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Neapco Drivelines: A Detailed Review

Neapco Drivelines: A Detailed Review

About Neapco

Neapco is an OEM and Tier One parts manufacturer. They specialize in driveline technology and strive to be on the cutting edge. Whether it's automotive, commercial truck, off-highway, agricultural, construction, or industrial customers, they are helping flexibility and ingenuity are paramount.

It was founded in 1921 as the New England Auto Products Corporation in Hartford, Connecticut. A few years later in 1924, the name was changed to Neapco, and a few more years later the company moved to Pottstown, Pennsylvania. They survived and even prospered during the great depression by supplying universal joints and shafts for farm equipment. Playing their part in WWII, Neapco worked with the Navy to provide projectiles as well as pin and block universal joints. After the war, they expanded to industrial joints and shafts and supplied truck haulers with heavy-duty driveline components.

They were one of the first companies to win the Navy' E' award for excellence for their manufacturing efforts during the war. Neapco was named one of the fastest-growing companies in the US by Inc. Magazine and Crain's Fast 50.

Neapco believes in vertical integration, keeping everything in house to keep their standards high. Their location span three continents, including Belleville, MI where Neapco operates the same plant that the Ford motor company used to produce its drivelines. They provide custom engineered solutions straight from their customers to their factories. They house a wide variety of testing capabilities. Machining and manufacturing take place in their plants to their tight tolerances. Sourcing is global to keep their pricing competitive. Anywhere in the world that you can buy their proven products, you can rely on them for support.

Their mission, as stated on their homepage is: "Neapco's Mission is to deliver highly-valued products, solutions, and services to our customers in geographies where they operate. This is accomplished through an agile and open-minded team approach with a relentless focus on our partnerships. We commit to being the best at everything we do by focusing on safety, quality, operational excellence, people development, environmental sustainability, and continuous improvement. Neapco firmly believes by accomplishing our mission, attractive and sustainable returns are created."

Technology

Neapco keeps all of the piece moving across a global stage. They sync engineering, manufacturing, quality assurance, and logistics across many locations worldwide. They aim to please by focusing on producing cost-effective products to their customer's specifications, earning industry-wide recognition in the process.

Engineering

Their engineering team is highly qualified and disciplined in design and process development. Responding quickly with innovative solutions to problems is in their job description. For their engineer, the proof is in the patents. They have patents for a number of inventions. This includes a radial free-motion driveline. They've made a slip-in tube propshaft design. Quick-disconnect coupling devices were a brainchild of theirs. Finally, their steering column designs have always stayed innovative, and that is only a few of their accomplishments.

Before your product makes it the shelf, extensive testing is done. The digital twin of your part is created using the latest software to start tweaking it before any metal gets machined. Pro-Engineer being the leading design software, aided by Pro-Mechanica Finite Element Analysis Software and supplementary packages as well. They predict where the problems are going to occur — being proactive means finding and fixing things before prototyping ever gets started. Modeling each part, validating the design, and making those little changes to get it right happen early while it is still cheap to do so.

Once it's time to prototype, there are levels in the process too. Rapid prototyping is used to create cheap samples that can be inspected for form and fit. The engineering team then manufactures small batches of the product to test. The fatigue and strength tests provide insight into the performance of the part. Driving dynamics testing show the product in action. Single components get checked, or entire assemblies can be tested in a variety of conditions the part would see in the real world. Multi-point data collection takes place to improve the part further.

As a customer at Neapco, your needs are put first. In-person meetings kick off your relationship as you discuss the materials you want to select, your budget restraints, and your design requirements. Details hot in hand, your design is pushed through the product development pipeline by multi-disciplinary teams. It isn't just a group of engineers working to bring your product to life. It's manufacturing taking the raw materials and turning it into the part you need. It's quality people inspecting the parts for defects. Purchasing gets involved in helping with logistics. Sales are included to help market and sell the product. Every department working together as a team is Neapco's process for providing products that are reliable, durable, and competitively priced.

In house Manufacturing

North America and Europe house their production floors. Advanced computer-controlled machinery hums in every facility as they. A combination of lean manufacturing, demand-oriented manufacturing principles, and synchronous material flow come together to optimize the entire manufacturing process.

A LEAN workflow helps to keep improving their system. Adding in innovations in manufacturing as they are developed, including rapid continuous improvement, total productive maintenance, and value stream mapping.

They accomplish this by using a number of processes on their production floor. Their goal is to automate when there is an opportunity and work closer to their goal of no defects in their manufacturing. They strive to improve their waste management system continually.

