Every year, TMC brings together trucking experts from all over the world to showcase technological developments in the industry. Oddly, truckers are not seen as the typical tech space residents, which is strange, because for a vehicle that large to function on the road, it requires an immense level of engineering wizardry.
Think about the strength and dexterity required to move your car around – if you’ve ever driven a manual. Now think how much harder it must be to move and manoeuvre a truck that weighs several tons, even before you add a trailer. These vehicles arguably require more technological advancement than the most advanced sports car.
However, because trucking is a commercial industry, and because of the sheer size of these vehicles, the speed they move at, the physical space they occupy on the road, and the significance of truck cargo, most industry advancements are geared towards safe road use.
Localised attention to safety
There’s a need for trailers to be securely latched, wheels to stay anchored to their axles, steering to be easily handled, and brakes to be instant and effective. These are the areas that WABCO specialises is. They manufacture dedicated truck parts that cut across brands and borders, servicing everything from Fords to Fusos, from Australia to Japan.
In the recent past, WABCO has extended its reach, capability and resources through strategic partnerships and acquisitions. It had a joint venture arrangement known as Merritor WABCO, in which it gained a 100% stake. WABCO also absorbed R.H. Shepard Co. Jon Morrison is the WABCO president for the Americas, and he is proud of his firm’s ability.
“We have localised air disc brake production, right here in the US,” he said. He believes the move has allowed them to serve fleet operators and truck manufacturers, including WABCO’s own ever expanding fleet. Their acquisitions place them in a unique position in the aftermarket chain, enabling them to enhance efficiency, safety, and connectivity in the field.
Keeping drivers on guard
Driver fatigue is a big issue for truckers. Even if they’re not asleep at the wheel, long hours with no rest or breaks slow their reflexes and leave room for potentially fatal mistakes. WABCO exhibited their OnGuardACTIVE driver assistance system. The technology reviews driving conditions and if there’s a specific danger, they give drivers a warning.
The alerts are in the form of audio, visual, and haptic feedback, especially on dark nights, in bad weather, or other driving situations that affect visibility. If the driver doesn’t respond to the signals, then the system will automatically assist the truck to brake in case it encounters stationary, start-stopping, or slow-moving vehicles. This prevents the truck from hitting any other vehicle from the back, which could be lethal for smaller cars.
Better truck steering
WABCO already had some steering expertise, but R. H. Shepard Co. strengthened their position, allowing them to facilitate steering technology from both a longitudinal and lateral perspective. The expansion in expertise now leaves WABCO well-represented in steering, braking, automated driver assistance, and stability control.
Steering systems developed by WABCO are specifically designed to be lightweight, a helpful feature for heavy vehicles. They have a compact design for better utilisation of available space, and they use less power, which enhances mileage and improves fuel efficiency, allowing energy to be diverted to other vehicular functions.
All about the brakes
WABCO air disc brakes (ADBs) outperform pretty much anything else in the market, and now they can be manufactured on US soil, which will cut down prices even further thanks to reduced transit costs. WABCO already manufactures the highest performing, most light-weight, single-piston brakes in the industry – the MAXXUS22T.
They’re specially designed for trailers and are low-maintenance units. They have 25% fewer component parts than typical drum brakes, which means they’re faster to service. They also have a much shorter stopping distance than drum brakes, and go longer between servicing.
Showing off the abs
Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) are handy things to have when you’re hauling trailers. Your passenger cab may brake well enough, but if your trailers keep moving, they could push the truck cab forward and do just as much damage. WABCO ABS contain a smart trailer function with 20 independent trailer features.
They include traction control, pressure tracking, and axle load. These features are optional, but you’re sure to want them. The data collected by these systems enhances truck safety and facilitates the development of future trucking technology. This ABS data can also be used to work your OptiFlow by automatically extending or retracting your truck’s aerodynamic tail.
Using these automated tail panels correctly (via OptiFlow) can reduce annual trailer emissions by as much as 4.0 tons. OptiFlow also leads to 4.3% savings on fuel. Throw in an OptiFlow TrailerSkirt and save another 5% on your truck’s fuel bill.
Read More: Why Hino Truck Parts Are So Popular