A revolutionary, British-designed digital valvetrain drive system called IVA, claimed to give petrol engines the driveability and economy of diesels but with more benign and manageable emissions, has been revealed by Leamington Spa-based technology firm Camcon Automotive.
IVA, or Intelligent Valve Actuation, has been under development for the past six years, reaching a sufficient stage of maturity in bench tests for road trials to begin. IVA is now being offered to major manfacturers and component suppliers for development as an efficiency boost for use in both normal and hybrid cars.
According to Camcon technical director Roger Stone, who has led IVA’s development from the start and describes himself as “a lifelong engine man”, the system allows valve lift, valve timing and duration to be independently and infinitely controllable. This breaks the previously unbreakable mechanical link between valve operation and the rotation of the crankshaft that has been a factor in all piston engine design for well over a century.
IVA’s inventors describe it as a step-change in engine design that removes the last remaining analogue system, saying it is “probably even more important than the switch from points ignition to engine management, or carburettors to fuel injection”.
With completely flexible valve actuation, there’s high potential for an engine to be configured entirely according to a driver’s needs, delivering extreme flexibility in lowspeed, low-load situations, with very high power when needed.
The necessary compromises imposed by conventional camshaft timing — and by existing less advanced variable valve timing systems — are removed. IVA is especially adaptable to sophisticated cylinder deactivation — a likely further boost to efficiency.