A rich beginning
WABCO's roots are deep and strong. They go back nearly 150 years to the invention of the revolutionary air brake system by George Westinghouse in 1869. This technological breakthrough greatly improved the safety and performance of the US national railways.
That same year, engineering genius George founded the Westinghouse Air Brake Company (WABCO), which flourished for the next century. It also expanded way beyond railway technology – making major advances for the commercial vehicle industry in Europe and North America.
In 1968, WABCO was acquired by American Standard Companies Inc. and on August 1, 2007, WABCO became an independent public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock symbol WBC.
"Engineering genius, George Westinghouse founded the Westinghouse Air Brake Company (WABCO), which flourished for the next century"
1869 United States: the invention of the air brake system by George Westinghouse, founder of the Westinghouse Air Brake Company (WABCO)
1869 saw George Westinghouse invent the air brake system, an historic technological breakthrough that greatly improved the safety and performance of US railways. That same year, he founded the Westinghouse Air Brake Company (WABCO).
1893 United States: Westinghouse and Tesla light up the world
About 200,000 lightbulbs specially made by George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla illuminated the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. It was a massive milestone in lightbulb technology.
1895 United States: George Westinghouse played a crucial role in the opening of the first hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls
The power plant on the Niagara River opened in 1895. It featured the world’s first major hydraulic generators, built by the genius partnership of Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse.
1905 United States: one of the first electric trains ran with Westinghouse components
George Westinghouse recognized the huge potential of AC electrification. Together with Baldwin, the train manufacturer, he supplied some of the first electric trains to American railroads.
1914 United States: the first quick brakes for trains
George Westinghouse achieved yet another first with his invention of the quick brake system in 1914, the year of his death. Thanks to him, train travel would be safer and faster.
1920 United States / France: the first compressed air brakes for cars
Although George Westinghouse was gone, his legacy lived on. In 1920 his company develops the first air brakes for automobiles in the United States and France.
1934 Germany: WABCO develops the first compressed air brakes for trucks
In 1934, the Hanover branch of the company did for trucks what Westinghouse had already done for trains and cars.
1956 Germany: WABCO introduces air compressors for trucks
WABCO Hannover delivered another historic first when it registered the design for single and twin-air compressors for commercial vehicles.
1968 United States: acquisition by American Standard
A new chapter in the company’s history began when WABCO was acquired by American Standard in 1968.
1976 Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
1976 saw development begin on the prevention of braking wheels from locking on slippery roads. The resulting anti-lock braking system from WABCO was a world first for commercial vehicles.
1984 South America: WABCO opens for business in Brazil
What a difference 25 years can make… the WABCO South America offices in 1984 – when they first opened – and in 2010 at the anniversary party.
1986 Traction Control System
In 1986, WABCO launched its Traction Control System to improve grip and stability in slippery road conditions.
1986 Electronically Controlled Air Suspension (ECAS)
In 1986, WABCO introduced ECAS, a breakthrough technology that offers features such as high traction performance for 6x2 trucks.
1986 Pneumatic Transmission Automation System
Launched in 1986, this technology turns a manual transmission into an automated transmission and thereby provides driver comfort, safety and reduced fuel consumption.
1988 Finland: the Rovaniemi winter test track is inaugurated
…If you’re going to test it, you may as well test it to the limit! WABCO opened its very own extreme cold weather test track in Rovaniemi, Finland in 1988.
1995 Poland: WABCO opens offices in Lódz
WABCO entered the Polish market in 1995, aiming to bring safer and more efficient technology to Eastern European commercial vehicles.
1996 Electronic Braking System (EBS)
Introduced in 1996, WABCO EBS improves the response and build-up times in brake cylinders, thereby reducing stopping distances.
1995 Germany: the Erich Reinecke test track opens in Jeversen
It’s essential to be able to fully test the efficiency and safety systems of OE vehicles on different surfaces and at different speeds. Named after one of WABCO’s finest inventors, the Erich Reinecke test track opened in Jeversen in 1995.
