Dana: Leading Vehicle Electrification

Gajanan Gandhe, Vice President & Country Leader, Dana (India).
Dana has an unmatched ability to deliver complete e-Propulsion systems that enhance the performance, flexibility, robustness, and efficiency of electrified vehicles, says Gajanan Gandhe, Vice President & Country Leader, Dana (India).

How do you view the market of drivetrain and e-Propulsion systems in India and its growth drivers?
We have a very positive view of the mobile markets in India, and Dana’s line of drive and motion solutions is aligned with the markets that are primed for the greatest growth. For example, Prime Minster’s National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) initiative supports high-speed rail, airport modernization, and advanced freight capabilities, and Dana offers high-performing products for all these applications.

We are well-positioned to support vehicle manufacturers in India and throughout Asia with e-Propulsion technologies. Dana has staked a position as the world’s leading Tier-One supplier of vehicle electrification technologies and we have made a series of manufacturing investments in key components and systems, engineering, and integration expertise, as well as the testing and validation facilities that further enhance our capabilities.

Dana has a global strategy of positioning engineering and manufacturing resources close to our customers, and this includes a substantial and growing investment in supporting our customers in India. A series of strategic acquisitions has added significant Asian manufacturing capacity, supplemented local engineering and customer support, and fortified our expertise in managing complex global development programs.

Which sectors do you cater to and how do you see the demand of your products from OEMs and aftermarket consumption?
Dana serves every major vehicle market from passenger vehicles and light trucks to commercial trucks and buses - all the way to the complete breadth of off-highway equipment. We have seen our multiple end-markets rebounding from the unprecedented global Covid-19 pandemic shutdown earlier this year. Globally, light truck and agriculture demand has been especially strong. Many other markets, such as commercial vehicles, realized strengthened production volumes in the third quarter.

Dana is a major player in the construction market where we produce drive and motion systems for both wheeled and tracked earthmoving equipment. The company offers a comprehensive line of Spicer® drive systems and Brevini® motion systems engineered to work continuously in challenging environments where vehicle performance, efficiency, and reliability are critically important.

We provide innovative, flexible full-system solutions for wheel loaders, compact track loaders, mini excavators, crawler cranes, rough-terrain cranes, mobile elevated work platforms, and wheeled excavators. Our solutions include field-proven designs for both traditional internal combustion engine-driven equipment as well as the latest electric-drive configurations.

192 Axle Approved for external use

What are Dana’s R&D capabilities?
Dana was founded in 1904 on an innovation that revolutionized the motorized vehicle industry - the universal joint. From the beginning, Dana has invested heavily in research and development to improve the performance, efficiency, reliability and durability of the vehicles we support.

Last year, we reported U.S. $271 million in total engineering expenses, which includes investments in R&D. We have a total of 26 technical and engineering centers around the world, including the Dana India Technical Center in Pune that supports more than 250 engineers and serves as a technology hub for Dana globally.

What technological advancements in your products have been carried out recently to improve productivity, lifecycle, and customer experience?
We announced a number of innovations at the Bauma China construction show in December 2020. We introduced comprehensive drive systems specifically tailored for electric-driven mobile elevated work platforms (MEWPs) manufactured in China. We launched an integrated system for electric-driven boom and scissor lifts with working heights of above six meters that improve safety, productivity, efficiency, operator comfort, and reliability, while reducing total cost of ownership as well as the impact on the environment.

The complete package from Dana features Spicer Torque-Hub™ wheel drives, low-voltage internal permanent magnet motors, inverters, slew drives, pump-motor, system pumps, proportional valves, and electronic control units. Additionally, we now manufacture track drives in China for a wide range of tracked construction equipment. Featuring Spicer Torque-Hub™ drives with output torque ratings from 10 kNm to 130 kNm,

Dana’s integrated packages are engineered to maximize the performance of diesel- and electric-driven construction equipment ranging from compact track loaders up to mid-sized crawler cranes. The track drives are manufactured locally in Yancheng, China, which reduces the supply times to original-equipment manufacturers in China and throughout the region.

Track Drive CTU3300 SH11CR091 Approved for external use
How is Dana aligned with environment-friendly technologies, especially relevant to the Indian market? What steps have been taken by the company to achieve sustainability and to minimize environmental impact of its operations, supply chain, manufacturing etc?
In September 2020, we announced plans for a 4,600 sqm (50,000 sqft) facility in Pune, which will produce Dana TM4™ low- to high-voltage electric motors, inverters, and vehicle control units. This facility will supply technologies to manufacturers for a variety of electrified vehicle applications, including buses and trucks. With the addition of electric motors, inverters, and vehicle control units to Dana’s current capabilities in India, we are poised to serve as a preferred supplier to deliver complete and fully integrated e-Propulsion systems to OEM customers across all mobility markets.

