NSK on track to be a world leader for electric power steering by 2015
NSK Steering Systems America, Inc. is located at 110 Shields Drive in the Manelly Industrial Park across the street from Willow Park. NSK makes cool stuff! We develop and build steering columns, electric power steering (EPS) systems and advanced EPS systems for modularization. These advanced functions offer lighter and safer steering systems.
NSK’s steering business unit has produced some 25 million steering systems since 1988 and is amongst the market leaders for steering. The automotive steering business unit at NSK aims to be the world market leader for electric power steering by 2015. This is the company’s clear goal, and it looks like NSK is well on the way to achieving it. They already have the necessary background knowledge: The very first EPS system to be used for a mass-produced car!
NSK products are in line with their never-ending goal of improving and advancing its steering technology offerings in order to meet the many demands of automotive applications, such as safety and comfort. The steering system translates the movement of the steering wheel to the wheels (in terms of steering angle and force) as the driver turns the steering wheel to turn the vehicle in the desired direction. In addition, the steering system provides drivers with the ability to adjust the steering wheel to the desired position in their vehicle. That’s really cool.
Power steering reduces the amount of wheel turning and effort needed to park or make tight turns. Most conventional systems use hydraulic power assistance, but the constant operation of the hydraulic pump results in huge power transmission losses. We decided to reduce such losses and improve steering effectiveness by using electric power instead. This power comes from a motor controlled by electrical signals. Very cool! As you turn the wheel, a sensor judges the resistance, and the motor is activated to give the appropriate amount of assistance. There’s no wasted energy, so you save fuel, and eliminating the hydraulic pump frees up space as well. Software controls power, so adding functions such as the suppression of car vibration to the steering wheel is easy.
During collisions, the steering column is designed to collapse in order to soften its impact on the driver. Airbags are used in addition to seatbelts to protect occupants. In the event of a collision, airbags are deployed to prevent occupants from having direct contact between their head and chest and components such as the steering wheel. The steering column, which houses the driver’s airbag, is required to sustain a strong impact, without moving up and down, as its airbag is set off.
The lightweight and compact EPS improves fuel efficiency. The steering system, which accurately conveys road conditions to the driver, is indispensable for safe and comfortable driving. By applying its unique precision control, NSK can provide variable control for the different input loads of various types of vehicles. NSK’s EPS system will be one where you can truly sense the car. Moreover, NSK’s original injection molding technology used in the various types of steering columns contributes to improved safety due to its excellent impact-absorbing characteristics.
In order to build this cool stuff, NSK employs mechanical engineers, quality engineers and many skilled operators on machines such as lathes and CNC’s. There are many other professional positions that support the operation of the plant, like tool and die makers, maintenance mechanics and electricians. Additionally, quality inspection technicians, accountants and human resource personnel are needed, to list a few. It is a great place for a career and offers challenging and rewarding work, now and into the future.
Don DeSacia is human resources director at NSK.
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