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Efficiency begins in design

Schaeffler simulation programs highlight potential savings and reduce development costs

(PresseBox) (Herzogenaurach, ) The pursuit for perfection during the development of an energy-efficient car requires a lot of detailed work. A key stage is the minimization of the frictional resistance that occurs at numerous positions in the car. Whether in the transmission, engine or chassis - Schaeffler traditionally offers a large number of solutions and also a direct method of accessing these. Advanced calculation expertise in the form of simulation programs that are matched precisely to one another help vehicle developers with this task and to reduce development times.

Complex Schaeffler simulation programs - which have names such as "BearinX", "CABA", "Dyfasym" or "TELOS" - make it possible to compare different solutions with each other and to draw direct conclusions for the energy balance. This means that energy efficiency can already be predicted in an early development stage. Schaeffler therefore offers useful tools for the development of automotive vehicles. Ultimately, the reduction of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption are the greatest challenge for the car, both today and in the future.

In addition, development processes can be accelerated and thus designed more efficiently using Schaeffler's programs. "As far as transmission design is concerned, for example, the estimated design time is around three months. This also includes different test phases in which firstly the function, then the service life and finally the efficiency of the new transmission designs are tested on the test stand", explains Dr. Peter Gutzmer, Executive Vice President of Schaeffler Technical Product Development and acting Vice President of Schaeffler Group Automotive. "We can accelerate this process, reduce the number of prototypes and reverify the actual tests using simulations. This noticeably reduces development costs."

Overall Schaeffler offers its customers numerous detailed solutions and systems with which decisive steps can be made in saving fuel and minimizing CO2 output. In the forefront is the minimization of frictional resistance. Schaeffler has a diverse portfolio of solutions here that is tailored to different applications and application profiles. The simulation programs developed by Schaeffler are also matched to different applications and application examples accordingly. But they all have one thing in common: They all enable calculation of the potential fuel savings which can be produced by components of the brands INA, FAG and LuK in the early stages of the design phase.

"The innovation is that efficiency is used as a design factor. What are the benefits with regard to fuel consumption? This is the task we are faced with today", explains Dr. Robert Plank, Head of Basic Projects and Long-Term Quality at Schaeffler. "Of course, the operating life of the Schaeffler components continues to have absolute priority, but in the past the design of components was exclusively geared towards the service life."

Tapered roller bearings which are used, amongst other things, as wheel bearings and in differentials offer a good example of how significant improvements in efficiency can be achieved. They are now facing competition from more efficient double row angular contact ball bearings developed by Schaeffler. After all, the latter meet the high requirements for operating life while at the same time significantly reducing the frictional resistance. Significant savings in fuel can be realized by replacing tapered roller bearings. BMW is one of the manufacturers which is already using double row angular contact ball bearings. In the compact 1 series models, for example, BMW estimates the fuel saving achieved by just replacing the bearings in the differential to be one percent.

While the programs "BearinX" and "CABA" are primarily designed for the calculation of rolling bearings, "Dyfasim" can take account of the entire drive train dynamics. The calculations are carried out in an intensive dialog with customers, "because the programs enable a large amount of information and a large number of variations to be taken into consideration", says Dr. Robert Plank.

The results conform well with the actual consumption measured later on because comprehensive engine and vehicle data as well as detailed data models of Schaeffler components (for example dual mass flywheels or rolling bearings) are used. "This conformity proves at the same time the accuracy of our calculation methods. We can in turn gain from their performance and our many years of experience," sums up Dr. Plank.

Schaeffler AG

Schaeffler makes cars more economical. Engineers from Herzogenaurach, Bühl, Schweinfurt and the other locations 180 locations worldwide are continually finding new solutions for reducing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. The range extends from optimized bearings - whether in wheel carriers, transmissions or engines and the associated ancillary devices - to system solutions, for example, for variable valve control systems or fuel-efficient, direct-shift transmissions. 60 percent of the annual turnover totaling 8.9 billion euros is achieved by sales of Schaeffler Group products that are matched to the needs of the automotive industry.