Tomorrow's trailer running gear systemECO Vision sets new standards in weight
optimisation Ringsted (Denmark), 2012/09/19
The BPW Group presented the ECO Vision at the 2012 IAA Commercial Vehicles fair. ECO Vision is a completely innovative concept for an air suspension module that is made not of steel but of glass fibre-reinforced plastic (GFRP).
With the ECO Vision GFRP air suspension module, BPW has succeeded in achieving a weight range that has never before been seen in trailer running gear. Today, conventionally built air suspension modules weigh at least about 400 kg. ECO Vision weighs 320 kg, which amounts to a weight reduction of about 20%.
This development has been made possible by using glass fibre-reinforced plastic (GFRP). This composite material made from polyester resins and glass fibres is even stronger than steel, as a result of its specific properties. In addition, the material is very highly resistant to corrosion, weather and chemicals. This makes it extremely robust and durable. The axle and running gear components subjected to high levels of deflection and torsion are configured as GFRP elements in ECO Vision. Weight-optimised conventional wheel ends are integrated in this GFRP element. The connection to the running gear is via air suspension hanger brackets that are compatible with BPW's standard ECO Air COMPACT air suspension.
The ECO Vision innovation offers many advantages: The weight reduction of about 80 kg per axle module, representing 240 kg in a 3-axle unit, allows the payload to be increased significantly, while fuel consumption is reduced when transporting a partial load. The weight reduction is also important for the "unsprung mass" of the axle, wheels and suspension. Both comfort and driving safety are increased, at the same time as reducing noise levels as well as wear and tear on the road surface and substructure.
The design of the GFRP air suspension module combines mechanical advantages and material resilience with significant weight reductions and obvious visual benefits. ECO Vision is designed for axle loads up to 9 t and disc brakes. The configuration as well as the installation and operating specifications are in line with the current specifications for conventional air suspension systems.