Meritor talks ups its “intelligent” axle system

CAMERI, ITALY. Meritor executives speaking at the company’s  axle plant here today parted the R&D curtain to bring journalists up to speed on a key product development that it first discussed publicly almost four years ago— the LogixDrive electronically controlled drive-axle system.

Fabio Santinato, chief engineer of axle engineering— Europe, said that Meritor regards LogixDrive as nothing less than the industry’s first “intelligent” axle.

He explained that the system’s design leverages electronics to reduce the parasitic drag on power produced by drive axles running specifically in “high-mileage linehaul applications.”

Santinato said the upshot is that “fuel efficiency will be enhanced and CO2 emissions reduced.”

According to Meritor, the LogixDrive system will provide fuel savings of approximately 1% “without the need for driver interface” as well as parasitic energy loss reductions of more than 30% compared to prior axle generations.” 

The guts of LogixDrive are its electronic controls. Santinato said the drive unit constantly senses temperature, speed, braking and torque conditions so that the optimum amount of lubrication is always supplied to the axle when operating.

And that, he explained, enables the system to manage the two main areas of power loss in axles: gear and bearing friction and the oil-churning that results from gear rotation.

Santinato then pointed out that having control over the amount of lubricant on the gear set during vehicle operation improves efficiency for greater fuel economy and also and also reduces lubrication breakdown.

 “LogixDrive employs sensors to measure oil temperature and combines that with torque and speed information to reduce lubrication in high-speed/low-torque conditions or increase lubrication in low-speed/high-torque conditions,” noted Marco Bassi, senior director of Europe & South America Engineering.

As to what’s next for LogixDrive, Malte Raddatz, director of communications for Europe & Asia/Pacific, told FleetOwner that the system is “now undergoing field trials in Europe, Brazil and the United States. And the system will be implemented [on drive axles} based on OEM orders.

“LogixDrive may well arrive first on trucks built for the U.S.rather than on those designed for Europe,” he advised. “The thinking is that this system may appeal to the U.S. market as right now OEMs there are very focused on increasing fuel efficiency while at the same time reducing greenhouse-gas emissions” from heavy-duty truck.