Dana introduces single-reduction axle and new disconnect axle concept


Dana Holding Corporation unveiled two new axles during a press conference at the 2015 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., a single-reduction axle for 6×2 and 4×2 applications as well as the Spicer AdvanTEK Dual Range Disconnect axle concept.

The Spicer AdvanTEK Dual Range Disconnect shifts from 6×4 to 6×2 at highway speeds for downspeeding using a single-gear mesh. The Dual Range Disconnect operates like traditional tandem axles in starting and low-speed operation as well as in slippery conditions for better traction and high final-drive ratio. Once the vehicle reaches 38 mph, engine and transmission electronic control units communicate with an ECU in the axle to disengage the rear drive axle and shift to a faster ratio.

“Downspeeding is here to stay,” said Steve Slesinski, director, global product planning for Dana. “For every 100 rpm slower engine speed at highway cruise you save about 1 percent fuel efficiency. We expect the trend to continue for faster axle ratios and lower-speed engines. In the future we see a 900-rpm engine at highway cruise speed.”

Slesinski said internal testing has shown a 2 to 5 percent improvement in fuel efficiency compared to a conventional 6×4 axle configuration.

“The Dual Range Disconnect combines the traction and dependability of a 6×4 tandem axle along with the fuel economy of a 6×2 configuration,” Sleskinski said. “It also offers better acceleration and low-speed maneuverability.”

When in 6×4 mode, the Dual Range Disconnect uses single gear mesh to ground so that when disconnected only one gear mesh is in use. Dana will be working with OEMs to integrate the new axle with engines and transmissions for maximum fuel efficiency.

After two and a half years of development, the Dual Range Disconnect axle is set for field testing later this year, and no announcement has been made regarding availability According to Dana, the Dual Range Disconnect axle uses fewer gears in the transmission and avoids the need for larger engine mounts while improving performance on steep grades, take off and low-speed maneuvering.

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Dana also introduced a heavy-duty single reduction axle available in 6×2 and 4×2 for Class 7 and 8 applications and has been redesigned for better strength and downspeeding. It is available in a 2.05:1 axle ratio and up to 7.17:1 for vocational markets. Both configurations will available in 2016.

“These new single-reduction drive axles incorporate AdvanTEK technology and will provide comparable breakthroughs in performance for 6×2 and 4×2 vehicles,” said Mark Wallace, executive vice president of Dana and group president of Dana On-Highway Driveline Technologies.