One of the major factors impacting bus fleets today is the load on the vehicle. An increased load is likely to lead to more fuel consumption, decreased rider comfort, compromised passenger safety and vehicular instability, thereby increasing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). A key focus point of fleet operators today is a solution that will enable them to maximise fuel efficiency, increase rider comfort, enhance passenger safety and improve vehicular stability.
Leveraging its recent acquisition of WABCO, ZF Commercial Vehicle Control Systems division in India has designed a unique solution - Air Suspension with ECAS technology to address these issues that fleet operators today face.
About WABCO Air Suspension with ECAS Technology
The company launched India’s first air suspension system that combines air suspension with its award winning ECAS technology. WABCO Air Suspension
with ECAS Technology is an alternative to steel-spring suspension that improves fuel economy, increases ride comfort, enhances passenger safety and improves vehicular stability.
This innovative solution is a state of the art offering and provides the best of both worlds. It has been designed and crafted specially for Indian road conditions. WABCO Air Suspension
with ECAS Technology offers a host of unmatched benefits, including greater fuel efficiency, increased tire life, unmatched ride handling and comfort, best in class-safety, improved driving dynamics and lower total cost of ownership.
Increasing safety, ride handling and comfort
WABCO Air Suspension
with ECAS Technology uses rubber bellows filled with pressurized air instead of traditional coil or leaf springs, and the air pressure in the suspension can be increased or decreased depending on load.
It is based on the principle that load and the position of the vehicle in motion has an impact on the vehicle’s fuel consumption, its stability, ride comfort and handling. WABCO Air Suspension
with ECAS Technology reacts to external factors such as braking, uneven road surfaces and going round curves and bends to ensure a smoother ride.
How does WABCO Air Suspension with ECAS Technology work
Major components of the solution include the air suspension along with an electronic control unit, height sensors, pressure sensors, a solenoid valve block, and a remote control. The ECU reads data from up to four height sensors and pressure sensors. Height sensors are mounted onto the vehicle chassis and connected by linkage to the axle housing to provide ride height information. Pressure sensors are connected to the suspension bellows. The solenoid valve block has electrical connections to the ECU and airflow connections to the suspension air bellows.
The suspension system works with the height sensor connected directly to the vehicle’s axle, which reads the movements of the chassis. When the vehicle is loaded with more cargo, the sensor recognizes movement between the axle and chassis. In this case, the axle will deflect. When this movement is substantial, the valve will increase the air pressure in the bellows to bring the axle back to the appropriate ride height. The same is true when unloading the vehicle. In this case, the axle will lift the chassis and the valve sensing this movement will exhaust air from the bellows to bring the axle back to ride height. This results in better handling and stability and a smoother, safer ride, whether or not the vehicle is loaded.
The suspension system quickly responds to operator commands, such as lifting and lowering one or both ends of the vehicle chassis in relation to its wheel axes. An electronic control unit (ECU) sends commands to solenoid valves that precisely control air flow to individual suspension bellows at the wheel axes. The ECU also responds to feedback from height and pressure sensors to continuously send air-flow commands to the solenoids and ensure smooth riding - even on rough roads. The optimal ride quality provided by the system delivers better protection and more stable operations which increase vehicle and road safety.
Why choose WABCO Air Suspension with ECAS Technology
A conventional air suspension consumes a lot of air reacting to undulations on the road, leading to lower fuel economy and an increase in TCO. WABCO Air Suspension
with ECAS Technology allows the compressor to consume less air, only drawing on air when it needs to adjust the chassis height and also transfer air from one bellow to another instead of wasting it, while taking turns; thus it’s providing a cost-effective and greener way to operate.
The suspension also increases the lifespan of the vehicle’s compressor, meaning it doesn’t have to be charged as often. With the solution in place, fleet managers can save fuel and reduce carbon emissions – a significant reduction on the fuel costs and carbon footprint.
The ability to change vehicle height based on driving speed enables fuel savings - lowering vehicle height on highways to reduce aerodynamic resistance and returning to normal for lower speeds, ensuring enough air spring stroke on uneven roads.
Keeping the vehicle level also reduces wear on a vehicle’s tires. If the vehicle is not riding level, there is a risk of tires wearing unevenly, and, therefore, requiring replacement more quickly.
Combined with other products such as WABCO OptiDrive™
- Automated Manual Transmission, and WABCO OptiTire™
– a tire pressure monitoring system, you can further reduce fuel usage, enhance tire life, increase driver comfort and ride handling to make vehicles more efficient and safer.
- Low air consumption improves fuel efficiency
- Provides improved comfort and handling across different road conditions
- Reduction of roll and pitch movement
- Improved vehicle handling and stability
- Increased safety and comfort for passengers and drivers especially in loaded conditions
- Improved tire life