American Axle & Manufacturing

Detroit company shows off new tech in Europe

October’s International issue of Electrical Apparatus continues to highlight industry stories from every corner of the world. This week, we found another great example of a homegrown company from the United States’ own Motor City—a longtime manufacturing hub—flexing its new muscles by preparing for an overseas show in Germany.

Detroit-based AAM (American Axle & Manufacturing) will showcase its latest fuel-efficient and lightweight driveline, powertrain and metal forming technologies at the upcoming IZB International Suppliers Fair, being held next week, October 16-18 in Wolfsburg, Germany. AAM’s booth will be located in Hall 5, stand 5311 in the Allerpark, a company press release said October 10.

AAM represents a positive example of a company that began as a straightforward, old-school automotive outfit being willing to transition to new technologies such as hybrid vehicles and electric markets.

AAM can trace its history to the beginning of the 20th century and the infancy of the automotive industry. The foundation for what is now AAM was established in 1917 when General Motors Corporation built an aircraft parts manufacturing facility in Detroit, on the land where AAM’s World Headquarters and flagship North American facility now stands. Later, automotive parts were added to the product mix. By 1920, two additional plants had been built in Detroit to meet the increased demands of the burgeoning automotive industry. Two additional plants were constructed in Detroit in the ‘40s and ‘50s.

The company now considers itself as much “a global leader in the design, engineering and production of technologies that are lighter, smarter, greener and more power dense,” it says, and thus goes to Germany as part of an effort to display key products that help automakers manufacture vehicles that are fuel-efficient and help reduce emissions without sacrificing performance. AAM’s display will include:

e-AAM Hybrid and Electric Driveline Technology – Powering both hybrid and electric vehicles with either one or two electric motors, e-AAM technology is highly efficient and helps reduce tail pipe emissions while providing improvements to dynamic safety, acceleration and high-performance all-wheel-drive (AWD).

QUANTUM Axle Technology – The QUANTUM family of axles provide gains in efficiency, performance and packaging while significantly reducing system weight. QUANTUM delivers reduced mass, increased power density, improved noise vibration and harshness (NVH) and efficiency gains in a more compact system package regardless of vehicle size. QUANTUM’s new design is centered on using traditional axle components in new ways. Bearings are arranged more efficiently and gears are set in optimal positions.

EcoTrac Disconnecting AWD – AAM’s first-to-market EcoTrac system gives drivers the performance of an AWD vehicle with the fuel economy of a front wheel drive vehicle by automatically and seamlessly using only the front wheels when AWD is not required.  The system disconnects at the power transfer unit (PTU), so that the driveshaft stops spinning and power is no longer sent to the rear wheels. Less spinning means less fuel consumption and fewer emissions.  EcoTrac reduces the system drag of a typical AWD system by up to 90 percent. AAM introduced the industry’s first disconnecting AWD system in late 2013.

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