Meritor Wabco provides updates on four new systems

TROY, Mich. — Meritor Wabco held a Webinar with journalists in early March, to update the industry on a series of new or improved products aimed at reducing fuel and crash costs for fleet customers.

OnGuard collision mitigation system

The first of those products is a vastly improved version of Meritor Wabco’s OnGuard collision avoidance system. The new generation OnGuard system, first demonstrated to journalists last summer, is now in production on Freightliner and Kenworth trucks, with Navistar and Peterbilt coming online in the second quarter, Mark Melletat, director of trailer and field operations with Meritor Wabco announced.

The most significant enhancements are a higher-definition radar that provides a 200-metre range, compared to the previous standard of 150 metres. It can also detect vehicles in adjacent lanes to a tractor-trailer, and take that information into consideration when intervening with brake applications or other actions to prevent a crash.

“If we know there are vehicles in adjacent lanes, and we know we can’t maneuver out of that lane, the system would activate sooner – and milliseconds count,” said Melletat.

The new OnGuard also offers stationary object detection and haptic warnings (a rapid pulsing of the brakes to get the driver’s attention).

Melletat said the new OnGuard radar is eight times greater than any other radar sensor in the market. Meanwhile, inside the cab, the display has been redesigned to occupy just two gauge positions on the dash compared to four previously. Meritor Wabco officials said OnGuard enjoys a nearly 100% re-order rate with customers, and one fleet has reported reducing its rear-end collisions by 80%.

Trailer stability

Also announced was the launch of Meritor Wabco’s new trailer stability system, Rollover Stability Support (RSS) 1M. The new stability system is available as a retrofit kit. Also, the system is compatible with a wider range of trailers, including refrigerated, flatbed and livestock.

Fleets using Meritor Wabco’s trailer stability system on tanker trailers have seen a 70% decrease in rollover accidents, Melletat noted. About 90% of new tanker trailers are spec’d with stability systems.

“We’re happy to announce today that we’re broadening the availability of this technology to other markets,” Melletat said.

Features include the automatic deployment and lifting of lift axles, based on the load conditions of the axle. This can allow fleets to reduce costs on toll roads when empty. RSS 1M also provides integration with tire inflation systems and telematics, conveying to drivers inside the cab when tires are losing air pressure.

Electronically controlled air dryer

Meritor Wabco also announced expanded availability of its System Saver electronically controlled air dryer (ECAD), which was first introduced in February 2012 with Volvo. Early adopters are achieving fuel savings of 0.75-1.5%, according to Melletat.

The savings are achieved through the system’s ability to determine when the engine is under load and then take advantage of downhill or cruising periods to load the compressor. This reduces load on the engine when it’s working its hardest in high-demand cycles.

The electronics within the new design eliminate the need for a mechanical governor. Other advantages include: reduced parts and maintenance; the elimination of a separate air tank; and improved reliability, due to there being fewer leak paths.

“We’re really trying to optimize the functionality of the compressor during these low-peak periods on the engine,” Melletat explained. “This really represents a significant step forward in electronics for air systems and we continue to introduce additional products in this arena.”

The fuel savings seen by early adopters equate to about $400-$800 per truck each year, Melletat said. “This is a conservative number, based on 100,000 miles per year in operation,” he added.

He hinted that other OEMs besides Volvo will soon be offering the System Saver ECAD.

ECAS for 6×2 axles

Finally, Melletat discussed Meritor Wabco’s electronically controlled air suspension (ECAS) for 6×2 axle configurations. Spec’ing 6×2 axles provides a weight savings of 300-400 lbs and fuel consumption reductions of 2-6%, but customers traditionally have been concerned about a lack of traction in slippery conditions.

Melletat said the ECAS electronics automatically shift weight from the tag axle to the driven axle in low-traction scenarios, providing traction about equal to traditional 6×4 vehicles. Videos shown by Meritor Wabco during the Webinar showed a loaded tractor-trailer effortlessly climbing a snow-covered hill with the help of ECAS, while a 6×2 without ECAS spun its wheels.

Manual load transfer systems currently on the market allow the operator to overload the driven axle, causing “catastrophic failure of the axle itself.”

ECAS shifts the right amount of load to ensure traction without putting any components at risk, Melletat explained. ECAS has been paired with Meritor’s FueLite 6×2 axle and is now available with one OEM, but Melletat said there’ll be a major launch in April. The ECAS system can be paired with any manufacturer’s 6×2 axle and is available as a retrofit kit, Melletat added.

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