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GKN Driveline developing new intelligent electromagnetic AWD coupling

GKN is developing a new intelligent electromagnetic all-wheel drive (AWD) coupling for SUVs and crossovers that will help make future AWD vehicles even more responsive and controllable on low-grip surfaces in low temperatures. The technology is expected to enter production during 2018.

The fourth generation of GKN’s GKN’s Electro-Magnetic Control Device (EMCD) can generate 90% of the target torque in less than 100 milliseconds when slip reaches just 3 revolutions per minute. The system’s drag torque will be less than 10 N·m across the entire range of slip speeds, improving efficiency and increasing performance in very low temperature conditions.

GKN’s EMCD controls the driveline’s flow of torque to provide instant, on-demand AWD performance and front-wheel drive efficiency at other times. The technology, suitable for applications with torque outputs of up to 500 N·m, is also popular on rear-wheel drive platforms.

A GKN algorithm analyses vehicle sensor data to ensure power is balanced effectively between the front and rear wheels when launching, cornering or driving on poor road surfaces. When necessary, the device can send the requested torque from the front to the rear wheels to improve the vehicle’s traction.

EMCD is one of the smallest, lightest and versatile electronically controlled driveline and axle couplings available. The device uses precise electromagnetic control to continuously adjust the coupling’s clutch torque according to driving conditions.

GKN has supplied the EMCD for more than 10 years and manufactures the technology in Tochigi, Japan, and Bruneck, Italy.


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