Custom Drive Shaft Assemblies for Multi-Role Military Vehicles

Broadview (Chicago), Illinois, July 2007. Precision universal joint manufacturer Belden Inc. supplies customized drive shaft assemblies for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) multi-role military vehicles used in extreme environments.

Belden was contacted to supply a complete universal joint drive shaft assembly for a MRAP multi-role armoured vehicle. The drive shaft assembly was to connect the diesel engine and the compressor for the air conditioning unit the vehicle. The customer originally specified a standard 32mm OD needle bearing drive shaft with stainless steel yokes and a quick release hub feature for the initial testing two years ago. In 2007, the entire vehicle was placed into a climate chamber to replicate the possible environmental elements the armoured vehicle could encounter in the various regions of the world. The tests proved to be extremely demanding on the universal joint drive shaft, resulting in premature failure.

Belden evaluated the application in the field and suspected that a combination of an undersized joint that could not handle the torque and rpm of the diesel engine, and the harsh temperature and operating environment inside the vehicle's engine compartment contributed to the drive shaft failure. Belden was further challenged by the space limitations for a more robust joint. The distance was very short and a telescoping feature was mandatory for the assembly. The severe space constraints limited the possible bearing size.

The redesigned drive shafts now include a larger, heavy duty bearing that is sealed and equipped with a lubricant that can handle a greater range of operating temperatures. The bearing seal was improved to better retain the lubrication during longer periods of extreme operation. The stainless steel yokes incorporate a custom profile and hub, and the quick release feature.

Belden needle bearing universal joints provide precise positioning and can operate continuously at high speeds. The joint has rigid axial stiffness for push/pull loads and can handle higher angles and rpm. The needle bearing universal joint is available in a wide variety of hub materials, including high grade alloy steel, various grades of stainless steel and an extruded aluminum for high strength to weight ratios. A wide selection of specialty plating is available for additional corrosion resistance. Boot covers are recommended in gaseous and abrasive environments for added protection of the cross and bearing. Needle bearing universal joints are manufactured in both inch and metric sizes and operating angles up to 45 degrees.

Belden drive shaft assembly.jpg: 44mm drive shafts with heavy duty needle bearings and quick release ends.
Belden drive shaft assembl 3D.jpg: Drawing of Belden drive shaft.

About Belden:
Belden Inc. is a leading manufacturer of high quality, precision universal joints and power transmission assemblies. Going back to 1939, when three brothers opened a precision machine shop, the company rapidly expanded through the development of an extensive product line. Belden provides high-performance solutions to a vast number of industries with a focus on custom universal joints and drive shaft assemblies, made exclusively to customers' exact specifications. The company's specialty lies in these custom assemblies, and unique manufacturing processes give Belden the flexibility to produce small batches just as cost-effectively as high volume standard universal joints. Belden supplies an extensive line of high-quality precision universal joints with complete shaft assemblies as well as couplings for a wide range of customers with unique applications. These applications include steering and shift linkage assemblies for specialty vehicles as well as industrial and off-road vehicles, aerospace, packaging/converting and conveying equipment, food processing equipment, steel roll forming and leveling equipment, machine tools and woodworking
equipment for the furniture industry, and OEM machine tools. Materials include high grade alloy, all grades of stainless steel, naval brass and aluminum.

Belden Inc.
2500 Braga Drive
Broadview, Illinois 60155
Tel.: 708 344 4600
Fax: 708 344 0245

TPR International would be grateful for a sample copy of the publication with this article.

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