vehicle company, which wants to double the work force
Vicura expands and aims for Asia

They were GM's expertise in the next generation transmission technology. Then they spun off from Saab Powertrain and formed the company Vicura and noe they are in the process of acquiring new customers and expand.

- We will grow to 120-130 employees in the next three years, says CEO Magnus Lundblad.
Just before Christmas TTELA wrote about the new company Vicura, where more than 50 engineers from Saab's technical department formed a new company when the state venture capital company Fouriertransform put up several million - how much is a trade secret.

- We had prepared this for a year - we knew that whatever happened with Saab, we would have to act, says sales manager at the company, Magnus Wall.

Within the large GM group they had been a center of excellence in the field of transmission and electric powertrains and was assigned to develop the next generation of manual transmissions, DCT, an automated manual transmission that significantly contributes to reducing fuel consumption and emissions from the car.

- We have a high level of expertise, and can produce production-ready systems - from start to finish, says Magnus Wall.

Not only transmissions

And it's not just about vehicle gearboxesn but also transmission and power transmission in the broader sense - wind turbines is another area they are working on currently, and for example, transmission for large ships.

- We have been involved in accident investigations and suggested how to correct the errors and then been assigned to improve the systems, says CEO Magnus Lundblad.

Its customers, in addition to Saab, which is still the largest employer, include AB Volvo and Wärtsilä and if you look outside the Nordic Mahindra, an Indian industrial group.

- A week and a half after the company was formed we were at a trade fair in India and introduced the company, says sales manager Magnus Wall.

60 people
An introduction which obviously directly led to assignments. And among the customers they currently are negotiating with, but they can reveal the names, include prestigious German automotive brands as well as an iconic European sports car brand.

We walk around and look at the facilities, there are currently 60 people there and it’s not crowdy.

- No, we have room for more, which is good as we plan to grow in the coming years.

One thing that strikes us is the absence of mechanical or some form of physical products. In one store room we find, however, a complete transmission system.

- That is a six-speed gearbox, which we developed during the GM period and it being used in a series of car brands now, said Magnus Wall.

The reason is that Vicura is in the forefront of product development through simulation.

- We can develop a new product with virtually no prototypes or preproduction, he says.

Much to offer

One example is the gearbox that’s in the electric Saab ePower.

- We developed it in five months and could go directly from simulation to final product.

A normal development time for such a system is about two years, so from a competitive standpoint Vicura claims that they have much to offer its customers.

- We have very few competitors in the world that can offer similar expertise to us, and they are part of larger companies. We have an incredible knowledge inside these walls, says Magnus Wall.

- And a very good owner that spends a lot of time and resources on our long-term growth, adds CEO Magnus Lundblad.

Experts in transmission systems
Name: Vicura, after the Latin word for "force" and "responsibility".
Started: January 4.
Main Owner: State owned Fouriertransform.
Located: At Stallbacka industrial area.
Employees: Approximately 60 engineers, with an MSc or higher academic qualifications.
Background: General Motors center of excellence in transmission development and next-generation manual transmissions.
Makes: Develops transmission systems, electric drive trains and control systems.
Customers: In the automotive, heavy vehicle, energy and marine industries.