"Acceptance of advanced integrated systems will proceed at a rapid pace."
On her next trip to the market, your grandmother may drive a vehicle with capabilities beyond the imagination of only a few years ago. Electronic systems turn on windshield wipers if it rains, keep the wheels from spinning on ice, keep the brakes from locking, prevent skidding, adjust shock absorbers for best handling and comfort, check tire pressures, and may even offer advice on the best route. All of this is a result of the integration of vehicle subsystems and computerized control of mechanical systems.
Truck drivers don't have it that easy. Big rigs not only lack all the electronic enhancements, but the brake system is particularly cumbersome. Braking is initiated by pressing on a valve to send air pressure to other valves, which open to fill cylinders at each wheel, which rotate levers, which turn cams that force large brake blocks against rotating drums to produce friction. Substantial time and distance elapses while this process runs its course. For the air brake system to perform properly, over 300 ft. of air lines and over 150 fittings have to remain leak-free and the system must be supplied with large quantities of clean, dry compressed air.
As is already the case with passenger cars, electronic control and integration of vehicle subsystems is the key to improving the performance of truck air brake systems. At Haldex Brake Systems, we believe the path to improved brake system performance begins at the brake itself. Haldex air actuated disc brakes bring the advantages of increased fade resistance, greater stopping power and improved ability for precise control of brake force to heavy trucks and trailers.
Using an electronic foot control and solenoid operated valves to control air pressure in the braking system will produce dramatic improvements in brake response and driver feel. Electronic control of brake application systems (ECBS) on both tractor and trailer bring almost endless opportunities for system enhancements. Controllable factors include tractor-trailer brake balance, lining wear equalization, automatic hill holding, adaptive cruise control, engine brakes or retarders, stability and traction.
ECBS on the trailer will eliminate long delays in trailer brake application. Sensors connected to the ECBS computer can monitor and report axle load, lighting system problems, cargo security, cargo temperature, bearing temperature, tire pressures and more. Data can be accumulated from the sensors and used to provide the operator with predictive maintenance information that can avoid excess costs from servicing the system too often or damage from not servicing the system often enough. The system can monitor the vehicle subsystems to provide the driver or mechanic with instant notification of their condition, eliminating the need for imprecise visual truck or trailer inspections.
These optimized future subsystems and components will provide quantifiable benefits in initial as well as lifetime operating costs. Truck operators will welcome the benefits of reduced drivetrain stress, improved friction material life, more efficient foundation brakes and lower maintenance costs.
Because of this, when they become available, acceptance of these advanced integrated systems will proceed at a rapid pace. Haldex is planning for the future of heavy truck braking by designing complete systems including air compressors, air management and treatment subsystems, electronically operated pneumatic valves, ECBS, advanced disc brakes, fleet management information systems, and friction materials optimized for the new millennium.