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ConMet Introduces New Brake Drum

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Conmet company officials introduced new products and several improvements at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Conmet company officials introduced new products and several improvements at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.

Rob Edstrom, vice-president of sales and marketing for ConMet, introduced the Simplex SE and the Simplex II SE at the show.

Recent improvements to the fifth wheels include: a new and improved handle design for better driver ergonomics; an updated jaw shape and return spring which prevents the jaw from closing while bobtailing; a new eccentric pin design allowing for finer increments of slack adjustment; and a re-tooled top plate which maximizes surface contact, extending product life.

“We have completely re-engineered our fifth wheels,” Edstrom said. “With the Simplex SE, we’ve created fifth wheels that are safe, easier to use and less expensive to maintain.”

While the Simplex SE is about 40-lbs lighter than the Simplex II SE, the latter is more durable and better for applications involving the frequent coupling and uncoupling of trailers.

ConMet has also introduced a new, lighter-weight slider.

“Our new slider is significantly lighter than our older models without sacrificing strength and durability,” said Edstrom.

The SE Slider has a one-piece saddle casting that reduces weight by about 42-lbs compared to the previous design. It also features: two-inch adjustment increments; a dual-tooth lock for improved security; a new in-line air-operated cylinder; and a machined lock interface to reduce slack. The Simplex SE is available now, while the Simplex II SE and the Simplex SE Slider will be available in the near future.

ConMet also introduced TruTurn – a brake drum that boasts improved dimensional consistency and uniform wall thickness, thanks to a new fully machined finishing process.

The end result is a drum that delivers improved performance characteristics and greater longevity, said Edstrom. Traditionally brake drums arrive from the manufacturing plant with imperfections which are then offset by adding weld-on weights or cutting away material (a process known as balance cutting).

But ConMet’s new patent-pending finishing process eliminates the need for balance cutting or adding weld-on weights, thus improving the drum’s durability, Edstrom said. The TruTurn drum has less potential for cracking than traditional brake drums, is exposed to lower per stop temperatures and delivers a more uniform distribution of temperature and braking cycles, he said. All of those factors contribute to a longer life cycle. Also adding to the TruTurn’s life expectancy is the fact the drum’s outside surface is painted after machining, giving it better paint coverage and making it less prone to rust and corrosion, Edstrom said.

He said the performance of the TruTurn drum is also an improvement, as the drum’s uniform wall thickness reduces vibrations and delivers better braking.

“It may not be rocket science, but it is clever,” Edstrom said of the new finishing process.

The process is applied to both the inside and outside of the drum, and utilizes engineering tools such as Computer Aided Design (CAD), Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and solidification modeling.

“The TruTurn brake drum is truly unique in that it is machined on the outside as well as the inside,” Edstrom explained. “Through this process the drum is ‘turned to balance,’ which means it is inherently balanced, as well as having its strength optimized because the drum wall thickness is uniform around the circumference.”

Despite the enhancements, the drum won’t come at a premium price. Edstrom said the TruTurn brake drum will be available at the same price as its predecessors and is available immediately.

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