SUPPLY CHAIN | TRAILERTORQUE – A wide array of information arising from the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicle show in Hanover

Key suppliers bring new technology to the trailer market.

With such a wide array of information arising from the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicle show in Hanover, we simply couldn’t cram everything into the December/January issue of PowerTorque.

Truck and trailer manufacturers showcased their new products, predominately with three key themes  − autonomous transport, connectivity and eMobility. But for all of these to become reality, it’s vital that key suppliers are able to provide that new technology to the market.

Here’s a taste of what we can expect in 2019:



The key message was “out with diesel, in with the electric axle”. This proved a common theme, as governments look to ban diesel in some European cities as early as the next decade.

BPW has an axle available now for electric conversion of municipal and commercial vehicles with eTransport. From the Mercedes-Benz Varios with a GVM of 7.5 tonne, up to electric concept vehicles with weights of 26 tonne.

In recognising the future importance of eTransport, BPW also showcased other new innovations concerning its current running gear.

The new ECO Air generation of running gear has a modular architecture with standardised intelligent components – and it is the first to enable vehicle manufacturers to purchase BPW running gear as a kit, then install the required variants of the components in-situ when customers lock in their specifications. With a 5 kg lighter weight advantage over its predecessor, when combined with the enhanced BPW ECO Disc TS2 trailer disc brake, the weight saving equates to 9 kg. This benefit compounds to 27 kg when applied throughout a tri-axle suspension unit.

Also new from BPW is iGurt, an intelligent cargo restraint system. Serious accidents and damage to load frequently occur in transit, which will undoubtedly become more challenging with autonomous vehicles if a driver isn’t present. The iGurt checks the tension of the lashing straps whilst the vehicle is moving and can alert the driver or office if it senses shifting of the load inside the trailer.



The SAF-HOLLAND Group adopted the slogan “Future is Now”, which was particularly apt with its automatic coupling display.

With all the talk surrounding autonomous trucks, it needs to remembered that a driver’s role is much more than simply sitting behind the wheel.

SAF-HOLLAND has focused upon the coupling and uncoupling of the trailer, showing how the Smart tractor unit fifth wheel couples to the trailer whilst simultaneously connecting the air and electrics. It then lifts the landing legs by electrics, before moving forwards intact. The same options operate in reverse for uncoupling, all autonomously.

Another interesting development was the SAF TRAKr, a trailer axle that generates electricity for use to power additional equipment, such as refrigeration units. Plus, the SAF TRAKe, an electrically powered axle to provide additional traction to support drive performance and traction on slippery surfaces.

As an alternative, SAF-HOLLAND showcased the INTRA CD TRAK. Ideally suited to construction, refuse or mining trucks, this provides a hydraulically driven motor acting on the trailer axle to support the truck on inclines, and when travelling over difficult terrain.



As a leader in electric axle components, Dana is well placed for a move towards electric axles.

DANA claims that it is currently the only supplier with the capability to deliver complete electrified drivelines and fully integrated e-Axles. Combined with thermal management systems across all vehicle markets, it is a reason why several manufacturers are currently using DANA components for their own eMobility solutions.



The Fliegl CLG Dolly uses the principles of physics rather than those of hydraulics to create a dolly coupling system for matching a semi-trailer to a rigid truck using Ringfeder couplings.

Claimed to be the lightest dolly on the market, the benefits include being almost  maintenance- free, no steering axle, no hydraulics and no electrics. The coupling height is adjustable from 920-950mm and the rigid under-coupled traction bar can be removed on the towing vehicle as well as on the trailer.

The rear deflection of the towing vehicle is transferred to the dolly on a ratio of 1:1 and for European dimensions it provides an operator with 58 cubic metres of cargo volume, with an interior height of 3 metres in the truck body and 102 cubic metres of cargo volume in the Mega trailer.



At the Knorr-Bremse media presentation under the topic of “traffic safety for trucks and trailers” came details of two new disc brake generations, SYNACT® and NEXTT®, as well as the new Global Scalable Brake Control system (GSBC). All three systems attain a new level of efficiency, whilst GSBC also provides the platform for many driver assistance systems of the future and automated driving.

The company announced a partnership with Continental on a first cross-brand system solution for highly automated driving in commercial vehicles. According to a company spokesperson, this is the first partnership of this kind in the commercial vehicle sector that puts in place the prerequisites for complete systems for highly automated driving from a single source. “The presentation of our first joint project, a platooning demonstrator with vehicles from different manufacturers, is planned for early 2019,” they added.

