Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems

Kenworth and Peterbilt adding Bendix eTrac automated air pressure transfer system option for 6X2 suspensions

The Bendix eTrac automated air pressure transfer system for BendixABS-6braking systems with automatic traction control is now commercially available as an option on 6x2 Class 8 tractors and trucks from both KenworthTruck Company and PeterbiltMotors Company. The system helps drivers of 6x2 vehicles automatically overcome low-traction events. The availability of Bendix eTrac enables fleets to swap more of their traditional 6x4 tractors and trucks with lighter weight 6x2s, potentially expanding their freight hauling capacities by approximately 500 lbs.

Created by Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, the Bendix eTrac air transfer system fully automates the traditional manual air pressure transfer process. Unlike a manual system, eTrac can respond in fractions of a second to a low-traction situation, offering real-time adjusent. When added to BendixSmart ATC(automatic traction control), eTrac automatically engages and disengages – without driver input – the vehicle's air bag pressure transfer system during low-traction events. The system transfers pressure from the undriven axle to the driven axle without requiring manual input or driver action.

When the BendixeTracsystem engages, it automatically evacuates air bag pressure, dropping the nose of the trailer. The resulting extra forward weight on a 6x2 tractor helps compensate for the lack of a second drive axle to deliver traction control that is comparable to a 6x4 tractor in many situations. With 6x2s weighing roughly 500 pounds less than 6x4s, each 6x2 tractor with Bendix eTrac can haul more freight, increasing a fleet's hauling capacity and reducing its total cost of ownership, while enhancing a fleet's overall fuel efficiency.

"Both Kenworth and Peterbilt continue to make a strong commient to enhancing the driving experience for fleet owners and operators. And offering Bendix eTrac on 6x2 tractors and trucks reinforces this approach," said TJ Thomas, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions, Controls group. "The automated air transfer process of the Bendix eTrac system helps drivers direct more of their focus on driving and road conditions, as opposed to making manual adjusents to overcome low-traction events."

The Bendix eTrac system will be available on the Kenworth T660, T680, T800, and W900 in May 2013. The system will be available on all 6x2 Class 8 models from Peterbilt.

The Bendix eTrac automated air pressure transfer system provides protection against drivetrain damage by automatically disengaging after a low-traction event is complete or when the vehicle's speed exceeds 25 mph. The system also allows for semiautomatic activation at speeds below 10 mph, or when a vehicle's ATC mud/snow switch is enabled.

Bendix eTrac is compatible with a wide variety of 6x2 axles, including all 6x2 axles available from Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, LLC. The Spicer EconoTrekTandem is optimized for use with electronic-controlled air suspension systems, such as the new Bendix eTrac system. The Bendix eTrac system will seamlessly transfer air pressure from the undriven axle to the Spicer S170 or S190 series drive axle for improved low-speed traction when combined with the Spicer-patented wheel differential lock feature.

Heavy Duty Trucking named the Bendix eTrac system one of its 2013 Top 20 products. Chosen from hundreds of products and services introduced between December 2011 and November 2012, the Top 20 selections were judged on their innovation, ability to address top industry issues, and potential to improve a fleet's bottom line in areas such as maintenance savings and improvements in safety or efficiency. The products were selected by Heavy Duty Trucking's editors, the 2012 HDT Truck Fleet Innovators, and a panel of veteran fleet maintenance professionals from the American Trucking Associations' Technology & Maintenance Council.