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Eaton’s Vehicle Group launches EV e-drive gearing design, development and manufacturing

Power management company Eaton’s Vehicle Group is developing gearing solutions for electrified vehicles (EVs). Leveraging its expertise in producing transmissions and contract manufactured gear-sets for passenger and commercial vehicles, the Vehicle Group aims to be a leader in the global design, development and supply of EV reduction gearing. The new technology complements Eaton’s eMobility power electronics portfolio in the electrified vehicle powertrain market.

Automakers face many challenges when developing an electrified vehicle, such as optimizing efficiency, weight, noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), and dealing with packaging constraints. Eaton can help manufacturers meet these challenges by applying its years of experience and in-house capability in design, validation and manufacturing of high-precision, high-quality gearing systems for transmissions and powertrains.

We are partnering with OEM customers to leverage our expertise in simulation, design and manufacturing​ to optimize the efficiency, NVH and weight of high-precision gearing systems ​tailored to specific customer needs.

—Anthony Cronin, director, EV gearing, Eaton’s Vehicle Group

Whether for a large-scale industrialization project or a niche-market application, Eaton can partner with customers on joint-development programs or serve as a single service provider of EV reduction gearing components or systems. Eaton’s says it can optimize solutions from a technical, commercial and production aspect, reducing the risk of multi-iteration design and enabling shortened development times.

Eaton conducts a total system analysis, using state-of-the-art tools and

in-house expertise, to design EV gearing solutions that are optimized for efficiency and reliability, with low noise and manufacturing costs. A full-system approach is essential when tailoring a design to a specific customer need, as several factors influence the ​development of gearing solutions.

Chief among those factors are the gears, bearings and lubrication system. To achieve optimization in these three areas, Eaton applies a series of in-house design and manufacturing techniques, including:

  • Gear root geometry optimization for maximum strength. ​

  • Micro and macro gear geometry modelling to improve NVH, efficiency and reliability.

  • Thrust load and bearing loss minimization​ to improve reliability and simplify or downsize bearings.

  • Simulation and selection of lubrication solutions for full-system reliability and efficiency.

Eaton engineers evaluate existing layouts or develop clean-sheet solutions that work within a customer’s packaging constraint. The Eaton team also provides solutions for scaling the EV gearing layout for platforms with multiple torque requirements.

By combining system design expertise and manufacturing know-how in high-quality precision gears, Eaton has identified opportunities to improve gearing system efficiency by up to 1%, reduce weight by up to 20% and size by up to 10%. These benefits can be applied to both light-duty and commercial electrified vehicles.

Additionally, by applying its manufacturing expertise, including power honing, power skiving, grinding and superfinishing, Eaton can manage the relative production cost of high-quality precision gears. With electrified vehicles, even small efficiency improvements provide vehicle manufacturers new opportunities to manage vehicle range or improve cost and weight.

The development of EVs is pushing the boundaries of EV gearing. Reliable, efficient and quiet gearing systems are critical to high-speed motor adoption in electric drives.

—Anthony Cronin

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