NTN Corporation (hereafter, NTN) starts proposing to global car makers the “Advanced Drive-Shaft Module” (hereafter, ADS Module) manufactured with advanced manufacturing technology and that represents a new concept for the components that make up driveshafts and other parts used throughout automotive drivetrains.
Power from the engine is transmitted through the gearbox, differential gear (hereafter, diff), and through the driveshaft to the tires. Driveshafts play an important role for ensuring the smooth transmission of torque by using constant velocity joints (hereafter, CVJ) to maintain a constant rotational speed between the diff shaft that acts as the input shaft, and the hub bearing shaft that supports wheel, even if their relative angles change when rotating.
Requirements differ with each type of model depending on the automotive diff, hub bearing specifications and vehicle torque, and until now, driveshafts combined CVJ and shafts that were individually designed to meet required specifications. Yet individually designed products suffered from an excessively long development lead time as they could only be mass-produced after making prototypes and conducting tests repeatedly.
The “ADS Module” uses the “Press Connect Spline Hub Joint*1” on the tire side, with CVJ standardized and commonized for each required torque range and a hub bearing welded using the press connect method for a lighter weight and higher performance. Meanwhile, the diff side features “EBW Driveshaft*2” that connects standardized and communized CVJ by required torque range and individually designed stem section with a high level of precision using electron beam welding. Supplying both the tire and diff sides as module products halves the development lead time of driveshafts.
NTN commands the leading global share of hub bearings, and the second highest share in the world for driveshafts, and in addition to technology that has been developed through many years of R&D, is also in possession of advanced manufacturing technology such as the press connect method and electron beam welding. By fully utilizing NTN’s those strengths, the next-generation driveshaft “ADS Module” combines parts that differ for each model, such as driveshafts of different lengths and shapes, with CVJ parts featuring a common design to suit the required torque range. Proposing this product to customers not only helps to reduce their development lead time, but also allows for a more compact size and lighter weight due to modularization, which in turn contributes to improvements to automobile ride comfort and fuel efficiency.
NTN plans to increase sales of the hub bearing and driveshaft business by 15% compared to FY2015 figures by FY2018 including new proposal of this “ADS Module.”
NTN will exhibit the developed product at the “44th Tokyo Motor Show 2015” which will be held at Tokyo Big Sight from October 29 to November 8.