Dana Shows Off Tandem Axle Concept for Better Fuel Economy

LOUISVILLE, KY– Dana Holding Corporation introduced the new Spicer AdvanTEK Dual Range Disconnect concept for tandem axles used in Class 8 linehaul applications, at the 2015 Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS).

This tandem axle technology enables further engine downspeeding and improves powertrain efficiency from two-to-five percent over conventional 40k tandem axles on the market today, according to the company.

It combines the traction and dependability of a 6×4 configuration with the reduced drivetrain losses and improved economy of a 6×2 configuration.

“New fuel economy regulations for linehaul trucks are on the immediate horizon, and truck manufacturers are already addressing the challenge of reducing fuel consumption beyond the levels that can be achieved through today’s conventional powertrain systems,” said Mark Wallace, executive vice president of Dana and group president of Dana On-Highway Driveline Technologies.

At startup, on grades, at low speeds, during backup maneuvering, or in other environments where additional traction is needed, Spicer AdvanTEK Dual Range Disconnect technology allows the tandem axle to operate as a 6×4 with a traditional starting ratio that delivers the optimal tractive effort needed.  At low speeds, this ratio offers improved performance over fast-ratio 6×4 tandem axles by enhancing maneuverability while reducing the likelihood of high torque spikes.

As the truck nears highway speed, an electronic control unit (ECU) in the axle coordinates with engine and transmission ECUs to disconnect the inter-axle shaft from the power divider, allowing the axle to operate in a more efficient 6×2 mode.  At the same time, it shifts the forward axle to a faster ratio that enables the engine speed to decrease to as low as 900 rpm for highway cruise operation.

By using separate axle ratios for low- and high-speed operation, this technology also enables linehaul trucks to accelerate from low velocity to highway cruise speed much quicker than a 6×4 or 6×2 tandem axle with a single, fast ratio.

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