Schaeffler strengthens chassis system business and details its latest bearings for electric mobility.
Innovative bearing solutions can play a key role in sustainable electrified mobility by making powertrains and chassis systems more energy efficient. Every watt of energy that can be saved in an electric vehicle translates into increased range. Vehicle producers are therefore looking closely at every single bearing application as they seek to optimise friction performance and enhance usability for the customer.
As a global automotive and industrial player, Schaeffler understands the major potential impact of innovative new technology and has recently announced a new wheel bearing designed specifically for electric vehicles, featuring three rows of ball bearings.
“Schaeffler is looking to fit its efficient and high-precision bearing solutions in chassis systems and electrified powertrains to further enhance these systems and make them more sustainable” said Matthias Zink, CEO Automotive Technologies at Schaeffler AG.
“E-mobility represents a major opportunity for our bearings business,” said Dr Dieter Eireiner, the head of Schaeffler’s Bearing business division. “We are expecting strong growth over the next few years, with major sales potential particularly for ball, cylindrical roller and tapered roller bearings, and we are already involved in a number of promising development projects with big-name vehicle manufacturers. Innovative bearing technologies are also very important for LCVs and HGVs, because they can significantly increase vehicle range. Working with our customers, we intend to take bearings to a whole new level.”
TriFinity: Three rows of bearings for maximum adaptability…
Schaeffler’s TriFinity product is a triple-row wheel bearing designed for use in electrified powertrains that is no larger than standard two-row ball bearings but is able to transfer greater axle loads whilst also offering significantly longer service life and improved rigidity.
The advanced ball bearing design provides an alternative to preloaded tapered roller bearing units. Switching from tapered rollers to balls leads to significant improvements in frictional torque and rigidity, which results in a 0.7 percent reduction in electricity consumption per vehicle in FTP75 test cycles.
Combining a TriFinity bearing with Schaeffler’s face spline technology allows downsizing solutions in the form of hub units with smaller diameters, which reduces bearing and seal friction and optimises weight, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint. Clearance-free face spline technology can also transmit up to 50% more drive torque, reduces noise levels and is easier to install.
High-performance bearing applications for drivetrains…
Schaeffler has also developed a new high-efficiency ball bearing with integrated centrifugal disc for electro-mobility applications. It is a high-performance, friction-optimised and sustainable product that combines the benefits of both open- bearing and sealed-bearing designs.
It is a smart yet simple solution that has a major impact on overall performance, producing 0.3 Nm less friction and reducing CO2 emissions by around 0.3 gms/km. Reducing losses of up to 30 watts per bearing can also improve the range of an electric vehicle by up to one percent. This advanced new product also increases on the service life of a traditional open bearing tenfold, offering a significant cost reduction. Schaeffler received the Magna Supplier Award and the German Innovation Award in 2022 for this innovative new technology.