LIVONIA, Mich., May 22 -- TRW Automotive GmbH, a subsidiary of TRW Automotive Holdings Corp (NYSE:TRW), today unveiled its Electrically Powered Steering (EPS) Belt Drive system that will launch on North American models in 2008 and European models in 2009.
Belt drive steering technology, also referred to as 'rack drive', brings the fuel efficiency and carbon dioxide reduction benefits of an electric steering system to higher rack load vehicles as compared to TRW's current Column Drive EPS system, already launched on more than 30 vehicle models. As with all TRW electromechanical steering systems, the Belt Drive system only consumes noticeable power when steering assist is needed, providing considerable fuel consumption benefits and reduced CO2 emissions.
The energy consumption of an EPS system is just ten per cent of a conventional hydraulic power steering (HPS) system as power assist engages only when needed.
TRW's EPS Belt Drive system can provide premium performance across a wide range of vehicle platforms with rack assist forces of 11 kilonewtons (kN). Power assist is applied directly to the rack allowing for a responsive, low- inertia, low friction steering system with direct steering feel.
Dr. Aly Badawy, vice president engineering, steering & suspension, said: "The product is delivered as a fully tested, ready-to-install unit, and all steering belt, pulley, pump, reservoir and hydraulic lines are eliminated making the product easy to install and maintain."
"The Belt Drive EPS system can be programmed with steering assist functions in line with vehicle manufacturer's requirements - options include speed sensitive, positive and responsive steering feel and the possibility for vehicle manufacturers to fine-tune the steering characteristics. And with a Belt Drive system, these benefits are now available for small and medium size sport utility vehicles, minivans and light trucks."
Dr. Dieter Fehlings, engineering director, added: "The Belt Drive system is also relatively easy to adapt to modern vehicle crash structures and, with its open architecture, offers the possibility of integrating future Driver Assist System (DAS) features. These features typically include safety related support functions but can also include comfort functions like automated parallel parking."
The same system can be used on Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) without modification, if the rack load of the HEV is within the given power range of the EPS Belt Drive system. This enables vehicle manufacturers to put the same type of steering system on a conventional and HEV version of the same platform.
TRW offers a complete portfolio of electrically assisted steering. In addition to its full electric Column and Belt Drive systems, TRW also offers an Electrically Powered Hydraulic System (EPHS). With EPHS, hydraulic assist is determined by the pump speed and controlled by a patented, brushless motor - providing assist only when it is required. EPHS combines the benefits of traditional hydraulic steering feel while achieving low energy consumption: around 15 per cent of the energy consumption of hydraulic power steering systems.
TRW has supplied EPHS steering for a range of passenger cars since 1998 and has now developed a system with a maximum rack assist force of 16 kN, making it suitable for loads of up to five tons in gross weight (vehicles such as delivery vans).
About TRW Automotive
With 2006 sales of $13.1 billion, TRW Automotive ranks among the world's leading automotive suppliers. Headquartered in Livonia, Michigan, USA, the Company, through its subsidiaries, employs approximately 63,800 people in 26 countries.
TRW Automotive products include integrated vehicle control and driver assist systems, braking systems, steering systems, suspension systems, occupant safety systems (seat belts and airbags), electronics, engine components, fastening systems and aftermarket replacement parts and services. All references to "TRW Automotive", "TRW" or the "Company" in this press release refer to TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. and its subsidiaries, unless otherwise indicated.
TRW Automotive news is available on the internet at http://www.trwauto.com/.
Source: TRW Automotive Holdings Corp.
CONTACT: John Wilkerson, TRW Automotive, North America, +1-734-855-3864, or Louise Colledge of TRW Automotive, Europe, +44-121-506-5440
Web site: http://www.trwauto.com/