Schaeffler has introduced two further product innovations designed specifically for electric vehicles: the TriFinity triple-row wheel bearing and the high-efficiency ball bearing with centrifugal disc.
“E-mobility represents a major opportunity for our bearings business,” said Dr Dieter Eireiner, head of the bearings business within Schaeffler’s automotive technologies division. “We are expecting strong growth over the next few years, with major sales potential particularly for ball, cylindrical roller and tapered roller bearings.
“We are already involved in a number of promising development projects with big-name vehicle manufacturers. Innovative bearing technologies are also very important for lightweight and heavy commercial vehicles, because they significantly increase vehicle range. Working with our customers, we intend to take bearings to a whole new level.”
Schaeffler’s TriFinity product is a triple-row wheel bearing designed for use in electrified powertrains. TriFinity is no bigger than standard two-row ball bearings, but is able to transfer greater axle loads, while also offering a significantly longer service life and improved rigidity. Moreover, this ball bearing design provides an alternative to preloaded tapered roller bearing units.
Schaeffler says switching from tapered rollers to balls leads to significant improvements in frictional torque and rigidity, resulting in a 0.7 percent reduction in electricity consumption per vehicle in FTP75 test cycles. The combination of the TriFinity with Schaeffler’s face spline technology allows downsizing solutions in the form of wheel bearing units with smaller diameters, and hence reduced bearing and seal friction, optimized bearing weight, and a smaller carbon footprint. For the same dimensions, the clearance-free face spline technology reduces bearing weight while enabling the component to transmit up to 50 percent more drive torque. It also makes the bearing easier to mount and reduces noise emissions in electric vehicles.
Schaeffler’s new high-efficiency ball bearing with centrifugal disc is a high-performance, friction-optimised and sustainable product for electromobility applications. It combines the benefits of both open-bearing and sealed-bearing designs. With 0.3 Nm less friction and CO2 emission reductions of about 0.1/km per bearing, the high-efficiency ball bearing with centrifugal disc is a smart yet simple solution that has a major impact on overall performance. Schaeffler says it has ten times the service life of an open bearing and represents a significant reduction in costs. This product innovation has already received the Magna Supplier Award and has been nominated for the 2022 German Innovation Award.