Volvo Trucks has introduced a new axle management function – Tandem Axle Lift – that makes it possible to disengage and lift the second driven axle even while the truck is moving.
Volvo claims that the feature ensures better road grip and manoeuvrability, and up to 4 percent reduced fuel consumption when the truck is driven unladen.
This new function is designed for heavy duty transport operations with loads being carried one way and empty return trips or partly loaded, like timber hauling, construction and bulk cargo transports. It is now available in Volvo’s FM, FMX, and FH range of trucks including the flagship Volvo FH16.
Usually, in trucks with 6×4 axle configuration, a differential engages the two drive axles thus propelling together. In the new tandem axle lift system, the differential in the first drive axle is replaced with a dog clutch so as to disengage and raise the second axle, enabling its tyres to be lifted 140mm (5.51 inches) off the road surface. This helps the driver to utilise both the power and capacity of two driven axles (6×4), with better manoeuvrability of a single driven axle (4×2).
In addition, driving with the lifted second driven axle cuts the turning circle by a meter and also results in less wear and tear of tyres and suspension systems. Lifting the second axle also eliminates lateral scrubbing of the axle in very tight turns, allowing the vehicle to turn more readily. In some cases, removal of pressure from the additional axle is necessary for the vehicle to complete a turn at all.
On slippery surfaces, the driver can increase pressure on the first axle by raising the other axle, resulting in high road grip thus reducing the risk of getting stuck. Tandem Axle Lift also offers improved driving comfort with lowered steering vibrations and in-cab noise levels when the truck is driven empty or lightly loaded. The truck consumes 4 percent less fuel comparatively, which matters more for fleet operators. Although the lift axles are a common feature in trucks in Western markets, they are hardly offered in India due to cost factors with very few exceptions.
Volvo Trucks India is expected to incorporate this tandem axle lift feature in its trucks manufactured in India anytime soon. The company, just few months back, crossed the landmark of 10,000 truck deliveries in India, first by a European manufacturer in this regard.
Photos Credit: CommercialMotor.com