TAMPA, FL – Eaton Corp. and Dana Corp. through their Roadranger marketing operation are releasing a new lightweight trailer suspension, along with a new combination anti-lock braking system (ABS) that is integrated with a tire inflation and monitoring system (TIMS), provided by Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC.
Mark Holley, Dana’s product manager for trailer and chassis control systems, said key redesigns of the suspension trailing arm, cross members, and intercoastals helped to shave 200 lbs. off the new RN40 when compared to previous SmartRide suspension models, giving fleets more payload and better fuel economy when running empty.
“We changed the shape of the trailer arm to make it wider but thinner – making it 50% lighter than previous trailer arm designs, yet also offering better load distribution to reduce component stress to make it more durable,” he said here at the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) annual meeting.
On the trailer ABS/TIMS side, Dana’s chief engineer for chassis systems, James Beverly, said it was a “no-brainer” to integrate a tire inflation and monitoring system right into the trailer ABS unit because it saves space and weight and cuts electronic control and power demand.
“By unifying them within the ABS matrix, there are less components and wiring, more simplified installation, and lower weight,” he said. “You also end up using just one ECU (Electronic Control Module) instead of two, which makes it more efficient and far less costly.” Beverly noted the system is designed so tire inflation is suspended during a panic stop to ensure brakes get all the available air pressure.
Paul Waszkowski, Bendix’s product manager for trailers, added that incorporating Dana’s TIMS product into Bendix’s TABS-6 (trailer ABS version 6) unit also helps protect the TIMS electronics as the TABS-6 unit has been redesigned to offer greater protection against corrosion and contaminants.
“We have a sealed ECU with a nylon screen that helps the unit “breathe” as it equalizes to external air temperature changes, without that breathing letting moisture and other elements in,” he said. “A locking ECU cover acts as a secondary line of defense against contaminants as well. It’s all about protecting sensitive electronics to reduce maintenance calls down the road.”