At a press conference held at last week's Annual Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) meeting in Nashville, TN, TMD Friction announced the launch of a new customer support program aimed at reducing fleet maintenance costs by "pushing" brake relines out of vehicle life cycle.
TMD Friction is among the world's leading manufacturers of brake friction materials for the automotive and brake industries.
TMC is America's premier technical society for truck equipment technology and maintenance professionals.
The TEXTAR Fleet Assistance Program includes a direct communication to TMD engineers to help fleet maintenance managers analyze their brake life cycles and costs, select the appropriate friction for each application and answer other brake questions. Offered in the program are free, custom made lining wear gauges for both drum and disc brakes for any fleet using TEXTAR products.
"Brake relines are one of the highest maintenance costs a fleet experiences and there is limited technical guidance out there to assist a fleet in making the optimal lining selection," explained Tom Green, TMD's managing director. "The Textar Fleet Assistance Program has been developed to help fleets determine the different duty cycles within their fleet and select the appropriate grade of friction to minimize the maintenance expenses over the life of their vehicles."
Jim Clark, director of engineering for TMD added: "Not all fleets recognize the value of premium linings. If a single brake reline can be eliminated from a vehicle's brake life cycle, then the small added cost of a premium brake re-line kit is easily justified.
"Fleets may have other questions TMD engineers can help with as well, including the new stopping distance rules, new products like disc brakes, and old problems still lurking around like brake balance."
The TEXTAR Fleet Assistance Program starts when the fleet manager fills out a simple information sheet that breaks down his vehicle population into smaller "mini-fleets" that likely have different brake life cycles. Examples of mini-fleets could be tractors versus trailers, long-haul sleeper tractors versus short haul day cabs or flatbed trailers versus van trailers.
Other distinct brake life cycles would be found in routes - regional haul versus cross country.
TMD engineers use the fleet's information to calculate if life improvement from Textar linings would push relines out of the life cycles of each mini-fleet and how many total relines would be saved. These calculations are based on extensive wear testing of aftermarket linings on specialized TMD laboratory dynamometers.
Free lining wear gauges
"If a fleet will try TEXTAR products as part of the program, TMD will supply free lining wear gauges that have been customized to the fleet's brake life cycles, said Clark. "With these gauges, technicians can avoid wasted linings that result when a lining is removed prematurely because the mechanic is not sure it will make it to the next inspection."
To get started with the TEXTAR Fleet Assistance Program, fleets can contact TMD engineers at their technical support e-mail address: TEXTAR.firstname.lastname@example.org.