Automotive supplier ZF will provide dual-pinion electric power steering technology to three major Chinese automakers in 2019.
“Dual-pinion steering complements our column-drive and belt-drive steering portfolio, provides a high degree of reuse of our core technologies and further solidifies our position as a leader in the supply of electric steering to the Chinese market,” Peter Lake, member of the ZF Board of Management and head of ZF Corporate Market, says in a news release.
“With rapid growth in this sector, ZF has expanded its manufacturing footprint with the building of an additional steering plant in Zhangjiagang, China, which will begin operations in 2019.”
At the heart of the dual-pinion EPS mechanical configuration is a steering rack carrying two sets of teeth, each driven by a separate pinion. Driver-input torque is transmitted to the rack via a steering pinion and the EPS assistance torque is transmitted to the rack via a drive pinion.
Dual-pinion EPS’s overall cost and performance make it ideal for China’s fast-growing midsize car and small SUV segments, ZF says.
In addition, says Thilo Blitzer, ZF senior vice president-steering engineering, “The technology can deliver a fuel saving of up to 4% with a corresponding reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions when compared to a conventional hydraulically powered steering system, important considerations as China implements new regulations to meet heightened air-quality standards.”
The system’s electronic control and flexibility give it an important role in advanced safety and convenience and in the move toward semi- and fully automated driving, ZF says. It can be integrated with other systems for park-assist and lane-keeping assist/lane centering (when combined with ZF camera technology) functions.
ZF says it has produced more than 35 million EPS units for customers worldwide since starting production of the technology in 2001. The supplier has produced nearly 10 million electric systems for the Chinese market since launching full production of the technology in the country in 2012.