Production has started in Germany of a lightweight truck axle that has been designed to help to reduce the fuel consumption of the Mercedes-Benz Actros. In addition to weight savings, a New Final Drive (NFD) benefits from actively controlled oil regulation in the heart of the axle.

According to a statement issued by Mercedes-Benz, the technology and type of construction is without parallel – lubricating oil is supplied as needed depending on the speed, torque and temperature of the final drive.

“Intelligent oil management minimises the swirl of liquid in the final drive and thus reduces the friction loss from the gears turning in the oil bath. The new axle completes the second generation of the Integrated Powertrain from Daimler Trucks and results in fuel savings of up to 6,5% for the Actros compared with its predecessor,” the statement says.

As part of the Daimler Trucks platform strategy, the new truck axle will be produced at the Mercedes‑Benz plant in Kassel and also at the US site in Detroit.

“The second generation of the Integrated Powertrain from Daimler Trucks – consisting of engine, transmission and axle – has already resulted in fuel savings of up to six percent for the Actros and ensures the lowest possible Total Cost of Ownership,” says Dr Frank Reintjes, Head of Global Powertrain and Manufacturing Engineering Trucks.

The start of series production of the fuel-efficient truck axle coincided with the inauguration of an ultra-modern assembly line that was constructed at the site in recent months. The plant boasts cutting-edge production technologies and a high level of automation.

For example, components inside the axle can now be directly welded together with new laser technology instead of being bolted. The resulting smooth mating surfaces reduce unnecessary oil swirl in the final drive and have a positive effect on fuel consumption.

In total, about 30-million euros were invested in the new NFD assembly line in Kassel.

“The new truck axle with active oil regulation is the first axle of this type and offers our customers a clear competitive edge thanks to reduced fuel consumption. We also benefit from this at the Mercedes‑Benz plant in Kassel,” says Ludwig Pauss, the plant’s site manager.

“Cutting-edge product technologies and extensive investments in production facilities ensure that the site will remain profitable and competitive in future.”

Mercedes-Benz’s new lightweight truck axle in production at the company’s plant at Kassel