Wabco banks on air disc brakes

Lead­ing com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle sup­plier, Wabco, is bet­ting big on air disc brakes in In­dia.

Commercial Vehicle - - WHAT'S INSIDE - Story by: Bhar­gav TS

Lead­ing com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle sup­plier Wabco, is bet­ting on air disc brakes in In­dia.

The 2017 sea­son of Tata Prima T1 Truck Rac­ing Cham­pi­onship saw Wabco fea­ture its air disc brake tech­nol­ogy in In­dia for the first time. The news leaked out slowly, and through sources re­li­able enough to sig­nal the ar­rival of yet an­other, new and sig­nif­i­cant tech­nol­ogy for In­dian Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles (CVs). The com­pany, in­stru­men­tal in the in­tro­duc­tion of Au­to­mated Man­ual Trans­mis­sion (AMT), was at work once again. Bullish about air disc brakes, and the po­ten­tial it holds, Wabco in In­dia, is push­ing air disc brakes on the count of safety, and ease of ser­vice.

Of­fer­ing nu­mer­ous ad­van­tages, in­clud­ing the lack of ex­ag­ger­a­tion of fric­tion

co­ef­fi­cient dif­fer­ences, re­duced fade, high ther­mal load, min­i­mal and con­sis­tent hys­tere­sis and ease of ser­vic­ing, air disc brakes en­able easy re­place­ment of brake pads com­pared to that of the brake shoes in drum brakes. If the ini­tial cost of air disc brakes is high, the ad­van­tage it of­fers is claimed to be an im­prove­ment in ve­hi­cle brak­ing per­for­mance. A fac­tor that is vi­tal to CVs. Avail­able in Europe, China and the US with a pen­e­tra­tion level of 85 per cent, eight per cent and 15 per cent re­spec­tively, air disc brakes, ac­cord­ing to Sven Ho­rak, Vice Pres­i­dent, Busi­ness Unit Leader, Wheel End So­lu­tions, Wabco, are re­li­able, ro­bust and eas­ily ap­pli­ca­ble across ve­hi­cle seg­ments. Pen­e­tra­tion in In­dia is said to be un­der one per cent as of cur­rent. Given the rate at which the In­dian CV mar­ket is ma­tur­ing how­ever, Ho­rak is con­fi­dent that air disc brakes will soon be­come a part of new tech­nolo­gies

In­dian CVs will pos­sess.

For a CV op­er­a­tor with fo­cus on to­tal op­er­at­ing costs, air disc brakes beckon a new way to save costs. Not only is the tech­nol­ogy re­li­able, ro­bust and eas­ily ap­pli­ca­ble across seg­ments, it is also high on per­for­mance. Said Ho­rak, “The stop­ping per­for­mance of air disc brakes is high. They pro­vide a 30 per cent in­crease in per­for­mance at the least. They also ex­tend the ser­vice in­ter­val of brakes, and are cor­ro­sion re­sis­tant.”

Help­ing to achieve bet­ter con­trol and sta­bil­ity, air disc brakes are made at­trac­tive by their abil­ity to cut down on ve­hi­cle weight. Wabco pioneers sin­gle pis­ton air

disc brake tech­nol­ogy in­formed Ho­rak. “With this tech­nol­ogy the man­u­fac­turer can claim to de­liver upto 30,000 Nm brak­ing torque, mak­ing it one-of-it­skind in the mar­ket. Weight re­duc­tion of at least 40 per cent is achieved by em­ploy­ing this tech­nol­ogy.” Hav­ing de­liv­ered sev­eral mil­lion brakes the world over, Wabco is dis­cussing with In­dian OEMs. It plans to lo­calise air disc brakes quickly. This will be how­ever dic­tated by pick-up in de­mand. The cur­rent crop of air disc brakes is be­ing sourced from Ger­many and China. With drum man­u­fac­ture cap­tive to many CV OEMs in In­dia, the move to air disc brakes is ex­pected to be met with an amount of re­sis­tance. That is how­ever un­til the dis­tinct ad­van­tages of air disc brakes are looked at. The sin­gle pis­ton air disc brakes need a lot of tech­ni­cal pro­fi­ciency men­tioned Ho­rak. “We have achieved that pro­fi­ciency to be­come a lead­ing player,”

he said.

