ELYRIA, Ohio — Central Transport is making a major move toward fleet-wide air disc brakes on its 2,500 tractors. The Warren, Michigan-based, less-than-truckload carrier expects to have the industry-leading brake on 90 percent of its tractors by the first quarter of 2017.
Tracing its roots back to the 1930s, Central Transport covers the U.S., Canada, and Mexico from a network of nearly 200 customer service centers, providing direct service to 98 percent of North America’s major manufacturing areas.
“We’re seeing the advantages of Bendix air disc brakes across several key areas of our operation, from safety and reliability on the road to quicker and easier upkeep in the garage,” said Brady Moore, vice president of finance at Central Transport. “We’re very happy with the results of our investment in the ADB22X, and we’ll continue down this path because we’re not seeing anything but a positive impact from the move to air disc technology.”
Central Transport’s fleet consists of Peterbilt Model 579 tractors, Freightliner Cascadia and M2 box trucks, plus a mix of International ProStar and TranStar tractors. The company spec’s the ADB22X on all steer and drive axles.
“Our drivers have provided positive feedback regularly on the air disc brakes’ performance — which they say feels more like a car than a truck — and stopping power, which is a safety issue,” Moore said. “A focus on safety is imperative for any transportation company, and any efforts that improve Central Transport’s fleet safety benefit the motoring public, as well as our bottom line.”
The Bendix ADB22X air disc brake from Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC (BSFB) features a patented lightweight design that significantly reduces stopping distance and extends brake system life, stated a Bendix news release.
BSFB, a joint venture between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, LLC, introduced the ADB22X air disc brake in 2005, making it the first commercial vehicle air disc brake in the North American marketplace.
Their internal self-adjustment mechanism can help lower the risk of brakes being found out of adjustment during inspections, which can affect Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scoring, as well as driver productivity.
On the maintenance side, the Central Transport team has seen extended service life and more productive shop time associated with the ADB22X.
“There’s a lot less maintenance involved in the air disc brake systems than in the drums, so things are much more efficient for our mechanics,” said Matt Casarez, director of tractor maintenance. “They’re telling us they hope this is the future and that we don’t go back to drum brakes. We’ve had excellent longevity with the air disc brake pads, and we’ve had no service issues.”
Air disc brakes allow for significantly shorter pad change times than traditional drums, according to Bendix. Once the wheel is removed, installing new friction on an air disc brake takes roughly one-quarter the time it takes to install new drum friction. And while routine maintenance remains important in any brake system, air disc brakes do not come with the additional maintenance associated with out-of-adjustment brakes.
Central Transport equips its trucks with other Bendix safety technologies including anti-lock braking systems and the Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program full-stability system. The stopping power provided by air disc brakes allows systems like these to work their best —bringing maximum value and safety.
Full-stability systems use more sensors than either roll-only stability or ABS-only systems, creating a more comprehensive means of addressing both roll and directional stability. They also rely on automatic brake interventions involving the steer, drive, and trailer axles, whereas roll-only systems typically apply the brakes on only the drive and trailer axles. Slowing the vehicle quickly helps mitigate rollovers faster, while slowing and redirecting can help the driver maneuver in loss-of-control situations.
Central Transport also equips its fleet with Bendix BA-921 air compressors and AD-IS air dryers to support the air systems that power these braking and safety technologies.
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, a member of the Knorr-Bremse Group, develops and supplies active safety technologies, energy management solutions and air brake charging and control systems and components under the Bendix brand name for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, tractors, trailers, buses, and other commercial vehicles throughout North America.
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