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Axle Market Gearing Up!!

Axle Market Gearing Up!!

Automotive axle and propeller shaft market size is set to grow at a remarkable pace in the coming years

This report studies automotive rear axle in global market, especially in North America, China, Europe, Southeast Asia, Japan and India, with production, revenue, consumption, import and export in these regions, from 2012 to 2016, and forecast to 2022. With the significant change in the global automotive rear axle market, the need to research its growth has become imminent. Researches on the market have proved to be significant.

Global Automotive Axle Market 2017-2022:

Global automotive axle market report offers decisive insights into the overall automotive axle industry along with the market dimensions and evaluation for the duration 2017 to 2022. The forenamed research study covers extensive analysis of various automotive axle industry segments based on the type of applications, type of product components and services, and different geographical regions.

Further, automotive axle market report along with computable information, qualitative information sets and evaluation tools are provided in this study for improved automotive axle analysis of the overall market scenario and future prospects. Tools such as market positioning of automotive axle key players and tempting investment scheme provide the readers with perception on the competitive scenario of the worldwide automotive axle market. This automotive axle report concludes with company profiles section that points out major data about the vital players involved in global automotive axle industry.

Increase in adoption of all wheel drive (AWD) vehicles has further spurred the demand for live axles and propeller shafts. Commercial vehicle segment is anticipated to witness the robust growth, mainly in North America owing to increase in public transport infrastructure.

Automotive axle and propeller shaft market report, published by allied market research, forecasts that the global market is expected to garner $268 billion by 2022, registering a CAGR of 4.3 per cent during the period 2016 – 2022. Passenger car segment is expected to maintain its dominant position throughout the forecast period. Asia-Pacific would continue to lead, accounting around 44 per cent share of the world automotive axle & propeller shaft market in 2015.

What is axle?

Purpose of automotive axle is to transfer the driving torque from the differential to the vehicle’s driving wheels whereas propeller shaft transfer the torque from gearbox to differential. Propeller shafts are widely used in vehicles where the distance between engine and differential is large. Increase in production of vehicles and increasing demand for comfort while driving the vehicle boosts the market growth. However, volatile prices of raw material used for manufacturing axle & propeller shaft such as steel, aluminium, and alloy of carbon restrain the market growth. Irrespective of these challenges, increase in demand for fuel efficient vehicle is expected to provide opportunity for the key market players in this market to provide low cost and fuel efficient components. Increase in adoption of all wheel drive vehicles mostly in North America and Europe has further spurred the demand for axles and propeller shafts.

Axle type segment is further divided into live axle, dead axle, and tandem axle. As of 2015, live axle accounted for the largest revenue among others and is anticipated to witness the highest growth rate of 4.5 per cent CAGR among others owing to increase in demand for all wheel drive vehicles. Whereas, tandem axle is anticipated to witness the moderate growth during the forecast period. This is mainly due to increase in number of heavy commercial vehicles such as heavy duty buses and trucks.

How four-wheel drive works:

Traction is pretty much doubled between tires and street (or dirt, rocks, mud, snow, and so on) by driving four wheels instead of two. Let’s start with the basics of an American-built pickup we’ve known forever. We’ll take a plain-Jane two-wheel-drive and add the necessary components to build a four-wheel-drive truck.

For argument’s sake, we’re working on a rear-wheel-drive ½-ton pickup with a V-8 bolted to a four-speed automatic. The transmission’s output shaft is splined to the front yoke of the driveshaft, which is bolted at the other end to a solid rear drive axle with two U-joints in between to compensate for various real-world driveline angles. The rear drive axle includes a limited-slip differential, with left and right axleshafts driving torque at the rear wheels. Objective: We want to drive the front wheels at the same time.

To do this, we need another driveshaft aimed forward and linked to a front drive axle turning the front wheels. This is accomplished with a gearbox affixed to the rear of the transmission. The added box is referred to as a transfer case.

The front wheels are connected to their respective axleshafts by locking hubs. The simplest of these is a manual design that requires the driver to get out of the vehicle and turn the hubs one quarter-turn to engage them with the drive axles. An advantage to this is the front wheels can be totally disengaged from their axleshafts when in two-wheel drive, reducing friction and improving fuel efficiency. They also tend to be a bit more reliable.

Some part-time four-wheel-drive vehicles offer automatic locking hubs that connect the front wheels to the drive axles. These hubs operate by closing on the drive axles when they start to turn, usually through a slide lock. To disengage the hubs from the drive axles when in two-wheel drive, reversing the truck a few feet moves the slide lock back to the open position. These offer a few advantages, the foremost among them convenience and shift-on-the-fly capability. However, they can be less reliable and may exact a fuel-economy penalty.

Differential Basics

Before we go any further, let’s review the function of a differential. An open differential is what allows a vehicle to freely make turns. The driveshaft rotates the differential’s pinion gear, which turns a ring gear bolted to the differential housing (carrier). This converts the rotation of the driveshaft 90 degrees to outward rotation at the left and right axleshafts—and, in turn, the wheels. When making a left turn, the right wheel must rotate at a higher speed than the left because it’s covering more ground. If the axleshafts were locked together at the differential, the right rear tire would skip or drag on the pavement. It’s forced to rotate at the same speed as the left.

Inside the differential’s carrier housing are four gears that make everything work. Two side gears splined to the axleshafts meshed with two spider or pinion gears affixed to the carrier. This allows the left and right axleshafts to rotate at different speed, enabling free turning.

