GKN’s planetary carrier assembly improves FORD’s F-150’s transmission performance

GKN is a leader in powder metal carrier technology, and the planetary carrier assembly showcases the advanced design capabilities for increased performance. The assembly is featured in Ford Motor Company’s 10-speed transmission for the F-150.

With its unique twist-lock feature on the flanged hub component, the assembly’s design reduces stress in several locations. This helped enable an improvement in the transmission’s fuel consumption.

GKN's 2017 MPIF Design Excellence award-winning Planetary Carrier Assembly 

The challenge

The transmission’s space limitations prevented a castellated design to handle the axial loading, resulting in high stresses. GKN’s challenge was to reduce the stresses while improving efficiency and fuel consumption.

Weight savings played a key role in the 10-speed transmission’s shifting performance. The sinter-brazed assembly was tasked with transmitting significant torque loads without requiring costly materials, and the material used was sufficient to operate and forge 10-speed transmission without requiring expensive heat treatment.

A strong material with innovative design expertise was needed to complete Ford’s lightweight and effective 10-speed transmission.

Castellated design

Refined twist-lock design

The function

The Planetary Carrier is a sinter-brazed copper-steel assembly comprised of a cage and a flanged hub, featuring the twist-lock design as a bearing retainer. The twist-lock retainer allows the flanged hub to only require a simple turning operation for functionality.

The feature is semi-net-formed, allowing the retainer to be installed then rotated, or twisted, to lock the parts together. This concept design outperforms other processes by reducing stress in the transmission by 50 percent.

Through the use of net-formed features, the finished assembly was created using only simple turning and milling operations to hold the necessary tight toleranced features.

Lock splines

Lube features

Swag feature

Why the Planetary Carrier Assembly?

The Planetary Carrier Assembly’s innovative twist-lock design outperformed competitive processes to reduce stress at no compromise to performance. Evolutions in the carrier design help the automotive industry to produce more efficient drivetrain products in powder metal. GKN is committed to pushing the future of automotive progress.

The component is a step forward in design to help facilitate the transmission’s evolution into lighter, cost effective solutions for fuel consumption.