Thursday, 15 December 2016
Schaeffler set to double CVT output by 2020
By 2020, Schaeffler LuK, part of Schaeffler AG, expects to have doubled its worldwide capacity for continuously variable transmission (CVT) belts.
The company currently makes some 1.6 million multi-link belts a year and the company recently celebrated production of its ten millionth CVT belt.
“One argument in favour of the Schaeffler chain is the degree of efficiency which has an edge over our competitors’ products”, claims Norbert Indlekofer, chief executive officer Automotive of Schaeffler AG
He adds that this “triggers high demand” from customers from all over the world: Construction has already begun for capacity expansion at Schaeffler’s plant in Puebla, Mexico. Production demand the site will begin in late 2017.
Preparations for localising production in China, another potentially high demand region, are also well under way. Start of production (SOP) is set for September 2018.
Schaeffler’s development and production of the CVT chain has been a continued success story. First used of the belt took place in the so-called “Multitronic” transmission in Audi’s A6 models in 1999.
Production began with a mere 50 items a day, whereas today some 6,000 chains roll off the production line in Bühl every working day. And from a global perspective, all indicators point to growth.
The company prides itself on in-house production facilities that are tailored to the relevant requirements. These facilities are designed and produced by Schaeffler’s Special Machinery group.
Indeed, it is thanks to the Special Machinery group that it has been possible to react extremely flexibly to customer demand and requirements at Schaeffler’s facility in Bühl.
“It is crucial to have in-depth command of the production process, and we have proven this once again”, said Trudbert Kraus, senior vice president operations in the transmission systems business division.
This excellence has been positively received by customers. This excellence has been recently rewarded when Holger Ubben, vice president of the CVT product line, accepted an award in the Best Performance category in Mexico. The prize was awarded by Jatco Mexico for Schaeffler’s “spontaneous capacity expansion” of the CVT8 transmissions in 2015. Jatco is a leading Japanese transmission maker.
It seems the award was thanks to the Special Machinery group that Schaeffler could react “extremely flexibly” at its Bühl facility.
“It is crucial to have in-depth command of the production process, and we have proven this once again”, said Trudbert Kraus, senior vice president operations in the Transmission Systems business division at Schaeffler.
With the chain-driven CVT, gear ratio can be continuously varied with no interruption to the tractive force, which means that the engine can always be operated in the most favorable area of the datamap in terms of consumption.
Another major customer besides Audi and Jatco, is Japanese car maker Subaru which first started using Schaeffler belts with the premier at the 2009 New York International Auto show of the Subaru Lineartronic.