A tilt and telescopic steering column with improved collision safety has been developed by NSK thanks to a new design of breakaway structure that improves reliability in an impact situation. In addition, the new unit is lighter for enhanced fuel economy and offers higher vibrational rigidity to improve driver comfort.
Better safety is at the heart of the latest steering column from NSK, where a newly developed breakaway structure reduces variance in breakaway force by 25%. This capability has been achieved by moving the breakaway structure from the unit attachment bracket to the outer tube of the column shaft. As a result, the column's impact absorption safety feature activates more reliably in a collision situation, improving safety for the driver.
In effect, the column tube collapses into itself with the mid-portion of the steering column unit remaining in place so that impact force can be more reliably absorbed. This contrasts to conventional units where the mid-portion is designed to fall away during collision, resulting in a larger variance in impact force absorption.
Among further features of the new steering column is a tilt and telescopic design that allows the driver to adjust the position of the steering wheel up and down (tilt), and forward and backward (telescopic). In addition, the unit offers higher vibrational rigidity, which is advantageous as fewer vibrations from the wheels and other parts will resonate up through the column to the steering wheel, contributing to improved driving comfort and stability. In fact, the new steering column offers 11% higher vibrational rigidity, which has been achieved by optimising the design of the tilt bracket.
NSK’s steering column is also beneficial for the environment as it is 15% lighter than conventional alternatives, contributing to fuel economy. The lower weight has been achieved by reducing the number of components required. Furthermore, the structural shape has been simplified by moving the breakaway structure to the outer tube of the column shaft.