Prize-Winning Innovation for Lower CO2 Emissions

Schaeffler receives PACE Award for lightweight balancer shaft with rolling bearing supports

Herzogenaurach/Detroit, (PresseBox) - Schaeffler's lightweight balancer shaft with rolling bearing supports has won the PACE Award in the "Product" category. Presented annually since 1994 by Automotive News magazine in cooperation with audit and consulting firm Ernst & Young and the Transportation Research Center (TRC), the Pace Award honors outstanding product innovations of automotive suppliers.

The international jury's focus this year was on Schaeffler's lightweight balancer shaft with rolling bearing supports used in modern internal combustion engines, which comes under the company's INA brand. "This award for the lightweight balancer shaft with rolling bearing supports demonstrates the significance of innovative detailed work. Modern technologies, innovative products and lightweight designs are among the key factors that make a significant contribution to optimizing drive trains with internal combustion engines. This latest recognition with the PACE Award for us is a valuable confirmation of our innovative strength which is so highly appreciated by our customers", says Dr. Peter Pleus, President of Schaeffler Group Automotive.

Lightweight balancer shafts with rolling bearing supports contribute to cutting fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, whilst increasing the driving comfort at the same time. They are in line with the trends for the downsizing and downspeeding of engines and are therefore enjoying increasing popularity.

The rolling bearing supports with reduced friction characteristics lead to a significant improvement in energy efficiency compared to the plain bearings that were previously used. For example, the power consumed internally in a four-cylinder diesel engine already in volume production is reduced by up to 1.5 kW (2.0 horsepower). Furthermore, the use of rolling bearing supports considerably reduces the requirement for oil cooling and eliminates the need for the previously obligatory pressure lubrication. These characteristics in conjunction with the design's superior emergency running properties make lightweight balancer shafts with rolling bearing supports particularly suitable for engines with start-stop systems. The rolling bearing supports also enable a new, weight-optimized layout of the balancer shafts with a mass that is reduced by around one third. This means that the two balancer shafts mounted in an engine, which run at twice crankshaft speed due to the design, alone reduce engine weight by more than a kilogram. The filigree design minimizes the shaft's rotational inertia and thus, in turn reduces the driving forces required.

Dr. Peter Solfrank, Schaeffler Product Application Manager Rolling Bearings and Balancer Shafts, accepted the award presented in Detroit in the scope of the SAE Congress (Society of Automotive Engineers). "As the optimization of internal combustion engines is becoming more and more important, the topic of rolling bearing supports in the engine is also increasingly moving into focus. It still holds potential for improved energy efficiency in the classic drive train", says Dr. Solfrank.

The lightweight balancer shaft with rolling bearing supports celebrated its premiere in Daimler's OM 651 four-cylinder diesel engine, which was awarded Engine of the Year in 2009. The balancer shafts of other modern engines such as Fiat's two-cylinder TwinAir engine, which has received this year's Engine of the Year award, are now also equipped with rolling bearing supports. Last year, the lightweight balancer shaft with rolling bearing supports won the Steel Innovation Prize.

To date, Schaeffler has been nominated five times for the PACE Award and won the distinction once again this year. Among the nominated and awarded Schaeffler innovations are the dry double clutch and the hybrid damper from LuK as well as the wheel bearing with face spline and the angular contact TwinTandem bearing for rear axle drives of the FAG brand.

Schaeffler AG

With its brands INA, LuK and FAG, Schaeffler is a renowned supplier to the automotive industry as well as a leading manufacturer of rolling bearings worldwide. Sales of €9.5 billion were generated at over 180 locations in more than 50 countries in 2010. With more than 67,500 employees worldwide, Schaeffler is one of the largest German and European industrial companies in family ownership.

Our main customer is the automotive industry with around 60 percent of our sales. Schaeffler is a renowned development partner to the industry with system expertise for the entire drive train. Precision products for engines, transmissions and chassis applications ensure reduced energy consumption and lower emissions as well as increased driving comfort and safety.

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