GALESBURG, Mich—Power management company Eaton reported that its Vehicle Group is developing gearing systems for electrified vehicles (EVs). Eaton’s Vehicle Group is leveraging its expertise in producing transmissions and contract manufactured gearsets for passenger and commercial vehicles, while aiming “to be a leader in the global design, development, and supply of EV reduction gearing,” the company said in a release.
The new technology is reported to complement Eaton’s eMobility power electronics portfolio in the electrified vehicle powertrain market.
Automakers face numerous challenges when developing an electrified vehicle, including optimizing efficiency, weight, noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH), and addressing packaging constraints. Eaton is working to help manufacturers meet these challenges by applying its considerable experience and in-house capability in design, validation, and manufacturing of high-precision, high-quality gearing systems for transmissions and powertrains.
“We are partnering with OEM customers to leverage our expertise in simulation, design, and manufacturing to optimize the efficiency, NVH, and weight of high-precision gearing systems tailored to specific customer needs,” said Anthony Cronin, director, EV gearing, Eaton’s Vehicle Group, in the release.
Whether a company needs help with a large-scale industrialization project or a niche-market application, Eaton can partner with customers on joint-development programs or serve as a single service provider of EV reduction gearing components or systems. Eaton’s expertise in both design and manufacturing allows its team to optimize solutions from a technical, commercial, and production aspect, reducing the risk of multi-iteration design and enabling shortened development times, the company said in the release.
Eaton conducts a total system analysis, using state-of-the-art tools and in-house expertise, to design EV gearing systems that are optimized for efficiency and reliability, with low noise and manufacturing costs. A full-system approach is essential when tailoring a design to a specific customer need, as several factors influence the development of gearing solutions. Chief among those factors are the gears, bearings, and lubrication system, the company said.
To achieve optimization in these three areas, Eaton applies a series of in-house design and manufacturing techniques. They include gear root geometry optimization for maximum strength; micro and macro gear geometry modeling to improve NVH, efficiency, and reliability; and thrust load and bearing loss minimization to improve reliability and simplify or downsize bearings. Eaton also simulates lubrication possibilities to select the optimal approach for full-system reliability and efficiency, the company said.
Eaton engineers evaluate existing layouts or develop “clean-sheet” solutions that work within a customer’s packaging constraint. The Eaton team also provides solutions for scaling the EV gearing layout for platforms with multiple torque requirements, according to the release.
By combining system design expertise and manufacturing know-how in high-quality precision gears, Eaton has identified opportunities to improve gearing system efficiency by up to 1 percent, reduce weight by up to 20 percent, and size by up to 10 percent. These benefits can be applied to both light-duty and commercial electrified vehicles, the company said.
Eaton also said that by applying its manufacturing expertise, including power honing, power skiving, grinding, and superfinishing, it can manage the relative production cost of high-quality precision gears. With electrified vehicles, even small efficiency improvements provide vehicle manufacturers new opportunities to manage vehicle range or improve cost and weight.
“The development of EVs is pushing the boundaries of EV gearing. Reliable, efficient, and quiet gearing systems are critical to high-speed motor adoption in electric drives,” Cronin said in the release.