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August 15, 2017 2:00 PM, EDT

Bendix Cites Multiple Brake Production Milestones in 2017

Bendix air disc brakes Bendix ADB22X air disc brakes on display at a recent truck show. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems reported it expects to reach record production of remanufactured brake shoes amid other brake-related milestones for air disc brakes and actuators.

With remanufactured brake shoes, the company remains on track to produce 1.64 million shoes this year, an increase of 28% compared with its former high of 1.28 million shoes manufactured in 2016, amid increasing truck build and market growth, according to Elyria, Ohio-based Bendix.

Also, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake — a joint venture between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products — expects to produce an average of some 1,800 air disc brakes per day this year, compared with 1,181 per day (with a peak of 1,320) a year earlier, according to Bendix.

Overall, because of increasing market adoption by fleets and owner-operators, air disc brakes from various manufacturers now account for more than 1.7 million wheel-ends on the road, according to Bendix. More than 20% of North American Classes 6-8 air-braked wheel-ends are equipped with air disc brakes — a 50% increase in overall market share since 2013.

 

“We’ve seen a number of large linehaul fleets converting to all-wheel ADB on their tractors and trailers, as well as original equipment manufacturers improving how the air disc brake is positioned in their data books,” Fred Stevens, plant manager at the Bowling Green facility, which produces the brake, commented in a statement.

Also, in June, International Truck’s flagship LT series became the first Class 8 tractor in North America to equip air disc brakes in standard position on all wheel-ends. International is a brand of Navistar International Corp.

Stevens cited air disc brakes growth in the trailer market as another key contributor to customer demand.

In related news, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is assessing further the benefits of crash avoidance technologies for heavy trucks that include automatic emergency braking — required already in Europe. On Aug. 8, NHTSA requested public comments on a proposed collection of information related to the need for a field study of newer-generation heavy vehicle automatic emergency braking systems.

Also, growing demand for air disc brakes is spurring production growth of actuators as well, according to Bendix, which forecast 2017 as its highest volume year for actuators since they began production in December 2010. The operation is on pace to produce an average of 8,300 actuators per day, up 10%, compared with 7,600 in 2016.

At the same time, production of engine dampers — used to reduce torsional vibration on engine crankshafts to prevent shaft failure and reduce noise — is rising; in June it produced 23,163, a 58% year-over-year; in May production rose 88% and in April and 41% in April, according to the company.

The company makes brake shoes in Huntington, Ind., air disc brakes in Bowling Green, Ky., actuators in Acuña, Mexico, and dampers in North Aurora, Ill.

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems is a member of the Knorr-Bremse Group.