ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Raydan's Air Link tandem front air ride suspension has been factory-installed on a mixer truck for the first time and the truck was on display at Truxpo in Abbotsford, B.C. Oct. 1 through3.
MIXING IT UP: Raydan's Air Link tandem front suspension may be a popular spec in the mixer market.Photo by James Menzies
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Raydan’s Air Link tandem front air ride suspension has been factory-installed on a mixer truck for the first time and the truck was on display at Truxpo in Abbotsford, B.C. Oct. 1 through3.
Mack Trucks made the factory installation with the intent of using the vehicle as a demo truck. However, before it had the chance to do so, Ocean (a fleet that runs thousands of mixer trucks in North America) found out about it and purchased the rig.
It will soon be going to work on Vancouver Island, but Raydan and Mack had a chance to show it off at Truxpo first.
One of the rig’s most impressive features is its improved turning radius.
The same truck with a single steer axle would typically arrive from the factory with a 97-foot turning radius.
That’s now been reduced to 91 feet in one direction and 93 in the other (the steering box limits movement in one direction).
“This thing turns on a dime,” said Rick Nissen, sales and marketing manager for the Nisku, Alta.-based Raydan.
It also provides a much smoother ride, which is a welcomed change in the mixer truck sector of the industry.
That smoother ride also helps reduce wear and tear on components and extends tire life.
The air ride tandem front suspension also allows for better weight distribution.
“If you take a spring suspension with an equalizer, the only time that truly equalizes your weight is when it’s sitting still,” said Nissen.
“With this, you have equal weight distribution all of the time.”
And there are some safety benefits as well, including improved cornering, pointed out Raydan CEO, Ray English.
“When the driver’s going around that corner or the drum is rotating, this system might have 30 lbs. of air on the one side and 90 on the other side to compensate,” English said.
Nissen added “It always keeps your frame rails parallel to the road.”
The Air Link is also unique in that it can still be operated without air in the event of a ruptured air bag.
This is particularly handy for vocational operators working in rural areas.
“You can maintain a full load capacity with or without air,” insisted Nissen.
“All you do is shut the air off and continue working – it’s not going to cripple the vehicle.”
Richard Mayer of Nanaimo Mack (the dealership that sold the truck to Ocean) offered to take me for a quick spin around the Tradex Centre grounds to demonstrate first-hand how well the truck handled.
We took the Mack Granite CV 713 around the show grounds and I was immediately impressed with its cornering abilities.
Even while taking the corners at high speeds, I probably could’ve set a full cup of coffee in the cupholders without fear of spilling.
Of course the vehicle pushed through the corners, but the air ride suspension countered the weight shift.
To demonstrate the truck’s tight turning ability, Mayer did several 360-degree turns in the parking lot.
I was secretly hoping he’d floor it so we could leave donut marks on the pavement that would have made Champ Car driver Paul Tracy jealous (don’t worry Ocean, Mayer didn’t fulfill this wish!)
Whether or not the Raydan Air Link tandem front suspension becomes a common spec’ in the mixer industry is yet to be seen, but Nissen is confident.
“They’re going to try it first, but they’re very excited about it and we’re confident they’re going to be buying more of them,” said Nissen.