Regulation and market demand are pressuring OEM's to provide vehicles with improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. While electric power trains will play a significant role in future vehicle designs, the internal combustion engine is expected to dominate for years to come. Therefore improvements in internal combustion engine efficiency and performance were required.
Schaeffler, Fiat and Chrysler have successfully collaborated on the development and introduction of MultiAir technology that provides up to a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency and CO2 reduction. Versions of the technology have been introduced on the Fiat 500 in North America and in Europe. At the same time, Schaeffler has developed a new systems based product line, UniAir.
The Partnership between Schaeffler, Fiat and later Chrysler began as soon as Schaeffler secured the rights to the UniAir system during initial MultiAir development at Fiat. The companies quickly became close development partners.
Initially Schaeffler was to provide only the UniAir hardware. However, as development progressed, Schaeffler took over responsibility for the embedded software and calibration in addition to the actuator. The complexity of Schaeffler providing the entire intake valve lift system for Fiat required that they communicate and work together as if employed by one company.
Project teams with members from all companies provided frequent, joint updates to the management teams at Schaeffler Fiat and Chrysler. This allowed clear and concise communication of project challenges and resulted in quicker resolutions. Resolution of these roadblocks typically involved resources from both companies.
Fiat and Chrysler's willingness to collaborate in non-traditional cross-corporate teams and share technical information and resources during development made Schaeffler's UniAir Fully Variable Valve Lift innovation possible.