Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Torque converters now becoming lighter

Component supplier Schaeffler claims its iTC torque converter represents a new generation of lighter-weight torque converters that are help reduce vibrations.
A key feature of the iTC – or integrated torque converterTorque converters become lighter, is a lock-up clutch integrated into the torque converter turbine.
This makes the system lighter and creates space for more efficient torsion dampers, such as the centrifugal pendulum-type absorber developed by Schaeffler.
“The damper with a centrifugal pendulum-type absorber in the torque converter significantly improves the isolation of vibrations. This technology thus allows the lock-up clutch to be closed at an earlier stage. In turn, both fuel economy and comfort can be improved at the same time”, explains Uwe Wagner, vice president research and development automotive at Schaeffler. “That is why the majority of the torque converters used in future automatic transmissions will include a centrifugal pendulum-type absorber”.
Compared to conventional torque converters, the iTC also requires fewer components. As the entire axial force of the turbine is transferred through the friction surface, this design does not require an axial bearing between the turbine and the stator.
The number of individual elements required for the application of torque to the torsion damper and the integration of the piston into the turbine can be cut. This not only makes the design lighter, it also allows more effective torsion dampers to be designed using the available design envelope.
The mTC (multi-functional torque converter) is suitable for use in combination with start-stop systems and can compensate for delayed response behaviour; so-called “turbo lag”.
Furthermore, fuel savings of up to five percent can be achieved with the multi-functional torque converter thanks to the optional idle disconnect function and early torque converter lockup.
The mTC eliminates the torque converter idling losses that previously had to be taken into account, as the transmission can be decoupled from the engine, and this converter arrangement also allows the mass moments of inertia to be distributed in a more beneficial way, resulting in an improved isolation of vibrations in all operating ranges. Because of the engine decoupling, the engine reaches higher starting speeds at the moment at which the torque converter is activated. 
Schaeffler’s LuK brand began developing torque converters in Bühl in 1990. Schaeffler strengthened its market position in the USA with its own torque converter development and manufacturing location in Wooster, Ohio, in 1998. Today, this serves as a competence centre in Schaeffler’s global development network.
                          Schaeffler invests further in China
Meanwhile, Schaeffler is expanding its production capacity in China with an investment in a new manufacturing location in Xiangtan.
The expansion is being panned in stages and will begin with the construction of a manufacturing plant covering 20 hectares. It will produce automobile parts and precision bearings, with initial output planned for the end of 2018. An additional phase of expansion will see a second plant constructed together with a logistics centre and a training facility.

Schaeffler first began investing in manufacturing and R&D facilities in China in 1995.
Then, in April 2014, Schaeffler began torque converter production at its plant in Taicang China, where the one-millionth torque converter recently came off the production line. 

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