Diesel mufflers to use new technology


Noise Cancellation Technologies Inc., the high-tech electronic company that produces noise reduction equipment at a plant in Linthicum, announced yesterday that it has entered into an agreement to supply its electronic mufflers to one of the world's leading manufacturers of diesel engines.

Michael J. Parrella, president of NCTI, said that the agreement with Detroit Diesel Corp. represents "an enormous new market" for the company's electronic muffler.

Detroit Diesel has "been testing our product for two years, and they are satisfied it works," Mr. Parrella said during a visit to the company's northern Anne Arundel County factory.

The agreement with Detroit Diesel, a Detroit-based heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturer, and NCTI also includes the Walker Manufacturing Co., the world's largest manufacturer of exhaust systems and components for new cars.

Walker, also based in Detroit, entered into an agreement with NCTI last year on the development of the electronic muffler for use on cars.

The muffler uses computer technology to analyze selected undesirable noises. Based on that analysis, the noise reduction system produces an equal but opposite sound wave, called "anti-noise," which "cancels out" the unwanted sound.

Mr. Parrella said yesterday that Walker is still testing its product on a fleet of cars and that the devices should begin showing up in new cars either during the 1994 or 1995 model year.

Under the terms of its agreement with Walker, NCTI would supply the electronics and Walker would produce the muffler. The profits from any sales would be split equally, he said.

According to the agreement, the three companies will install electronic mufflers on Detroit Diesel engines for field testing. Demonstration programs will be targeted at buses, trucks, construction and agricultural vehicles, boats, stationary engines, military equipment, generators and pumps.

"The past two years' testing have proven that NCTI electronic mufflers reduce exhaust noise and may improve engine performance," said Everett Arnold, manager of Mechanical Systems Technology, a department of Detroit Diesel.

Tests performed by Walker on automobiles equipped with electronic mufflers have shown a 5 percent to 6 percent improvement in fuel economy in the city and 1 percent to 2 percent on the highway. Detroit Diesel tests have shown a fuel savings of up to 1.9 percent on generators using the mufflers.

Nancy Martin, a spokeswoman for Detroit Diesel, compared the development of the electronic muffler with the company's own development of electronic controls that are now widely used on its engines to control fuel combustion and to determine when an engine is not performing properly.

She said that the development process of this equipment began in 1979 and that engines using the device were introduced in 1985. It is now standard equipment on all of the company's diesel engines used on large over-the-road trucks.

She predicted that electronic mufflers will eventually become standard equipment on Detroit Diesel engines.

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