Innovation award for active roll control system

Active electromechanical roll control system

Schaeffler has picked up a German innovation award for the work it has done on the development of an electromechanical active roll control system.

Precision bearing and automotive systems manufacturer Schaeffler has been presented with the 2016 German Innovation Award in the “large companies” category for its innovation and development of an active electromechanical roll control system.

Professor Peter Pleus, CEO Automotive Schaeffler AG, commented: “Schaeffler has a tradition of being the most innovative company in Germany. This is also documented by the latest figures with more than 2,300 patent applications in 2015. The electromechanical active roll control system convinced the high-profile German Innovation Awards committee of our innovative capacity. The product adds to Schaeffler’s range of electromechanical actuators that provide significant contributions to power and efficiency in vehicles.”

Schaeffler’s volume production of the electromechanical active roll control system has opened up a new chapter in chassis technology. This new technology adjusts the chassis to any driving situation as quick as a flash and absorbs irregularities in the road, thus minimising the vehicle’s rolling motions, particularly when cornering at high speeds. This increases comfort, safety and dynamics. This innovation helps reduce fuel consumption and emissions compared to traditional hydraulic systems, as well as simplifying assembly in automotive production plants. The first large-scale application for the electromechanical active roll control system was in a luxury class saloon car and in the powerful, dynamic luxury 4X4 class. The latter even included a 48-volt electrical system.

Schaeffler’s electromechanical active roll control system consists of a gearbox and a control motor with an electronic system as well as an integrated torque sensor. The control motor with its high-ratio, three-stage planetary gearbox twists the two halves of the roll control in opposite directions to produce a torque that has a stabilising effect on the vehicle body. The torque is measured precisely using a non-contact torque sensor, which regulates the actuator quickly and accurately. To increase comfort, the Schaeffler product also includes an innovative decoupling element made from high-strength elastomer. Fast data transmission and a state-of-the-art software architecture also allow the system to be used in networked driving applications.

Unlike hydraulic systems, electromechanical active roll control only uses electric power on an as-needed basis (“power on demand”). One of the key factors here is the electric motor, which only consumes power when the swivel actuator twists and builds up torque. Only a relatively low electrical loss of resistance has to be compensated for in order to maintain the force (moment). Schaeffler has installed two state-of-the-art production lines at its Schweinfurt site for the volume production launch of the new system. The facilities have a modular design in accordance with Industry 4.0 criteria. This will allow subsequent product launches and future, refined generations of this technology to be integrated without any problems.

Accenture, EnBW, Evonik and WirtschaftsWoche magazine established the “German Innovation Award“ initiative in 2010 to recognise outstanding, trend-setting innovations by German companies whose innovative capacity changes business and markets. The group is in under the auspices of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The German Innovation Award is organised by the Handelsblatt publishing group.

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