ArvinMeritor launches manufacture of Air Link suspension

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ArvinMeritor Commercial Vehicle Systems business group announced that it will manufacture the Meritor Air Link suspension in its Sistemas Automotirices de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. joint venture facility in Monterrey, Mexico. Manufacturing will begin effective immediately in the QS9000-certified facility.

The company added the Air Link suspension to its product lineup through a licensing agreement with Raydan Manufacturing of Alberta, Canada, in 2004. The agreement covers suspension applications up to and including 52,000 lb. GAWR for commercial truck, and specialty and military vehicles.

“Applying our industrialization and supply chain management tools to the Meritor Air Link suspension will allow us the opportunity to respond to our customers’ unique needs, including modules and systems, while controlling all aspects of quality and cost,” says Larry Dowers, general manager of Product Strategy for Troy, Mich.-based ArvinMeritor.

ArvinMeritor says its engineers have taken the suspension through the paces in its technical center in Troy — initially through simulation modeling, then through demanding lab durability tests modeled from actual road profile data. The company says the suspension achieved more than three million customer-equivalent miles in laboratory system validation.

Air Link’s walking beam air suspension design offers the ride and handling advantages of an air suspension for heavy haul applications. Other design advantages include desirable roll stability characteristics and lower suspension maintenance as a result of fewer moving parts, according to ArvinMeritor.

“The unique ride and articulation benefits offered by the Air Link have made it well suited for certain military applications,” Dowers says. “This is a segment we are dedicated to and are committed to providing flexible manufacturing and customization to be more responsive to growing military requirements.”

The suspension — which currently is being used on U.S. Air Force refueler vehicles — complements the current Meritor axle, driveline, wheel-end and brake products supplied to the heavy vocational market. In addition, using a modular approach on the rear tandem system will help achieve optimum vehicle performance, the company says.

“We are pleased the Air Link’s 12 years of proven experience in the vocational market will be expanded on with ArvinMeritor’s global manufacturing base,” says Ray English, president and chief executive officer of Raydan Manufacturing. “The Meritor tandem module approach will provide an air ride option to customers using mechanical and rubber block suspensions as a cushion for drivers and reduced wear and tear on the vehicle. It’s a great combination with this suspension.”