ARB AIR LOCKERS: THE NEXT STAGE
The ARB Air Locker is used by 4WDers, dirt racers, rock crawlers and government agencies around the world.
Never satisfied with the achievements of yesterday, ARB has remained focussed on evolving the Air Locker design into an improved product. As a result, ARB is celebrating 25 years of innovation with new features such as forged gears, timed gearing and a two piece design, along with launching a new logo and industry-leading 5-year warranty.
Forged gears, which deliver increased load-carrying capacity and strength, are typically found in the most demanding applications, including heavy-duty industrial, commercial, race car and agricultural transmissions. In the Air Locker, the phenomenal amount of force applied to the gears mean that their strength, durability and fatigue resistance is paramount, and so forged gears have been implemented across the range.
When combined with ARB's patented “timed gear” design, the resulting strength of the whole assembly is amplified. Simply put, timing the gears ensures that no matter when the Air Locker is activated, the gear teeth will always “lock” into predetermined positions that offer the greatest surface area between the gear teeth. This ensures that optimal locking strength is achieved every time the Air Locker is activated.
Housing this internal gear train in a two-piece case brings further benefits. Machining a case from two pieces, instead of three, results in a much higher dimensional accuracy of the finished assembly. Eliminating the smaller cylinder cap as a separate part, and switching the air entry to the crown wheel side of the differential not only adds huge strength, but also allows ARB to refine the locking mechanism design, eliminate the need for an internal annular piston, and lock the side gear directly to a redesigned high-strength flange cap. Moreover, this allows the locking ring to reside closer to the splined side gear, considerably reducing actuation and disengagement time.
ARB's Air Locker division, based in Melbourne, utilises the latest arsenal of software programs, including Solidworks, CAD and Cosmos, in the development of all Air Lockers. The lengthy design process involves countless hours of testing using Finite Element Analysis (FEA), which allows the engineers to subject each Air Locker design to “virtual” off-road driving simulations which are impossible to replicate in the real world. Designed and engineered in Australia, ARB Air Lockers now have a 5-year warranty.
Prototypes are then fitted to 4WDs that operate in the harshest environments imaginable, including Outback NSW, the Flinders Ranges and the Victorian High Country. Some prototypes are sent overseas to be put through their paces in extreme off-road racing events, like the iconic King of the Hammers in the Southern California desert.
ARB Air Lockers are all manufactured in a world-class, aerospace-standard machine shop in Melbourne. Utilising aerospace-grade materials and state-of-the-art machinery, the facility ensures that the Air Locker maintains its reputation for quality, durability and reliability throughout the world. Backed by an industry-leading 5-year warranty, the Air Locker is available for an extensive range of vehicle models, with over 100 applications.
Among the latest Air Locker applications are front and rear lockers for the Land Rover Discovery 3 and 4. Delivering traction on demand at the flick of a dash-mounted switch, the Air Lockers allow owners to drive at a slower and more controlled pace, even in the harshest terrain.
For more information: www.arb.com.au.