ST. LOUIS, Mo. – By 2021, trailers will carry an extra 400-500 lbs of accessorial equipment in the name of fuel economy, as regulators turn their attention to trailers in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heavy vehicle combinations.
Consider that side skirts weigh about 250 lbs and trailer tails about 125 lbs, and that it’s possible both will be required to meet the new EPA/NHTSA greenhouse gas regulations to be implemented beginning in 2018. To that end, SAF-Holland is looking for ways to take weight out of its trailer systems, so that fleets don’t have to sacrifice payload as they add more fuel-saving equipment. The company realizes it has an important role to play in ongoing efforts to improve trailer efficiency, since 20% of the weight of a trailer – excluding tires and wheels – comes from the running gear it supplies.
The CBX40 AeroBeam from SAF-Holland.
Sprouting from this effort is a new CBX40 AeroBeam sliding tandem air suspension system, which will replace the current CBX40 offering.
“Fleet managers need to find a way to incorporate this new technology and still maintain their payload targets and maintain their fleet efficiencies,” said Roger Jansen, product manager, trailer suspensions group with SAF-Holland.
The first version of the CBX40 AeroBeam is designed for 53-ft. van trailers and it will serve as the foundation of an evolving platform. The base weight of the new suspension is 1,267 lbs, making it the lightest air ride suspension in the market, according to SAF-Holland officials. It’s 85 lbs lighter than the current CBX40 and 27 lbs lighter than its nearest competitor, Jansen said.
“We’re finally now to the point where we’re very proud to offer an air ride solution that’s equal in weight to a spring ride solution,” he added.
It’s also stronger than its predecessor. Greater stiffness has been designed into the axle section, and the axles themselves are 5.75 inches by nine millimetres thick, about 12% thicker than competitive models, Jansen said. This helps minimize axle deflection and extends inside tire life, the company says. Sixteen strategically placed frame reinforcements add strength and improve resistance to damage caused by potholes, curb strikes and slider repositioning.
To protect against corrosion, SAF-Holland offers its own Black Armour coating, which it says provides the same protection as hot dip galvanizing but at a fraction of the weight. The new suspension also features a SwingAlign system that simplifies axle alignments and allows them to be conducted by a single person using only one tool in just minutes.
The new CBX40 AeroBeam will come with a long list of options, including disc or drum brakes and an auto-lift axle that automatically lifts or deploys based on the weight of the load. Jansen said fuel savings of about 1% are achieved when the axle is lifted.
“It also saves on tire wear on that lead axle,” he added.
SAF-Holland’s confidence in the new suspension is reflected in a new 10-year warranty on the structural beam and axle and seven years of protection on other serviceable parts.
“It really allows fleets to have confidence, not only that we are reducing weight, but giving peace of mind long-term that they’re going to have the reliability they need to keep their trailers up and running and generating revenue,” said Jansen.
“The CBX40 AeroBeam is evolutionary for weight reduction,” added Jeff Talaga, vice-president of sales and strategic development, Americas. “We are excited to offer the AeroBeam, the next generation of lightweight air suspension systems as part of our promise to contribute to our customers’ success, providing solutions that maximize fleet efficiency and safety.”
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies