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The History of Mahle Engines

Mahle is well-known as an industry leader in engine components. As an international development partner for many vehicle manufacturers, Mahle has been at the forefront of innovation and the continuous improvement of the internal combustion engine. The company’s portfolio spreads far and wide as they design and manufacture a huge range of truck parts, from starter motors to pistons, liners, valves, turbochargers and a whole lot more.

As a company that sees every second vehicle worldwide fitted with its products, Mahle is a name worth knowing.

The Mahle history

Mahle was founded in 1920 by Hermann Mahle in Bad Cannstatt, Germany. By 1922 his brother Ernst joined the team, and they set about building light-alloy pistons. By 1929, the pressures on pistons and engines were beginning to mount, and Ernst Mahle began developing air and oil filters to reduce contamination of lubricants. Not stopping there, Mahle developed the first ring carrier piston in 1930 to reduce piston wear. This technology is still widely used today.

It wasn’t until 1938 that the company became known simply as Mahle, and after the war in 1945, the company expanded into Brazil in an effort to regain much of the value and assets that were lost during the war. The company changed operations, focusing on piston development in Brazil, and repairing pistons and kitchen appliances in Germany.

After the Mahle brothers stepped down in 1971, the company continued to grow, with a renewed focus on filters, leading to international expansion into the USA in 1975. It was in 1991 that Mahle became a development partner for systems and modules, expanding into valve train systems and a range of other truck engine components. After considerable worldwide expansion, Mahle became a globally recognised OEM in 2000, and produced its first complete engine in 2003.

From there, the company has boomed, becoming one of the biggest OEMs in the world, and branching into smart vehicles. The brand continues to pioneer new technology for trucks and heavy vehicles. With over 70,000 employees and 160 production locations, Mahle is renowned globally.

Focus products

Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting recent developments in the Mahle range, specifically benefitting the trucking industry.

Starter Motors

Mahle manufactures starters for all types of internal combustion engines with displacement ranging from 0.8 – 19 litres, including directly driven starter motors and modern reduction gear starters, Mahle products are built to be durable. They’re designed to perform in tough conditions, with a strong resistance to fog, humidity, water, dust, salt, vibration, mud and extreme temperatures. Importantly, their design complies with international standards of electromagnetic capability, which is why they’re so widely found in trucks all over the world.


Always innovating, Mahle develops alternators for a range of trucks, buses and other heavy machinery. Generally, there are two categories – compact alternators with internal fans and classic alternators with external fans.

Depending on the application, both designs offer significant benefits. Classic alternators are built for tough conditions such as mud, dust, high-frequency vibrations and more. Compact alternators are more suited to applications where lower noise and higher rotational speeds are required.

Cooling products

Driven by the international mandate to reduce emissions, Mahle’s thermal management arm is extremely busy developing a range of modern solutions for all types of trucks, buses and heavy vehicles. Products of note include:

·         Charge air coolers

·         Cooling modules

·         Low-temperature radiators

·         Oil heating and cooling systems

·         Standard radiators

·         Thermostats and control valves

·         Electric coolant pumps

·         Exhaust gas recirculation

This list isn’t exhaustive but shows the massive development that is occurring every day as Mahle pushes forward as an industry leader in modern truck parts.

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