Additionally, the company, together with Fiat Powertrain and the Chrysler Group, received an Innovation Partnership Award in recognition of their collaboration in the development of the system. According to Automotive News, this award recognizes automakers that do an exceptional job of collaborating with a supplier to develop an innovation in an effective way.
“This is a great honor for Schaeffler, as it reflects our dedication to developing products and technologies that address the challenges our customers face on a daily basis,” said Jeff Harris, vice president and general manager, engine and transmission systems, Schaeffler Group USA Inc.. “Currently in production in multiple global vehicle platforms, our UniAir system offers a proven solution to evolving fuel economy and emission regulations. Developed as the world’s first fully variable hydraulic valve control system, it significantly expands the potential of traditional valvetrain systems to meet automakers’ unique needs and criteria.”
The innovative system was honored in the product category, which recognizes innovations in new products, components or systems that have significant market impact and act as “game changers” in the automotive industry. The UniAir technology is a cam-actuated, electro-hydraulic valve train system that can be used in gasoline and diesel engines. With this system, a valvetrain component displaces oil in a gallery that pushes against the engine valve causing it to open. The timing of the oil pressure required to open the engine valve is managed by a fast-switching solenoid valve. By controlling this oil pressure, the solenoid valve controls the shape of the valve lift curve such that early or late valve opening and/or closing is possible. Additionally and for the first time in mass production, the UniAir system facilitates the opening and closing of engine valves several times during one camshaft revolution.
Schaeffler’s UniAir system made its debut in the Alfa Romeo MiTo (Fiat calls the system MultiAir) in 2009. Combined with the downsizing options, the fully variable valve control system enables reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 25 percent. The improvements in starting, part load and acceleration behavior are especially noteworthy. During the warm-up phase, for instance, hydrocarbon emissions (HC) are reduced by 40 percent lower, while nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx) decrease by up to 60 percent.
To better support the global use of the UniAir system, Schaeffler is starting production of the UniAir actuators in Cheraw, S.C.