Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC (BSFB) has surpassed the 1 million-unit production mark with its Bendix ADB22X air disc brake. The production effort is driven by the industry’s increasing use of air disc brakes and the company’s commitment to serve the North American fleets and owner-operators adopting the technology.
BSFB is on pace to manufacture more than 350,000 air disc brakes this year at its wheel-end production facility in Bowling Green, KY, and continues to invest in resources to advance, manufacture and support air disc braking systems.
“Across North America, more people and fleets are turning to air disc brakes, and we’re strengthening our infrastructure to meet their needs and continuously improve air disc technology,” says Nicole Oreskovic, Product Line Director for Air Disc Brakes at BSFB. “This continued growth is just one of the reasons we recently doubled the size of our North American-based engineering team, adding employees in research and development as well as technical support. In addition, we’ve significantly expanded our testing capabilities; and we’re in the midst of a multiyear expansion of our production facilities, adding more jobs and even more air disc brake capacity.”
With its recent addition as a data book option for Navistar’s International ProStar and DuraStar models, the ADB22X air disc brake has now realized a unique place in the North American market with its data book position at the six major truck manufacturers, including Peterbilt, Kenworth, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), Mack, and Volvo.
Approximately 13% of North American Class 6 to 8 air-braked wheel-ends are now equipped with air disc brakes, a 52% increase in overall market share from 2013. Oreskovic notes that the Bendix ADB22X accounts for more than 90% of that share, reflecting the popularity and value of the powerful Bendix brake for fleets of all sizes and vocations.
The patented Bendix ADB22X air disc brake has been standard equipment on the steer axle of all Peterbilt Motors Company Class 8 tractors since 2011. In 2015, U.S. Xpress Enterprises Inc. – the nation’s second largest privately owned truckload carrier – equipped the brake on its steer axles; and Prime Inc., one of North America’s most successful refrigerated, flatbed, and tanker trucking companies, also recently added new trailers equipped with the ADB22X unit.
Specialized market interest in air disc brakes has seen significant growth as well. According to Oreskovic, Motor Coach Industries (MCI), the leading intercity coach manufacturer in the United States and Canada, offers the ADB22X on its vehicles, as do two of the leading full-line North American school bus manufacturers, Blue Bird Corporation and Thomas Built Buses. A third full-line school bus manufacturer – IC Bus from Navistar – has a release of air disc brakes pending.
BSFB began producing the Bendix ADB22X in 2005 – a first for the North American marketplace. Production reached the quarter-million production mark in early 2012, and doubled that number by late 2013. In 2014, BSFB produced 278,000 air disc brakes, with projections for 2015 pointing to a 26% increase. The brake is 100% North American manufactured and assembled.
An $8.7 million expansion and improvement project at BSFB’s Bowling Green manufacturing plant began last year, and will continue into 2016. BSFB expanded its air disc brake production capacity in 2014 through the addition of two new machining centers and 75 new jobs. Two more machining centers will be added this year, with another assembly line and an expected 15 new jobs planned for next year.
“We’ve got a full decade of experience and leadership in the North American air disc brake market, and we’ll continue to push the frontiers of the technology’s proven safety and reliability,” Oreskovic says. “With our committed team of employees, our leading-edge facilities, our fleet and OE partners, and our dedication to providing the industry with ever-better products and braking expertise, we look forward to putting another million air disc brakes – and then some – on the road.”
The Bendix ADB22X unit 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).
Air disc brakes also offer the advantages of quicker pad replacement and longer brake lining life, leading to greater uptime and lower maintenance costs; car-like performance and straight, stable stops; and greater reliability due to virtually no brake fade or degradation of stopping power. Additionally, air disc brakes include an internal self-adjustment mechanism that can help lower the risk of brakes being found out of adjustment during inspection, which can affect Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scoring.
The full lineup of Bendix brand foundation drum brake and disc brake products is commercially available and produced at BSFB’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Bowling Green. They are part of the complete lineup of wheel-end solutions – also including automatic slack adjusters, spring brakes, friction, and remanufactured brake shoes – that delivers on safety, reliability, and stopping power, plus other areas critical to fleets’ success. By improving vehicle performance and efficiency, and providing thorough post-sales support, BSFB helps fleets and drivers strengthen return on investment in technologies that make the highways safer for everyone.