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Meritor WABCO introduces three new technological advancements

The Trucker News Services

3/11/2013

Meritor WABCO, a leader in the integration of safety and efficiency technology for the North American commercial vehicle industry, recently introduced three technological advancements which include: the electronically controlled air dryer (ECAD); the company’s electronically controlled air suspension is available for both OEM installation and aftermarket retro-fit; and auto lift axle control and tire inflation data management have been added to its newly released Rollover Stability Support System.

System Saver ECAD was introduced in February 2012 in the North American market and early adopters of the product are reporting an annual reduction in fuel consumption of 100 gallons or more, equivalent to approximately $400 per vehicle. The system generates air pressure during low engine-demand cycles, reducing parasitic loss caused by the compressor diverting horsepower from the engine and results in  overall fuel savings being achieved.

“Meritor WABCO is an innovation leader in the safety arena, which relies heavily on intelligent technology, and we’ve applied that expertise to enhance the efficiency of our products,” said Pat Kealy, director, compression and braking for Meritor WABCO. “In addition to fuel savings, the efficient design of ECAD eliminates the governor, allowing for improved serviceability, lower maintenance costs and reduced weight.”

ECAD includes two solenoid valves, which facilitate air pressure generation and air dryer regeneration. A control unit compiles relevant information for air drying, such as system pressure, engine speed and operating time, road speed and ambient temperature, Kealy said. With intelligent control, ECAD regeneration cycles only take place when necessary and are determined by monitoring delivered air volume. Regeneration takes place from the system’s own air reservoir, thus eliminating the need for a separate regeneration reservoir, Kealy said.

The company’s electronically controlled air suspension (ECAS) addresses two key customer groups. For fleets that are already using 6X2 vehicle configurations for weight and fuel savings, ECAS provides “intelligent load transfer” to help improve traction and reduce tire wear, offering advantages over many current mechanical and simple electronic systems available today, Kealy said.

For fleets not yet using, but are considering 6X2 configurations, ECAS provides the assurance that the fleet will have optimal traction and ride performance to support conversion to 6X2. This enables fleets to take advantage of the important fuel and weight savings that a 6X2 configuration delivers, Kealy said.

“The positive feedback from fleet and OEM customers on Meritor WABCO ECAS also prompted us to create a retrofit package, enabling existing 6x2 vehicles to benefit from the immediate improvements ECAS offers,” said Kealy, who is also director, aftermarket for the company. “This product could greatly accelerate the adoption of 6x2 tractors in North America, giving OEMs and fleets an achievable benefit in fuel savings.”

Meritor WABCO ECAS addresses long-standing fleet concerns regarding 6x2 tractor applications by providing enhanced traction capability, improved drive axle tire wear, reduced parasitic loss and further weight savings. It also potentially increases vehicle re-sale value.

Key features and benefits of the new Meritor WABCO ECAS include:

 Accurate, electronic maintenance and control of ride height between axles and chassis

• Reduced air consumption for better fuel economy through decreased compressor duty cycle with air spring pressure adjustment only occurring when there is a change in load

 Quick and automatic load transfer from tag to drive axle to reduce drive axle wheel spin during low traction events

 A faster coupling/uncoupling process with ECAS due to faster inflating/deflating of air bellows when compared to mechanical leveling valves

 Speed-activated driveline protection realized by an automatic increase in driving level

 Manual lift axle control to reduce roll resistance when the vehicle is unladen

More than 3 million WABCO ECAS systems have been sold worldwide and Meritor WABCO has adopted the product to meet the growing interest in North America for the tractor, motor coach and bus market, Kealy said.

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The company’s additions of the auto lift axle control and tire inflation data management to its Rollover Stability Support 1M trailer stability control system will provide additional benefits by controlling and monitoring ancillary trailer components alongside the trailer rollover mitigation functionality of the system, said Mark Melletat, director, trailer systems for Meritor WABCO.

RSS 1M is a two-sensor, one-modulator system that completes the industry’s most diverse offering of trailer safety systems to provide the benefits of both ABS and trailer stability control integrated into a single compact unit and has the additional benefit of being able to  link with a variety of trailer components. The RSS 1M is derived from the proven and hugely popular RSS 2M system, which has been available to fleets for nine years, Melletat said.

 “Fleets continue to invest in improved safety through the utilization of our Roll Stability Support trailer product platform and these additional features provide even more value since both the auto lift axle control and availability of tire inflation data have the potential to positively impact a fleet’s bottom line,” Melletat said. “These new features were previously only available on our RSS 2M system that is widely utilized in the tank fleet market. Now, with this RSS 1M added functionality, we can also support demand in the flatbed, reefer and livestock sector.”

The calculated estimate of the rollover cost per trailer, excluding spills, ranges from $197,000 for property damage to $1.1M if the incident results in a fatality, Melletat said. Rollovers are often considered one of the most serious incidents involving trailers, representing an average of 9 percent of all large truck and trailer crashes.

In addition to the potential safety benefits of the RSS technology, Meritor WABCO has added an automatic lift axle control to the RSS 1M to address popular customer demand, Melletat said. The system will automatically raise and lower the lift axle control based on the load of the trailer, allowing for better fuel economy and reduced tire wear.

Tire inflation data management is achieved by linking the RSS system to the trailer’s tire inflation system. It monitors the tire and broadcasts an alert telematically in the event of tire pressure loss, thereby notifying the fleet operator of the tire’s condition.

Retrofit kits for RSS 1M are now also available to support air and spring suspension systems on fleets of any size. The tank-mountable kit addresses previous retrofit issues by providing for trailers of any make and those without Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) fitted.

 “Potential rollover causes, such as collision avoidance maneuvers, sudden lane changes or acceleration in a curve, exist no matter the vehicle application,” Melletat said. “Meritor WABCO was the first to the North American market with rollover stability systems for trailers, and we will continue to expand our safety technologies and products to help reduce rollovers for all trailers.”  

DriveForce and OnTrac are Meritor WABCO’s industry-leading organization of 150 dedicated sales, service and technical support professionals handling all sales and technical support for RSS. For additional product information, or to order, contact Meritor WABCO in the United States or Canada by calling 866-OnTrac1 (866-668-7221).

 

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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JB Hunt