How axles improve traction and safety

How axles improve traction and safety

A roundup of the latest in heavy-duty axles and how they improve traction and safety. Steve Slesinski, director of global product strategy, planning and management for the commercial vehicle market at Dana Inc., explains how Dana axles fit into creating better traction control, saying...

Axles improve traction

Steve Slesinski, director of global product strategy, planning and management for the commercial vehicle market at Dana Inc., explains how Dana axles fit into creating better traction control, saying, “Dana offers a variety of solutions to improve vehicle traction, performance, and safety. Many of our axles are available with driver-controlled air differential locks to maximize traction to each wheel end. This device is used below 25 MPH, and includes a switch that advises the driver that the locked differential feature is engaged.”

“Wheel-differential locks can also be used with our standard inter-axle differential locks, maximizing the traction for both the forward and rear axle of tandem drive axle systems for 6×4 configurations,” he continues. “In addition to wheel-differential locks, Dana offers a limited slip differential that automatically provides biased torque to the wheel with the most available traction without any driver interaction necessary. For vocational applications, axles can also be optionally equipped with a no-spin differential for automatic, side-to-side, full wheel-end traction capability without any driver interaction.”

Addressing challenges

“A major factor that can affect traction is tire pressure,” says Steve Slesinski, director of global product strategy, planning and management for the commercial-vehicle market at Dana Inc. “Improper inflation causes sidewalls to extend and contract, creating excessive heat and rubber fatigue. In this weakened state, tire wear is accelerated, traction is affected, and tires are more susceptible to damage.

“Overcoming significant challenges that monitor-only systems do not address, Dana is currently pre-production testing the Spicer optimized tire pressure management system,” Slesinski adds. “As the first integrated automatic tire inflation system of its kind for powered commercial vehicles, this system has been engineered to measure and automatically maintain proper tire inflation for both steer and drive axles on trucks and tractors. Any issues can be reported via the J1587 and J1939 SAE communication protocols for either on-board or off-board communication.”

“This system eliminates the need to manually check or adjust tire pressure, allowing drivers to spend more time on the road and less time stopping to check the pressure of each tire,” Slesinski continues. “Dana’s system comes equipped with an abundance of technologies that manage tire-pressure issues, including frequent, automatic tire pressure checks and the ability to inflate or deflate as required to maintain proper air pressure. As each occurrence is recorded, maintenance personnel will be prompted to examine seemingly minor issues and address larger problems before a blowout or other tire event occurs.”

Axles, ABS and brakes

All Dana axles, according to the company, are optionally equipped with anti-lock braking system (ABS) sensing capability—either at the wheel end or the ring gear—to monitor speed and transfer data to the vehicle ABS or traction control system. Based on vehicle configuration, Dana provides wide-track axles and SelecTTrac (intermediate width) axles for additional stability on uneven surface. These solutions provide the option of switching effectively between dual tire configurations, wide-based single tires, or simply offer additional clearance to apply tire chains for travel in serious ice and snow weather conditions. Dana also offers an axle-carrier mounted parking brake feature for use with medium-duty applications to keep vehicles stationary when parked. In addition, an axle-mounted electromagnetic retarder is another optional feature. The retarder is a Dana pre-assembled feature that provides additional braking capability to avoid overuse of foundation brake systems primarily suited for severe start-stop conditions or for traveling on steep grades, the company said.

Intelligent axle

haldex-trailer-stability-system“The Haldex Trailer Stability System, a new product platform to be released in 2017, can perform traction assist when the ILAS-E is installed on a trailer’s lift axle,” shares Haldex Chief Engineer Dave Engelbert. “The stability system receives a message from the tractor that the ASR on the tractor has been activated. The intelligent axle system on the trailer raises the trailer lift axle to transfer load onto the tractor’s drive axle to improve the traction of the tractor’s drive wheels. The traction assist is deactivated on the trailer if the load on a trailer’s fixed axle exceeds the legal limit, or the tractor’s ASR is deactivated.”

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