Bendix upgrading brakes and electronics

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ATLANTA, GA – “Push them in, the wheels spin.” It’s one of the first things that many driver trainees memorize when learning how to use the yellow tractor protection control valve and red trailer supply valve.

Now Bendix is preparing to release a new generation of the controls, among a series of new product releases coming in 2018.

The Intellipark electronic parking brake incorporates easily flipped switches that carry yellow and red markings, which mimic the look of today’s controls. (Should we now memorize “touch to go” instead?) But interlocks added to the seat, seatbelt, or cab door will also ensure that alerts are triggered if someone tries to leave a truck without setting the brakes.

About 60% of drivers surveyed by Frost and Sullivan admitted to a rollaway truck in the previous two years, said Fred Andersky, Bendix director of customer solutions – controls, during a briefing at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show.

Electronic controls have another role to play in the future. “Autonomous vehicles don’t have someone to push in or pull out the brakes to set them,” he added.

Responding to a question from Today’s Trucking, Andersky said he doesn’t see any regulatory restrictions to incorporating an electronic switch in place of the mechanical versions. “With such a push for automated autonomous vehicles, government has been pretty open [to] being willing to rework rules or let rules fly — at least in a testing mode,” he said.

Using the familiar-looking yellow and red symbols are also meant to ease the transition.

“We want to make it comfortable for drivers as well as those who inspect the truck,” he said.

Fleet trials for that system come in 2018.

Wingman Fusion

The Bendix Wingman Fusion Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) – which uses radar and camera data to monitor the road, and automatically applies brakes if following distances are too close – will see its own upgrade in 2018.

A software change will help the system respond about 50% faster than the current version, and apply a tractor’s full braking power compared to existing applications at 2/3 the potential stopping force.

New highway departure braking capabilities will alert a driver and apply brakes if their equipped truck appears to leave the roadway. Multi-lane automatic emergency braking capabilities will ensure that brakes continue to automatically apply if, during one automatic braking event, a driver changes to another lane and finds himself just a short distance behind another vehicle.

Fusion is now available in International, Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks, and is standard on the Volvo VNR and VNL and Mack Anthem.

A large truck rear ends a passenger car every 15 minutes in the U.S., Andersky adds. “That doesn’t have to happen.”

BlindSpotter 2.0

Also to come in the first quarter of the year is BlindSpotter 2.0 side object detection system.

The latest version of the black puck-shaped device will have an extra pigtail that links with a J1939/CAN connector. It will integrate with Fusion as well. The latter change brings the system closer toward active steering capabilities to help trucks keep in their lanes or centered between the lines, rather than simply sounding warnings.

While the side-mounted radar unit looks the same as the current generation, it has a wider field of view as well.

Electronic Stability Program (ESP)

Ford, meanwhile, is also making the Bendix Electronic Stability Program (ESP) standard on all 2018 Model Year F-650 and F-750 tractors and certain F-750 straight trucks, Bendix has announced. Full stability systems back off on the throttle and selectively apply brakes on the steer, drive, and trailer axles. That’s to help mitigate or prevent rollovers.

EnduraSure and EnduraSure Pro spring brakes

Bendix product enhancements are not linked to electronics alone. New versions of spring brakes are coming as well.

EnduraSure weighs about 8 pounds less per axle than comparative offerings, and promises increased durability compared to the EverSure model it replaces, tripling the life of power springs. The EnduraSure Pro, meanwhile, to improve spring life by 50% when compared to other sealed chambers.

Traditional chambers have drain holes that provide a path for air when the parking brake releases, and will allow moisture to exit. But some moisture and contaminants tend to stay behind, says Keith McComsey, director of customer solutions – wheel end.

The change comes in the form of a one-way check valve in a screw-in dust plug, which is tethered to the e-coated spring housing. The valve opens when brakes are released.

Other changes in the name of durability include a harder push rod and improved lubricity to help to extend the life of the center seal and reduce the risk of air leaks. The park-side spring housing is also e-coated.

Brake linings

New BA232R brake linings, available in October, are designed to handle 23,000-pound axles such as those used in heavy linehaul, heavy pickup and delivery, severe duty and refuse applications. Bendix tests show the friction material averaged 235-foot stopping distances compared to the regulated limit of 250 feet.

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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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