1996 China: the Asia and China HQ opens
In 1996, WABCO set up a joint venture between Shandong Weiming Automotive Products (SWAP) and Mingshui Automotive Fitting Factory in Jinan. In 2013, SWAP became wholly owned by WABCO.
1998 Trailer Electronic Braking System (EBS)
The launch of Trailer EBS in 1998 significantly improved brake response time for towed vehicles by utilizing the Controller Area Network (CAN) technology between the truck and trailer.
1998 India: quality recognized by Deming Medal
In 1998, Sundaram Clayton, which later became part of WABCO India, was the first Indian company to win the prestigious Deming Medal – a global award for total quality management.
1999 Poland: WABCO plant opens in Wroclaw
Established in 1999, WABCO’s first manufacturing site in Wroclaw is a major hub in the company’s global engineering and manufacturing network. It serves as a center of excellence for technology development, product engineering and lean manufacturing within WABCO’s worldwide organization.
2000 Roll Stability Support (RSS) for Trailers
Launched in 2000, RSS for trailers was a breakthrough safety technology that helps prevent vehicle rollover.
2001 Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
In 2001, WABCO introduced ACC. For the first time commercial vehicle drivers could set both their cruise speed and the distance between the vehicle in front.
2001 Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
Brought to market in 2001, WABCO ESC improves directional stability of vehicles, especially during dynamic maneuvers, helping to protect against skidding, spinning and jackknifing.
2001 Electronically Controlled Air Suspension (ECAS) for Cars, SUVs, Light Commercial Vehicles
As from 2001, WABCO has offered an innovative range of electronically controlled air suspension systems on cars, sport utility vehicles and vans that automatically adjusts damper characteristics and off-road clearance. This helps enhances vehicle handling and reduces fuel consumption.
2002 India: Japan Quality Medal awarded
Sundaram Clayton (later part of WABCO India) won yet another medal for excellence in 2002. This time it was the first Indian company to win the prestigious Japan Quality Medal.
2003 Integrated Vehicle Tire Monitoring (IVTMTM)*
In 2003, WABCO launched IVTM to provide in-cabin updates on tire pressures and help prevent dangerous blow-outs.
*Trademark licensed to WABCO by Michelin
2003 Electronic Air Processing Unit (E-APU)
Responding to the increased need for more air processing technology, WABCO introduced the E-APU to control more efficiently components in a single central unit that – until then – had been separate.
2004 New Generation Air Disc Brake
In 2004, WABCO pioneered a new generation of Air Disc Brakes which became the basis of the successful MAXXTM range launched in 2010.
2004 China: manufacturing site opens in Qingdao
In 2004, WABCO established its first wholly owned manufacturing site at Qingdao in China.
2004 Hydraulic Transmission Automation System
2004 saw WABCO introduce the Hydraulic Transmission Automation System that transforms manual transmission into automatic.
2004 Air System Protector
In 2004, WABCO was first to introduce an air dryer cartridge with an integrated coalescing function to protect the air system by separating humidity and fine oil aerosols.
2006 Central Braking Unit
The Central Brake Unit is an innovative combination of three components in the compact Electronic Braking System (EBS). It combines the brake signal transmitter, central module and relay valve.
2006 Germany: WABCO Academy opens
The WABCO Academy was founded in 2006 to provide professional training, education and certification courses to the commercial vehicle industry. Since then, over 100,000 people have successfully completed our technical training programs.
2006 Trailer Electronic Braking System EBS-E
WABCO applied a decade of technological experience in 2006 to launch a breakthrough innovation – Trailer EBS-E that controls brake and suspension functions to optimize the stopping distance and improve brake stability.
2006 d-compTM Dual Stage Compressor
An innovative two-stage compressor that – unlike conventional compressors – provides additional cooling between compression stages to significantly reduce oil carryover and lower temperatures.
2007 United States: the New York Stock Exchange welcomes ‘WBC’
On August 1, 2007, WABCO became an independent public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock symbol WBC. The WABCO’s global HQ is later established in Brussels, Belgium.
