DAILY NEWS Mar 21, 2013 9:52 PM - 0 comments

Hendrickson launches rubber suspension for severe duty markets

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. –  Hendrickson Truck Commercial Vehicle Systems is celebrating its 100-year anniversary by entering a market it believes is underserved.

Hendrickson used the Mid-America Trucking Show to introduce the ULTIMAAX, a severe-duty rubber suspension for severe duty vocational markets such as logging, mining, oilfield and severe dump.  The suspension is available initially in capacities of 46,000, 52,000 and 60,000 pounds with plans to introduce 70,000 and 80,000 pound capacities later this year.

“This market really does not get addressed properly. This market really needs a tailored solution,” said Doug Sandford, vice president and general for Hendrickson’s truck side of the business.

The new suspension includes Hendrickson’s walking (equalizing) beam technology, with its patented progressive rate spring, to provide a balance of loaded stability and unloaded ride quality even in the most rugged environments, according to the company. In the empty or lightly loaded condition, shear springs carry a majority of the vertical load resulting in a constant low spring rate.  Due to the advancements of the progressive rate spring, as load increases, the ride and stability characteristics of the suspension change to meet the application’s needs without an

abrupt change in spring rate.  This translates to reduced road shock and vibration to the vehicle which contributes to longer service life of the cab, chassis and body equipment, the company claims.

Mobility and traction are also crucial when operating in severe applications; ULTIMAAX responds with features designed to help end users perform in some of the harshest terrains.  By nature, the walking beam design utilizes a central pivot point to help keep tire contact with the ground and maintain traction in challenging environments.  However, Hendrickson has advanced walking beam technology even further with new design features including a flat-bottom design for increased ground clearance.  In addition, the system offers up to 17.5 inches of loaded diagonal articulation and an increase in unloaded articulation courtesy of new high performance beam end and center bushings.

The system has been through more extreme testing than any product developed by Hendrickson to date, including component validation and severe proving grounds testing, Sanford assured.   The company ran early prototype test units in some of the most extreme applications in North America for the last five years.  In addition, in early 2010 it launched a first-generation version of ULTIMAAX in China where severe abuse is commonplace. There are more than 5,000 units in the field in China and have chalked up over 400 million miles of operation.

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