TRW Automotive has recently started production of its electrically powered steering (EPS) belt drive system for the first time on a global vehicle platform, which will be launched in China. The company is manufacturing the technology at its state-of-the-art facility in Anting, China.
“Electric steering is a rapidly growing technology globally due to the many advantages it can provide,” said Peter Lake, executive vice president for sales and business development at TRW. “Creating a regional production base for our customers will provide a cost-effective source for these fuel-saving and emission reducing technologies. It will enable us to expand our EPS footprint for the production of global platforms and help to make it available to our broader customer base in China and Asia.”
Over the last 18 months, TRW has installed equipment to produce and assemble the belt drive units at its Anting facility. For this platform, line capacity is expected to be in the range of 400,000 units annually by 2014.
TRW offers two EPS solutions to cover the full vehicle platform range, which consume power only when steering assist is needed. The first is the column drive unit, which is mounted on the steering column, and the second is belt drive where the assist power is applied directly to the rack with a belt drive and ball nut mechanism. Significant fuel economy and CO2 emissions benefits can be realized with both systems when compared with traditional hydraulic power steering. The technology can deliver a fuel saving of 0.3 to 0.4 L/100km, with a corresponding reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of approximately 7-8g/km.
“We have already launched our column drive technology with both China domestic and international customers and are now investing heavily in capacity to introduce our latest innovation – EPS belt drive – to meet the needs of the China market,” commented Lake.