ROLL STABILITY IMPROVED

Meritor Wabco Vehicle Control Systems has introduced its new Roll Stability Support trailer system, RSSplus, designed specifically for the North American trailer industry. It’s the third generation of Roll Stability, the first two having been adaptations of the European product.

RSSplus will be available late in the first quarter of 2008 through trailer manufacturers and as an aftermarket retrofit through trailer dealers. Retrofit is quite easy, the company says, taking just two hours or so to accomplish if the trailer already has ABS wheel sensors installed. A full
retrofit program, accessible to owner-operators as easily as to fleets, will be in place by next summer.

The new system builds upon the company’s current RSS offering which incorporates ABS functionality with other safety features such as improved roll mitigation. The new system retains the company’s side-by-side wheel end control to provide stability management and help prevent tire flat-spotting and abnormal tire wear. As well, the system offers simplified installation and advanced ‘intelligent’ communication capabilities through on-board data
recording with event broadcasting capability via Power Line Carrier (PLC) communications or telematic devices.

RSS was first introduced in 2003, and there are now over 4000 of the company’s units in the field.

RSSplus is a two-modulator (2M) roll mitigation system that integrates several features, including ABS and PLC functionality, reducing the number of individual components. The new system is compatible for use with both spring and air suspensions. A new cable connector system allows for more positive connections and cable stabilization to prevent damage and mitigate potential problems with connector corrosion.

Standardized SAE diagnostics make troubleshooting much simpler and are now a conventional feature of the system. The diagnostics have also been integrated into the company’s Toolbox PC software. System diagnostics can also be performed using standard blink codes which eliminate the cost of additional diagnostic tools.

By adding PLC capability to the RSSplus electronic control unit, the system can communicate between the tractor and trailer utilizing a PLC display. Additional messaging can also be accommodated via telematic devices. Events that can be communicated include suspension weight, tire pressure, wheel-end temperatures or other customer-specific data. On-board data recording within the ECU allows for the retention of vehicle performance data in the ECU memory to enhance fleet management.

Configurations of the new system include: 2S/2M1, 4S/2M and 4S/2M + 1 (for most 4S/3M requirements). Applications include tandem and tri-axle vans, reefer units, flat beds, tankers, hazardous material haulers, B-trains (though not A-trains) and high-center-of-gravity trailers.

The new system is compatible with current tractor stability technologies as well as future technologies. RSSplus is also backward-compatible with existing trailers in the marketplace making it an easy retrofit. It works independently of the tractor, needing only a power supply
from up front.

While the system’s price is controlled by OEMs, its end-user cost is estimated to be between $700 and $900, but that includes the ABS on which it’s based. That’s about a $300 reduction. Retrofit won’t be radically expensive either, topping out at about of $1500, possibly less.

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