By expanding our manufacturing expertise for motors and inverters in India, we will help to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in key growth areas, such as the Asia-Pacific region, while promoting India’s position as a rising global leader in mobile electrification technologies. Located in Pune, the new facility will be Dana’s 18th in India, and its operations will include manufacturing, assembly, technical, and administrative functions.

From a corporate perspective, Dana is committed to advancing sustainability initiatives throughout our operations. In October, Dana Chairman and CEO Jim Kamsickas announced our commitment to reduce Dana’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent before the end of 2035. To reach this aggressive target, the following three-point plan will lead Dana’s activities and achieve the majority of its goal.
  • Reducing our overall energy consumption and increasing the efficiency of our processes: Over the last five years, Dana has completed more than 400 projects that aim at reducing greenhouse gas emission. Upcoming projects include upgrading to LED lighting, optimizing compressed air systems, and replacing motors and pumps with higher efficiency units.
  • Sourcing additional renewable energy: Dana is currently sourcing renewable energy through solar arrays at several locations globally and will be implementing further use of renewable energy such as wind or solar to utilize clean energy sources to reduce GHG emissions.
  • Purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) on the open market, as needed: RECs represent proof that one megawatt-hour of energy was generated from a renewable source and sent to the grid and help offset emissions.
Furthermore, Dana’s board of directors established a standing Technology and Sustainability Committee focused on technological and environmental stewardship in July 2020. This committee is responsible for assisting the board with oversight relating to innovation, new technologies, sustainability, and social responsibility.

Key areas of focus for the committee include the strategy, implementation, and effectiveness of Dana’s research and development initiatives; emerging trends in science, technology, and related regulations; the company’s strategic approach to technical talent management; sustainability; and social responsibility activities.

How is Dana assisting its customers in making the transition to vehicle electrification?
Expanding our support for vehicle electrification is Dana’s primary focus. Our “Powering into e-Drive” strategy drives our commitment to leading the charge in electric propulsion.

We have accelerated our capabilities in vehicle electrification, securing our position as the only supplier capable of delivering all elements of a complete, fully integrated electrified system across all mobility markets in any region of the world. While our customers are at varying phases in their electrification journey, our strategy remains focused on supporting them with industry-leading technologies and expertise for all vehicle architectures.

We have also made targeted investments in mechatronics research and development to position us for success amidst the shift toward electrification. For example, in October 2020 we announced the acquisition of a non-controlling stake in Pi Innovo LLC, a leader in embedded software solutions and electronics control units for the light vehicle, commercial vehicle, and off-highway markets.

Our ability to design, engineer, and deliver a complete vehicle integration for e-Propulsion systems and e-Accessories, including battery chargers, electro-hydraulic power steering systems, and e-Air compressors has positioned Dana as a leader in vehicle electrification. The investment in Pi Innovo will further enable us to enhance our in-house electric-vehicle capabilities by providing turnkey software and control solutions for our entire portfolio of technologies.

What preparations is Dana making for BS IV emission norms for Construction Equipment vehicles which will be applicable from April 2021 in India?
In India, we do not see much impact on our business, since the majority of the impact will be seen for the OEMs with price increase of vehicles due to BS IV emission norms, although we are prepared for any sort of demand increase from customers.

Many urban centers, such as Paris, are moving forward with emissions-free initiatives, so we’re very well positioned to support construction OEMs with the complete e-Propulsion systems they need to address them, wherever they are located in the world. As an example of our support for this effort, we assigned engineering teams to adapt a mid-sized mobile elevated work platform (MEWP) and a mini excavator so that we could fully test and integrate our electrification technologies on working applications. Featuring more than 30 of Dana’s drive and motion products, the MEWP demonstrator has a non-traditional four-wheel-drive design to demonstrate the range and effectiveness of Dana’s e-Mobility capabilities.

To maneuver on uneven ground commonly found at construction sites, we installed a Spicer Electrified e-Axle equipped with an electronic differential that allows the platform to maneuver more safely and without getting stuck at any speed. The electronic differential manages the braking system independently at each wheel-end to provide the necessary tractive force.

The e-Axle on the demonstrator MEWP features a complete, modular package of Dana components, which includes Spicer axle components, controls and software; Dana TM4 electric motor, inverter, and control technologies; and advanced gearing. This optimized combination of electrified drive components reduces energy consumption by up to 20 percent when compared with traditional diesel-powered drivetrains – a critical improvement given the current limitations of on-vehicle energy storage capabilities.

The platform also features the Spicer Smart Suite Intelligent Load Management System, a stability system that leverages vehicle intelligence to anticipate potentially hazardous situations and automatically prevent unstable maneuvers. This functionality is especially important for machines offered for rental, where inexperienced operators can quickly encounter dangerous situations.

The expertise in electrification and systems integration that we gained from developing our demonstrator application has already paid dividends, as it has led to a collaboration with JLG to develop an advanced Spicer Electrified e-Axle for a future mobile elevated work platform.

NBM&CW February 2021

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