Meritor Wabco made four product announcements during an online media briefing yesterday. First, that the “next generation” of its OnGuard collision-mitigation system is now available. Second, that it has released its Rollover Stability Support (RSS) 1M trailer-stability control system. Third, that it has launched its Electronically Controlled Air Suspension (ECAS) to optimize OEM and aftermarket 6x2 vehicles. Fourth, that its Electronically Controlled Air Dryer (ECAD) is producing “proven fuel savings” for fleet customers.

“This next generation of Meritor Wabco’s OnGuard system is another clear breakthrough in the advancement of commercial vehicle safety,” stated Jon Morrison, president & gm of Meritor WABCO. “It brings additional functionality and benefits to the most requested collision-mitigation technology in the commercial vehicle industry and takes us further along the path towards further reductions in accidents involving rear-end collisions.”

Key product enhancements for  OnGuard include:

·         A 33% longer forward radar range with long- and mid-range detection capability that expands the total width of radar coverage

·         Auto alignment that assures faster and easier installation, eliminating the need for periodic, manual adjustments usually associated with normal operating conditions

·         Stationary object warning that provides critical and reliable driver warnings on approach to stationary vehicles, while minimizing the potential of non-essential warnings from other, non-threatening objects

·         Evasive maneuver check offered by the new long- and mid-range detection radar technology. This provides enhanced vehicle and driver visibility into adjacent freeway lanes. If the system recognizes the potential for an imminent rear-end collision and detects an object in an adjacent lane, it immediately determines that the vehicle cannot perform a safe evasive maneuver and optimizes the vehicle’s warning response and potential brake application accordingly.

Morrison said OnGuard continues to include its “important haptic warning capability.” He explained that this feature provides a rapid and noticeable brake “pulse” signal to the driver in the warning period before a collision-mitigation braking event occurs—to attempt to re-engage the driver to respond as quickly as possible.

According to Morrison, this latest OnGuard system is already in production at two major OEMs and two more will begin production with it in the second quarter of this year.

The RSS 1M offering was described as a two-sensor/one-modulator system that provides the benefits of both ABS and trailer-stability control integrated into a single compact unit and has the additional benefit of being able to link with a variety of trailer components.  The RSS 1M is derived from the RSS 2M system, which has been available to fleets for nine years.

“Fleets continue to invest in improved safety through the utilization of our Roll Stability Support trailer product platform and these additional features provide even more value since both the auto lift axle control and availability of tire inflation data have the potential to positively impact a fleet’s bottom line,” said Mark Melletat, director-- trailer systems. “These new features were previously only available on our RSS 2M system that is widely utilized in the tank fleet market. Now, with this RSS 1M added functionality, we can also support demand in the flatbed, reefer and livestock sector.”

According to Melletat, along with the potential safety benefits of the RSS technology, the company has added an automatic lift axle control to the RSS 1M to address popular customer demand. The system will automatically raise and lower the lift axle control based on the load of the trailer, allowing for better fuel economy and reduced tire wear.

He noted that tire inflation data management can be achieved by linking the RSS system to the trailer’s tire inflation system. It monitors the tire and broadcasts an alert telematically in the event of tire pressure loss, thereby notifying the fleet operator of the tire’s condition.

Retrofit kits for RSS 1M are also available to support air and spring suspension systems on fleets of any size. The tank-mountable kit addresses previous retrofit issues by providing for trailers of any make and those without ABS fitted.

The ECAS suspension is available for both OEM installation and aftermarket retrofit. According to Meritor Wabco, it addresses the needs of two key customer groups. For those fleets that are already using 6X2 vehicle configurations for weight and fuel savings, ECAS provides “intelligent load transfer” to help improve traction and reduce tire wear. For fleets that are considering 6X2 configurations, ECAS “provides the assurance that the fleet will have optimal traction and ride performance to support conversion to 6X2” to take advantage of fuel and weight savings.

“The positive feedback from fleet and OEM customers on ECAS also prompted us to create a retrofit package, enabling existing 6x2 vehicles to benefit from the immediate improvements ECAS offers,” said Pat Kealy, director— aftermarket. “This product could greatly accelerate the adoption of 6x2 tractors in North America, giving OEMs and fleets an achievable benefit in fuel savings.”

He said ECAS addresses “long-standing fleet concerns regarding 6x2 tractor applications by providing enhanced traction capability, improved drive axle tire wear, reduced parasitic loss, and further weight savings-- it also potentially increases vehicle resale value.”

Key features and benefits of the ECAS include:

·         Accurate, electronic maintenance and control of ride height between axles and chassis

·         Reduced air consumption for better fuel economy through decreased compressor duty cycle with air spring pressure adjustment only occurring when there is a change in load

·         Quick and automatic load transfer from tag to drive axle to reduce drive axle wheel spin during low traction events

·         A faster coupling/uncoupling process with ECAS due to faster inflating/deflating of air bellows when compared to mechanical leveling valves

·         Speed-activated driveline protection realized by an automatic increase in driving level

·         Manual lift axle control to reduce roll resistance when the vehicle is unladen

 

Kealy noted that more than three million Wabco ECAS systems have been sold worldwide and Meritor WABCO has adopted the product for the North American market.

According to Kealy, the ECAD air dryer was introduced to this market in February 2012 and “early adopters of the product are reporting an annual reduction in fuel consumption of 100 gallons or more, equivalent to approximately $400 per vehicle.”

He explained that the system generates air pressure during low engine-demand cycles, reducing parasitic loss caused by the compressor diverting horsepower from the engine, and results in overall fuel savings being achieved.

“Meritor Wabco is an innovation leader in the safety arena, which relies heavily on intelligent technology, and we’ve applied that expertise to enhance the efficiency of our products,” stated Kealy. “In addition to fuel savings, the efficient design of ECAD eliminates the governor, allowing for improved serviceability, lower maintenance costs and reduced weight.”

Meritor Wabco is the joint venture between Meritor Inc. and Belgium-based Wabco Holdings Inc. It supplies braking systems and controls, active-safety systems, and suspension-control systems for commercial vehicles operated in North America.