Manufacturer Valx has outlined the design ethos behind its axle range, which was informed by technical advisor Les Price, managing director of LPA Engineering Ltd.
Valx, which offers a full range of both disc and drum products, cites its emphasis on reliability, safety and cost of ownership. Benefits of its range are said to include smart design, reduced risks, a focus on strength rather than light weight alone, high-quality manufacturing, and easy serviceability.
“Our key focus in designing the Valx axle was creating a robust concept that would consistently enable the highest-quality manufacturing,” said Les Price.
“In effect we have slightly over-designed some of the most important aspects of the axle, putting the emphasis on safety and reliability. We didn’t compromise on those requirements at any stage.
“Although the weight we’ve achieved is competitive, we’re convinced that our design is among the strongest.
“Our ‘no risks’ philosophy applies equally to our selection of components. Industry-leading brands with long track records supply all our critical components, such as bearings and seals, brakes and friction materials, and air suspension units.”
He continued: “Although we’ve avoided untested innovations, we haven’t been afraid to depart from standard practice where that delivers clear benefits. Just two examples are the ultra-strong seamless, non-welded axle beam and the easy-to-assemble clamped suspension mounting.
“Thanks to the design choices we’ve made, together with state-of-the-art design, analysis, manufacturing and a massive test programme, we have full confidence in the long-term durability of our axle over many kilometres, and in the low total cost of ownership it will offer.”
The axle construction starts with an extremely strong, seamless, cold-drawn beam design, says Valx; the basic beam structure is non-welded, eliminating risks of possible weakening or material degradation, and has a high strength-to-weight ratio.
“With stiff, thickened spindle walls to minimise fretting for ease of hub removal, induction-hardened and ground journals and rolled threads, the Valx axle beam forms the basis for long-term durability under tough operating conditions,” said the company.
“External protection against adverse environments is provided by surface treatment for effective and long-lasting corrosion protection.”
Meanwhile, the hubs are for zero and 120 mm offsets and 19.5 or 22.5-inch wheel sizes. Design is focused on safety and reliability, says Valx; highly accurate CNC machining and reduced tolerances on bearing dimensions ensure accurate pre-setting of the bearing system and an even pressure distribution across the bearing cups, preventing any spinning of the outer ring in the hubs.
“The wide 132 mm bearing spread minimises bearing loads and maximises bearing life, while reducing sensitivity to brake heat transfer,” the firm added.
“The tapered roller bearings are based on the most common bearings in Europe, and have been specifically designed to maximise performance and reliability.”
Later this year Valx will make available a range for 17.5” wheels, to suit the low-loader and heavy haulage sectors.
Service for the Valx range is available through a service and support network of over 1,000 parts and service points across Europe.
Recent developments at the company include the appointment of Dan Edwards as sales manager for the UK and Ireland, who has 25 years’ experience in the commercial vehicle industry, specialising in trailer running gear and whole trailer sales with major manufacturers.
Tasked with increasing the number of parts and service partners in the UK, Dan has already added 100 locations to the network since joining in February 2020.
“With the use of the Valx Total Cost of Ownership calculator, Dan can quickly and easily advise fleet engineers and workshop managers how much Valx can save them over the lifetime of the trailer,” the firm concluded.