Vehicles are more responsive than ever, and motorists expect their vehicles to perform. Schaeffler Technical Services Manager, Malcolm Short, tells Auto Trade Journal how steering and suspension systems are changing to meet demands and expectations.
He explained: “More vehicle manufacturers are focusing on active and semi-active suspension systems. These chassis control systems include electronic magnetic ride absorbers, ride height control and electronic roll stablilisation.
“Schaeffler’s intelligent electromechanical active roll control system (iARC) has opened a new chapter in chassis technology. This adjusts the chassis to any driving situation quickly and absorbs irregularities in the road, thus minimising the vehicle’s rolling motions.”
Subsequently, drivers will receive greater comfort, increased safety and dynamics. Additionally, the innovation helps reduce fuel consumption and emissions compared to hydraulic systems, and it simplifies assembly within automotive manufacturers’ production plants.
Looking to the future
The first large-scale application for the electromechanical active roll control system was installed in a luxury class saloon and the powerful and dynamic luxury SUV class – the latter even included a 48V hybrid module. Looking to the future, this technology could go as far as warning following vehicles of hazardous road conditions, via the cloud, and prevent serious incidents.
Most of these systems, according to Malcolm, are being fitted to the “more exclusive high-end brands” but will soon enter the “mainstream vehicle market” and provide higher standards in driving safety, comfort and control.
Information is crucial
Many parts suppliers, like Schaeffler, will provide information on technologies as they develop. Malcolm said it was pivotal they forge relationships with workshops, as their technicians will be the ones working on vehicles with these technologies in the future: “They need to understand how they work and, if necessary, how to repair them efficiently.
“REPXPERT, Schaeffler’s free online workshop portal, is providing workshops with the support they need. It comprises of detailed specifications on the latest technologies and products, as well as bulletins, fitting guides and repair solutions. “We also attend several customer trade evenings and exhibitions throughout the year, like Mechanex and AutoInform Live.”