4 Advantages of Steer-By-Wire Systems
As we push further into the 21st century, steer-by-wire systems continue to be the present and the future of power steering systems. In 2018, the global value of the drive-by-wire market was estimated at nearly $19 billion and is expected to increase to over $35 billion by the year 2026.
These highly intricate and innovative steering systems utilize electronic components to steer your off-highway vehicle’s wheels, rather than depending on mechanical controls to dictate steering capability. That absence of potential mechanical interference allows for optimal steering command and in the end will require less equipment repair and maintenance.
As autonomous driving proceeds to burst with popularity and 55 percent of small businesses believing they will transition to fully autonomous vehicle fleets over the next few decades, the future of self-sufficient driving relies heavily on steer-by-wire technology. Let’s take a look at how steer-by-wire works and four key advantages steer-by-wire systems can provide for your off-highway vehicles.
How Does Steer-by-Wire Work?
Traditional steering systems involve mechanical and hydraulic technology for conducting vehicle operations. Over the years, steering mechanism demands have changed, and manufacturers are starting to invest in alternative options. Steer-by-wire is a technology that relies primarily on electronics to control vehicle operations. This means that components like the steering column in the shaft, master cylinder, cables, and hydraulic lines are replaced by electrical wires.
The system works through sensors that record information passed onto a computer, transfer these commands with electrical energy, and move the vehicle. The technology promotes easier maneuverability around corners, getting into tight parking spaces, and avoiding road obstacles. It is also advanced enough to help compensate for road camber changes and crosswinds which remove the need to add steering correction to vehicles.
Benefits of Steer-by-Wire Systems
Maneuverability is just the start of what makes steer-by-wire systems so beneficial, especially for your off-highway vehicles. Consider these additional perks.
1. Simple & Efficient Vehicle Architecture
Not having to deal with mechanical components allows for more fluidity in a steer-by-wire system. For starters, eliminating mechanical steering parts will reduce the overall weight of your off-highway vehicle, which saves energy and can vastly reduce tire and brake wear.
Vehicle manufactures can also benefit from having more flexibility with engine compartments and interior design, as mechanical steering parts require more space and areas for installation than electrical wire systems. Avoiding mechanical steering parts can also lead to overall reductions in installation and maintenance costs.
2. Flexible & Enhanced Operating Performance
One of the premiere ways steer-by-wire systems enhance operating performance is through the elimination of a steering column. Removing the steering column improves operator visibility through expanding the line of sight. Because there is no longer a direct mechanical link to the road, bumps, vibrations, and noises won’t transmit to the operator, providing a more comfortable, less-distracting operational experience.
No steering column also increases flexibility for interior design, giving manufacturers room to place controls essentially anywhere they please.
3. Improved Fuel Efficiency
To put it simply, fewer moving, mechanical parts means reduced demand and costs for fuel. Researchers from Purdue University conducted studies on fuel efficiency with steer-by-wire vehicles, specifically compact wheel loaders, finding that electrohydraulic steering technology was able to reduce fuel consumption by nearly 15%, as well as improve overall fuel efficiency by 43.5%.
Better fuel efficiency also means fewer carbon emissions, making your off-highway vehicle more environmentally-friendly.
4. Refined Safety Features
Safety is always a top priority for vehicle operators, and electronic steering systems cater to providing a more secured and controlled operating environment. Steer-by-wire systems feature parametric steering capabilities, which provide the operator with the control to alter steering reaction based on speed and current operating conditions.
In addition to better operating adaptation capabilities, the removal of a steering shaft entirely can reduce the risk of operator injury.
Steering Jargon You May Not Know
Custom steering helps not only enhance your driving experience but can also offer a better grip and offer greater aesthetics for your vehicle. Creating a customized option means understanding what the components provide, and all the different jargon out there can make it confusing. There are some key terms that can be helpful to know when you start working with your engineering or fabrication team, and here are just a few:
● Column: The entire steering assembly
● Outer Tube: The main tube that holds the steering shaft connected to the vehicle
● Flange: A metal plate mounted to the steering control motor or floor
● Above Pivot Length: The length of the column in a tilt type from the top of the upper tube to the center axis of the pivot
● Rocker Switch: The switch for allowance of auxiliary vehicle functions
● Collar: The structure to mount accessories with a larger diameter
● Upper End: A common shaft component that matches the steering wheel
● Jacket Length: The measurement of the straight column from the top of the outer tube to the bottom of the flange
Steer-By-Wire Solutions for You
At BSM North America, we can provide you with numerous options for innovative steer-by-wire and electro-hydraulic systems. Contact us today to see how BSM has the electronic steering solutions to enhance your off-highway vehicle design, or give us a call at 952-890-8146 to speak to one of our engineers on why E-Steer adapters may be the best resource for you.