CALTANISSETTA, Italy. MSA Spa. is one of the largest manufacturers of heavy-duty shocks in Europe, custom designing and building shocks for all of the major truck manufacturers as well as for buses and rail. Today its only presence in North America is as a supplier of train suspension components to Bombardier Canada, but the company believes its advanced technology and ability to build highly customized shocks meeting specific performance requirements have a place in the American heavy-duty truck market.
MSA’s strengths are its research capabilities and flexible production, which allow it to manufacture relatively small quantities of suspension and cab shock absorbers based on a truck maker’s technical requirements, according to managing director Enzo Mistretta.
“We translate those technical requirements into products that are tailor made to provide performance, long life and safety in a specific truck,” he said through a translator at the company’s Sicilian headquarters.
For example, MSA has developed a stability control system for IVECO heavy trucks based on an active yaw-damper it originally designed for high-speed trains. Similarly when IVECO needed a cab damper for its new Stralis heavy-duty truck, MSA came up with new materials to handle high stress loads without impairing performance.
The newest advanced technology in MSA’s portfolio is electromagnetic shock absorbers. Also initially developed for high-speed rail, the system’s magnetically active fluids and electronically controlled valving quickly react to load and vibration inputs, allowing higher sustained speeds on older track networks without compromising safety.
A heavy-duty truck version under development integrates airbags with the electromagnetic shocks to cancel road vibration while keeping the vehicle level and stable under nearly all conditions, according to Mistretta.
While MSA is about to expand into Asia with a new plant in China, Mistretta sees opportunity in the North American truck market for its blend of customized high-tech suspension components. There’s a place for tailor-made products designed to meet specific needs of individual truck models and applications, he said, and MSA believes it can fill that role.