BRUSSELS — WABCO Holdings Inc., a tier-one supplier to the commercial vehicle industry, has introduced its second generation compressor series for electronically controlled air suspension (ECAS) systems for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The new product was unveiled at the Vehicle Dynamics Expo recently held in Novi, Mich.
WABCO’s new high and medium power compressors enable its ECAS technology to achieve constant vehicle ride height even when fully loaded and various vehicle heights at different speeds, which the company says further increases vehicle safety and enhances passenger comfort.
This second generation compressor series improves suspension performance, while reducing cost for original equipment manufacturers and making air suspension systems potentially more affordable for end-users, said WABCO. The first application is the rear axle air suspension in the new BMW 7 series.
According to Daniel Samson, WABCO vice president car systems and products, the market has seen significant adoption of air suspension systems in luxury cars and sport utility vehicles, while segments such as midsize station wagons, multipurpose vehicles and compact vans represent additional growth opportunities, particularly for rear axle applications on vehicles that carry heavy loads relative to their vehicle weight.
"From 2000 to 2008, the global demand for air suspension systems for passenger cars has nearly tripled and we expect continued growth in this market," said Samson. "In addition, original equipment manufacturers seek to increase fuel efficiency further by introducing the air suspension function, which improves vehicle aerodynamics by appropriately lowering the vehicle body at high speeds."
WABCO has further developed its ECAS technology to integrate an electronic shock absorber control (ESAC). In this combination, ESAC determines the most effective damping level based on load, road surface, speed, vehicle body movement and lateral acceleration. It improves vehicle stability due to a diminished roll-rate, further increasing driver and load protection, the company said.