One of my more interesting visits at the IFPE show in Las Vegas was with Dana—the company announced its pending acquisition of Brevini at bauma in November. That transaction went through on February 1st, so this was really the first public opportunity for the two companies to show the value of the integration.
A large crane display at the booth was an opportunity to show all of the different pieces, such as the traditional Dana drivetrain products, under the Spicer brand name. Axles, transmission, remote torque converter, and driveshafts from Brevini were seamlessly integrated.
A company spokesman told me that this allows Dana to get into a part of the market where they previously didn’t have the drives for that—the whole crawler side of things, whether that’s cranes or dozers or excavators. Dana has a lot of existing OEMs that they do business with, and this is an opportunity to say, “Come look at us for the things in the work circuits.”
Michael Unrein, Director, NA Sales and Global Construction Segment, said that they’ve seen a heightened level of interest in electrification.
“I think part of that is also associated with autonomous vehicles, and so our Smart Suites have axles that fits right into the autonomous vehicles. Because there’s no longer someone there, hearing the axle, hearing the machine,” Unrein said. “And luckily with our new Dana Brevini acquisition, they’re already in electrification. They have a partnership with an electric motor company. And we’re going to make sure that we strengthen our relationship with electric motor companies, and we’ll be able to satisfy that market.”
Caterpillar has been talking about this being the age of “Smart Iron.” And a lot of exhibitors and suppliers at IFPE and CONEXPO were talking about the IoT. Dana is doing its own product geared in that direction, called intelligent load monitoring system, or ILMS.
Traditionally, machines like telehandlers, have a single load cell that’s on the axle—sort of a yes or no equation. And that’s good for when the machine is parked, and it’s good for when the machine is on level ground. Now, rather than having something put on that axle after the fact by a third party, Dana can integrate that system into the design of the axle itself. So, instead of gathering data from one spot, they can gather it from multiple spots, bring it together, integrate it, analyze it, predict it, model it, provide a 3D picture of where the load is.
That data can be provided to the operator, as well as provide warnings and vehicle status updates. According to Dana, ILMS is just the first of a number of packages that the company is working on and will be rolling out.