ZF TRW will kick off production of its cutting-edge heated steering wheel technology (Conductor Insert Heating System or CIHS) with a leading European automaker next year. The design can be combined with ‘Hands on Detection’ (HOD) to improve comfort and safety, and support the development of automated driving.
Bridging the gap between performance and product design, CIHS technology embodies a cutting-edge product and process innovation in the production of heated steering wheels. Greater freedom in component design is attained by the elimination of heat induction carrier material while product performance is improved by placing the heating wire on the steering wheel surfaces. These processes enable for weight and complexity reduction and allow the inclusion of multiple extra steering wheel functions, as specified by the customer.
According to Guido Hirzmann, group leader, New Technology for steering wheels, the steering wheel also plays a huge role in driver comfort and control as the vehicle’s main HMI. He explains that automated driving and the growing demand for driver assistance systems are changing the way people drive and are playing a critical role in making roads safer. “This latest ZF-TRW innovation supports this trend and can provide an important safety system (HOD) across all vehicle segments for minimal additional cost while adding the comfort advantages of a heated wheel.”
Entailed in the process innovation are the design and industrialization of numerous proprietary tools:
Distinct finite element simulation enables verification of the product heating performance before launching any process or testing activities
Fusing tool – fully automatic harness feeding and connection system ensuring superior quality electric connection
Cutting and wire laying tool – to insert the conductor into the steering wheel rim in one step
Fully automatic end of line tester
The quality of the product is enhanced through streamlining the production process and using advanced, fully automatic multi-move robot machinery both of which were designed and meticulously developed in-house.
Product qualification completion fulfilled the most rigorous OEM requirements and independent OEM has confirmed that a both product heating performance and function have been enhanced by up to 45 percent.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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