  • Their Gross-Porta high-speed CNC transfer machine with a robotic gantry can produce more than two million yokes a year.
  • Flexible assembly cells assemble driveshafts made of disparate materials into multiple configurations.
  • Tube assembly is done onsite to turn splines into steel and aluminum tubing.
  • They employ advanced welding techniques like friction welding, magnetic impelled arc, and automated gas metal arc to automate workflows and increase productivity.
  • Shafts improve their balance when spinning with automatic assembly straighteners.
  • A state of the art vision system performs quality assurance tasks automatically.
  • Dynamically balancing and heat-treating in house produces better tolerances and durability.
  • CNC machining and turning give close tolerances in a reliable platform

Their OEM Lines

As Original Equipment Manufacturers, Neapco looks to provide parts for a number of large manufacturers in the transportation industry.

Their light vehicle lines are sold as assemblies and as aftermarket service components. The line is built to last for daily consumer driving, fleet service, and professional duty vehicles. They are commonly used for the following types of transportation:

  • Electric cars for city or neighborhood use
  • Commercial vans
  • Hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles
  • Automobiles
  • SUVs
  • Light-duty trucks up to Class 3

Their commercial line is built for heavier working class vehicles. They produce driveline components and yokes for the following types of transportation:

  • Fire trucks and emergency vehicles
  • Heavy Trucks
  • Busses
  • RVs and motor homes

Their off-highway lines offer driveline assemblies and components for smaller vehicles. Many driveline assemblies and components are available. This line focuses on durability and being light-weight all while keeping noise, vibration, and harshness to a minimum. This line builds parts for:

  • Golf carts
  • All-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
  • Utility vehicles

Aftermarket Products

Neapco offers a wide variety of aftermarket products for whatever driveline application you need.

Propshafts/Driveshafts

They have a diverse portfolio of propshafts and driveshafts, with u-joints from the 1000 to the 1810 series, either maintenance-free or greaseable and extensive selection of yokes. Their parts are made using ductile iron or forged steel in a high strength design to reduce ear-and-plug deflection, reducing leaks under load. Their robust and durable designs are meant to last under trying conditions and are tested and verified to meet all performance standards.

Driveline components

Their catalog covers a wide range of components from the 1000-1810 series, 2C-15C wing style, AAM 1355-1485 series, 1200-2600 US and European agricultural series, and the 1-10 metric series. All slip yokes and stub shafts minimize axial movement and hinging with tight tolerances. All tubing is pre-straightened, saving you time and money on balancing a system. Stub shafts are nylon coated to prevent axial movement and wear. Slip yokes are dynamically balanced to help eliminate imbalance issues.

Universal joints

All of their universal joints are designed to be serviceable, fit well, and do their job just as right as the original part. They come with heat-resistant long-life seals to maintain lubrication and keep contaminants out. The journal trunnion radii are precision ground to eliminate stress risers. They are heat-treated using to be case hardened to improve their strength and durability. They all feature grease fittings to lubricate the joint easily.

Double Cardan Assemblies

Neapco supplies double Cardan assemblies for most aftermarket applications. They offer the broadest coverage of double-Cardan CV head assemblies available. A majority of them sport Neapco's proprietary lubrication system in the critical centering mechanism. They have figured out how to increase grease flow to the vital linkage between the CV yokes. These assemblies reduce noise, vibration, and harshness with a universal joint lock-up relationship to the pilot diameter and the ball stud tube diameter.

Center supports

Sporting a broad product line, each of their well-engineered centers supports is pre-lubricated and comes with metal reinforced seals to stop contamination. The support cushions isolate the driveline from vibration that could damage it and are made out of high-quality rubber compounds. Every support is made with the highest quality materials all around to provide excellent performance. Their custom design makes sure that the driveshaft is aligned correctly and self aligns for +/- 10 degrees of driveline angularity.

Power take-offs

Their PTO line is ideal for applications in three-point hitch, trail-behind implements, self-propelled eqiupment, industrial and auxiliary machinery. Each driveline supports standard Neapco 1000-2600 universal joints, comes in fixed-length or telescoping options, and square, spline, or rectangular tubing. Torque limiting or shear devices are available. CV joints can be double Cardan or equal angle. Each PTO driveline comes with a clamp, quick-disconnect, round and spline bore, and flange yokes. They come with shielded shafts to keep the operator safe. They're compatible with ASAE categories 1-6 and the metric B1-10 series. They are easily serviceable and can be purchased with greaseable or permanently lubricated u-joints.