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New Nexteer Polyamide Rack Bearing Improves Feel and Noise of EPS Systems

Nexteer
Nexteer’s eccentric rack bearing reduces EPS systems’ noise and friction, important factors in a vehicle’s perceived quality. Click to enlarge.

Electric power steering specialist Nexteer Automotive has developed a polyamide eccentric rack bearing that has superior NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) performance compared to conventional yoke-style bearings. It will help vehicle manufacturers improve the feel and noise of electric power steering (EPS) systems in vehicles of all sizes.

The need to cut CO2 is making electric power steering a key technology. According to Nexteer, replacing hydraulic steering with an on-demand electrically powered system can reduce a vehicle’s CO2 emissions by 5-6 g/km. The technology can contribute significantly to an automaker’s CO2 reduction targets for 2015 when the European Commission is due to levy steep penalties.

However, as manufacturers improve their vehicles’ efficiency they must also maintain excellent steering feel. Steering friction is a key factor in this, determining the purity of the feedback. A system with lower friction makes the drive feel more assured, communicating what’s happening at the contact patch to the driver’s fingertips and allowing them to place the car on the road more precisely.

Controlling lash, the play between mating components, in EPS systems is a significant part of our advanced development work. A balance between tight tolerances and low friction is what gives steering systems a feeling of directness. The new bearing’s reduced friction ensures that feel is not lost in the system; it also noticeably improves steering noise. As vehicle manufacturers create more premium models for new market segments and reduce vehicle weights, it will help to ensure the perceived quality of vehicles continues to meet customers’ expectations for their brand.

The bearing is the result of our close cooperation with scientists at materials specialists that produced a premium polyamide grade that displays excellent dimensional properties across all operating temperatures. It then underwent countless painstaking iterations to produce a mechanical design that is both simple and robust. It has to absorb shocks and be insensitive to moisture.

—Paul Poirel, Nexteer’s chief product engineer, Europe

Nexteer’s solution eliminates traditional yoke-style bearings that use a spring-loaded bushing to protect against lash, but which can resonate, creating rattles and other NVH problems. Nexteer’s polyamide bearing makes the steering system quieter, more durable and easier to package. Reducing the friction also makes it quicker and easier to fine-tune the system to suit customers’ requirements.

Nexteer is the only Tier One supplier focused entirely on the development of electric power steering systems. It has the industry’s broadest EPS portfolio, offering systems that can benefit every class of passenger vehicle from city cars to luxury limousines and SUVs.

Nexteer is receiving considerable interest in the development. Our eccentric rack bearing recently entered production in the EPS system for the premium B-segment Citroën DS3. The eccentric rack bearing is compatible with all our EPS systems that are based on a rack and pinion gear, whether it’s single-pinion, dual-pinion or belt-drive. We expect other applications to follow.

—Laurent Bresson, Nexteer Automotive’s Executive Director, Europe

Nexteer recently invested more than €40 million (US$52 million) to upgrade its state-of-the-art factory in Poland as part of its preparations for EPS contracts with PSA Peugeot Citroën. It supplies the Citroën C3 and DS3, benchmark vehicles in their class.

Comments

HarveyD

A smart easy change towards more efficient cleaner lighter accessories for future e-vehicles. Its seems that we may be getting what we have been waiting for many decades. Too bad that the world had to wait for so long to get those improvements. Without the current worldwide push for cleaner vehicles, we could be driving gas guzzlers for 2 more centuries.

Stan Peterson

Harvey D,

Sometimes I wish you used the half a brain that you have.

Efficiency has been a constant of technology since it began, some 5000 years ago. Your nonsense is just that. Efficiency htta creates economic benefits is the only kind that counts,and increases the wealth and options of all Humanity.

Government idealogues retard rather then promote technological advance. They create artificial increased costs which preclude the adoption of improved technologies. For example it was not govermental pressure that caused the automakers worldwide to produce SULEV II aka Sub-T2B2 ICE auto engines.

There is NO governmental regualtory standard that requires that level of cleanup anywhere.

The CARB cloacal cavities are now proposing to adopt such a standard, but even they admit that fully 25% of the cars on the road meet it already, without the "benefit" of governmental regulation, and many more will by the time they promulgate this make work drivel.

The world has wasted prodigious sums on idealogical wastes of time like Acid Rain, Y2K, and yes CO2. There is less and less evidence that all the money expended for these idiotic governmental advocacies has produced a single benefit other than to drain corporate Treasuries, drain their R&D budgets, bankrupt the companies, and slow down the adoption of good technologies like Zero Pollution ICEs.