2007 OnGuardTM Collision Mitigation System (CMS)
Designed to maintain a safe distance between vehicles and prevent rear-end collisions, WABCO’s OnGuard is the first CMS with active partial braking to be used in North America.
2007 RSSplus Roll Stability Support
Specifically engineered for the US market in 2007, the RSSplus system simultaneously monitors trailer wheel speed, lateral acceleration and cargo load.
2007 m-compTM Worldwide Modular Compressor
In 2007, WABCO set a new standard for compressors in commercial vehicles with the Worldwide Modular Compressor.
2008 OnGuardMAXTM Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
OnGuardMAX™ is the industry’s first AEB system to help prevent imminent rear-end collisions with moving and stopped vehicles.
2008 Trailer Telematics
Trailer Telematics is the first telematics system dedicated to trailers.
2008 Germany: WABCO Service Partner Network is launched
Customers looking for WABCO genuine parts and an aftermarket service that meets WABCO’s highest standards, need look no further than our growing global network of Service Partners which was first established in 2008.
2008 h-compTM High Output Compressor
The innovatively designed WABCO h-comp increases free air delivery by using a unique 100 mm piston. The result? It’s smaller, lighter, more efficient and costs less.
2008 Germany: Erich Reinecke Test Track gets even tougher
As technology advances so must the environment necessary to test it. Hence the addition of a special vehicle dynamics area to the track at Jeversen in 2008, so that the latest systems, such as Roll Stability Support, can be put to the test.
2008 OptiDriveTM Modular Transmission Automation System
OptiDrive is a modular automated manual transmission system designed to increase driver comfort and reduce fuel consumption.
2009 ESCsmartTM Electronic Stability Control
ESCsmart is a breakthrough in electronic vehicle stability control that helps to protect against rollover, skidding and jackknifing. It also adapts easily to the widest range of vehicles on the market.
2009 Trailer OptiTurnTM
Turning a trailer in the tightest possible circle has been so much easier since the introduction of OptiTurn in 2009. It automatically detects corners and curves, releasing the rear axle bellows’ pressure or lifting the rear axle accordingly.
2009 China: WABCO-Guangdong FUWA joint venture
In 2009, WABCO established a joint venture between Guangdong WABCO FUWA Vehicle Brakes Company and Guangdong FUWA Engineering Group.
2009 Trailer OptiLoadTM
OptiLoad helps to prevent damage to trailers from excessive loads by physically redistributing the load from the truck king pin on the last trailer axles.
2009 Integrated Driveline Pedal Module
The Integrated Driveline Pedal module was launched in 2009 and combines brake, clutch and throttle functionalities.
2009 c-compTM Clutch Compressor
Developed in 2009, c-comp saves valuable fuel by using an integrated clutch to disengage the compressor from the engine when air is not needed.
2010 OnGuardPlusTM Advanced Emergency Braking System (AEBS)
2010 saw the launch of OnGuardPLUS, WABCO’s AEBS for trucks and buses. It detects moving, decelerating and stationary vehicles ahead and – if necessary – autonomously applies the brakes.
2010 MAXXTM 22 Air Disc Brakes
MAXX 22 is a heavy duty (but impressively light weight) air disc brake with a reinforced single-piston clamping unit delivering torques of more than 30,000 Nm.
2010 China: WABCO Jinan branch opens
WABCO established the Jinan branch of the Qingdao manufacturing site in 2009.
2010 TailGUARDTM Rear Blind Spot Detection
TailGUARD delivers the modern answer to the age-old driver question: ‘What’s behind me?’ Thanks to rear blindspot monitoring and automatic stopping, TailGUARD makes it safer and simpler to reverse a trailer.
2010 TrailerGUARDTM Telematics
TrailerGuard Telematics is unique because it combines braking system diagnosis with other operating data to provide a more comprehensive overview. The result: more efficient and safer fleet operations.
2010 FuelGuardTM Electronic Air Processing Unit
FuelGuard is WABCO’s enhanced, electronically controlled air processing unit that incorporates an air dryer, a multi-circuit protection valve, pressure sensors and power reduction / clutch steering functions.
