DETROIT, Jan. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The future of the automobile will be determined by increases in efficiency and progressive electrification of the drivetrain, as well as changing patterns of mobility and continuous digitalization. This paradigm shift in automotive engineering is increasing both the complexity and demands of a holistic, systemic way of thinking. As an internationally renowned supplier and development partner, Schaeffler understands these global challenges and is presenting products and solutions for "Mobility for Tomorrow" at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
Schaeffler's systems expertise is based on a comprehensive product portfolio that comprises precision components and systems for engine, transmission, chassis and electric mobility applications. The main focus is, as ever, the increasing worldwide demand for reductions in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, whilst not losing sight of the diverse global demands for customized drive solutions. To help meet these challenges, the company is increasing its research and development capacity. The R&D team in North America will expand by approximately 80 employees to 680.
The highlight at Schaeffler's NAIAS exhibit is the "glass car," a scale model packed full of around 40 Schaeffler products and technological developments. The model is brought to life by a movable screen that acts as an x-ray scanner and explains all the drivetrain components throughout the vehicle.
On the road to optimum total system solutions
Transmissions will have an important part to play in the future of the engine and the overall efficiency of the drivetrain. Continuous increases in efficiency and high levels of electrification will define the technological path of the drive architecture. A key to success is the interdisciplinary developmental work at Schaeffler, where expertise from different specialist areas is brought together. The internal combustion engine, the electrical components and the transmission are considered a single item in order to develop holistic solutions. This is one of Schaeffler's major strengths on the road to optimum total system solutions for the automotive industry.
Optimizing the internal combustion engine is a particular point of focus. A key element here is the thermal management module. It controls the temperature balance and allows the ideal temperature window for the engine and the transmission to be reached rapidly. This innovative and individually adaptable module is key to reducing both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, and will be an important topic for the North American market in the coming years. Another approach is replacing hydraulic systems with electromechanical systems. Schaeffler's electromechanical camshaft phasing units adjust valve drives more quickly and accurately to the engine's current operating conditions. This innovative technology reduces consumption and emissions, and increases comfort during start-stop operation. The fully variable electrohydraulic valve train system UniAir from Schaeffler selectively controls the intake valves on each cylinder as required. This system has already achieved sales of over one million units in the United States and over two million will be sold globally in 2016.
Schaeffler's modern transmission technologies have a decisive role to play on the road to optimum total systems solutions. One thing is obvious - transmissions are key in reducing consumption and emissions. Modern transmissions allow an engine's operation to be maintained at an optimum point by means of an increasing number of up to 10 gears. Innovative damping concepts reduce vibrations and lower speeds to a point of optimum consumption. A number of new transmissions have been developed in recent years and brought into volume production. Through its innovative components and systems, Schaeffler is pushing forward the development of all designs and concepts towards more driving comfort, lower consumption and more space.
Solutions for electrification of the drivetrain
An increase in the number of hybrid and electric vehicles on the road is absolutely essential if stated emissions targets are to be achieved. The need for drivetrain electrification solutions will also increase in North America. Schaeffler offers a range of products and technologies for every aspect of efficient electrification of the drivetrain. Schaeffler, with its expertise and experience in electric mobility and a correspondingly broad product portfolio, is the perfect partner for these future challenges. From hybrid modules and the electric axle through to wheel hub drives, Schaeffler's products can be integrated into hybrid or fully electric vehicles.
Schaeffler's 48-volt hybrid module provides the step up to hybridization, offering financially attractive potential in CO2 reductions. Schaeffler's P2 high-voltage hybrid module provides a drivetrain electrification solution that can be matched to a large number of drive concepts on a modular basis. With its high versatility and wide torque range, the P2 hybrid module can be used in both medium and high performance transmission concepts, and can make a considerable contribution to reductions in consumption and emissions in fleet vehicles. Schaeffler has developed a variation of the P2 hybrid module for the North American market with an integrated torque converter. The mobility supplier is combining its expertise in the fields of torque converters and hybrid modules. The two-speed E-axle combines a completely electric drive with the option of wheel-selective drive power control. A single-speed variant is also possible due to Schaeffler's modular design. Its compact design frees up important space for other hybrid components and also has an integral light-weight differential with face spline.
Schaeffler provides electric drivetrain for the German Formula E team
As the exclusive technology partner to the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team, Schaeffler has designed the engine and transmission for the racing car's drivetrain. The new car started season two of the FIA Formula E Championship on October 24, 2015 with the specially designed solution. Drivers Daniel Abt (22) and Lucas di Grassi (31) are up against international competition in the fight for the world championship title. The ABT Schaeffler team's goal is victory and a leading role in the title race. The first three races were in China, Malaysia and Uruguay, and the next two are in Brazil and Mexico. Formula E will come to the United States on April 2 in Los Angeles.
Electromechanical expertise: Actuators for the mobility of the future
Schaeffler's expertise as a supplier of actuators to the automotive market is impressively demonstrated in the company's electromechanical camshaft phasing unit, its "E-Clutch" automated clutch and electromechanical active roll control. Power on demand is a key phrase; and electromechanical systems in the drivetrain and chassis contribute to reductions in consumption and emissions. They allow new automated functions to be implemented, such as a quicker and more accurate adjustment of the camshaft to the prevailing engine operating conditions. The E-Clutch also allows fuel-saving driving strategies, such as "sailing" and electrically supported driving, to be integrated into vehicles with manual transmissions. Compared to hydraulic systems, electromechanical solutions use less energy and power. The first electromechanical active roll control from Schaeffler, which represents a new phase in chassis technology, demonstrates this well. This innovative system replaces conventional hydraulic anti-roll bars helping to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, and making vehicle assembly more straightforward. The electromechanical active roll control is initially being used in a luxury limousine and a top end SUV that's also running a 48-volt system.
The Schaeffler Group is one of the world's leading integrated automotive and industrial suppliers. The company stands for the highest quality, outstanding technology, and strong innovative ability. The Schaeffler Group makes a decisive contribution to "mobility for tomorrow" with high-precision components and systems in engine, transmission, and chassis applications as well as rolling and plain bearing solutions for a large number of industrial applications. The company generated sales of approximately 12.1 billion euros in 2014. With around 84,000 employees worldwide, Schaeffler is one of Europe's largest technology companies in family ownership. It has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities and sales companies at approximately 170 locations in 50 countries.
About Schaeffler North America
Schaeffler is a recognized development partner for global automakers and suppliers. To serve the North American automotive market, Schaeffler operates development centers in: Troy, Mich.; Fort Mill, S.C.; Wooster, Ohio; and Puebla, Mexico. The company's 600 North American engineers and technicians, who are supported by a team of more than 6,400 global R&D engineers, drive development in the region by utilizing state-of-the-art test and measurement equipment, computational tools and CAD systems. Schaeffler Automotive has headquarters in Fort Mill and manufacturing facilities in: South Carolina; Missouri; Ohio; Ontario, Canada; Puebla and Irapuato, Mexico. For more information, please visit www.schaeffler.us.