As closer cooperation between technology suppliers and vehicle manufacturers continues to grow, there will undoubtedly be more need for the leading systems to integrate this level of technology across the vehicle platforms of more manufacturers, developing a common infrastructure for those seeking connected solutions.



PowerTorque took advantage of an invitation by WABCO during the week of the IAA Show to tour the company’s engineering offices and test track facility in Jeversen, Germany.  This provided the opportunity to fully appreciate some of the innovations first-hand, as detailed in our December/January issue.

Key highlights were the new Trailer EBS-E, which is WABCO’s next generation of trailer electronic braking with the smarts on the trailer. This enables more than 40 safety, efficiency and connectivity functions just from the trailer alone.

Other interesting new technologies offered were High Definition rear view solutions, OnGuardMAX, and OnCity Urban Turning Assist, which are required for the move towards full autonomy.



Bosch began its media briefing by pointing out that two-thirds of the population will be living in cities by 2050, so increasing congestion will be a hot topic for action.

At the same time, the parcels industry is expanding rapidly, with Bosch predicting freight will increase by another 50 percent over the next 20 years. In a nutshell, the logistics sector faces a series of major challenges ranging from climate protection, air pollution, urbanisation and driver shortages.

Dr Rolf Bulander, chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector, explained: “Bosch’s vision is that road freight of the future should ideally be as free of emissions, accidents, and stress as possible. The path to this goal incorporates electrification, automation, and connectivity for commercial vehicles”.

Bosch is another key supplier enabling digitally connected logistics solutions from freeway to front door. A major development area for Bosch is the electrification of semi-trailers, and the company used the IAA Show to reveal its regenerative power trailer axle that uses electricity from braking to supplement or replace on-vehicle power demand. With this system supplying electrical power to a trailer refrigeration unit, Bosch estimates it can provide annual savings of 9000 litres of diesel. Taking this option further, it would also be possible to power the other electrical systems of the truck-trailer combination, reducing the demand and consequent parasitic power loss required to drive the alternator; again resulting in fuel savings for the truck operator. A game-changer indeed.



Another option for reducing fuel use is to improve vehicle aerodynamics by removing the large mirror heads from the cab exterior, replacing them with mini-cameras that display vision on mirror-sized heads inside the cabin attached to the A pillars.

Component supplier Stoneridge has developed a retrofit solution for both American and European trucks with its unique mirror replacement system MirrorEye, MainView and TopView.

Major gains in vision come from the removal of blind spots caused by conventional mirror heads. They also provide self-cleaning to eliminate problems with rain and dirt, an advanced defrosting system for winter driving, plus night vision to make manoeuvring safer and easier.



Tyre companies are notoriously reticent to share knowledge of product technical advantages because of an archaic desire for secrecy. In this global community, it’s fair to assume that all tyre manufacturers are developing green tyres that offer reduced rolling resistance, improved fuel economy and longer tread life, aligned with better roadholding and steering response.

Goodyear is the first out of the starting blocks for 2019 to claim the benefits of its new Fuelmax Performance tyre range as its most fuel-efficient to date.

With the Fuelmax, Goodyear has achieved EU tyre label grade ‘A’ for fuel efficiency. By using a silica compound, the tyres don’t gain nearly as much temperature as standard alternatives, with lower heat generation resulting in less fuel consumption.

Goodyear estimates that fleet use of Fuelmax tyres across Europe could save up to 290,000 Euros ($463,000 AUD) in fuel costs and reduce CO2 emissions by 557 tonnes per year.

These claims prompted fierce rivalry from Bridgestone, busy launching its new Ecopia H002 tyre. This utilises a new compound technology and tread pattern that the company claims delivers best-in-class fuel efficiency through an EU label ‘A’ grade combination in steer, drive and trailer tyre application.

The new Ecopia range is the latest initiative in Bridgestone’s approach to maximising the fuel efficiency for its fleet customers. Bridgestone is focused on offering a comprehensive tyre service and combines Bandag’s fuel-smart retread line FuelTech® and the tyre monitoring system Tirematics with its tyre management service for commercial fleets, Total Tyre Care.

With fuel pricing in Europe making up around 30 percent of all expenses for long-haul fleets, any minor fuel saving offers a big advantage for hauliers and suppliers.

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