Bendix air disc brakes reach half-million production milestone

Production of Bendix ADB22X air disc brakes has surpassed 500,000 units, and continues to grow as the commercial vehicle industry increases use of air disc brake technology.

Reflecting the commercial vehicle industry’s growing confidence in air disc brake technology, the Bendix ADB22X air disc brake has surpassed the 500,000-unit production milestone. Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC (BSFB), a joint venture between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, LLC, is on pace to manufacture more than 180,000 air disc brakes this year at its wheel-end production facility in Bowling Green, KY.

BSFB began producing the Bendix ADB22X in 2005. Since 2009, annual production levels have increased more than fivefold due to the growing popularity of air disc brakes in North America. Production reached the quarter-million production mark in early 2012 and took just 18 months to double that number.

The patented Bendix ADB22X air disc brake is a lightweight air disc brake design that significantly reduces stopping distance and extends brake system life for commercial vehicles. Along with other Bendix wheel-end solutions, it helps fleets exceed the federal Reduced Stopping Distance (RSD) requirements mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

“The popularity of the American-made Bendix ADB22X is a result of the brake’s quality and the market’s growing confidence in ADB technology,” says Aaron Schwass, Vice President and General Manager of BSFB. “Every day, more fleets and drivers discover the appeal and advantages of air disc brakes, from their car-like feel and straight, stable stops to the maintenance benefits of quicker pad replacement. Coupled with virtually no brake fade or degradation of stopping power, air disc brakes provide improved performance and reliability, helping to make commercial vehicles safer for everyone sharing the highway.”

Phase one of the RSD mandate took effect in August 2011 for new three-axle tractors with Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWRs) up to 59,600 lbs. Phase two of the mandate, aimed at tractors with two axles, as well as severe service tractors with GVWRs above 59,600 lbs., took effect August 1, 2013.

Air disc brakes hold approximately 10% of the Class 8 commercial vehicle market in North America, and Bendix is the dominant leader in the category, with the Bendix ADB22X  accounting for more than 90% of that share.

To meet the growing demand for both foundation brake segments, Bendix recently invested $3.8 million at Bowling Green to expand capacity and purchase new equipment for air disc brake production. “We’re backing up our market gains with increased investment at the Kentucky facility. We’re investing in our products, our employees, and in our customers, who share our commitment for putting the safest, highest-performing, most reliable, and most cost-effective brake systems on their vehicles,” says Eddie Wilkinson, President of Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake.

The Bendix ADB22X is available through all six major truck OEMs, including Peterbilt, Kenworth, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), Mack, Volvo, and International. The brake has been standard equipment on the steer axle of all Peterbilt Motors Company Class 8 tractors since 2011.

Fleets that have recently turned to the Bendix ADB22X include United Parcel Service (UPS), based in Atlanta, GA.; R&J Trucking, Inc., based in Boardman, OH; and Saia LTL Freight, based in Johns Creek, GA. Other fleets using the Bendix ADB22X include Penske, FedEx, Trimac, and the city of Los Angeles.

As over-the-road adoption of air disc brakes has increased, so has interest from specialized fleets and markets. School districts have added the Bendix ADB22X to their bus fleets, as have fuel haulers and hazardous material carriers, which face higher accident costs.