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An Edge on the Future of Driving

An Edge on the Future of Driving

Automotive companies have yet to produce the flying cars we were promised, but they are giving the consumer small glimpses of what driving in the future may entail. One such innovation is e-steering.

Electronic power steering operates on the simple premise of "used when needed." Using an electricmotor to drive the power steering hydraulic pump or the steering directly emancipates the power steering function from engine speed, resulting in energy savings. Hydraulic steering has to be supported by a nest of hoses, belts and hydraulic fluids. Parasitic losses occur as the system continues to draw power from the engine even if no driver-assist is needed. E-steering relies on sensors located on a control module to determine how much assistance the driver needs to operate the steering wheel at any given time.

Retaining rings have also contributed to the smart design that has come to characterize e-steering units. The internal beveled retaining ring, VHO-425, manufactured by Rotor Clip Co. Inc., eliminates endplay, as well as the need to install a cover plate and corresponding bolts along with the machined threads needed to accommodate each bolt. The steering mechanism can also be cut to almost the exact shape needed, allowing a wide range of automobiles to incorporate EPS into their designs, avoiding waste and, ultimately, significantly reducing costs.

The traditional way of stopping endplay/vibration in an assembly is to take up the excess tolerances with shims or rings ground to different thicknesses. This requires keeping an ample supply of different parts to meet the tolerance requirements of an assembly as it is moving along the line. Valuable production time is also spent measuring each groove and determining the proper shim or ground ring to use in a particular instance.

The beveled retaining ring from Rotor Clip takes up endplay without the need for multiple parts or time-consuming measurements. One ring is all that is needed to meet the tolerance requirements of an assembly. For engineers looking to take-up endplay in new assemblies or improve these methods in existing ones, the beveled retaining ring offers a cost-effective and efficient alternative.

This ring features a 15-degree beveled or angled edge. A corresponding groove is machined into the steering application with a complementary angle. When installed, the ring's angled edge wedges itself along the complementary groove wall between the groove and the retained part until it can go no farther. By switching to a beveled retaining ring, the manufacturer saved the costs of several components, as well as the labor needed to affix the cover.

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