Bendix focuses on ‘accident mitigation’

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Bendix products are becoming more integrated in trucks and trailers, and the company is promoting combined systems as a route to “accident mitigation.”

Officials from Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and its joint venture with Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, outlined the developments Wednesday, March 26, at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.

“If a driver can’t control a situation behind the wheel, our products will help mitigate it,” said Joe McAleese, Bendix president and chief executive officer.

When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announces its new stopping distance requirements for large trucks, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake will be ready, said Kishor Pendse, president. The company is preparing to introduce high-performance versions of its current foundation drum brakes, for both steer and drive axles.

If not announced by September as expected, the NHTSA regulations likely will be delayed until the next presidential administration, Pendse said. The effective date of the new requirement is expected to be in 2010.

Bendix built a plant in Bowling Green, Ky., in part to prepare for the new regulations, Pendse said. The first Bendix ES drum brake shipped from the plant in October, and air disc brake production began in February. The plant will produce a complete range of foundation brake products for Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, including air disc brakes, hub-rotor assemblies and foundation drum brakes. In addition, the facility will assemble sub-components and complete foundation brake modules.

Scott Burkhart, Bendix vice president and general manager for controls and modules, repeated the company’s support for a proposed federal law that would grant a tax break to carriers that install approved safety devices on their tractors and trailers. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Advanced Safety Technology Tax Act, introduced in October by U.S. Rep. Michael Thompson, D-Calif., is now in the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill would provide a tax credit equal to half the cost of the installed devices up to $1,500 per device, $3,500 per vehicle and $350,000 per carrier.

The Bendix Electronic Stability Program is now standard on Kenworth, Mack, Peterbilt and Volvo trucks, said Fred Andersky, marketing manager for electronics. International offers it as an option on the ProStar and the new Lonestar.

Bendix has made significant progress in the trailer market, including a new multi-year deal to make Bendix products available through Utility Trailer Manufacturing’s parts and dealer network, officials said. Effective in April, Bendix SB-4 combination spring brakes will be standard on all Utility Trailer models. The Bendix SB-4 combination spring brake – featuring a patent-pending center seal – contains a guided spring-pressure plate that significantly reduces diaphragm and seal wear, the company said.

In another trailer deal, Hendrickson Trailer Suspension Systems will offer Bendix foundation brake products as standard on its trailer axles and suspensions. Beginning April 1, Bendix ASA-5 automatic slack adjusters and Bendix SB-4 combination spring brakes will be available for all Hendrickson trailer suspensions. Also beginning April 1, Hendrickson will add Bendix ADB22X air disc brakes as the preferred option on its trailer products.