In electrified vehicles, every bit of energy saved translates into increased range, which is why vehicle developers are looking closely at every bearing location as they seek to optimise friction performance.
In response, Schaeffler — the global automotive and industrial supplier — recently presented two bearing developments designed specifically for electric vehicles: the TriFinity triple-row wheel bearing; and a high-efficiency ball bearing with centrifugal disc.
Matthias Zink, Schaeffler’s CEO of Automotive Technologies, said: “Innovative bearing technologies underpin the success of our Automotive Technologies division. Schaeffler is looking to fit its efficient and high-precision bearing solutions in electrified powertrains and chassis systems, as well as conventional powertrains, to further enhance these systems and make them more sustainable.”
To achieve shorter development times for its custom solutions, at the start of this year Schaeffler established a new ‘Bearings business division’ within its Automotive Technologies division. Dieter Eireiner, who is head of the new business, said: “E-mobility represents a major opportunity for our bearings business.
“We are expecting strong growth over the next few years, with major sales potential particularly for ball, cylindrical roller, and tapered roller bearings. We are already involved in several promising development projects with big-name vehicle manufacturers.
“Innovative bearing technologies are also very important for lightweight and heavy commercial vehicles, because they significantly increase vehicle range. Working with our customers, we intend to take bearings to a whole new level.”
Schaeffler’s TriFinity product is no bigger than standard two-row ball bearings, but can transfer greater axle loads, while also offering a significantly longer service life and improved rigidity.
Moreover, this ball bearing design provides an alternative to preloaded tapered roller bearing units, one that offers significant improvements in frictional torque and rigidity, resulting in a 0.7% reduction in electricity consumption per vehicle in FTP75 test cycles.
Schaeffler’s new high-efficiency ball bearing with centrifugal disc is a high-performance, friction-optimised product for electromobility applications that combines the benefits of both open-bearing and sealed-bearing designs to offer 0.3Nm less friction.