SAF-HOLLAND Introduces Spring Suspension

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Muskegon, MI – SAF-HOLLAND has introduced its latest trailer suspension, the ULX40 UltraLite slider with composite springs. The company says it’s the lightest  tandem slider suspension available in North America. Packaged as an all-in-one system, it’s a complete integration of suspension, axles, springs, and SAF drum or optional disc brakes with a 40,000-lb capacity.

SAF-Holland's ULX40 Ultralite mechanical trailer suspensionThe one-piece composite springs are said to deliver a ride comparable to equivalent air suspensions, while also delivering simplicity, maintenance savings, and longer life.

In fact, SAF-Holland suggests that mechanical suspensions are making a comeback in the dry van and reefer trailer world. Until recently, according to Jeff Talaga, executive vice-president, trailer systems, that part of the market was split about 50/50 between air and mechanical suspensions. But, at least amongst larger fleets, the less expensive mechanical option’s share is now over 60 percent.

But that’s not the case in Canada, he added, where our conditions and weights and preferences still have air in the lead, with no trend yet indicating a change in thinking. A tridem version of the ULX40 is likely in the works, however, which would appeal to Canadians.

“This new spring-ride suspension product will change the way fleets look at mechanical suspensions,” said Talaga. “It’s an engineered all-in-one system that is lighter weight, offers a lower total cost of ownership, and the industry’s first 10-year suspension and axle system warranty. It will be spec’d by on-highway fleets in the van industry who are looking for a versatile option to help reduce costs for their hauling requirements.”

A significant benefit of the integrated package is that buyers are looking at one

complete system from one supplier, as opposed to dealing with several parts and maintenance sources. This also allows for efficient installation at the trailer OEM. There hasn’t been a fully unitized mechanical trailer suspension available until now.

“We’re the only ones who can do that today,” Talaga said. “The end user no longer has to worry about chasing down this supplier for this piece of axle, spring or suspension. It comes from us, one warranty.”

And it’s substantial. The new ULX40’s 10-year Durasystem warranty is said to be the industry’s first of that duration. It’s also unique because it includes the mechanical slider assembly, the SAF X-series axle, welded bracketry, and the axle connection.

The ULX40 is up to 100 lb lighter than other mechanical trailer suspensions, the company claims. Weight savings can be attributed to the composite springs, which are 80 lb lighter than steel, as well as lighter axles, even though they’re 5.75-in. diameter instead of the previous 5.0.

The ULX40's composite spring brings near air-ride comfortThe high point of the new ULX40 is that SAF composite spring. Lighter yes, but also said to provide the performance of an air ride without the complexity, while maintaining comparable ride quality and handling control.

And the ULX40 is simpler and easier to maintain because it has fewer components – no shock absorbers, no air springs, no height-control valves, and no dock-lock devices.

The ULX40’s proprietary ‘Black Armour’ corrosion- and rust-prevention treatment chemically bonds with metal to form a protective layer, SAF-Holland explains. It’s said to be impervious to water and caustic anti-icing chemicals, offering the protection of galvanization without the weight.

SAF Integral air disc brakes are an optional feature on the ULX40, though they’re more than double the cost of standard drums. They represent 8-12 percent of the company’s trailer build, more than the estimated industry average penetration of about 5 percent.

The new axle, a companion for the air-ride CBX40, is available for order now.

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

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