SKF presents innovative products and solutions for its automotive customers
2005 June 22, 12:47 CET
|SKF has three primary automotive customer segments viz. Cars, Trucks and the Vehicle Service Market, and counts among its customers virtually every major Car, Truck and Tier 1 manufacturer globally. Over the years
SKF has worked with these customers to develop advanced bearing solutions for each application meeting ever increasing customer demands for reliability, longer life, zero maintenance, fuel efficiency, performance and cost. Some of the bearing solutions are:
• Wheel Bearing Solutions
For unitised solutions for wheel bearings (Hub Bearing Units) SKF has the largest market share. SKF pioneered unitised wheel bearing solutions with the Hub Bearing Unit generation. HBU1 eliminates the requirement for maintenance of wheels after every 30,000 km, which was the case for non-unitised solutions. It also delivers large quality improvement in terms of life and performance of the wheel bearing. Further development has seen SKF integrate the functionality of various other parts of the wheel-brake-suspension into this type of bearing unit.
HBU2 is used for non-driven wheels and has the flange (on which the brake and wheel are mounted) integrated with the outer ring. This benefits the customer in increasing stiffness and compactness, reduces noise and helps to improve vehicle performance and handling.
HBU3 is used generally on driven front wheels and non-driven rear wheels. It has two integrated flanges. The outer ring flange is bolted onto the suspension and the inner ring flange has a locating spigot and threaded holes or bolts to mount wheel and brake.
All three generations of HBU can be provided with integrated passive or active sensors for an ABS system. Each generation provides significant improvement in reliability, ease of fitment and performance.
Beyond these standard Hub Bearing Units, SKF has developed even more advanced HBU solutions integrating drum or disc brake and half shaft. And SKF has also developed a bearing that allows compressed air to pass through to enable a tyre air pressure management system and is working on an intelligent wheel end bearing with various types of condition monitoring and feedback control.
In three of its 2005 vehicles--the Ford Crown Victoria, Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Grand Marquis--Ford is using a wheel hub bearing unit designed by SKF that features an integrated sensor for brake systems. The sensor is designed to eliminate leak paths into the bearing, thus improving durability and minimizing the potential handling damage that can occur during sensor servicing.
• Mc Pherson Strut Bearing Units
Another area where SKF has clear market leadership is in Mc Pherson Strut Bearing Units.
The MacPherson Strut suspension system was designed for front wheel drive cars where available space was limited. A bearing is required at the top of the spring seat because the entire suspension system has to turn along with the wheel relative to the body of the car. This bearing combines a shock absorber and a coil spring into a single unit and is mounted at the top of the suspension system. It has proved to deliver superior ride control, comfort and reliability in the demanding conditions of the front suspension.
SKF's knowledge of the dynamics of this application is the reason why SKF solutions provide significantly better suspension and handling characteristics than traditional solutions. In India, SKF is supplying these solutions to Honda and Maruti for their cars Honda City and Swift respectively.
• Solutions for Transmissions (gearboxes)The current trend in the area of transmission solutions is towards more compact, higher density and lower weight. This put extra demands on solutions regarding stiffness, high temperature performance and general overall reliability.
For Volkswagen, SKF has designed a unique 'bolt-on' bearing carrier that can be easily assembled in their automatic lines. The carrier accommodates the bearing's supporting shafts, which are very close together with the end of the gearbox. A further development has been a similar solution, which sits inside the gearbox. Advantages are a more compact design with integrated functions, which saves weight and cost.
• Innovations for Engines
SKF has evolved a line of belt tensioners that are easy to install, need no adjustment or maintenance, are completely reliable and that automatically adjust for slack in the belt.
The tensioner of the engine timing belt is a very critical application. During usage the tension on the timing belt can change due to expansion, which can lead to slippage of the belt teeth, and subsequent engine failure.
Drive-by-Wire; the future technology
SKF has a Business Unit (Drive-by-Wire) devoted to developing solutions that replace all mechanical or hydraulic linkages from driver control to point of actuation with an electrical signal and a "Smart Electro Mechanical Actuator Unit" (SEMAU). Together with partners SKF has produced the world's only driveable Drive-by-Wire demonstration cars; the FILO and NOVANTA. In future SKF sees braking, steering, clutching and gear shifting being done "By-wire. By SKF".