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New combustion processes possible with Magna’s electric cam phaser

Magna’s electro-mechanical cam phaser (e-Phaser), consisting of a 12V brushless DC motor (BLDC) and an eccentric transmission, features a unique and patent-protected transmission concept, that allows ultra-compact, light-weight designs. The e-Phaser, which was developed in-house, is an enabling technology for new combustion processes designed to reduce fuel consumption. Mounted on the engine’s camshaft, the e-phaser offers enhanced cam phasing speeds, phasing ranges, and start/stop capabilities compared with conventional, hydraulic cam phasers. Due to improved gas exchange in the engine, new combustion processes such as Miller/Atkinson can be realized and CO2 emissions reduced by up to 1.5 percent in the NEDC.

Figure 1: Magna’s electro-mechanic cam phaser


For future engines, a variable valve train will play a central role in reducing fuel consumption. An increased charge motion, specifically for gasoline engines, is required to achieve the standards set out in CO2 legislation for 2020 and beyond. Therefore variable valve lift and improved cam phasers will become increasingly important.

Compared to conventional, hydraulic cam phasers, the e-Phaser offers a larger phasing range at higher phasing speeds. Thanks to the 12V-based BLDC motor, the e-Phaser can adjust the camshaft before the engine is started to optimize emissions and comfort. Another advantage over hydraulic cam phasers is the oil pressure free operation of the e-Phaser. This allows smaller engine oil pumps, which in turn further reduces friction and fuel consumption.

With its innovative, patented transmission concept, Magna's e-Phaser weighs 25 percent less than similar products from competitors and can be designed much smaller in terms of axial length. The heart of the transmission concept is a flexible torque transfer element. This provides the rigidity necessary to transfer the drive torque from the engine’s chain drive to the transmission, while, at the same time, offering the flexibility required to allow for eccentric-type transmission concepts.

Figure 2: BLDC-Motor with open cover to see integrated power electronics2

Figure 2: BLDC-Motor with open cover to see integrated power electronics

Thanks to the low-inertia transmission concept, the 12V BLDC motor, developed in collaboration with Magna Electronics, can be designed to be compact enough to fit into small engine packages. The BLDC motor is available in two versions, one with integrated power electronics and one without. A polymer overmolding process used to produce the housing for the BLDC motor contributes to its best-in class, light-weight design.

Development started in 2009 at our Engineering Center Steyr, Magna’s e-Phaser is now ready for market applications and is available to customers worldwide. Production is based where our customers operate. With production set to start in 2018, the e-Phaser will be manufactured and assembled at our Bad Homburg facility outside Frankfurt, Germany.

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