Wabco brakes new groundThursday, 01 November 2012 12:00 Charleen Clarke

Safety and efficiency. Those are the two items on Wabco’s wish list. That’s according to Jacques Esculier, chairman and CEO of Wabco, who addressed one of the first media conferences at the IAA, saying he dreams of engineering these two qualities into vehicles. CHARLEEN CLARKE was there.

Yes, I know exactly what you’re thinking: that sounds like a bit of a pie-in-the-sky wish list. After all, Wabco doesn’t produce entire vehicles; it just produces components.

Correct. But those components are pretty integral to trucking. They go with trucks and buses like fish goes with chips. And the company has made innovative – and ultimately life-saving – technologies a bit of a habit. As Esculier noted proudly: “We have brought a variety of technologies to this industry, starting with ABS [anti-lock braking systems].” Incidentally, that was back in 1981 ...

So what technologies did the company bring to the IAA? In typical Wabco fashion, quite a bit.

MAXX: a real breakthrough
The company showcased its new MAXX air disc brake technology. A complete range of high performance, single-piston braking products for trucks, buses and trailers, it was described as a real breakthrough – or maybe that should be brakethrough? (Giggle.)

On a serious note, why is this technology so special? Well, we’re talking the commercial vehicle industry’s lightest and highest performing single-piston air disc brakes. The company also launched its new and improved MAXX 22T, which is specially designed for trailers.

Lane departure warning to the fore
Remember Esculier’s wish list? Well, he could tick yet another box when the company revealed its OnLane technology, a lane departure warning system (LDWS) for trucks and buses.

MAXX 22 is part of Wabco’s new MAXX braking technology for trucks, buses and trailers worldwide.In the event of an unintentional lane departure, the system warns drivers that what they are doing is streng verboten (strongly forbidden) by providing visual and acoustic warnings or an optional seat-vibration warning. The system can be mounted at the top or bottom of the vehicle’s windshield. “Other features can be added to OnLane later – such as driver drowsiness warning and traffic sign recognition,” Esculier revealed.

The company’s timing is excellent: the European Union is introducing regulations that require LDWS to be fitted to new trucks and buses from November 2013. But the terrific news is that this product can also be retrofitted to trucks and buses – which really does bode well for safety.

New electronic air-suspension system for trailers
The company launched its innovative electronic trailer air-suspension control (eTASC) at the IAA. This is the first system in the global trailer market that integrates conventional suspension functions and best-in-class electronic suspension functions into a single offering. It offers loads of benefits, including reduced air consumption during driving, resulting in higher fuel saving compared with conventional systems.

ABS meets ESC: an industry first
Wabco also announced its breakthrough hydraulic anti-lock braking systems (ABS) – the first range of hydraulic ABS technology that integrates electronic stability control (ESC) for trucks and buses worldwide. This is in keeping with legislation overseas; ESC will be required in Europe, Asia, and North and South America from next year (hats off to those countries). As we all know, ESC is a wonderful safety feature: it improves directional stability and helps protect against rollover, skidding, spinning and, in tractor-trailer combinations, jack-knifing.

First electronic braking system for hybrid vehicles
Wabco also introduced an electronic braking system (EBS) for hybrid-driven trucks and buses at the IAA. The company’s newest generation of EBS provides hybrid-driven commercial vehicles with optimal energy recovery across the industry’s diverse drivelines by recuperating the vehicle’s braking energy in most of the brake actions.

“Wabco innovations in electronic braking, transmission automation and air management enable hybrid systems for trucks and buses, which are projected by their manufacturers to deliver fuel savings of up to 35 percent,” explained Jean-Christophe Figueroa, Wabco vice president, vehicle control systems.

Now that’s really efficiency in action …

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