Thursday, 3 September 2015

Schaeffler makes new active roll control unit

Schaeffler has built completely new production facilities at its Schweinfurt location in Germany to make a new electromechanical active roll control system the company has put into volume production.

This innovative system replaces the previous standard hydraulic stabilizers that minimize the rolling motion of the vehicle body when going around curves or during quick evasive manoeuvres.

This technology also makes it possible to effectively prevent any yawing of the vehicle and helps to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Schaeffler claims also it makes vehicle assembly more straightforward, thus saving assembly costs. Schaefler adds, however, that it is not permitted to name its customer. Non-disclosure must reign supreme, as ever!

This pioneering technology has been made possible thanks to the sophisticated control solutions from Continental, the specialist responsible for the ECU (electronic control unit), the engine control system, and the software platform.

According to Professor Peter Gutzmer, chief technology officer and member of Schaeffler’s executive board, “With the world’s first electromechanical active roll control, Schaeffler is expanding its range of electromechanical actuators, which make significant contributions with respect to performance capacity and efficiency for cars.”

“With our electronic control system, we are helping to defuse the classic conflict of objectives between comfort and handling when designing the chassis. The rolling motion of the vehicle when negotiating curves is reduced, which at the same time increases driving safety, driving dynamics, and driving comfort,” according to Felix Bietenbeck, manager of the vehicle dynamics business unit at Continental’s Chassis & Safety Division.

Modern active roll control systems match the chassis’ function to any driving situation. This is primarily achieved by active roll control with swivel motors (that have previously been hydraulically driven). These motors rotate two halves of the roll control in opposite directions to produce a torsional moment that has a stabilizing effect on the vehicle body.

This is not the case with electromechanical systems: Based on the experience that hydraulic systems can be replaced by more efficient electric systems, Schaeffler engineers have developed a solution that adjusts the stabilizing torque as needed without the requirement for a constant energy supply.

The key to this is the electric motor, which consumes power only when the swivel actuator twists and creates torque. To keep the torque at a constant level, only a relatively low loss of electrical resistance has to be compensated for.

Schaeffler claims its solution also increases comfort by including an innovative decoupling element. This makes it possible to absorb road surface irregularities that occur in the road’s surface.

Electromechanical chassis regulating systems are only one of the development approaches being used to shape mobility and the chassis of the future, according to Prof. Gutzmer,

“Higher-level requirements for reductions in CO2 emissions mean that the potential offered by lightweight construction, friction reduction, and efficient actuators must also be put to use in chassis engineering.”

Ultimately, Schaeffler and Continental will have to take a systemic approach in the future by considering and developing the chassis together with the drive system.

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