Research and Development

Drive shafts for the best vehicles in the world

We innovate the Drive Train and the Chassis. IFA’s advanced development pushes the envelope of the state of the art with new designs for better performance and lower cost.

IFA surveys customer requirements and applies IFA’s new technologies in customer projects.

IFA delivers not only to the major American and to European car mass producers but is also the preferred supplier of the Italian and German sports car producers. This is only possibly with the efforts of IFA’s 200 staff in research and development, who are located on three continents in seven locations in the proximity of the customers’ engineering teams, and whose profession is to advance the state-of-the-art.

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IFA distinguishes between advanced engineering, process engineering, series application, sample shop and validation. The research activities are concentrated in advanced engineering in Haldensleben. As an example, material scientists test the newest steel alloys in order to raise the durability or lower the weight of the tubes and joints. The tribological properties of new grease types are evaluated to improve the durable motion of the balls in IFA’s joints. New plastics are tested to improve the hermiticity of IFA’s rubber boots and seals.

Process engineering is a lead plant function of Haldensleben plant. As an example, new production technologies such as self-centering friction welding or magnet impulse welding, which are still being explored in academia, are tested in shaft manufacturing at IFA. The chemical industry keeps providing ever more eco-friendly primers and ever better corrosion resilient water-based paints, which IFA tests and launches in series production.

Series application forms the interface to the customer.  IFA engineers survey the customer requirements and build a shaft concept from existing IFA kits for tubes and joints. These concepts are digitized and simulated under revolution, torque load, temperature load and vehicle motion. The fit to the vehicle is simulated with a digital mock-up (DMU). 

In the sample shop, the concept is built in small volumes. The samples undergo validation tests, where they are purposefully destroyed under overload conditions to identify failure modes.  The customer complements these bench tests with tests of the shaft in the actual vehicle. Several sample rounds ensue, until the samples reach series production maturity.  In the meantime, the production line is set up by production planning. After release of the final sample and the production line, the shaft enters series production.