When Scania tasked final year mechanical engineering students from Luleå University of Technology with creating a totally new rear axle, they did so as a real challenge to see what the students could do. The result is an impressive concept for a rear axle that combines the good characteristics of single reduction and hub reduction alike.
“We gave them a project they could sink their teeth into,” explains Fredrik Eklund, Head of Axle Gears Design. Technically speaking, the proposal is really good and very exciting, although of course there is a good bit remaining to develop.“
Last year, for the first time, Scania gave the University a qualified task to solve within the framework for the Sirius course, which is conducted on a part-time basis for 30 weeks. Seven students gathered to take on the axle challenge.
“In hindsight, I can see that the work was more comprehensive than I had imagined,“ says Jonathan Jönsson, project manager for axle development.
Together with fellow student Tony Häggström, he is doing his degree project at Scania and is tasked with developing a backup charging system for generator engines. Tony previously participated in Scania Student Intro and worked with engine development last summer.
The task they were given was to create a solution that combines the advantages of a hub reduction axle and a single reduction axle. Hub reduction provides better terrain accessibility at the expense of higher fuel consumption. On the other hand, single reduction provides poorer terrain accessibility, but lower fuel consumption on the highway is a clear advantage. Even though e.g. timber trucks only cover limited distances on forest roads in relation to highway driving, hub reduction is a necessity.
“We created a total concept for a new combined solution that I am convinced will work,” says Tony, who was responsible for conceptualization. “We’ve calculated that it’s possible to save 1 litre of fuel every 20 miles with this solution compared to hub reduction.“
The concept was presented in detail to Scania R&D, while the presentation on their home turf at the University was just a brief summary so as not to reveal details.
“It would have been satisfying to continue with axle development as a degree project, but you have to apply in good time and we weren’t even ready with our new concept.“
Hoping for a future at Scania
Jonathan and Tony are prepared to move from their hometowns of Luleå and Kalix and both are hoping for a job at Scania later on.
“This is what we want to work with.“
Right now they live in Värdsholmen and devote all of their available time to the degree project.
“We devoted the entire weekend to work because it’s so rewarding.”