Nexteer Automotive is investing around US$12 million in new test and validation facilities that will help produce even quieter and smoother electric power steering systems for hybrid/electric vehicles. The investment is said to support the company’s plans to leverage further technology breakthroughs and aggressive global growth.
The Tier 1 states that the most common sources of noise on EPS systems are squeaks, rattle, rotational noise and reversal clunk – which occurs when the steering wheel changes direction quickly. Nexteer’s development and production processes are said to systematically eliminate these issues to produce steering systems with minimum noise and vibration. Nexteer’s high precision mechanical designs and product specific control software enhance the driving experience by minimizing the radiation and transmission of noise and vibration.
“Vehicle manufacturers are demanding more refined, near-silent electric power steering systems to ensure driver comfort,” said Paul Poirel, chief engineer, Nexteer Automotive Europe. “The advanced testing facilities will give our engineers new insights into the interaction of the electric power steering with other chassis systems that will enable us to give customers an even more comfortable driving experience. Our continuing investment in noise and vibration testing will allow vehicle manufacturers to resolve NVH issues early in development, reducing development costs, warranty costs and increasing perceived quality.”
The investment in Nexteer’s testing facilities in Saginaw will also continue to improve the correlation between the company’s bench testing and in-car data acquisition. The company’s Vehicle Evaluation Center will undergo an expansion to allow for additional real-world simulations.