LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems announced it will begin producing its air disc brakes in the U.S. , gambling they’re the braking technology of the future.
Bendix is investing $3 million in its existing manufacturing plant in Frankfort, Ky. to prepare it for air disc brake production, to begin this fall.
The company expects to meet its full plant capacity of 120,000 units by 2006.
“Bringing air disc brake production capability to North America demonstrates our commitment to this technology,” said Tom Wladyka, air disc brakes product line director with Bendix.
“We view this product as the future of braking in North America. Manufacturing air disc brakes here allows us to meet anticipated demand and helps to reduce the overall cost to the end user.”
The increased purchase price of disc brakes is one of the deterrents for many fleets, however, Bendix officials are confident that will be overcome as production costs decrease and the long-term value of disc brakes are better understood.
Despite the higher purchase price “The cost of ownership over a period of three to five years is significantly reduced,” said Andreaa Raaber, director of new ventures.
“The benefits of air disc brakes are going to become obvious.”
Bendix – which currently produces the ADB 225 disc brake and an enhanced version called the ADB 22X – is in the process of conducting value proposition tests to prove just that.
With new regulations coming down the pipeline that would require shorter stopping distances than today’s standards, it’s widely thought that disc brakes may be the solution.
However, some manufacturers have said the new standards are attainable by using larger drum brakes on the front axle.
While Bendix officials at the Mid-America Trucking Show agreed, they said there are other benefits to disc brakes.
“We agree (the impending standards can be met) by putting a larger or more aggressive drum brake on that front axle,” said Bendix’s Kevin Romanchok.
However, he added, doing so will result in increased brake wear and side-to-side pulling under braking.
Romanchok said disc brakes deliver smoother, more consistent braking much like today’s passenger cars.
“Air disc brakes are the technology that’s going to win in the long run,” Romanchok predicted.
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