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October 31, 2019 12:45 PM, EDT

Bendix Prepares for Electronic Braking Transition

Company Partners With Noregon for Next-Gen Diagnostics Tool
TJ Thomas, director of marketing and customer solutions for Bendix’s controls business TJ Thomas, director of marketing and customer solutions for Bendix’s controls business, said two trends are taking shape in trucking: highly automated driving and e-mobility. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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ATLANTA — Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems outlined its plans to support the trucking industry’s upcoming transition toward electronic braking systems and the introduction of automated steering controls in the commercial vehicle market.

The supplier of braking and safety systems for commercial trucks also announced a range of product enhancements during an Oct. 30 press conference here at the 2019 North American Commercial Vehicle Show.

Bendix said it is preparing for a shift toward electronic braking systems, or EBS, in the North American market to support truck manufacturers as they introduce automated and electric vehicles.

“Highly automated driving and e-mobility are two significant trends that are taking shape in our industry, and they’re creating new demands for our brake system,” said TJ Thomas, director of marketing and customer solutions for Bendix’s controls business.

EBS, which uses electronic control signals, essentially is an extension of today’s antilock braking systems, he said, adding that Bendix’s parent company, Knorr-Bremse, has offered EBS as a proven technology in Europe for many years.

“We predict within three to five years, EBS will become standard in many applications in North America,” Thomas said. “We believe the time is right to start educating and making the general market aware of this technology.”

Bendix also announced future hardware and software upgrades for its Wingman Fusion collision mitigation system.

Wingman Fusion will utilize new forward radar and camera sensors along with side-facing radar through a previously announced partnership between Knorr-Bremse and Continental.

The new capabilities will enable automated steering features such as lane keeping assist and lane centering, the company said.

The upgrades also will support new driver assistance features, including traffic jam assist, highway assist and pedestrian and cyclist alerts.

Bendix said it expects these new features to become available in the next two years.

A view of the Bendix exhibit at NACV

A view of the Bendix exhibit at the 2019 North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

Meanwhile, Bendix also said it will offer an enhanced diagnostic system for technicians to troubleshoot and repair its components and systems.

Bendix announced it has partnered with truck-repair software firm Noregon to develop this next-generation diagnostic tool, dubbed ACom PRO.

Thomas said the new version will provide significant time savings for technicians — in some cases 20 minutes or more depending on the repair.

ACom PRO also will introduce a system-level view of the electronic control units on the vehicle, rather than requiring technicians to manually select which ECUs they’re troubleshooting.

“In the future, with ACom PRO, those ECUs will be clearly laid out,” Thomas said. “There will be no guesswork.”

Technicians also will be able to utilize Noregon’s NextStep fault guidance application, a web-based tool that technicians can use to view troubleshooting steps, he said.

Bendix also cited growing adoption of active safety technology.

The company announced that its forward collision mitigation systems have been deployed on more than 250,000 vehicles since introducing its earliest Wingman product in 2009.

Wingman safety systems are available on most Class 8 truck makes in North America.

Bendix also pointed to rising adoption of air disc brakes compared with traditional drum brakes.

Keith McComsey, director of marketing and customer solutions for Bendix’s wheel end business unit

Keith McComsey, director of marketing and customer solutions for Bendix's wheel end business unit, said today, nearly one-third of all trucks are built with air disc brakes. 

The company now has deployed more than 3 million air disc brakes, said Keith McComsey, director of marketing and customer solutions for Bendix’s wheel end business unit.

“Today, nearly one-third of all trucks are built with air disc brakes, and 16% of all trailers are built with air disc brakes,” McComsey said. “And we expect that growth to continue in the coming years.”

To help keep pace with that demand, Bendix is building a 130,0000-square-foot addition to its wheel-end manufacturing plant in Bowling Green, Ky. The company expects the plant addition to become operational in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Bendix also said it is introducing pad-wear sensing on all versions of its ADB22X air disc brake.

This wear-sensing technology determines when a pad is nearing its replacement period and provides a signal through telematics to help fleets schedule maintenance proactively.

The supplier also said it will add a tractor-trailer controller area network, or TT-CAN, to its TABS-6 Advanced multichannel trailer roll stability system in early 2020. The upgrade is designed to prepare the product for deeper integration of trailer and tractor technology.

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