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Superior Carriers

Bendix technologies helping Superior's fleets operate safely

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, a supplier of active safety, energy management, air brake and other technologies, says its products have played a key role in Oak Brook IL-based Superior Bulk Logisitcs’ long-standing commitment to safety.

Superior Bulk, which includes the Carry Transit and Superior Carriers fleets, has equipped Bendix ADB22X air disc brakes, and Bendix air management and advanced safety technologies—such as antilock brakes and stability control—as well as air dryers and Bendix’s flagship driver assistance system, Wingman Fusion, for more than 15 years, Bendix said, helping the company safely haul product and operate its vast fleet of vehicles.

“They’ve always been good, reliable products backed by an excellent support system, from technical and maintenance advice to driver training,” said Ken Shafer, director of maintenance and tank cleaning at Superior Carriers. “Just about any place on the truck where we can spec a Bendix system or component, we do.”

Safety focused

Founded in 1940 and family-owned for almost 80 years, Superior Bulk is the parent of Carry Transit, which handles food-grade supply chain hauling; and Superior Carriers, which offers bulk truck and transloading services for chemical products. Superior Carriers earned a prestigious Heil Outstanding Performance Trophy from the National Tank Truck Carriers in 2014. And Carry is the first transportation company worldwide to achieve Food Safety System Certification (FSSC) 22000 certification, a standard covering distribution, warehousing, and transportation.

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“When customers put their products in our tanks, more than anything we want them to know safety is the top concern every step of the way, and particularly on the roads,” said Phil Bonnes, director of maintenance at Carry Transit.

Superior Bulk’s fleets include 932 company tractors, 261 independently contracted trucks and 2,423 trailers, a majority of which are tanks. In total, their drivers delivered more than 6.8 billion pounds of products to 49 states, Mexico and Canada in 2018, traveling more than 68 million miles—and always with safety as a priority.

“Any employee with the company—driver, loader, mechanic, tank washer, anyone—has the authority to put a stop to any process, any action, at any time, if they see an unsafe situation,” Shafer said. “It’s that important companywide.”

Bendix ADB22X milestone

Bendix recently celebrated the production of its 3 millionth ADB22X air disc brake.

Superior Carriers’ fleet includes Mack, Peterbilt, and International truck models, 130 of which are currently on the road with Wingman Fusion, Bendix said. Half the Superior tractors feature ADB22X air disc brake on all axles, and another quarter have the disc brake on steer axles. Ten Superior trailers also are equipped with air disc brakes.

On the Carry side, a mix of Kenworth and International tractors includes 200 all-disc-braked tractors, 70 with Bendix Wingman Advanced collision mitigation, and 10 with Fusion. Carry also runs 30 air-disc-braked trailers.

Wingman Fusion gathers input through radar, video and the vehicle’s braking system, combining and cross-checking the information from sensors that are working together. By creating a highly detailed and accurate data picture, Fusion delivers enhanced rear-end collision mitigation, and adaptive cruise control, along with following distance alerts, stationary object alerts, lane departure warning, alerts when speeding, and braking on stationary vehicles—all while prioritizing alerts to help reduce driver distraction, Bendix said.

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Through SafetyDirect, event-based data, including video, can be wirelessly transmitted for driver coaching and analysis by fleet safety personnel. The forward-facing camera of Wingman Fusion is powered by the Mobileye System-on-Chip EyeQ processor with vision algorithms.

Additionally, every Superior Bulk vehicle put on the road since 2002 has included Bendix antilock brakes and roll stability.

“We’re not what you’d call a ‘bleeding-edge’ technology kind of company, but we’ve always said, ‘If it helps the drivers, we want it on our trucks,’” Bonnes said. “We saw these braking and safety systems on the road making a proven, real-world difference that could support our goal of getting our men and women home safely at the end of their shifts, and protecting the families they share the roads with.”

In the driver’s seat

Superior Bulk’s approach to driver training and development starts before trucks with new equipment show up at its terminals.

“Driver training is the key when you’re adopting a new safety system or technology, and we spend a lot of time reviewing specs and videos and things like diagnostics with our drivers before they begin the in-truck experience,” Shafer said. “And we don’t stop once they’re on the road. On the Superior Carriers side, we’re using the information provided by Bendix SafetyDirect to support and coach our drivers, and soon that will expand to the Carry Transit fleet as well. We credit our ongoing coaching as a big reason for our successful safety record.”

The SafetyDirect driver safety platform features a user-friendly web portal that provides fleet operators with comprehensive feedback on their fleet and drivers, along with video of severe events. The system wirelessly transmits real-time data and event-based information from a vehicle’s J1939 network to the fleet’s back office for analysis. In March, Bendix introduced the powerful new fifth generation of the processor platform.

“Drivers like the air disc brakes’ quicker stops, and there’s no fade when they’re going down hills,” Bonnes said. “And with the active safety systems, we’ve definitely heard of instances where they’ve likely prevented an accident.

“One driver told us that for years, they’d been taking a particular exit ramp, but it wasn’t until the Bendix system began intervening that they realized how close to the edge of control they’d been coming. And that’s a key learning point: Even a good driver can have a bad day, and you can’t always tell how close you are to that edge until it’s too late.”

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