Toyota has granted an Achievement Award in the ‘Supply’ category to The Schaeffler Group. The award recognises the quality of products and services supplied by Schaeffler.
At Toyota’s ‘Annual Business Meeting 2009’ held in Brussels last month, Schaeffler was one of only four suppliers to receive the ‘Achievement Award’ in recognition of supplier performance. “It is a fantastic success indeed to win this kind of recognition from a company that is well-known for being a particularly discerning customer,” said Dr. Peter Pleus, President Schaeffler Engine Systems Division.
A technical example of a Schaeffler product supplied to Toyota was on display at the awards ceremony. This hydraulic lash adjuster was developed by Schaeffler for engine valve trains. Ensuring automatic valve lash adjustment, this component is used in Toyota’s new ZR engine, a four-cylinder, 1.6 or 1.8 litre petrol engine installed in the Toyota Auris and Avensis models.
Compared with Toyota’s previous ‘ZZ’ generation of engines, the ZR engine reduces fuel consumption by up to six per cent. This is achieved by incorporating variable valve control into the new engine, as well as optimising friction.
A special technical characteristic of Schaeffler’s hydraulic lash adjuster is a ceramic ball used inside the component for the check valve. This places even higher demands on the manufacturing process. It was therefore not the innovative capabilities of Schaeffler alone that were decisive in receiving the award, quality and delivery also played an important part.
Traditionally, Schaeffler is seen as a dependable partner of the automotive industry, becoming involved in numerous processes early on in the development stage with many automotive manufacturers. This is also the case with Toyota. One example is the joint hydraulic lash adjuster project, which was launched in early 2006 and culminated in the start of volume production in Autumn 2008.
“Close dialogue with our customers gives us the opportunity to fully focus our innovative capabilities on that company’s specific requirements,” explained Dr. Pleus. “For example, we managed to successfully integrate the ceramic element suggested by Toyota into our own manufacturing process.”
In presenting the ‘Achievement Award’ to Schaeffler, Toyota also recognises the success of Schaeffler’s production process. “The excellent results achieved in audits and project evaluations arose from the strong, interwoven collaborative effort between Schaeffler’s Project Management, Sales, Development, Production and Quality Assurance teams,” stated Dr. Pleus.
For Toyota and other automotive companies, quality starts as early as possible by selecting suitable suppliers. After all, a vehicle is only as good as the sum of its individual parts. Each of these makes a decisive contribution to overall quality – and therefore to customer satisfaction.
For more information on the Schaeffler Group, please visit www.schaeffler.co.uk or telephone the marketing department on 0121 351 3833.
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