Meritor shows fast-ratio drive axles, light trailer axle

NASHVILLE.  A lighter trailer axle, a 6x2 drive axle and a super-fast ratio tandem were among the new products and services introduced by Meritor (NYSE: MTOR) at the 2015 Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) annual meeting.  The component manufacturer also displayed a new automatic tire inflation system for linehaul tractors and announced a new programming tool that will speed up delivery of replacement electronic control units for pneumatic ABS.

The new FUELite+ 6x2 drive axle is 15 to 20 lbs. lighter than the company’s current 6x2 platform, but has the same suspension fit and offers automatic and manual differential lock capability for improved traction, according to Meritor.  With GCW ratings up to 140,000 lbs., the new 6x2 is initially being introduced with fast 2.31 and 2.47 final drive ratios, with additional ratio options available in the future.  It can accommodate either wide-based single or dual tires.

A “super-fast” 2.28 ratio was also announced for Meritor’s 14X model tandem drive axle. The faster ratio is intended for downspeeding truck specs employing direct-drive transmissions, and the 14X also features a larger pinion system to handle the high torque levels developed by downspeeding, according to the company.

With claims to be the lightest trailer axle on the market in North America, the new Meritor MTec6 features a six-in. diameter axle but is still 36 lbs. lighter than industry-standard five-in. models, according to the company.  The larger diameter offers greater stiffness to help reduce axle deflection and resulting tire wear, while the lighter weight improves available payload capacity, Meritor said.

Able to both monitor tire pressures and inflate tires if necessary, MTIS if the first automatic tire inflation system for linehaul tractor applications, according to Meritor. The system can also alert drivers if a tire requires continuous inflation.  Currently undergoing validation testing at several fleets, the new system will be available to truck makers on a limited basis starting in 2016, Meritor said.

Meritor WABCO, the company’s North American joint venture with WABCO, also announced at the annual TMC meeting that it has released a new programming tool “that helps significantly shorten delivery times of replacement electronic control units (ECU) for antilock braking systems (ABS).”  With over 400 variations of ABS ECUs currently in use in truck air-brake systems, service centers can only stock the most popular units, according to Meritor.  The new programming tool, part of Meritor WABCO’s Toolbox diagnostic software, will allow parts suppliers to quickly configure units for specific applications, cutting both inventory costs and improving availability, according to the company.

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