LOUISVILLE. Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems is showing a number of products and announcing several enhancements to existing products at its Mid-America Trucking Show booth this week.

One of the products that has received an update is its Bendix TABS-6 advanced trailer roll stability system. TABS-6 now offers automatic lift axle control to help reduce tire wear and fuel consumption by maintaining proper per-axle weight load.

When equipped on a trailer with a lift axle, TABS-6 monitors the load on the air bags and will raise or lower the axle as required, without needing driver input, based on the trailer’s suspension capacity and legal load limits, the company explained.

“Bendix TABS-6 advanced is the brains behind the lift axle, looking at the load and determining whether the weight warrants the use of both axles,” said TJ Thomas, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions, Controls group. “It prevents the error of overloading a single axle and helps operators avoid the additional tire wear and fuel usage – and possibly extra tolls – associated with running a light load on both axles.”

The system’s automatic lift axle control is customizable and can be set to lower the axle automatically when the trailer is parked. This means that when the trailer is subsequently loaded, it is ready to handle its weight capacity.

Bendix has also expanded its SafetyDirect program to provide a “more effective training and safety tool for drivers and fleet operators.”

SafetyDirect is a user-friendly Web portal that provides fleet operators with videos of severe events, along with comprehensive feedback on their fleet and drivers. The system wirelessly and automatically transmits real-time driver performance data and event-based information to the fleet’s back office for analysis by fleet safety personnel.

Version 3.2 of SafetyDirect allows for more comprehensive application of the data generated by vehicle safety systems, enabling the creation of training programs that recognize ideal driving habits and target specific driver needs.

“Safe drivers practicing safe driving habits, supported by comprehensive driver training, have always been the first line of defense in preventing accidents,” said TJ Thomas, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions, Controls group. “More than ever, SafetyDirect helps recognize and reinforce drivers’ best practices, enabling fleets to strategically enhance and improve their training programs to maximize highway safety.”

Using data from a vehicle’s safety systems, SafetyDirect captures and reports – with video clip included – event-based occurrences in numerous preset categories, including excessive curve speed and excessive braking, and activation of on-board safety systems such as collision mitigation and stability events. The updated SafetyDirect now includes the capability to create a driver’s score card. For example, fleet operators can customize a weighted scoring system that assigns higher values to certain safety system activations, depending on their specific goals and needs. By multiplying those weights with the number of system activations in a given time period, SafetyDirect automatically generates reports that can help a fleet develop more targeted reward and training programs.

A severe event captured by SafetyDirect will trigger a notification, which is delivered to designated fleet personnel via smartphone, tablet, or email. These events are captured and stored with time and date indication, driver and vehicle ID, odometer reading, vehicle speed, and GPS location. The system also provides real-time driver performance information such as following distance histograms and event counters for each driver.

Kenworth Truck Co. and Peterbilt Motors Co. are both making the SmarTire Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) by Bendix CVS available as a factory-installed option on Class 8 tractors and trucks.

With wheel-end monitoring through SmarTire TPMS, drivers can view real-time tire alerts and pressure or temperature data via an in-vehicle display or integrated OE dashboard to warn a driver of tire-related problems, including alerts for low tire pressure, extreme low tire pressure, and extreme high temperature.

The SmarTire TPMS system displays actual tire pressure and temperature for each wheel location, along with a deviation value that shows the amount of over- or underinflation from each tire’s cold inflation pressure (CIP).

The company also announced it has surpassed 300,000 Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program full-stability systems sold. The company introduced Bendix ESP in early 2005. It took six full years for Bendix to reach 100,000 units sold, but only about half that time to triple it, Bendix noted.

“More manufacturers and fleets than ever before are looking to the advantages of the Bendix ESP system,” said Scott Burkhart, Bendix vice president and GM, Controls and Modules. “Through demos and trials, they see how well the technology works and come away as believers in what it can bring to their business – in terms of safety, performance, and value. There’s a reason higher-performing full stability continues to outsell roll-only technology in today’s marketplace. It has proven itself both in terms of crash mitigation and ROI.”

On dry surfaces, full-stability systems like the Bendix ESP recognize and mitigate conditions that could lead to rollover and loss-of-control situations sooner than roll-only options. Unlike roll-only systems, full-stability technology functions in a wider range of driving and road conditions, including snowy, ice-covered, and slippery surfaces, Bendix said. Full-stability systems also contain additional sensors, enabling the unit to more quickly recognize factors that could lead to truck rollovers or loss of control.

Full-stability interventions also differ from those in roll-only systems since they rely on automatic brake interventions involving the steer, drive, and trailer axles.