April 3 - In the USA, Troy, Michigan-based axle giant, Meritor has launched its new P600 Series Tridem heavy haulage planetary axle.

Aimed at the global market for heavy duty road transport applications, Meritor claims it is the world's first tridem hub reduction bogie to have truly equal proportioning differentials.

Steve Luepke, director, off-highway, for Meritor told HLPFI that the axle was in a class of its own: "We have produced a tridem axle previously, but the really exciting feature of this one is the differentials split the input drive 33, 33, 33 between the axles. This means each axle is driving as hard as the next, reducing the chance of one axle breaking loose."

The new axle has already generated interest from truck manufacturers and end users both in the USA and in Europe and goes head to head with heavy duty on-highway axle products from Finnish manufacturer, SISU Auto.

Steve Luepke said that the new tridem also features class leading axle weights: "The 600 Series Tridem is compatible with the leading suspension options and is rated for 57 tonnes gross axle weight," he explained. "Additionally, it is rated for gross combination weights in excess of 250 tonnes. The third driven axle makes a big difference in terms of traction with very heavy loads and on difficult surfaces.

For example, in parts of the world where road surface conditions are compromised by sand, or for applications where poor weather conditions, or the need to move off road, means maintaining traction is vital. It can also handle very high power and input torque loads, which are becoming more common in large heavy haulage prime movers," he said.

Meritor currently supplies axles to three class 8 truck manufacturers serving global markets and it says it is in discussions with the other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that specialise in manufacturing heavy haulage vehicles.

The P600 tridem has several final drive ratio options and standard anti-lock brakes. It can be supplied with an optional driver-controlled differential lock and hardware for a central tyre inflation system. It also has the capability to customise the axle spreads for use with a variety of tyre choices.

Full production will commence at Meritor's Laurinburg, North Carolina plant in June.