Europe has passed CO2 taxation/regulation when that idiocy was at its ecstatic religious crest, and will lose a substantial portion of its automotive makers as a result, post-circa 2014, when the idiocy reaches its heights. The higher costs for transportation will also make other industry less competitive too, and they will lose some more industry, as well.

The costs of such regulation falls on more than just the automakers. We have drained all the corporation's R&D budgets, with the taxes needed to finance these drones, so we have no Space Shuttle follow-on; may not have as much clean nuclear power as we otherwise would have; and have retarded the developemnt of inexhaustible Fusion power.

So go ahead and believe governmental waste is anything but governmmental waste.

SJC

Stan,

No insults, read the rules.

HarveyD

Stan:

The majority of the unregulated free enterprises have one mandate ONLY, i.e. increase their profit margin year after year and to give larger bonus to their administrators and to increase the value of their shares. They couldn't care less about changing or improving their products as long as their marketing branch can maintain or increase sales. It is unworldly to think that they really care about the quality, durability, technical evolution, environmental fitness, local product and labor content etc. They simply don't.

Most major technical advances or forward leaps have been brought about by other necessities, mainly to sustain great war efforts, exploration, labor shortages, food shortages, other natural products shortages, political revolutions, religious revolutions, climate changes, ways of life evolution, to fight/cure major diseases, to prevent diseases etc.

Private industries did not explore space nor go to the moon. Governments $$$ did.

Private industries did not develop Radars, Satellite launchers, Navigation (GPS) Satellites, Communication Satellites, Vaccines, Nuclear reactors,advanced Airplanes, advanced batteries, PHEVs, BEVs etc with their own funds. They were very well paid, with tax payers $$, to do so.

Please have a close look at what happened in societies where public resources ($$$) were not used to provoke changes. They used smokes signals and tam-tam for thousands of centuries.

Without buyers, tax payers and governments interest and subsides, free enterprises would delay PHEVs and BEVs mass production until the world runs out of fossil and substitute liquid fuels or way after 2100. That would be their best way to maximize profit with their traditional ICE gas guzzlers.

Free enterprises will only make changes whenever they are paid to do it or are forced by legislation or lower sales or forced out of business by competition.

Do not rely on free unregulated enterprise to mass produce what is good for you or the society at large.

SJC

Electric assisted steering always made sense and could have been done years ago. It seems odd to have a hydraulic pump and actuator on steering. A fluid leak or a burst hose causes problems.

HarveyD

SJC is correct. Many other accessories like on board HVAC, brakes, engine cooling, intake air compressor, active suspension, fuel management, exhaust management, accident avoidance systems, electronically controlled transmissions etc could have been electrified years ago.

Traditional ICE vehicle manufacturers are reluctant to use state of the art electrical and electronic technologies even if it could reduce weight and fuel consumption.

SJC

Car makers need to see a cost reductions and/or sales increases. Why change when you don't have to? Is 1 mpg better doing to increase your sales enough to make it profitable? Before $4 gasoline, probably not.

HarveyD

Yes, it is that old profit driver again. Nothing else really matters.

Without regulations, mufflers, anti-pollution, air bags, safety brakes, fuel consumption reduction etc would not have been incorporated into ICE vehicles. We could (all) be driving 4-ton monsters on 24-inch wheels doing about 3 to 5 mpg and 20+ tons of CO2/year/vehicle.

Manufacturers would make about 4 times more profit per vehicle.

USA would be importing 85+% of crude oil required etc

Stan Peterson

Harvey D,

Tell that baloney about government being absolutely necessary for advance to someone dumb enough to believe it.

Try to convince Henry Ford that he built the Tin Lizzy for the government.

Try to sell that to Alexander Graham Bell that he built the telephone for the government.

Try to sell that to the pharmaceutical makers, although now that we have decided to go for socialized medicine that will change. The US was the only remaining market that provided a means to pay for medical drug research. But so will the incentive die to develop new drugs in lieu of more expensive treatments. Government will not pay for them, just like the socialized medicine countries don't pay, via below cost price controls, for medicines.

Try to sell that to the Wright brothers. But I agree that government did improve planes 10 years after they were invented, for war purposes.

Try to sell that to Robert Fulton for the steamboat too. But government did improve them 40 years later for warships.

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