A few years ago, Karlsson’s drive shafts, gears and spline parts were manufactured from standard steel purchased on the spot market. The uncertain ‘cleanness’ of that steel made it more difficult for Karlsson to optimize his designs. However, since changing over to Ovako IQ-Steel, he has been able to design drive shafts that are lighter and stronger, playing a key role in his drivers earning a record number of world rally cross titles.

For Karlsson, an engineer who is personally engaged in the design of each of his products, the quality of the steel is paramount. For this reason, IQ-Steel is ideal. A very ‘clean’ steel with very high fatigue strength, IQ-Steel enables him to design slimmer versions of his products without sacrificing strength or reliability.

Moreover, the strength of IQ-Steel, and its exceptional consistency from batch to batch, has allowed him to experiment with further weight reduction by designing drive shafts with the core drilled out. still without any sacrifice in strength.

Racing car Unic transmissions
IQ-Steel clean steel

Karlsson uses feedback from the field to continuously optimize his designs.


  • Very high fatigue strength
  • Excellent value
  • Exceptional consistency

Before they are delivered to UNIC, the Ovako IQ-Steel rods are sent to sub-suppliers selected by Karlsson for forging followed by heat treatment and machining, or machining direct from the steel rod, depending on the part.

After machining these components are subject to further treatment. For example, the drive shafts are peen-blasted to further protect the surface from fatigue cracks.

Gears and spline parts are cut and mounted, along with the drive shafts, into a complete transmission system, which is subsequently delivered to the customer.

Because motor sport engineers and drivers all know each other and share stories, having satisfied customers is the best advertisement UNIC can have, says Karlsson. His ability to optimize his designs with IQ-Steel has enabled him to build a quality product and earn the trust of his drivers.

Moreover, as cars of the future put more demands on the performance and weight of transmissions – as indicated by current trends in electric car development – Ovako will be in a position to benefit from the growth in new and exciting markets. Ovako will also be able help car manufacturers develop stronger and lighter transmission systems.

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  • Increased fatigue strength
  • Better performance for rally car competitors
  • Price and quality control
  • Enhanced supplier reputation