NSK has developed a tilt and telescopic steering column with a new design of breakaway structure that is claimed to improve reliability in the event of an impact. According to NSK, the unit is also 15% (560g) lighter than a standard column and offers 11% (7Hz) higher vibrational rigidity, meaning that fewer vibrations from the wheels and other parts resonating up through the column to the steering wheel.
A breakaway structure reduces variance in breakaway force by a claimed 25%, achieved by moving the breakaway structure from the unit attachment bracket to the outer tube of the column shaft. As a result, the column’s impact absorption safety feature activates more reliably in a collision situation, improving safety for the driver.
In effect the column tube collapses into itself, with the mid-portion of the steering column unit remaining in place so that impact force can be more reliably absorbed. This contrasts to conventional units where the mid-portion is designed to fall away during collision, resulting in a larger variance in impact force absorption.