Hendrickson International is recognized for product innovation for the company’s AIRTEK Integrated Front Air Suspension and Steer Axle System. This suspension system is an outstanding on the basis of its technical features, as well as its superior performance characteristics, enhancing the driveability of heavy duty trucks on which it is used.
Air suspension systems are commonly employed in the trailer section, or the rear end of trucks. To date, the application of this technology in the forward section of commercial vehicles has not enjoyed the same success. The principal challenge has been to balance driver comfort and safety with vehicle handling on uneven road surfaces. Other objectives have included optimizing weight, durability, maintenance requirements, and overall value for money.
As a response to these challenges, Hendrickson International designed and developed an innovative front steer axle and air suspension module for 5.5 tonne (12,000 lbs.) axle rating. The suspension is a steel spring and air spring load-sharing system. In addition to the suspension, the module features an efficient fabricated steel steer axle with a spring clamp group designed to provide progressive support to the vertical legs of the axle housing with increasing bolt torque, thus maintaining the structural integrity of the box section axle. The complete system is significantly lighter in weight than competitive spring and forged axle suspensions, and is designed for minimum maintenance, a further saving.
Hendrickson International’s solution to the trade-off between driver comfort and vehicle handling is the outcome of its long-term company-wide commitment to product innovation. The AIRTEK story also demonstrates the value of remaining close to customers and end-users, as a means of capitalizing on developing value-added solutions effectively.