Sep 19, 2018 nashville, tenn.

Firestone Industrial Products Features Innovative Air Damping Technology for Commercial Trailers at IAA

Award-winning technology offers true body and axle control

Firestone Industrial Products Company, LLC (FSIP), a leader in developing technology to eliminate vibration in global transportation, is demonstrating its body and axle control air damping technology at the 67th Bi-Annual Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) Commercial Vehicles Conference in Hanover, Germany, Sept. 20 - 27.

“Following being recognized with a Trailer Innovation 2017 award, our industry-leading engineers spent the past two years researching the effects of FSIP air damping technology on tire wear and performance, and we are eager to show our customers the insights and benefits behind the technology,” said Craig Schneider, president, FSIP. “Our air damping technology offers a holistic damping solution and provides commercial trucking professionals with total body and axle control, a promise that only FSIP technology can deliver.”

By using air instead of hydraulics, Firestone Airide™ Pro air damping technology delivers an integrated damping system that is a lighter-weight alternative to traditional damping modules, simplifying a commercial truck’s suspension system by channeling air into the trailer’s suspension. The lighter-weight equipment also allows for load proportional damping, permitting more on-board cargo and making hauls more efficient. The result is true body and axle control, which can lead to longer tire life, lower total cost of ownership and improved ride quality. Firestone Airide Pro air damping technology delivers a consistent ride performance and helps reduce maintenance requirements by limiting the impact on the road.

In a unique development partnership with VDL Weweler (VDL) and test partner TIP Trailer Services (TIP), FSIP is currently conducting field trials to evaluate the potential improvement on tire wear and trailer life by using air damping. Trials currently take place in Africa, Siberia and Western Europe to validate the effect of air damping in several applications and conditions, such as extreme temperatures and varying road conditions. Field trials also evaluate the driver effect, which is a measurement of driver comfort while on the road.

Field trials include 20 TIP Europe trailers, half of which are equipped with FSIP air damping technology. These trailers will be directly compared to 10 standard trailers with a focus on tire wear. Trailers are monitored through the TIP iTAP FleetRemote system on-board diagnostics system as well as tire measurements taken every two months. The first results are expected before the end of this year.

“The unique load proportional damping of FSIP air damping technology ensures optimum damping properties, regardless of an empty or fully loaded trailer, simplifying installation and reducing the total weight of the system,” said Dick Aalderink, managing director, VDL Weweler. “The potential positive effect on reduced wear components and reduced impact on the suspension and vehicle chassis also offers a huge opportunity for new innovative suspension solutions.”

“The potential impact of air damping on the environment with the elimination of hydraulics on the vehicle and the tire wear saving is of huge importance for TIP,” said Marc Aandeweg, vice president of marketing and sales, TIP. “This is why we are eager for the first test results of this great innovation. The increasing requirement on safety for commercial vehicles, especially with autonomous driving, requires intelligent and adaptive systems. TIP believes that the direction that Firestone has taken with air damping, especially in the future combination with the Intelligent air spring, is promising towards our future generation trailer solutions.”

FSIP and VDL Weweler, supported by trailer builder D-TEC, earned the runner-up recognition for the 2017 Trailer Innovation Award for its advancements in air damping technology. Firestone Airide Pro air damping technology will be available in Europe in 2019.

FSIP is part of Bridgestone, the world’s largest tire and rubber company, and benefits from its automotive expertise and research and development efforts. The company offers a full range of air springs for the global commercial vehicle market with its two product brands, Firestone Airide and Airogear™, and is a preferred partner of top global vehicle manufacturers. For more information, visit the FSIP website.