Scania’s modular product system has been developed over many decades. It provides customers with tailored vehicles and solutions that are precisely optimised to their needs.
Scania’s modular system began in the 1930s with engines. Since then, Scania has continued to build on and refine its modular system as the company has entered more markets and new segments. Today, all Scania truck and bus chassis are built using components from the modular system. This modular product range has become one of the company’s most important success factors – and something that competitors, the commercial vehicle industry and the international trade press view with admiration.
“Modularization provides standard interfaces between components and well balanced performance steps and identical solutions for the same need,” explains Jonas Hofstedt, SVP Vehicle Definition at Scania R&D. “And by keeping the same interfaces over a long period of time, we can introduce new components in a continuous evolution of properties, without the need for a large effort being put into the architectural lay-out of the product”.
The modular system reduces Scania’s development and production costs, while enabling the company to offer each customer a tailored and optimised product using a limited number of components. For example, Scania’s engine range is based on three engine series featuring five, six or eight cylinders. The actual cylinder and associated components share a common design.
“This means that we share the same combustion system and auxiliaries and therefore reduce the development costs and time-to-market for the complete engine program,” says Hofstedt.
In the same way, cab doors and sidewalls, axles, gearboxes and frames are modularised. There are limitless combinations that provide customers with a tailored vehicle, which is totally adapted to their needs and operations.
“Today we can guide the customer with a simulation tool and specify the best combination of our modularised components for that customers specific needs,” says Hofstedt. “For example, maximizing pay load and getting the lowest possible fuel consumption and at an acceptable average speed.”
But the customer gets more than tailored solutions. Vehicle servicing is also better and more efficient thanks to the modular system.
“Modularisation enables large synergies on the service market, with fewer spare parts. And we use the same methods and tools to service any truck, bus or engine.”
But why have Scania’s competitors not picked up on the modularisation concept? It’s not so easy, according to Hofstedt.
“Modularisation has been developed at Scania over several decades,” says Hofstedt. “You can’t just copy it. It also helps that we have one main product – heavy vehicles. That means it is easier to have one modular system. Many companies count the total number of parts in their production system and haven’t understood that you have to relate the number of parts with the total number of possible combinations.”
It is also important to differentiate between modularisation and standardisation, Hofstedt emphasises. “Modularisation starts and ends with the customer. Our goal is tailored solutions for each one of our customers.”
Advantages of modularisation
- Tailored solutions that suit the customer.
- Better and more efficient vehicle servicing.
- Easier to maintain a supply of parts.
- Easy to train the service organisation.
- New products are compatible both backwards and forwards in time.
The unitary “Royal” engine is launched: the first Scania engine series featuring standardised components for four, six and later 8-cylinder configurations.
In-house gearbox production. Collaboration with Leyland leads to an upgraded engine range featuring direct fuel injection.
Scania’s engine range is further modularised. The Strength Testing Laboratory is developed. Systematic analysis of designs for different applications.
Scania buys a cab factory in Oskarshamn. Development of modularised cab range. In-house frame manufacturing.
Cabs and chassis are modularised.
Scania introduces the GPRT range (2-series) – its first entirely modularised product range. The 3-series follows in 1987.
The Streamline cab is introduced. The 4-series is introduced.
Fully modularised 5-, 6- and 8-cylinder engine range. Global specification system. Broadened cab range (P-, G- and R-series). Modular engine platform featuring common-rail fuel injection.
Scania’s Euro 6 engines enter the market and in 2013 the new Scania Streamline concept is launched. Modularisation is extensively used in Scania’s vehicle electronics and becomes increasingly advanced. This provides completely new opportunities to configure vehicles and performance according to customer needs.