Development of a New Front Air Suspension and Steer Axle System for On Highway Commercial Vehicles 2000-01-3449
As a response to the continuing demand for lower weight and improved driver comfort, Hendrickson Truck Suspension Systems has designed and developed an innovative front steer axle and air suspension module for a 5.5 tonne (12,000 lbs.) axle rating. A system for a 6.7 tonne (14,600 lbs.) axle rating is under development.
The suspension is a steel spring and air spring load-sharing system, offering roll stability and handling better than any on highway mechanical system while giving superior ride characteristics.
In addition to the suspension, the module features an efficient fabricated steel steer axle and clamp group. The clamp group provides progressive support to the vertical legs of the axle housing with increasing bolt torque, thus maintaining the structural integrity of the box section axle.
The complete system is significantly lighter in weight than competitive spring and forged axle suspensions and is designed for minimal maintenance. Its durability has been proven through an exhaustive laboratory, proving ground and fleet test program.
This paper describes the origin of the concepts involved, as well as the design and testing methodology used during the development program. Of special interest are the concurrent engineering, manufacturing and testing techniques that were employed.