TAMPA, FL. Dana Holding Corp. plans to expand its one-piece aluminum Diamond series driveshaft product line, which it introduced last year: offering driveshafts up to 130 in. in length versus the previous 106-in. limit.

Steve Slesinski, Dana’s director of global product planning, noted during a press conference here at the 2012 Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting that the expansion is necessary in part to deal with the increasing “regionalization” of truck operations in the U.S.

“In the past, fleets would ‘overspec’ all manner of truck components because they operated from coast-to-coast under many different conditions, such as moving from the flat plains to the steep grades of the Rocky mountains, negotiating varying speed limits from 55 mph to 75 mph and above along the way,” Slesinski told Fleet Owner.

“Now, fleets are trying to ‘tune’ their trucks to more specific applications to maximize fuel economy and productivity,” he said. “So while there have always been many different specs available in the past, regionalization is only going to increase the needs for different spec packages.”

Slesinski said the major market drivers in trucking today revolve around fuel efficiency, emissions control, and cost of ownership, as well as the above-mentioned impact of regionalization.

As a result, Dana believes its new extended one-piece aluminum Diamond driveshaft will help in several of those areas, as it weighs 100 lbs. less than a comparable two-piece steel driveshaft, and will be applicable to a wider set of trucks as 60% of all Class 7 and 8 trucks operating across North America use driveshfts measuring between 90 and 139 in. in length.

“The one-piece design also helps reduce part count and maintenance complexity, plus eliminates the start-up ‘shudder’ many trucks experience as well,” Slesinski said. “We also believe there’s a slice of the market that will spec it simply because of the aluminum finish.”

On a separate topic, Slesinski noted that Dana plans to have a complete service support network set up and in place to go “live” July 1 to replace the dissolution of the Roadranger network forged by Dana and Eaton 14 years ago.

“We just want to stress that warranty coverage and service support is going to remain the same – only the contact phone number will change,” he stressed. “Both Eaton and Dana want to make this transition as seamless for all of our customers as possible.”