LOUISVILLE, KY. Tire pressure monitoring and an automated air bag transfer system are among the new products being introduced by Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems this week at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

The SmarTire tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) will soon be available for trailers. The system, expected to be launched in the third quarter as an aftermarket retrofit kit as well as an original equipment option, monitors tire pressure and temperature of each tire and provides real-time status updates to the driver or a maintenance technician. A typical kit would consist of eight wheel sensors, harnessing, and a wireless receiver.

When paired with the latest version of SmarTire for tractors, the system will wirelessly link with the trailer, displaying both the truck and the trailer tire information on the existing TPMS display, the company said.

“SmarTire contributes to the overall safety of the driver and truck; while helping fleets address two of their top operating costs: fuel and tires,” said Jon Intagliata, product manager for TPMS at Bendix. “By monitoring trailer tires, as well as tractor tires, fleets will be able to truly maximize SmarTire’s safety, efficiency, and fuel economy benefits.”

Using the technology will provide warnings of problems before they become a safety hazard, Bendix said.

SmarTire’s in-vehicle dash display provides information including 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).

SmarTire for trailers can be installed as a stand-alone system or used in conjunction with SmarTire tractor systems.

“Trailers are sometimes parked for long periods and may not receive the same level of maintenance attention as tractors,” Intagliata said. “It will take the SmarTire trailer system a few moments to auto-detect the trailer, but once it does, the driver will know if any of that trailer’s tires are improperly inflated.”

Air pressure transfer system

Among other product announcements being made by the company is eTrac, an automated air pressure transfer system for 6x2 suspensions. The system is an add-on to Bendix’s ABS-6 braking systems with automatic traction control.

Designed for 6x2 tractors and trucks, the eTrac transfer system fully automates what currently is a manual system of air pressure transfer, Bendix said. When added to the Smart ATC (automatic traction control) and ABS-6 Advanced with ESP Electronic Stability Program, eTrac automatically engages and disengages, without driver input, the vehicle’s airbag pressure transfer system during low-traction events. Pressure is transferred from the undriven axle to the driven axle without requiring manual input or driver action, the company pointed out.

“By automating the air transfer process, the eTrac system will make it easier for fleets to take advantage of the more efficient suspensions typically found on 6x2 tractors,” said TJ Thomas, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions, Controls group. “Unlike a manual system, eTrac can respond in fractions of a second to a low-traction situation, offering real-time adjustment.”

The eTrac system protects against drivetrain damage by disengaging after a low-traction event or when the vehicle’s resumed speed exceeds 25 mph. The system also allows for manual activation at speeds below 10 mph, or when a vehicle’s ATC mud/snow switch is enabled.

Bendix is also now linking web portal SafetyDirect to its Wingman Advanced, Bendix ESP stability system, and SmarTire. The portal offers fleet managers a comprehensive view of their fleet and drivers.

The company’s AutoVue Lane Departure Warning system was already connected to the portal.

SafetyDirect wirelessly transmits safety information from vehicles via telematics devices already on the trucks. The system can provide immediate warnings and critical safety information.

“With the integration of the Bendix safety technologies, along with the existing AutoVue, SafetyDirect is an essential tool for fleet operators,” said Thomas. “It’s all the more important in today’s CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability)-driven environment, where safety infractions can threaten your very business.”

Among the information viewable on the portal are following-distance histograms, event counters, and system usage details for each driver. It captures data for more than a dozen preset categories, including excessive curve speed, lane changes without turn signal, and forward collision warning.

Managers can view data by driver or fleet.

New solenoid offerings

Two new solenoid offerings from Bendix are also on display this week at MATS.

The Bendix SMS-9700 accessory solenoid valve and FCS-9700 fan clutch solenoid valve feature streamlined designs that address the electronic control of vehicle air functions not associated with the braking system.

Both valves are approximately 20% smaller and 30% lighter than competitive models, the company said, and include enhanced protection against moisture and corrosion.

The FCS-9700 is designed for mounting outside the cab, enabling it to withstand the high temperature of the engine compartment. The SMS-9700 can be customized to manage as many as 16 accessories, such as the interaxle differential lock, fifth wheel slide, and air horn.

Both solenoids are available in either 12-volt or 24-volt designs.