Electronic module captures wasted energy to increase fuel economy, occupant comfort
TROY, Mich. -- To help automakers meet upcoming fuel economy and emissions regulations, Schaeffler has developed an advanced thermal management system to more precisely control drivetrain temperature. Through the proactive management of engine, transmission, hybrid component and battery temperature, Schaeffler's Thermal Management Module improves fuel economy by as much as four percent. Currently in production in Europe (on Audi's EA 888 Gen3 engine), the module also provides key occupant benefits, such as a 40 percent reduction in internal vehicle warm-up time.
"As the most advanced system currently available, our Thermal Management Module is attracting interest from numerous domestic and global automakers," said Michael Weiss, director of thermal management, Schaeffler. "Its flexible, drop-in design allows the module to easily adapt to various automaker requirements. Further, due to its ability to reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions, it meets the EPA's requirements for the Off-Cycle Innovative Technology Credit."
Developed as a system solution for the entire drivetrain, Schaeffler's Thermal Management Module uses electronic sensors to more accurately control engine temperatures to reduce warm-up time, increase efficiency range from the engine to the transmission to the turbocharger, as well as improve energy efficiency and the lifespan of components. The system integrates numerous functions in a compact assembly that is manufactured from lightweight, high-strength Polyphenylene Sulfide (PPS) plastic with fiber content.
The system replaces the traditional wax element thermostat, allowing temperature to be more precisely controlled by means of a rotary slide valve that enables the ideal temperature window for the engine and transmission to be obtained rapidly. Reacting on the driver's power demand, the valve immediately supplies the required cooling performance. Due to an advanced calculation model, the coolant temperature stays in a range of +/- 2 degrees C.
Precise control increases energy efficiency and the life of components by reducing friction throughout the drivetrain. According to Schaeffler, specific components can now operate at higher temperatures than would be possible with a system controlled by a thermostat, which reduces friction without loss of operational safety. Additionally, the shortened warm-up leads to increased passenger comfort. The engine temperature can also be lowered under full load conditions, reducing knocking and fuel enrichment. Since the controlling element is an electric motor, temperature difference between part and full load is theoretically unlimited.
"Our Thermal Management Module integrates Schaeffler's drivetrain system expertise, electronic capabilities and its 50 years of plastics knowledge to create the future of proactive thermal management," said Jesse Myers, engineering manager, Schaeffler. "With its design flexibility, fuel economy and emissions benefits, and applicability to multiple vehicle types, I'm confident that our Thermal Management Module can help automakers meet their fuel economy and CO2 goals."
Applicable for engines of all sizes, the module can easily be adapted to any OEM requirement through the customization of the system's sensor output signal. The standardized sensor and drive group, as well as the sealing and material technologies offer drastically reduced R&D cost. As a patented fall-back solution, a small thermostat is included in the module. Working only in off-limits conditions, it prevents engine overheating and offers appropriate limp-home function. Further,the integration of several single-purpose components into one module reduces application effort, ECU (engine control unit) complexity and assembly efforts, leading to improved system reliability.
With its product brands INA, LuK and FAG, Schaeffler is a leading provider of rolling and plain bearing solutions, and linear and direct drive technology, as well as a renowned supplier of high-precision products and systems for engines, transmissions and chassis applications to the automotive industry. The global group of companies generated sales of approximately 10.7 billion Euro in 2011. With approximately 74,000 employees worldwide, Schaeffler is one of the largest German and European industrial companies in family ownership. With 180 locations in more than 50 countries, Schaeffler has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities, sales companies, engineering offices and training centers.
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 400 North American engineers and technicians, who are supported by a team of more than 5,500 global engineers, drive development in the region 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
CONTACT: Richard Neilson, Schaeffler Group USA Inc., +1-248-528-4822, Richard.Neilson@schaeffler.com