Hendrickson announces an array of new truck, trailer products

Truck and trailer axles and suspensions were among the new products that the Hendrickson divisions introduced August 18 at its headquarters in Woodridge, Illinois.

They included:

Rear air suspension launched

A lightweight, non-torque reactive suspension offering a smooth ride and low maintenance will be available from Hendrickson in 2005.

The HTB rear air suspension for Class 8 trucks weighs only 570 pounds, including axle brackets — up to 250 pounds less than industry-standard 40,000-pound suspensions. The weight savings is attributed to the suspension's parallelogram geometry that eliminates leaf springs and reduces other components.

“HTB's parallelogram geometry eliminates the frame rise that is characteristic of trailing arm suspensions,” says Michael Brannigan, program manager. “Driveline angles are maintained throughout axle travel, thereby minimizing suspension induced driveline vibration.”

Most components of the suspension require zero maintenance and are designed to last the life of the truck, Brannigan says.

Large, direct-acting air springs carry 100 percent of the vertical load compared to trailing-arm suspensions where vertical load is shared between air springs and leaf springs. This key difference provides up to a 34 percent ride improvement and reduces vibration and harshness, compared to industry standard suspensions, according to Brannigan.

A centrally placed frame hanger eliminates the dual hangers found in trailing-arm suspensions. Shock absorber mountings integrated with the torque rod further reduce complexity and part count.

Hendrickson expects the HTB to be well suited for such weight-sensitive applications as bulk haul, tankers, and refrigerated trucks.

Composilite family expanded

Hendrickson recently refined the Composilite family with the launch of Composilite FX, a 13,500-pound capacity non-steering lift axle for trucks and trailers.

Weighing less than 850 pounds, Composilite FX trims more than 300 pounds from current Hendrickson models and joins 13,500- and 10,000-pound capacity Composilite ST steerables in a lineup that serves almost any application.

“By utilizing Composilite technology, the suspension components of the fixed axle version are virtually identical to the steerable systems,” says Paul Brown, marketing manager of Hendrickson Auxiliary Axle Systems. “In fact, not only can you use one axle for a pusher or tag configuration, you can use a combination of these two products to standardize lift axle brake components, air springs, and mounting features.

New Haulmaax configurations

A high-capacity version of Hendrickson's HAULMAAX suspension rated at 52,000 pounds is scheduled for introduction next year. The company also anticipate unveiling a 72.5-inch beam option to meet the needs of ready-mix contractors.

Applications for HAULMAAX include construction, mixer, refuse, logging, and other heavy-duty operations. The suspension is currently offered by Autocar, Kenworth Truck Company, Peterbilt Motor Company, Sterling Truck Company, Western Star Trucks, Freightliner Trucks, and International Truck and Engine. In 2005, Mack Trucks Inc will include HAULMAAX as a heavy-duty suspension option.

New walking beam with AR2

A walking beam air suspension for use in a variety of vocational applications including dump, refuse, and crane vehicles is coming to North America.

With capacity ratings of 40,000 to 46,000 pounds, the AR2 suspension comes to the North American market after more than five years of service in global vocational markets.

The AR2 features air springs that constantly adjust to changing road and load conditions. The use of dual height control valves maintains a constant ride height. The smoother ride that AR2 provides helps reduce vibration to the vehicle, other on-board equipment and hardware and electronics for improved service life, fewer repairs, and less downtime.

Hendrickson's AR2 is available as a complete kit for new truck OEM installation or as an aftermarket conversion kit for RT/RTE walking-beam truck suspensions. The conversion kit includes two trailing arms, shock absorbers, transverse torque rods, height control valves, air springs, and frame hangers. The existing beam assembly, cross tube, and longitudinal torque rods remain from the RT / RTE suspension.

Large-diameter trailer axle

In 2005, Hendrickson plans to begin phase-in of the large-diameter axle (LDA) to its line of trailer suspension systems with the narrow-beam INTRAAX.

The shift to an LDA for North America increases the diameter of today's traditional five-inch axle by about three-quarters of an inch allowing for use of a thinner axle wall to enhance strength and reduce weight. LDA generates a weight savings of between 20 and 27 pounds for each axle, depending on axle capacity. The large-diameter axle reduces trailer suspension weight through the use of a slightly thinner wall. Benefits include significant weight savings, increased bending and torsional stiffness by more than 14 percent, and enhanced overall strength compared to a five-inch diameter tube.

The reduced tube deflection keeps the axle straighter under loads to help improve fuel efficiency and enhance tire wear. Greater torsional rigidity also boosts roll stability.

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