HANOVER -- TRW’s new lightweight radius torsion rod for trucks is up to 30% lighter and has been optimized for vehicle manufacturers.

The torsion rod was introduced at the IAA Commercial Vehicles event in Hanover, Germany, and was prompted by the trucking industry's desire for lighter vehicle parts.

“Lightweighting is becoming increasingly important as vehicle manufacturers are facing tougher fuel economy targets and emissions standards in the years to come,” said Cengiz Erodan, an engineering head at TRW. “We are exploring alternative design concepts as a method of reducing weight.”

The torsion rod has the potential to improve conventional radius rod designs which have been in production for several decades, said TRW. The key to the new design was the functional integration of cardanic elements from the rubber bushing with the connecting elements between the two housings.

TRW redesigned the tube component, which now uses two inverted, C-shaped pieces of metal welded to the housings. The torsion rod is also interchangeable with older designs without having to be modified.

TRW is working on a contract with a major European truck manufacturer and says that the new design will be ready for production by the end of 2016. It also may make its way into North American trucks, as well.