2010 e-compTM Electrically Driven Compressor
If trucks, buses and off-highway vehicles with hybrid or pure electric drivelines need a compressor, WABCO’s e-comp is the answer.
2010 Trailer Remote Control
Since 2010 this has been the best way for fleet operators to remotely monitor and control key trailer functions – like tire pressure, brake pad wear and the immobilizer.
2010 Poland: WABCO REMAN (remanufacturing) production site is established in Stanowice
The Polish WABCO REMAN was founded in 2010 to remanufacture air compressors and trailer modulators.
2011 Modular Electronic Braking System (EBS)
Different vehicles have different requirements. This optimized modular EBS system can be adapted for most vehicle applications.
2011 Improved Integrated Vehicle Tire Monitoring (IVTMTM)*
If a tire has a leak, this improved IVTM is designed to tell the operator all about it before it becomes a dangerous blow-out.
*Trademark licensed to WABCO by Michelin
2011 India: WABCO opens in Chennai
WABCO India Ltd opens for business and establishes its HQ in Chennai.
2011 Intelligent Trailer Program
With 40 different features – including next-generation automated manual transmission – that can be retrofitted to many trailers, the Intelligent Trailer Program delivers advanced safety, cost efficiency, load optimization and driver comfort.
2011 Next Generation Automated Manual Transmission
Unlike the first pneumatic (1986) and hydraulic versions (2003), WABCO’s Next Generation Automated Manual Transmission now uses electrical wiring and electronic controls compared and is designed to withstand high temperature conditions.
2011 Water-cooled Compressor Crankcase
The integrated water channels of this innovative compressor crankcase lower the cylinder wall temperatures to reduce oil evaporation. Perfect for applications with high air demands.
2012 OnLaneTM Lane Departure Warning System
WABCO’s OnLane is a camera-based system for trucks and buses designed to warn drivers when they unintentionally leave a lane.
2012 Germany: WABCO awarded the Daimler Supplier Award
2012 saw WABCO win the Daimler Supplier Award 2012 for outstanding performance in braking system electronics.
2012 Hydraulic ABS
In its latest version, showcased in 2012, the ABS is equipped with electronic stability control for light and medium-duty vehicles with hydraulic foundation brakes.
2012 EBS for Hybrid Driveline
Anticipating the growing demand for hybrid and purely electric commercial vehicles, WABCO developed this specialized electronic braking system in 2012.
2012 Germany: the Sales & Training Center opens in Hannover
At 3,000m2 the Sales & Training Center in Hanover was – and still is – the largest of all 14 WABCO Academy training facilities worldwide.
2012 MAXXUSTM Air Disc Brake
With the launch of MAXXUS air disc brake, WABCO yet again led the way in technology that significantly reduces stopping distances of commercial vehicles.
2012 Poland: Product engineering expands in Wroclaw
The opening of a new R&D Center in 2012 further expanded the capabilities of product engineering in Poland.
2012 OptiFlowTM SideWings for Trailers
The more streamlined a vehicle, the more efficient it is. WABCO OptiFlow SideWings improve the airflow around trailers – increasing fuel economy by up to 5 percent at highway speeds.
2012 India: launch of WABCO India Mahindra World City Plant 2
WABCO India needed more facilities for exports. So in 2012 Plant 2 opened at Mahindra World City.
The OptiLevel air suspension system saves time and fuel by automatically adjusting trailer height during loading and unloading.
2013 South America: new ABS production line in Brazil
Since 2013, WABCO Brazil has been producing its own ABS components – helping to establish the local market presence and expanding WABCO’s global capabilities in South America.
2013 South Korea: launch of the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) System
The groundbreaking ESC was launched in South Korea in 2013. Joint workshops with the customer HMC group helped validate the ESC system
2013 India: the WABCO Air Dryer assembly line starts rolling
At the Mahindra World City plant, a state-of-the-art assembly line has been producing Air Dryers since 2013.
