Trailer Magazine

Enhancing stability

  • From the May 2018 issue.
Enhancing stability

Several improvements are imminent for the heavy trailer manufacturing industry, with proposed changes to Australian Design Rules 38/05 expected to come into effect in 2019. These changes would mandate Electronic Stability Control for heavy vehicles and Roll Stability Control for heavy trailers in a bid to enhance safety on our roads.

The cost of road crashes in Australia is significant and those involving heavy vehicles often draw a great deal of attention. In recent times, this has sparked a growing level of interest in technology designed to enhance braking and stability performance. Such technologies are already becoming compulsory in some overseas markets. And now, the same sorts of changes could soon be on the cards closer to home. 

The Australian Government recently released a consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) to consider the case for proposed changes to braking systems used by the heavy vehicle industry.

The major proposed changes would see Roll Stability Control (RSC) mandated on all new trailers greater than 10 tonnes GTM (with certain exceptions such as converter dollies).

“These trailers would require state-of-the-art Trailer Electronic Brake Systems (TEBS), as this is the only system available with the RSC function. This applies to trailers with air or other suspension types such as steel springs,” explains Corey Morrison, Operations Manager for Airbrake Corporation.

He says that the other major changes that would be required under the proposed improvements are the need for automatic slack adjusters to be fitted to all new trailers over 4.5 tonnes, and that trailers designed to tow another trailer would be required to supply a 24 volt connector for the towed trailer.

“The most widely utilised TEBS product on the Australian market is WABCO’s E5 TEBS generation, supplied and supported by Air Brake Corporation,” says Corey. “Air Brake Corporation is the largest distributor of trailer braking needs in Australia and has its own engineering and testing laboratory. We can engineer and test brake kits tailor-made to best suit a client’s trailer design.”

TEBS-E5 is a complete package solution that includes a wide variety of features.

• Roll stability support (RSS) required by ADR38/05 to reduce the risk of trailer roll overs;
• Anti-lock braking (ABS) for improved directional control and reduced tyre flat spotting;
• Brake-by-wire technology providing faster brake apply and release times to reduce the stopping distance, particularly for TEBS equipped multi-trailer combination vehicles;
• Load proportioning feature (LSV) to enhance trailer brake performance at empty or partially laden loads; and
• Multi-volt operation powered by 12V or 24V towing vehicles fitted with an ISO7638 rear power connector.

According to Air Brake Corporation, TEBS also offers better wear balance between front and rear dog trailer axles; and retains balanced brake performance during ‘nose-dive’ due to load transfer on the hinged drawbar converter dollies.

To assist with fleet management requirements, the system is fitted with an integral data logger. It provides a comprehensive diagnosis via PC or optional WABCO SmartBoard digital readout. An optional ‘OptiLink’ WiFi connection to the WABCO android app provides operators with easy, clear access to trailer information including that relating to control and diagnosis.

Other optional features of the TEBS braking system include an automatic lift axle and suspension control, a reverse monitoring system and an axle load display.

For added safety, in the unlikely event of a power failure while driving, TEBS reverts to an unpowered pneumatic control state. Though this means that trailer brake performance is not as efficient as when the system is powered, the driver can continue to have the ability to operate the service brakes with the similar feel of a standard pneumatic brake system equipped trailer.

“EBS is the future of braking technology for the transport industry and will lead the way to a safer, more productive Australia,” says Corey. “According to DIRD’s cost-benefit analysis, with the proposed ADR revisions, an estimated 124 fatalities, 1084 serious injuries (hospital admissions), and $216 million in property damage will be avoided over 35 years.”

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