Eaton Airflex

Based in Cleveland Ohio, Eaton-Airflex is one of the most reputable brands in the power transmissions industry. They are mainly known for world-class manufacturing within the industrial brake and clutch market.

Read below for a brief history of the company whose comprehensive range is supplied here online by the UK-based Powerdrive PSR Ltd.

It was in 1911 that Viggo Torbensen teamed up with Joseph Eaton to form the Torbensen Gear and Axle Company. One of their first customers was the Ford Motor Company. In their first year the company made just seven axles using raw materials and bespoke tools. But in the middle of that decade, with World War One needing manufacturers, the company supplied axles for vehicles used by the US Military.  

However, it was after the war that the company hit new heights when in 1919 as many 70’000 of their truck axles were being used on the highways. It was that year when Mr Eaton formed his own Eaton Axle Company with the demand for axles increasing tenfold. The need for motor parts was so much that in 1920 the company built a new plant in Cleveland. Costing one million dollars, the plant was innovative in its use of natural light and heat conservation. In 1922 Mr Eaton purchased Torbensen Axle Company which then became Eaton Axle and Spring who then went on to produce (from 1926 onwards) axles for the Ford Model T.

During the 1930’s, despite the Great Depression, Eaton acquired numerous aircraft manufacturers such as Wilcox Rich and in 1932 they were renamed the Eaton Manufacturing Company. Since then they started to diversify into other markets and started to make parts for aircraft engines.

Then came World War Two and with it a great demand for Eaton’s products. But it was post-WW2 that Eaton started to expand again into commercial sectors, making automatic transmissions parts for the Cadillac. In 1946 they acquired the Dynamatic Corporation, an innovative manufacturer of magnetic clutches.

Sadly, in 1949, Mr Eaton passed away at the age of 75. His obituary was printed in such publications as the New York Times. After his death the company further expanded and opened a manufacturing plant in Brazil.

More acquisitions were made in the 50s and 60s as the aerospace and automotive industries expanded across the world. Their innovations also continued with a prototype of the safety airbag made for vehicles in 1967.

By the early Seventies the company has plants in the UK, West Germany, Spain and Argentina and in 1971 they became the Eaton Corporation. 1980 saw the company working with NASA on a propulsion system for electric cars. And these kind of forward thinking innovations were backed by the Eaton philosophy – based on the values of excellence and accountability. And it was through the decade and the 1990s that they widened their business globally into the Indian and Chinese markets. By 1999 they had 63 thousand employees and 195 manufacturing plants scattered over 23 countries.

In this and the last decade Eaton continue growing and to also promote their values. In 2007 they cut by 9.2% their emissions from each plant. It was on their 100th anniversary that their CEO M. Cutler said: “There has been tremendous focus on doing business right.” That milestone was celebrated with events taking place all over the world.

The future looks good for the Eaton-Airflex brand with it continuing to grow and innovate in making power transmissions energy-efficient solutions in the industrial clutch and brake market.

If you want more information about the Eaton-Airflex products supplied on the Powerdrive website, please speak to the UK-based team by calling +44 (01926) 815480 or emailing: info@powerdrive.co.uk

Eaton Airflex Products