Volvo Trucks (www.volvotrucks.us.com) has launched its new Volvo Blade Air Suspension. Designed to improve ride, handling and driver comfort, it will be available on Volvo VNL and VNM models.
Field-tested by customers for more than three million miles, the new suspension features paired high-strength steel blades for each wheel end attached to the axle using the upper and lower axle seats. The design acts to control windup for smoother and more effective braking and improved traction especially at startup.
"The Volvo Blade Air Suspension is an example of Volvo's enduring commitment to ensuring Volvo drivers are the most productive in the industry," said Frank Bio, Volvo Trucks product manager-trucks. "Ease of operation is a major factor in productivity as well as comfort for drivers, and if drivers are comfortable, they will be more productive on the job."
In traditional highway trailing arm suspensions, braking and tractive forces cause the vehicle to rise during acceleration and drop during braking as the axle twists, increasing driveline bearing stresses and vibration. The Volvo Blade Air Suspension design prevents excessive axle windup and resulting vibration, creating a more comfortable ride for the driver.
Moreover, as a result of being less torque reactive, the suspension allows input torque ratings up to 2,050 lb.-ft. higher gross-combination weight ratings.
The blades of the Volvo Blade Air Suspension are stiff vertically and flex laterally, allowing them to track and reduce tire scuffing, improving tire wear. Customer field tests reported up to a 25 percent improvement in tire wear because of this alignment feature.
Additionally, the suspension is lighter weight and requires less maintenance than trailing arm suspensions. Huck U-bolts are used to connect the axle seats to the axle housing that never require re-torqueing. There are no wear pads to wear out or bushings that need lubrication or maintenance.
Because of the unique construction of the suspension, axle alignment is easier on VBAS-equipped vehicles.
"Drivers are key to the success of our customers," Bio said. "With a smoother ride and easier handling, the Volvo Blade Air Suspension will provide greater driver comfort, making it easier for fleets to retain experienced drivers.
"With improvements in tire life and reduced maintenance, it also means Volvo customers will experience a significant return on investment."