LOUISVILLE, KY. Dana Holding Corp. used its press slot the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) Wednesday to introduce the new Spicer AdvanTEK Dual Range Disconnect concept for tandem axles used in Class 8 linehaul applications.
Optimized for trucks that implement engine downspeeding, the “breakthrough” tandem axle technology improves efficiency without sacrificing performance by seamlessly combining the traction and dependability offered by a 6x4 configuration with the reduced drivetrain losses and improved fuel economy of a 6x2 configuration.
“Our testing has shown a 2 to 5 percent improvement in fuel efficiency versus a typical configuration running overdrive transmissions in 6x4 configurations,” said Steve Slesinski, Dana’s director of global planning, commercial vehicle driveline technologies. “The neat thing about this product is it combines the traction and dependability that fleet owners are used to with 6x4 tandem axles, along with the fuel economy that people want out of a 6x2 configuration.”
And along with the fuel efficiency improvement, the technology offer better acceleration and low-speed maneuverability, he explained.
The concept employs a single gear mesh configuration from the engine to the wheels, and it is fully integrated into the powertrain.
At startup, on grades, at low speeds, during backup maneuvering, or in other environments where additional traction is needed, the system allows the tandem axle to operate as a 6x4 with a traditional starting ratio that delivers the optimal tractive effort needed. At low speeds, this ratio offers improved performance over fast-ratio 6x4 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 6x2 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.
So, 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 6x4 or 6x2 tandem axle with a single, fast ratio.
In addition to these performance benefits, the Spicer AdvanTEK Dual Range Disconnect concept enables the use of fewer gears in the transmission and avoids the need for larger engine mounts and frame rails.
Dana has been evaluating a for the past two-and-a-half years on the Spicer AdvanTEK 40 tandem axle and other high-efficiency axle platforms. Dana is moving forward with plans to integrate axles featuring this technology into manufacturers’ chassis for field testing this year.
Dana will showcase the Spicer AdvanTEK Dual Range Disconnect concept and this week in booth 30455 at MATS. For more information about Dana's innovations for fleets, visit www.dana.com/commercialvehicle.