Op­ti­mistic about OEM sup­ply tie-ups hap­pen­ing sooner than later, Wabco is look­ing at shar­ing the tech­nol­ogy with the man­u­fac­tur­ers as a retrofit­ment. Retrofit­ment of air disc brakes is pos­si­ble, averred P Ka­niap­pan, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Wabco In­dia. He said, “Cus­tomers look­ing for to­tal cost of own­er­ship will get a pay­back through weight re­duc­tion as a ma­jor at­tribute. In heavy ve­hi­cles, air disc brakes can help to achieve up to 30 per cent weight re­duc­tion. This will have a dras­tic ef­fect on fuel ef­fi­ciency.” Re­gard­ing ho­molo­ga­tion un­der JNNURM guide­lines, Ka­niap­pan stated that the dis­cre­tion lies with the state gov­ern­ments to im­ple­ment. “The gov­ern­ment is recog­nis­ing this tech­nol­ogy, and we are con­fi­dent that it will be soon ex­plored,” he quipped.

Aimed at HGVs and heav­ier buses, air disc brakes will el­e­vate driver com­fort. This will im­prove safety and the driver’s abil­ity to drive for long dis­tances with­out ex­pe­ri­enc­ing fa­tique. “There are tes­ti­monies which we could share,” said Ho­rak. Field val­i­da­tion is un­der­way, and the tech­nol­ogy is ex­pected to take time to pro­lif­er­ate. Field test on a bus for over a mil­lion kilo­me­tres was com­pleted re­cently. De­signed to be fit­ted on the front axle, the air disc brakes, ac­cord­ing to Wabco sources, are in-line with a cost pay back pe­riod of six months. With less num­ber of parts com­pared to drum brakes, air disc brakes, stated a source, are ‘plug and play’. He stressed upon their abil­ity to self ad­just. As­sur­ing bet­ter per­for­mance at higher tem­per­a­tures, air disc brakes are said to con­tain a clutch in the ad­juster mech­a­nism which works in both the di­rec­tions and en­sures a longer life.

Sav­ing the trou­ble of syn­chro­nis­ing two pis­tons, the sin­gle pis­ton tech­nol­ogy of air disc brakes has been patented by Wabco. Promis­ing 10 per cent longer life of brake pads be­cause of uni­form force dis­tri­bu­tion, the sys­tem, en­cap­su­lated or sealed with grease is claimed to of­fer su­pe­rior cor­ro­sion re­sis­tance too. With brake in­di­ca­tor to in­di­cate the wear of brake pads, air disc brakes are ex­pected to as­sume good force by 2019. Em­ploy­ing a mod­u­lar ap­proach where 90 per cent of the com­po­nents are op­ti­mised and ad­justed as per the ap­pli­ca­tion needs and spec­i­fi­ca­tions, the sin­gle pis­ton air disc brakes for CVs are ex­pected to be­gin man­u­fac­ture at Wabco’s In­dian fa­cil­i­ties soon. The com­pany has four man­u­fac­tur­ing lo­ca­tions in In­dia. Across four con­ti­nents, Wabco has five man­u­fac­tur­ing lo­ca­tions ac­cord­ing to Ho­rak. “We not only have air disc brakes, we also have ac­tu­a­tors, brake cham­bers among oth­ers. By 2018, we will have a lo­cal as­sem­bly for air disc brakes in place”, he said.

⇩ Pan 22 air disc brake as­sem­bly.

⇧ Sven Ho­rak, Vice Pres­i­dent, Busi­ness Unit Leader, Wheel End So­lu­tions, Wabco and P Ka­niap­pan, MD, Wabco In­dia.

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