Friday, October 18

Three Million Bendix Air Disc Brakes–And Counting


ELYRIA, Ohio Rapid, widespread adoption rates, plus increased realization of performance, uptime, and return-on-investment (ROI) advantages, have helped to propel production of the Bendix® ADB22Xair disc brake past the 3-million-unit mark in North America.

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products had only formed the joint venture Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake (BSFB) about a year before we started producing the ADB22X back in 2005, but we knew we were on the verge of changing the North American commercial vehicle landscape,” recalled BSFB’s Nicole Oreskovic, product line director for air disc brakes. “Air-disc-braked trucks had been the European norm for years, and we were excited to pioneer their advantages on this side of the Atlantic. Fourteen years of research and development, optimization, sustained fleet adoption, and road-proven ROI later, we couldn’t be prouder of how our air disc brakes have helped make vehicles and roadways safer, and we’re excited about building on its legacy as we continue to improve Bendix safety technologies.”

Since its launch, the ADB22X has addressed the commercial vehicle industry’s need for reliable, high-performing, and high-value air disc brakes, delivering a lightweight design that provides shorter stopping distances than drum brakes and extended brake system life. As fleets and owner-operators realized its performance and maintenance benefits, demand for the ADB22X grew: It took eight years for BSFB to reach the 400,000-unit production mark in 2013, but just five more to hit the 2 million mark in December 2017.

More than 25 percent of North American new builds for Class 6-8 air-braked wheel-ends are now equipped with ADBs – a 100 percent increase in overall market share since 2014 – and the Bendix® ADB22X accounts for about 80 percent of that share.

The brake is available through all major North American commercial truck manufacturers, including Peterbilt Motors Company, Kenworth, International®, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), Volvo Trucks NA, and Mack®Trucks. The ADB22X has been standard equipment on the steer axle of all Peterbilt and Kenworth Class 8 tractors since 2013, and has since been made standard on all wheel-ends of Peterbilt’s Model 579 and the Kenworth T680. International Trucks’ LT Series, along with a number of their vocational models, also equips the brake standard on all axles. The Bendix® ADB22X-LT air disc brake – engineered specifically for trailers – is available at all major trailer manufacturers and is the preferred ADB at Utility Trailer. 

Specialized fleets and markets are also turning to the brake: Three of the leading full-line North American school bus manufacturers – Blue Bird Corporation, Thomas Built Buses, and IC Bus from Navistar – offer the ADB22X on their vehicles, as does Motor Coach Industries (MCI), the leading intercity coach manufacturer in the United States and Canada.

BSFB produces the Bendix ADB22X and Bendix ADB22X-LT air disc brakes at its wheel-end manufacturing operation in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Worldwide, Bendix and its parent company, Knorr-Bremse, are the clear global leader in air disc brake production at over 40 million and counting.

Delivering ROI on and off the Road

Air disc brakes provide shorter stopping distances than drum brakes. The more axles that have ADB, the shorter the distance becomes, and this applies to trailers too. Bendix air disc brakes exceed FMVSS-121 stopping distance requirements for Reduced Stopping Distances (RSD) – mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – by 20 percent. Air disc brakes provide a car-like feel; straight, stable stops; and greater reliability due to virtually no brake fade or degradation of stopping power. They also complement active safety technologies – such as Bendix® Wingman® Fusion and the Bendix® ESP® Electronic Stability Program full-stability system – by providing the consistent stopping power that allows these systems to perform at their best.

The Bendix ADB22Xand ADB22X-LT not only provide shorter stopping distances than drum brakes, but they also extend service intervals. And, if it’s necessary to replace friction before vehicle trade-in, air disc brakes allow for quicker pad replacement, contributing to greater uptime and lower maintenance costs. Additionally, since the ADB22X and ADB22X-LT share replacement wear items, maintenance, training, and inventory requirements can be easily streamlined.

At ValuebyBendix.com, fleets can turn to Bendix’s easy-to-use online value calculator to help determine whether air discs are the best option for their business. A few basic pieces of fleet information are all that’s needed to help illustrate the savings opportunities that can be realized by spec’ing all-wheel Bendix® ADB22X air disc brakes on tractors and the Bendix® ADB22X-LT on trailers.

Fleets spec’ing the Bendix ADB22X represent a broad range of applications, including over the road, severe service, vocational, school bus, transit bus, pickup and delivery – and more.

“Looking at the very broad range of applications, as well as the fleet sizes where the ADB22X is being equipped, it’s pretty amazing,” Oreskovic said. “From large national fleets to highly specialized carriers and everything in between, it speaks volumes about its reliability and effectiveness in the field – no matter the job.”

Oreskovic also noted that not only does Bendix focus on advancing the technology prowess of its robust ADB product portfolio, but it maintains an extensive catalog of aftermarket service parts. “It’s not only important to focus on sales, but we also have a sustained focus on after-sale service, training, and maintenance education,” Oreskovic said. “Delivering on that full cycle of customer needs has also been a factor in our growth and will remain important in the future.”

Building for the Future

The BSFB facility in Bowling Green has undergone several growth phases as a result of the escalating industry demand for the ADB22X and Bendix’s continuous commitment to supporting fleets, owner-operators, and manufacturers with ADB technology.

Bendix continues to invest in resources to advance, manufacture, and support air disc braking systems. Over the last three years, the company has doubled the size of its North American-based engineering team, adding employees in research and development, as well as technical and field support. Bendix has also substantially increased its testing capabilities and capacity.

Bendix wheel-end solutions include air disc and drum brake systems, automatic slack adjusters, spring brakes, friction, and remanufactured brake shoes that provide lower total cost of ownership while delivering on safety, stopping power, and reliability. BSFB helps fleets and drivers in the areas most critical to their success by improving vehicle performance and efficiency, and backing its products with unparalleled post-sales support. By strengthening return on investment in the technologies that improve vehicle and driver safety, BSFB supports safer North American roads for all who share them.

Visit Bendix’s Knowledge Dock® at knowledge-dock.com to stay connected through updates on the latest information in truck operation, maintenance, and safety, including videos, blog posts, podcasts, white papers, and Bendix Tech Tips.

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David Kiley is Chief of Content for The BRAKE Report. Kiley is an award-winning business journalist and author, having covered the auto industry for USA Today, Businessweek, AOL/Huffington Post, as well as written articles for Automobile and Popular Mechanics.