February 26, 2017 3:45 PM, EST

Dana Introduces Rhombus for Tires; Updates Axles, Driveshafts

Mark Wallace Mark Wallace by John Sommers II for TT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Manufacturer Dana Inc. rolled out innovations to its mainstay lineup of truck axles and driveshafts, and it also unveiled Rhombus Tire Analytics, a cloud-based system for managing tire maintenance.

Based in Maumee, Ohio, Dana has been manufacturing since 1904, and it is part of an industry facing “a tectonic shift” from “mechanical devices to integrated mechatronics,” or mechanical systems augmented with electronics, said Mark Wallace, a Dana executive vice president.

“We’re axles and drivelines, not a tire business, but the data was there,” Wallace said, explaining the new product in a different field. Dana’s Feb. 26 presentation was part of the annual meeting here of American Trucking Associations' Technology & Maintenance Council.

The company brought in a customer, Trent Siemens, maintenance director of Paul’s Hauling Ltd. in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The company has about 250 power units and 600 trailers.

Siemens said technicians enter data with iPads that send information directly to the Rhombus system, which uses tread-depth measurements and pictures of tread-wear patterns.

“Cost-per-mile, that’s my life as a maintenance director,” Siemens said, adding that his company has been using the system for three months.

Wallace said Rhombus is designed to create better data analysis than spreadsheets often in use now.

Dana has updated its SPL 350 driveshaft with a lighter-weight model called SPL 350 Lite. Steve Slesinski, Dana director of global product planning, said the new model is 35 pounds lighter than its predecessor and is useful for powertrain downspeeding.

Slesinski said the number of parts in the Lite shaft was reduced by 11. The material used are the same, he said, but the design was improved and some separate components were integrated.

Dana also added a new ratio for its AdvanTek 40 tandem drive axle, 2.47-to-1. The new ratio complements other AdvanTek 40 models with a range from 2.26 to 2.93-to-1.

Axle ratios are the number of turns it takes a drive axle to produce one revolution by a wheel. The lower the ratio number, the faster the axle.

Slesinski said the 2.47 ratio is “ideal” for use with a Cummins X15 engine and an Eaton automated manual transmission.