Webb Wheel Products says its brake drum technology offers trucking fleets a reliable cost-effective way to comply with new federal regulations on stopping distances for commercial vehicles. The Cullman, Ala.-based company, a supplier of braking solutions for the heavy-duty truck market, manufactures a wide range of application-specific and new-technology brake drums.
“We expected the stopping distance rules to be tightened and believe the new regulations will help improve highway safety,” says Wolfgang Winzer, president of Webb Wheel Products. “Our R&D efforts have been targeted to helping our customers achieve the new stopping distances with economical drum brake solutions.”
For most vehicle operators, upgrading to larger and/or wider S-cam drum brake sizes is a viable alternative to air disc brakes. Webb Wheel Products has a wide selection of brake drums for these applications, and the company says its patent-pending Vortex brake drum technology introduced by the company in 2007 offers additional benefits. Gray iron Vortex drums are lighter and more durable, according to the company, and the superior heat dissipation characteristics of the Vortex drums can maximize lining life and reduce lifecycle costs. Webb says it has applied Vortex technology to its newly designed steer axle and wide drive axle brake drums specifically to meet the new stopping distance regulations without weight penalties over the existing standard drums.
Webb says that in addition to the lower initial cost of specifying vehicles with drum brakes capable of meeting the new stopping distances rather than changing to air disc brakes, commercial vehicle operators and repair facilities are familiar with the easy removal and replacement of today’s outboard mounted brake drums, making servicing them economical as well. Webb says replacement air disc rotors are significantly more expensive than brake drums, and because they are inboard-mounted, the hub must be removed during service.
Winzer says Webb has the right technology to meet the new stopping distance rules without saddling fleets with added costs. “New regulation can often mean new costs and complications for end users, but in this case Webb has an answer that will not only meet the new federal requirements, but will actually save our customers significant replacement and maintenance cost over the lifecycle of their fleet vehicles,” he says.
In addition to the existing Vortex technology, Webb says its research and development team is working to develop application-specific brake system solutions.