2014 Belgium: Transics joins WABCO
WABCO acquired Transics International, a market leader in European fleet management solutions, based in Ypres vs. Ieper, Belgium.
2014 FuelGuardTM Lean Combined with ABS
FuelGuard delivers superior fuel efficiency at reduced system cost by integrating software in an electronic control unit hosted on the ABS.
2014 India: taking part in the Tata T1 Prima Truck Racing Championship
WABCO India participated in the country’s first Tata Truck Championships as the official ‘Braking Technology Partner’.
2014 India: launch of Automated Manual Transmission (AMT)
WABCO India launched its AMT adaptation and proved its effectiveness at local product demonstrations and customer events.
2014 h-compTM Full Aluminum Compressor
The WABCO h-comp was the first high output compressor developed without a liner – reducing both weight and fuel bills.
2014 Poland: a second plant opens its doors in Wroclaw
To better serve commercial vehicle manufacturers, WABCO continues to invest in the expansion of its manufacturing footprint. That’s why WABCO Poland opened a second facility in 2014.
2014 mBSPTM modular Braking System Platform
A breakthrough safety technology that allows commercial vehicle manufacturers to fit their trucks and buses with either ABS or EBS, according to regional market or regulatory requirements. And because this WABCO platform has the industry’s highest degree of component and software standardization, the manufacturer’s job is made all the more easy.
The latest generation of pressure monitoring, OptiTire helps to maximize tire life by using external and internal sensors to warn the driver of pressure and temperature deviation.
OptiPace offers intelligent vehicle speed adaptation to the road ahead, so vehicles can be driven far more economically.
2014 OptiFlowTM Tail
OptiFlow Tail, WABCO's latest aerodynamic product for trailers, helps to increase the fuel economy of tractor-trailer combinations by up to 3.5 percent at highway speeds.
2014 TailGUARDTM for Truck and Bus
The next generation TailGUARD for trucks and buses, uses up to six ultrasonic sensors to identify even small stationary or moving objects hidden in the vehicle’s blind spot. If its audio and visual warnings are not responded to quick enough by the driver, the brakes are automatically applied.
A journey of innovation
WABCO's track record of technological leadership features many of the commercial vehicle industry's most important innovations. Within our space, WABCO is most associated with "industry firsts" such as:
- 2016 - Breakthrough OnCity™ Urban Turning Assist system, the Company's technology engineered for trucks, buses and tractor-trailers to help protect pedestrians and cyclists in city traffic
- 2016 - Breakthrough collision avoidance technology for commercial vehicles jointly developed with ZF, the Evasive Maneuver Assist (EMA) combines WABCO's world-class braking, stability and vehicle dynamics control systems on trucks and trailers with ZF's top active steering technology—an industry first
- 2016 - First door lock control technology (OptiLock™) that provides high security locking systems for trailers and container doors seamlessly connected with telematics systems
- 2014 - First technology (OptiLink™) that provides a single user interface via a mobile device, such as a smartphone, to monitor and control multiple functions on both the truck and trailer
- 2014 - First modular braking system platform (mBSP™) that enables vehicle makers to interchangeably equip their truck and bus platforms with either ABS or electronic braking systems (EBS) anywhere in the world
- 2014 - First technology (TX-TRAILERGUARD™) that provides comprehensive operating data on the performance of the truck, trailer and driver in a single integrated real-time view
- 2012 – First electronic braking system (EBS) for hybrid-driven trucks and buses
- 2012 – First hydraulic anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic stability control (ESC)
- 2011 – First Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) on a commercial vehicle in China
- 2010 – First autonomous emergency braking system (AEBS) in compliance with the European Union's expected regulation
- 2009 – First simulation system for electronic stability control (ESC) homologation
- 2008 – First autonomous emergency braking system (AEBS)
- 2007 – First collision mitigation system (CMS) with active braking
- 2001 – First electronic stability control (ESC) system
- 1996 – First electronic braking system (EBS)
- 1986 – First automated manual transmission (AMT) system
- 1986 – First electronically controlled air suspension (ECAS) system
- 1981 – First anti-lock braking system (ABS)