“A big wheel is nothing without an axle”—Colonel Willard Rockwell
In 1909, a new company, Timken Detroit Axle, opened its doors on Clark Street in Detroit, Michigan. The Model T was still in its infancy, and the high-wheel motor buggy was still popular on US roads.
With a little good timing and a lot of engineering flexibility, Timken quickly found itself on a path its founders could never have imagined. Through the decades it became Rockwell International, went to the moon, built the Space Shuttle, acquired, merged, and spun off–until it became a modern company specializing in, well, axles.
Today, the company is better known as Meritor, and it reaches well beyond its Clark street roots. With more than 60 locations in 19 countries, it has a major presence in North and South America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Meritor makes axles, brake systems, and suspensions with a focus on the heavier forms of wheeled transport. Think school busses, 18-wheelers, trailers, etc.
“We serve commercial truck, trailer, bus and coach, and off highway machinery manufacturers, in addition to defense contractors,” says the Meritor website.
Yet, even with its clear focus, Meritor continues to innovate and design to meet twenty-first century challenges. For example, lighter and stronger axles lead to better fuel efficiency and lower emissions, which benefits fleet owners (i.e., customers) as well as society at large (i.e., everyone else).
Take Meritor’s FUELite Tandem Axle, a 6 x 2 drive axle system designed to increase fuel economy by 2% and save weight by approximately 400 lbs by using a larger forward axle to drive the vehicle. The FUELite axle is engineered to accommodate all 40,000 pound linehaul suspensions and provides a smoother ride that reduces cost of maintenance and improves longevity.
The company is also sharing its century of experience with integrated supply chain management and now provides third-party logistics via Meritor Logistics.
Times change, nobody knows that better than Meritor. So, the company uses both PTC Creo and PTC Windchill to support its global product development. PTC solutions ensure that Meritor can keep experimenting and keep innovating, without running over budget or past deadlines. It can easily leverage and build off existing designs, as well as quickly create new models from scratch. In short, PTC Creo helps Meritor hold its position as a world leader in automobile components.