Schaeffler’s lightweight balancer shaft with rolling bearing supports has won the PACE Award in the “Product” category. Presented annually since 1994 by Automotive News magazine in cooperation with audit and consulting firm Ernst & Young and the Transportation Research Center (TRC), the Pace Award honors outstanding product innovations of automotive suppliers. The international jury’s focus this year was on Schaeffler’s lightweight balancer shaft with rolling bearing supports used in modern internal combustion engines, which comes under the company’s INA brand.
“This award for the lightweight balancer shaft with rolling bearing supports demonstrates the significance of innovative detailed work. Modern technologies, innovative products and lightweight designs are among the key factors that make a significant contribution to optimizing drive trains with internal combustion engines. This latest recognition with the PACE Award for us is a valuable confirmation of our innovative strength which is so highly appreciated by our customers”, says Dr. Peter Pleus, President of Schaeffler Group Automotive.
Lightweight balancer shafts with rolling bearing supports contribute to cutting fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, whilst increasing the driving comfort at the same time. They are in line with the trends for the downsizing and downspeeding of engines and are therefore enjoying increasing popularity. The rolling bearing supports with reduced friction characteristics lead to a significant improvement in energy efficiency compared to the plain bearings that were previously used. For example, the power consumed internally in a four-cylinder diesel engine already in volume production is reduced by up to 1.5 kW (2.0 horsepower). Furthermore, the use of rolling bearing supports considerably reduces the requirement for oil cooling and eliminates the need for the previously obligatory pressure lubrication. These characteristics in conjunction with the design’s superior emergency running properties make lightweight balancer shafts with rolling bearing supports particularly suitable for engines with start-stop systems. The rolling bearing supports also enable a new, weight-optimized layout of the balancer shafts with a mass that is reduced by around one third. This means that the two balancer shafts mounted in an engine, which run at twice crankshaft speed due to the design, alone reduce engine weight by more than a kilogram. The filigree design minimizes the shaft’s rotational inertia and thus, in turn reduces the driving forces required.