HENDRICKSON officials announced the launch of the HTB rear air suspension for Class 8 trucks in late 2004. The new suspension was on display at Expo Transporte November 17-19, in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
The lightweight, non-torque reactive suspension offers additional advantages of a smooth ride and low maintenance. It will be available for sale in 2005 as a premium, improved-riding alternative to industry standard suspensions.
The lightest suspension in class at 570 pounds including axle brackets, HTB saves up to 257 pounds over industry-standard 40,000-pound-capacity suspensions.
The weight savings is attributed to HTB's optimized design featuring parallelogram geometry that eliminates leaf springs and reduces components.
“HTB's parallelogram geometry eliminates the frame rise that is characteristic of trailing arm suspensions,” said Michael Brannigan, Hendrickson program manager. “Driveline angles are maintained throughout axle travel, thereby minimizing suspension induced driveline vibration.”
Reduced torsional vibration contributes to the longevity of such driveline components as the transmission, differential, and U-joints; reduces noise and vibration; and provides a better ride, Brannigan added.
“Moreover, HTB has been tested under rigorous conditions in the field, lab, and on proving grounds and has proved extremely durable,” he said. “Most components require zero maintenance and are designed to last the life of the truck.
“HTB's unique technology and componentry makes it best in class in terms of weight savings, ride, and maintenance. The innovative torque box system improves multi-axial stability and control.”
Dual support structure, frame hangers, and torque rods are efficiently designed to reduce weight while improving durability. Large, direct-acting air springs carry 100% of the vertical load compared to trailing-arm suspensions where vertical load is shared between air springs and leaf springs. This key difference provides up to a 34% ride improvement and reduces vibration and harshness, compared to industry standard suspensions.
An extremely efficient design with a centrally placed frame hanger eliminates the dual hangers found in trailing-arm suspensions. Innovations like shock absorber mountings integrated with the torque rod further reduce complexity and part count.
“A key driver in the design of HTB was reducing vehicle cost of ownership and optimizing the life cycle cost of our customers,” said Steve Kiefer, director of marketing and program management, Hendrickson Truck Suspension Systems.