East, Meritor WABCO team for trailer communication system

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East flatbed, refuse and dump trailers now can communicate critical intelligent data to the driver through an optional Power Line Carrier (PLC) communication system that utilizes MeritorWABCO Vehicle Control Systems’ Infolink Gateway Communications Capabilities, the companies announced Monday, Aug. 25.

From an in-cab screen, drivers can monitor several trailer systems, including air system pressure and load weight; on dump trailers, drivers also can tell from their cab if the trailer bed is completely down and cradled, and if the tailgate is closed and latched.

“Through what is called ‘multiplexing,’ additional digital and analog data can travel through the ABS power line already installed on the trailer,” says John Pierce, director of engineering for Randolph, Ohio-based East. “The Electronic Control Unit now standard on East trailers is compatible with this system — for ease of customer identification and ordering, we’re calling it the East Smart-Trailer system. Now our customers can add the new system on new trailers for the price of an in-cab screen, a few sensors and the harnessing to connect to the PLC-compatible ECU.”

The big operational benefit is the ability for the driver to approximate the weight of his load, Pierce says. “The East Smart-Trailer system measures the suspension pressure weight in pounds, essentially providing the driver with his ballpark load weight,” he says. “While the system does not provide a certified weight, it does allow the driver to avoid overloading his trailer, and to steer clear of fines by not exceeding legal load limits.”

There are many additional benefits, according to the companies: First, the Smart-Trailer system measures air system pressure, so the driver is alerted before irregularities can become problems; for dump trailers, sensors in the tailgate allow the driver to be sure his tailgate is closed. Finally, according to the companies, the system alerts the dump trailer driver if the bed is raised, so he knows if the body is completely down and ready for transit; Infolink processes this information, then, acting as a command center, shares it with the tractor using a MeritorWABCO-provided display that interprets data for the operator.

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“This is benchmark technology developed and perfected by MeritorWABCO that makes this system possible,” says Dave Tate, president of East Manufacturing. “They contacted us with the idea of using this technology on trailers, and we jumped at the opportunity to partner with them to utilize this technology for our customers’ benefit. East is proud to be the first trailer OEM to use MeritorWABCO Infolink technology as a trailer-to-cab communication system.”

“East is very proactive when it comes to offering customers technologies that will benefit their operations,” says Jon Morrison, president and general manager of Troy, Mich.-based MeritorWABCO Vehicle Control Systems. “East Manufacturing is the first to take advantage of this opportunity.”