In an effort to reduce overall trailer weight due to in part to the addition of aerodynamic devices designed to improve fuel economy for tractor-trailers as a whole, SAF-Holland is introducing the new CBX40 AeroBeam air ride tandem trailer suspension.
Dubbed the “next generation” of the CBX Series lineup, Roger Jansen, SAF-Holland’s product manager for trailer axles and suspensions, said during a media event in St. Louis MO this week that with a “base weight” of 1,267 lbs., the CBX40 AeroBeam is 85 lbs. lighter than its previous iteration.
“Ten years ago, an air ride suspension weighed 300 to 400 lbs. more than a spring ride suspension,” he explained. “Today there is zero weight difference.”
And that “lightness” is further extended when the suspension is equipped with the company’s P89 air disc brake package, Jansen stressed.
“In the past air disc brakes used to be heavier than traditional drum brakes,” he noted. “Today, though, air disc brakes at 20 lbs. lighter per ‘bogie’ or axle.”
Jeff Talaga, SAF-Holland’s vice president of sales and strategic development for the Americas, told Fleet Owner that air disc brakes tend to cost about 10% more than drum brakes, with a trailer suspension equipped with air disc brakes costing about 20% more versus one spec’d with drum brakes.
Yet he stressed that the savings from longer brake pad life and reduced maintenance combine with improved stopping distance of some 75 ft. is convincing many major fleets such as U.S. Xpress Inc. to spec air disc brakes on their trailers.
Talaga also noted that SAF-Holland will be focusing the new CBX40 AeroBeam initially on the dry van and refrigerated sectors of the market when it becomes available in the first quarter of next year, followed by the tanker trailer market as "they are incredibly weight sensitive," he said.
Jansen also pointed out that the main driver behind the “light-weighting” of trailer suspensions derives from the addition of trailer aerodynamic devices to comply with greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and fuel economy mandates.
“Aerodynamic devices n total can add between 400 and 500 lbs. to a trailer,” he said, noted that side fairings or “skirts’ add 220 lbs. while trailer “tail” arrays can add 125 lbs.
“Shippers don’t give credit for those devices,” Jansen stressed. “They want the same available tare weight on trailers they’ve always had.”
He also noted that as side fairings are designed to reduce airflow underneath trailers, thus reducing aerodynamic drag, that also cuts the “cooling flow” of air across the trailers axles.
To compensate for that effect, Jansen said SAF-Holland redesigned the suspension “cavity,” relocating the unit’s shock absorbers to provide more room on the sub-frame to install air tanks, brake valves, tire inflation systems, and antilock braking system (ABS) modules while also “facilitating” better under-chassis airflow for cooling needs.
Other features on the new CBX40 AeroBeam include:
- A stronger 80 ksi [kilogram per square inch] steel sub-frame with four full-height cross members.
- Some 16 “strategically-placed” reinforcements improve resistance to damage caused by curb strikes, slider repositioning, and drag turns.
- The 5.75-inch diameter friction-welded axles on the suspension are 12% thicker than competitive axles, minimizing axle deflection to improve inside tire tread wear.
- Heat-treated cast alloy suspension beams for a more “optimum” strength-to-weight ratio.
- The suspension and axle beam assembly are covered by a 10-year warranty, with the sub-frame backed by a 7-year warranty.
- The use of “Black Armour” coating to provide hot dip galvanized-level corrosion protection without added weight or cost.
- Installation of the company’s patented SwingAlign system to make maintaining axle adjustment quick and easy.
- A range of options that includes manual or air assisted slide pin release, dock walk solution, auto-sensing lift axles, P89 Series air disc brakes or drum brakes, parallel or taper spindles, and conventional or extended warranty wheel end packages.