Air Suspension, Suspension

Reduce the Likelihood of Trailers Falling Over

reduce the likelihood of trailers falling over

What the team at BaseAir have done is come up with a way to reduce the likelihood of trailers falling over by adjusting the way the air suspension reacts when a trailer starts to sway.

What’s Happening?

The BaseAir product comes in the form of a kit which can be fitted to both trucks and trailers. Initially, Martins Stock Haulage were fitting the system just on the trailers, but later realised adding them to the prime mover’s rear suspension resulted in an even better solution.

In essence, what has been developed is an enhancement of the existing air suspension system. The normal system will be fitted with one height control valve (HCV). The combination of the HCV with the road conditions sees air flowing around a unitary air system to keep the truck chassis at the desired height from the road.

What the BaseAir system does is separate it into two parallel systems, one on the left and one on the right. When the truck is running in a steady condition, the two separate air circuits are selectively combined to have the same effect as we would expect from a standard air circuit.

This situation changes when the trailer starts to lean over. There are two HCVs, one on either side of the truck and when a discrepancy appears, the HCVs limits the movement of air from one side of the truck to the other.

reduce the likelihood of trailers falling over

At a basic level, in a normal system, as the trailer starts to lean to the left, for example, air would normally flow from the left across to the right, to equalise pressure across the unitary circuit. When this lean happens in the BaseAir system, the valves close and hold the air in the airbags on the left, to hold the trailer up and reduce the lean.

The Dual Pressure Protection Valve is placed at the point where the two separate circuits diverge at the connection from the air tank. The airlines to the two HCVs are the same length, as are the lines from the HCV to the airbags.

There is an extra airline in this system, the cross-flow line passing air from one side to the other, shut off and released by the HCVs on either side. Anytime the HCVs detect a lean of less than 1.5 degrees, the crossflow is fully open and allows air to flow feely between the two circuits, exactly the same as in a normal system.

Once that lean exceeds the 1.5 degrees the system will limit air flow, the cross-flow is no longer available, and the two sides of the suspension act separately. This is how the effect of holding the trailers and prime mover up straighter is achieved, by simply stopping the suspension from allowing the lean in the trailer when it reaches a certain level.

What’s the effect?

Most of the time the current standard air suspension systems are more than adequate to cope with just about anything the normal trucking life on the road can throw at it. There is no suggestion that the current technology is anything other than excellent.

reduce the likelihood of trailers falling over

The question here is about some of the vehicles which run at the margins of the safe parameters we need to set for trucks and trailers, especially multi-combinations. This is where the current technology simply needs a little help to make life a little easier for the driver.

This is the point which the Martins drivers PowerTorque spoke to emphasised over and over again. These are experienced operators who know how to get several decks of cattle from A to B safely and in the right condition. 

Their driving experience has taught them to minimise risk at all times. They are extremely aware of dips in the road or corners which tighten up without warning and this is coupled with an astute awareness of just how a fully loaded livestock combination will handle. 

When they talk about the BaseAir system on their trucks, they simply list all of the little issues, which could increase instability, they had to be aware of in the past, that are no longer a problem. This allows them to concentrate on the job in hand and get it done both more efficiently and safely.


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