Manufacturing Milestone: Schaeffler Produces One Millionth UniAir Actuator for Tigershark Engine

Fully variable valve train system helps automakers improve vehicle fuel economy

Jan 07, 2016, 14:08 ET from Schaeffler

FORT MILL, S.C., Jan. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Schaeffler has reason to celebrate, as the global automotive supplier's one millionth UniAir actuator for the Tigershark engine recently rolled off the assembly line in the company's Cheraw, S.C. facility. Schaeffler originally developed the UniAir system in partnership with FCA US LLC as the fully variable valve train system that enables the MultiAir engine. The innovative fuel-saving technology was awarded a 2012 Automotive News PACE Award. 

"Our UniAir technology continues to evolve with our customers' needs and the current automotive marketplace," said Jeff Harris, president, engine systems, Schaeffler. "Since its development, market interest has increased and we now have plans to expand it to new engine applications in 2016. This growth, along with the one millionth Tigershark milestone, reflects the hard work and dedication of many people within the Schaeffler organization."

The UniAir system debuted in 2009 in the Alfa Romeo MiTo and Schaeffler's Cheraw facility began production of the system in June 2011 for the Fiat 500 and Dodge Dart. The system is currently utilized on three FCA engines: the 1.4L FIRE engine; the 0.9L TwinAir engine in Europe; and the 2.4L Tigershark global engine. Since 2009, Schaeffler has produced a total of nearly two million actuators for its UniAir engine system.

UniAir represents the first time Schaeffler delivered a valve train system (actuator and engine software) to its global automotive customers. Some 300 people work on the system, which includes 114 sub components assembled in 17 partially automated assembly cells. To assure quality, Schaeffer employs a function test at the end of the assembly line to test every single actuator at different rpm rates.

UniAir's Technology and Benefits

Schaeffler's UniAir technology is a fully variable, electro-hydraulic valve actuation system that offers full control of the opening and closing angle of the engine valves while also offering control of the valve lift. The system uses camshaft motion to compress engine oil under high pressure to open the engine valves. A fast switching solenoid valve controls the build up and release of this oil pressure so that the lift, opening and closing angles can be controlled. A control system and calibration is also provided to manage the functionality of the system and to manage the diagnostic strategies in conjunction with the OEM.

This complex technology provides customers a number of benefits, including a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions, as well as a "fun to drive" factor due to increases in power and torque. Depending on the application and usage of the UniAir technology, the system can reduce fuel consumption by 4 to 5 percent.

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About Schaeffler

The Schaeffler Group is a leading global integrated automotive and industrial supplier. The company stands for the highest quality, outstanding technology, and strong innovative ability. The Schaeffler Group makes a key 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 technology company generated sales of approximately EUR 12.1 billion in 2014. With around 84,000 employees, Schaeffler is one of the world's largest family companies and, with approximately 170 locations in 50 countries, has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities, and sales companies.

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  


SOURCE Schaeffler