Meritor launches hydraulic disc brake option

Rolf Lockwood

HANNOVER, Germany — Meritor’s press conference at last week’s IAA Commercial Vehicles Show was dominated by the European announcement of its new Blue Horizon advanced technology brand, but that wasn’t the Michigan company’s only news. New product introductions included a hydraulic air disc brake for medium-duty trucks and buses and a front-drive steer axle with a rear tridem drive axle for severe-duty applications.

Hydraulic actuation is now available as an option on all ELSA disc brakes for applications requiring hydraulic disc brake variants. It won’t be launched in North America until the North American Commercial Vehicles show in Atlanta a year from now.

Built with a modular design, the mechanical, pneumatically operated brake housing of the current range is replaced by a hydraulic single- or twin-piston variant. The bridge, carrier, and slide-pin arrangements remain common for both pneumatic and hydraulic brakes. Pads can also be common and will be available in pad areas from 107-226 square centimetres. The new option covers brakes for wheels between 17.5 and 25 inches. Rotor diameter varies from 324 mm to 500 mm.

“The hydraulic variant supports current applications and specialty applications as well as electric vehicles where the industry’s dependence on pneumatic systems has been reduced to a point where it becomes advantageous to work with hydraulic systems,” said Tony Nicol, vice president, Front & Rear Drivetrain, Europe for Meritor.

Manufacturers can readily install a pneumatic or hydraulic ELSA brake on the same wheel-end arrangement to reduce production complexity, tooling, and engineering development costs. End-users also benefit from high commonality of component and service kits.

Meritor’s new MX-610 front-drive and MZ-610 tridem rear axle are for severe-duty applications. Built to operate in extreme conditions, the MZ-610 tridem offers wide-ranging axle ratings and high ground clearance as ell gross axle weight rating (GAWR) of 60 tons and gross combination weight (GCW) of 210 tons.

The Blue Horizon enterprise, which is all about electrification products and an entirely new electrical architecture, was first announced on these shores last May. For both battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), it’s centred on the Meritor eAxle and its Power Control and Accessory Subsystem (PCAS) that makes it all work. This unit integrates network control architecture, control software, and power conversion modules that link all drive system components — including advanced motors integrated with a proprietary automated manual transmission. It simplifies assembly, operation, and charging while enhancing, says Meritor, reliability and energy efficiency.

A key benefit of the PCAS is that it allows much of the control system assembly and wiring work to be completed before anything is installed into the vehicle, saving time on labor.

The Energy Storage System features a nickel manganese cobalt battery pack and battery management system.

The whole package is a completely integrated system that can be installed on an existing vehicle or glider at a Meritor facility or supplied as a kit that can be installed on an OEM assembly line.

Last year the company made a strategic investment in TransPower of San Diego, California, a specialist in electrification technologies for large commercial vehicles. Together, they now have seven demonstration vehicles on the road with another 23 to come before year’s end.

TransPower supplies integrated drive systems, full electric truck solutions, and energy-storage subsystems to major manufacturers of trucks, school buses, refuse vehicles and terminal tractors.

Meritor announced in May that it will supply all-electric drivetrain systems for two Peterbilt vehicle platforms through its alliance with TransPower. These include 12 all-electric class 8 Model 579 daycab tractors and three Model 520 refuse trucks.

Not incidentally, Meritor says it’s been working on electric drivetrains for 20 years.

Rolf Lockwood

Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to

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