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Refocused ArvinMeritor unveils new drive axle

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Vowing that it is emerging from its restructuring reenergized and refocused on the heavy-duty market, ArvinMeritor unveiled an all-new Meritor 14X tandem drive axle at the Mid-Americ...

LOUISVILLE, Ky. –Vowing that it is emerging from its restructuring reenergized and refocused on the heavy-duty market, ArvinMeritor unveiled an all-new Meritor 14X tandem drive axle at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

The new drivetrain component is an axle system built on the legacy of the company’s RT145, a tandem axle of which there are more than two million in the market that have logged over three trillion miles in service. It proved a very successful product for ArvinMeritor but it was designed at a time when engines produced considerably less torque than today’s powerplants. The new axle includes a more robust and efficient inter-axle differential, the fastest ratio and widest range of axle ratios, and several other design enhancements, yet continues to be the lightest axle in its class according to the company. The 14X goes into production in June 2010 with planned deliveries to all major North American OEMs.

The axle has been in testing for two years with many carriers of various sizes accumulating more than six million miles of operation with the axle. According to Joe Plomin, vice-president, truck, the 14X axle provides three primary benefits:

• More robust inter-axle differential -the strength was added to the right critical component. The inter-axle differential (now 20% larger) can accommodate the increased nominal torque, up to 2,050 ft.-lb. in certain applications, of today’s high-torque rise diesel engines. The unit includes helical gear needle bearings for reduced heat and wear; upsized main differential side bearings for more capacity; and larger input shaft and rear side bearing for strength.

• Premium Amboid design now standard equipment for all end-users -the above-centerline design of the inter-axle driveline provides significant improvements: reduced operating pressures for increased driveline life, less driveline angularity, vibration and energy loss; improved ride quality; and overall longer component life.

• Most complete range of ratios -the 14X offers the fastest ratio in the industry, 2.47:1 and all the way up to 7.17:1. The extensive range ensures coverage for nearly every application and specific engine manufacturers’ EPA2010 recommendations.

ArvinMeritor executives noted the gradual trucking industry recovery and cited the timing as “ideal” for a major new drivetrain component introduction.

“We are cranking out components at much increased levels compared to a year ago and we see that continuing into the second quarter before dropping off in the third quarter,” said Carsten Reinhardt, COO.

“We are very, very bullish this industry is going to come back and it’s going to come back fast and furious. Our job is to prepare for that. We believe 2011 is going to be a good year and it’s going to continue to be good for many years after that.”

ArvinMeritor officials also repeatedly emphasized the importance of the restructuring the company has undergone over the past two years in preparing them for the future.

One of the most important changes was moving away from the light vehicle market and focusing all the company efforts on trailers, heavy-duty trucks and industrial applications such as construction.

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