LOUISVILLE, KY. Here at the Mid-America Trucking Show, suspension manufacturer Hendrickson revealed two major new developments: Zero-Maintenance Ride Damping (ZMD) ride technology for trailers and the ULTIMAAX severe-duty rubber suspension for vocational trucks.

“Our new Zero-Maintenance Damping air springs take the hassles of a common suspension wear item—the shock absorber– out of the maintenance equation entirely,” said Scott Fulton, director of new product development at Hendrickson Trailer Commercial Vehicle Systems.  “We are excited and proud to unveil this one-of-a-kind technology that makes ‘shock-less’ air suspension systems a reality,” he added. ZMD will become available exclusively through Hendrickson beginning in the first quarter of this year.

Available on select VANTRAAX integrated air slider models, according to Fulton, ZMD technology reduces maintenance by eliminating the shock absorbers-- and “robust” chain down-stops replace the rebound limiter function traditionally performed by the shock absorber.

“Along with reducing the risks associated with roadside inspections and CSA violations, these heavy-duty down-stops provide maximum durability, which translates to maintenance savings over the life of the trailer,” said Fulton.  Moreover, he added, the down-stops provide reliable protection for trailers being loaded onto rail freight cars.

An additional benefit of Zero-Maintenance Damping air springs is enhanced ride quality, pointed out Fulton. ZMD air springs integrate the damping function traditionally performed by the shock within the air spring itself by exchanging pressurized air through channels interconnecting the bellows and piston of the patent-pending air spring.  Unlike a shock absorber whose damping capacity is finite and deteriorates with age, ZMD air springs provide continuous damping at a consistent rate over the life of the air spring, increasing trailer component life, he advised. 

The new ULTIMAAX severe-duty truck suspension “truly raises the bar for durability, making it the ultimate in severe-duty rubber suspension technology,” said Ashley Dudding, director of engineering for Hendrickson.  “This system has been through more extreme testing than any product developed by Hendrickson to date, including component validation and severe proving grounds testing.   We’ve worked with key fleets, running early prototype test units in some of the most extreme applications in North America for the last five years.  In addition, in early 2010 we launched a first-generation version of ULTIMAAX in world markets where severe abuse is commonplace and have continued to receive outstanding feedback on the product’s performance.”

In addition to its excellent durability, according to Hendrickson, the ULTIMAAX delivers enhanced stability, handling and ride quality even in the most severe-duty environments where vehicles encounter harsh and unexpected ground conditions.  The integration of Hendrickson’s walking- beam technology, with its patented progressive rate spring, provides a balance of loaded stability and unloaded ride quality even in the most rugged environments.  

The manufacturer also pointed out that the ULTIMAAX optimizes weight savings without sacrificing durability, “resulting in a product that is hundreds of pounds lighter than competitive suspension systems for higher payloads.  In addition, the system has very low maintenance requirements resulting in lower suspension-related costs over the life of the vehicle.

The ULTIMAAX will be available initially in capacities of 46,000, 52,000 and 60,000 lbs, all for vocational and severe-duty truck applications.

Hendrickson also announced that, in conjunction with its upcoming 100th anniversary, it has launched several global/multi-lingual websites. According to the company, the introduction of these regional websites further supports its “commitment to build relationships and provide innovative products and services to benefit fleets, owner operators and truck and trailer manufacturers around the world. “

“It’s important to Hendrickson that we are in the forefront of our industry, both with our products and our marketing tools,” said Mark Slingluff, director of marketing and communications. “As we move into our second century, it is imperative to provide global, websites containing relevant information and useful tools for each area of operation. Developing websites for a region is crucial to operate successfully in our global business environment.

The new websites are:

www.hendrickson-intl.com, http://china.hendrickson-intl.com

http://aus.hendrickson-intl.com, http://spanish.hendrickson-intl.com

http://europe.hendrickson-intl.com

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