TRW showcases steering options

LOUISVILLE. TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. is displaying its ReAX steering system among other products this week at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

ReAX merges two of TRW’s proven steering systems – hydraulic power steering (HPS) for commercial vehicles and electrically powered steering (EPS) belt drive for passenger cars – to improve driver control and stability, it said.

“ReAX provides a unique solution reducing the workload on drivers, utilizing traditional hydraulic power steering to provide the torque required to steer larger commercial vehicles while electric power steering offers precision and control. This solution reduces steering efforts at low speeds and yields increased stability at higher speeds,” said Andreas Weller, vice president and general manager-global commercial steering systems. “TRW has more than a decade of experience in combining these two technologies – primarily for bus and motor home applications. Building on that experience, we are now leveraging belt drive EPS to offer a solution for trucks. In addition, ReAX can enable semi-automated driving functions and advanced driver assist systems including lane departure warning and lane keeping assist which can further enhance safety and comfort.”

ReAX will be production ready in 2017 for 2018 calendar-year applications, TRW said.

The company is also showing off a future technology, ActivMode. This is an energy-efficient hydraulic power steering pump which can deliver an up to 50% reduction in energy consumption compared with traditional pumps in specific configurations.

ActivMode achieves its fuel savings and temperature reduction by utilizing unique dual mode flow logic. This flow logic is aligned to match steering system flow demand in the two primary operating states of a commercial vehicle: engine idle and cruising speed. At low engine speed, both sides of the circuit are utilized to provide full flow to meet the demand of the steering system. At cruising speed, one side of the circuit is hydraulically disengaged to minimize pump action and reduce power consumption.

 “ActivMode is designed for minimum complexity, requiring no electronics or sensors to achieve its unique flow logic. This also helps it to be smaller, lighter and more easily packaged than other energy efficient power steering pumps. Additionally, its ability to operate at lower temperatures can potentially eliminate steering system coolers in many applications. This further reduces system complexity and vehicle weight,” Weller said. “Overall, ActivMode is able to save the equivalent of over 100 gallons of fuel per 120,000 mi. driven.”

ActivMode is estimated to be ready for production in 2016 for 2017 calendar year applications.

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