The open differential is a great device with one significant drawback: It permits the wheel with the least traction to spin, while the other remains stationary. We’ve seen it before, one wheel on a patch of ice and the other on dry pavement. The wheel on ice spins, the wheel with good traction doesn’t, and you’re going nowhere fast. That’s where a limited-slip differential comes into play. A common method is the use of spring-loaded clutch packs. The clutches keep the two axleshafts semi-locked together under a specified pressure. Going back to the “one wheel on ice” scenario, the locking pressure will continue to distribute some torque to the wheel with good traction and hopefully get the vehicle off the ice. Meanwhile, when traction is equal at both wheels, the clutches slip at a defined torque range and permit smooth turning.

Part-Time Four-Wheel Drive

Our hypothetical pickup is considered part-time four-wheel drive because the transfer case allows the option of two-wheel drive. When engaged in either four-wheel drive position (high or low), the front and rear driveshafts are locked together and turning at the same speed. This is the ultimate for low-traction conditions, but it’s a worst-case scenario on sticky pavement. Just like a drive axle with its axleshafts locked together would cause wheel skip during turns on dry pavement, the same thing applies front-to-rear when a part-time transfer case locks the front and rear drive axles. So on a part-time system, four-wheel drive should only be used under low-traction conditions. Otherwise, drivetrain damage is bound to happen.

Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive
Full-time four-wheel drive uses the same basic setup as part-time with the elimination of locking and unlocking hubs at the front drive axle, no more two-wheel drive engagement, and the addition of a differential

within the transfer case to allow both front and rear axles to remain engaged at all times. Full-time is always driving four wheels, but allows for different wheel and driveshaft speeds front to rear. This is another example of an open differential’s limitations. Using the ice patch example, going up an inclined driveway and both front tires hit the ice patch, the front tires spin and we lose torque at the rear wheels. Just like a drive axle, the addition of a limited-slip mechanism at the transfer-case differential improves the situation considerably. This enables full-time four-wheel drive to be used in all traction conditions while continuously driving four wheels.
Some full-time systems incorporate the ability to fully lock the driveshafts at the transfer case at low speeds. This eliminates any disadvantage compared with part-time four-wheel drive during off-road use. Low-speed locking of rear axle shafts and front axle differentials is also an option on certain models.

Initiatives by ZF

After acquisition of TRW Automotive in 2015, which has been integrated within ZF as the global active and passive safety technology division, the combined entity has a number of joint ventures in India. ZF, which has been operating in India for over three decades, has nine plants catering to automotive and non-automotive segments. With TRW, its presence now stretches to 19 production facilities with 12,000 employees.
“In India, we are present in commercial vehicle and car powertrain products and industrial technology. With product offerings of transmission and chassis components for trucks, clutches for passenger cars, axles and transmission for off-highway and industrial gearboxes for wind turbines, we are positioned for an exhilarating phase of our Indian journey,” said Suresh KV, President, ZF India.

As part of its integration, the Pune-based plant which makes transmissions and axles for off-highway vehicles has been shifted to Coimbatore after ZF acquired Hanson Drive Ltd in 2011 as part of its global strategy to tap opportunities in the industrial segment. At present, ZF Coimbatore is the second wholly-owned subsidiary which manufactures wind turbine gearboxes and axles and transmission for off-highway vehicles. According to Suresh, technology in India is coming in line with what ZF offers globally and this will enable the company to penetrate the Indian market further in the coming years.

ZF Hero Chassis Systems, the joint venture between Hero Motors and ZF set up in 2010 when ZF acquired a 50 percent stake from the OP Munjal Group, is targeting speedier growth in India. The joint venture, which utilises European technology and expertise, is a supplier of front corner modules and rear axle sets to automakers like Maruti Suzuki India, General Motors India and Honda Cars India.

Initiative by AxleTech International

AxleTech is an innovative drivetrain solutions provider. Jay DeVeny, Vice President- Engineering, AxleTech International says, “We design and manufacture planetary axles for military and commercial applications – ranging from construction equipment to airport ground support. AxleTech designs axles to meet the specific application demands – we have over 1,000 different axle specifications in our current offering. Our 100+ year history of experience in providing the most robust solution for your axle needs is well known throughout the military and commercial industries. We pride ourselves in providing the solution to your most difficult applications. We not only service axle needs for OE production, we also offer complete axle assemblies for aftermarket replacement needs, as well.” AxleTech International provides many axle such as non-drive steerable axles, planetary rigid axle, planetary rigid tandem axles and many more.
With the challenge of providing low-emission transportation, Wrightspeed has solved the problem of reducing emissions in heavy transportation with their first-in-kind innovation, the Route REV powertrain. Wrightspeed’s complete powertrain system, featuring regenerative braking and a range-extending turbine generator, the Fulcrum, enable heavy-duty electric vehicles to operate as efficiently as possible. The announcement comes as Wrightspeed rapidly expands its supply chain team, bringing on experts with experience at Tesla Motors, Ford, Cummins, and others to meet strong demand for new powertrain technology. Wrightspeed is scaling its operations to meet international interest, including the largest operator of urban bus services in New Zealand, NZB, as well as continuing its work with Sonoma County recycling leader, The Ratto Group.

“Our strategy at Wrightspeed leverages world-class suppliers for components that we’ve designed and specified for our integrated powertrain technology,” said Ian Wright, CEO and founder of Wrightspeed. “AxleTech is a proven leader in developing axles for vehicles with the most challenging drive cycles in the world, and, in partnering with them, we get proven quality components and manufacturing expertise, while keeping our team focused on innovation.”

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