06 Aug 2017


Daimler has announced the first intelligent commercial vehicle axle for its European Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks. The axle contains New Final Drive (NFD) technology that actively controls oil regulation inside the unit, which boosts fuel economy by up to 0.5%. The new axle will be assembled at a brand-new assembly line in Kassel, Germany, and in Detroit, MI.

Reduced fuel consumption to increase TCO was the goal of the new Integrated Powertrain in the Actros trucks. Improvements to the OM 470 and OM 471 engines paired with an optimized twelve-speed transmission with improved Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) shift strategy help produce the 6% improvement.

The quantity of oil in the NFD axle is supplied depending on the speed, torque and temperature demands. A throttle valve inside the axle controls the amount of fluid in the bowl that encapsulates the ring gear. This intelligent oil management minimizes the swirl of the fluid in the final drive, which results in a smoother mating surface and reduces friction loss from the gears turning in the oil bath. The NFD axle is the first implementation of this active oil regulation in a final drive unit.

Not only is this a new technology, but the axle is being assembled in a brand-new assembly line in Kassel. Daimler invested 30 million Euros in the assembly line at the production facility, which is Europe’s largest commercial vehicle axle plant. The investment provides the latest production technologies and higher levels of automation. New laser technology provides welding capabilities of the ring gear rather than traditional bolting requirements. Employees at the plant are trained using smart glasses with recorded video and images provided to ensure correct assembly.

Daimler is taking a holistic improvement approach to their Integrated Powertrain for the Actros trucks. While the engine and transmission have traditionally received the majority of research and development investment, the intelligent axle proves there are additional efficiencies to be gained in other drivetrain components. The NFD and assembly line improvements vaunt Daimler’s commitment to reduced consumption and TCO for trucking customers.


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