DALLAS. With its eyes firmly on expanding global truck and trailer production, Hendrickson has begun limited production of truck suspension systems at a new plant in Jinan, China, and expects to reach full production before the end of the year, the company announced at a press conference. The Itasca, IL, based company also introduced a number of new products, including an advanced trailer tire inflation system and a new technology for forming molded components.
Under a partnership agreement with China National Heavy Duty Truck Company, China’s largest manufacturer of heavy trucks, “We’ll design, develop and manufacture advanced suspension systems,” said Gary Gerstenslager, Hendrickson president & CEO. Expansion in Asia will not only open growing markets for the component manufacturer, “but understanding costs globally will help us here in North America and keep our supply base diversified for better balance,” Gerstenslager said.
Among the new products for North America introduced at the press event was a trailer tire inflation system that automatically inflates and deflates tires to keep air pressure steady and balanced at every wheel position. Based on its current inflation-only system, Tiremaxx Pro continuously monitors pressure in each tire to prevent overinflation when temperatures increase and to add air when pressures fall below set levels.
Maintaining tire pressures within a narrow optimal band and ensuring that every tire on a trailer is balanced will help fleets get maximum tread life, according to Henrickson. The system’s patented technology features a mechanical design without electronics or pressure switches, and a rotary air connection integrated into the axle hubcap. It will be available in early 2011.
The new Aero Guard bumper technology uses injection molded resin to create a low weight, aerodynamic non-metal bumper that requires no braces or other backing supports yet remains strong enough for heavy-duty applications, according to Hendrickson. Other benefits include molded-in color, better ground clearance and cold-impact durability down to minus 40 deg.
With the first Aero Guard bumper set to be introduced for the International ProStar next month, Hendrickson said it represents a breakthrough in manufacturing processes that allow the company to provide the benefits of molded resin products typically found in high-volume automotive applications to a lower volume heavy truck market. Eventually Hendrickson expects to extend the patented molding process to other structural truck parts, including side fairings, hoods and sun visors.
The third new product announced at the press conference was a 20,000-lb. capacity version of Hendricson’s Composilite steerable lift axle. Already offered in 10,000 and 13,000-lb. models, the heavier version maintains the product’s shorter packaging dimensions and patent-pending tie rod and dampening design that eliminates lubrication and minimizes impact damage, according to the company. It will be available starting next month.