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Eaton wins government funding for new engine valve train actuation system

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC – Today, cars create some 12% of all European CO2 emissions and heavy-duty vehicles are responsible for another 6%. With 195 nations committed to keeping global temperature rises below 2°C following the 2015 Paris Agreement, the EU has set tough targets to curb these greenhouse gas emissions.

Facing increasingly stringent economic and regulatory pressures, vehicle makers are urgently seeking new ways to improve engine efficiency, heighten fuel economy and reduce emissions. To meet these challenges and help safeguard the environment, the Eaton European Innovation Center (EEIC) is embarking on a ground-breaking joint R&D program with the Czech Technical University in Prague. 

The EEIC beat tough competition from around 300 other R&D proposals to receive Czech government funding for its ambitious new program. Spanning four years, the project focuses on creating an advanced valve train actuation system for greater engine energy efficiency, while also expanding Eaton’s electro-mechanical knowledge and capabilities to support future automotive innovation.

As one of only eight projects selected for government funding, the EEIC’s new program was awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TAČR). Eaton’s total R&D budget is $1.2 million, matching $560,000 of government funding with its own investment of $580,000. The Czech Technical University will receive a further $360,000.

The EEIC’s Luboš Tomiška comments: “As an innovator in power management solutions, we’re very proud to have won funding to pursue this ambitious project, as well as to invest in it ourselves. Combining our industry knowhow in engine performance, efficiency and emissions with the best academic thinking, this program will play a small, but important role in accelerating the global transition to a low-carbon future”.

As a nexus for electrical, vehicle, hydraulic and aerospace innovation, the EEIC is committed to developing technologies that are safer, smarter and more sustainable. One of five Eaton innovation centers globally, the EEIC unites a diverse team of curious, cross-industry experts—pioneering new solutions to tomorrow’s most urgent energy challenges.

Planned to run from November 2018 until December 2022, the new project will harness the EEIC’s invaluable expertise in variable valve actuation technology. As one of the largest producers of valve and valve actuation products for over 75 years, Eaton now creates more than a million engine valves each day, supplying nearly every automaker and engine manufacturer in the world.

The project aims to improve engine energy efficiency by developing an advanced cylinder deactivation system that allows for independent cylinder control. Additionally, an electro-mechanical actuator will be developed for the system, including all the necessary hardware, electronics and controls. This work will significantly expand Eaton’s knowledge in the area of electro-mechanical actuator design and controls, allowing its Engine Air Management division to become a ‘full system’ supplier in the field.

EEIC director, Engelbert Hetzmannseder, adds: “We’re thrilled to be putting our brainpower behind the race to produce pulse-pounding horsepower while conserving fuel and reducing emissions. By collaborating with the Czech Technical University, we can also help develop the next generation of engineering talent that’s so vital to building a greener tomorrow. Together, we can make a real difference to peoples’ lives and the environment”.

Eaton’s products and solutions enable customers use less energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and do business more sustainably. Our contribution to this new R&D project will help make a healthier planet work.

Eaton is a power management company with 2017 sales of $20.4 billion. We provide energy-efficient solutions that help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more efficiently, safely and sustainably. Eaton is dedicated to improving the quality of life and the environment through the use of power management technologies and services. Eaton has approximately 98,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 175 countries. For more information, visit

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