The best truck equipment solutions aren’t created in a vacuum. Relationships are everything in the trucking business, and that’s true when talking about OEMs and suppliers. Take the newly unveiled Western Star X-Series trucks, for example. The 49X and the 47X–purpose-built from the ground up to tackle the toughest vocational tasks. The field work for these machines varies wildly, from the oil fields traversed by the 49X to general construction dump and mixer applications of the 47X, so how does a top supplier like Hendrickson work with the truck manufacturer to provide the right suspension?
“We’ll talk with the OEMs during their truck design phase to understand their objectives for the vehicle: Is this derivative of a truck they’ve done before? Is this something new? Our goal is to grasp what their focus is,” said Gerry Remus, general manager, sales and business development, Hendrickson Truck Commercial Vehicle Systems. “From there, we’ll poll our field sales and service teams to understand, from an operator or end customer perspective, what suspension type works best for specific applications and what doesn’t.
“From the Hendrickson perspective, there isn’t one suspension that meets all the diverse vocational truck applications.”
The proof is in Hendrickson’s vocational truck suspension system offerings. Western Star’s X-Series rides on three of Hendrickson’s recently updated vocational suspensions: the HAULMAAX EX next-generation heavy-duty rubber suspension, PRIMAAX EX severe-duty air suspension, and ULTIMAAX advanced severe-duty rubber suspension. Each of which has its specific application to tackle.
“There’s a massive difference between a dump truck, a sewer sucker, a regular tractor, and any other truck you can name; so when you design a truck, you map out all of the different applications that you want this truck to tackle,” explained Samantha Parlier, vice president of vocational market development, Daimler Trucks North America. “Then you ask, ‘What does it need to be able to do? What are the ride characteristics it has to have? What are the qualities it has to have?’
“That’s then when we bring in Gerry and suppliers like Hendrickson,” she explained. “On the vocational side, the suspension is absolutely an integral component.
The HAULMAAX EX expands vocational application capabilities with up to a 70,000-lb. site rating for the 46,000-lb. capacity suspension, supporting vocational applications and offering capacities of 40,000 lbs., 46,000 lbs., and now 52,000 lbs–all in a lightweight package.
PRIMAAX EX heavy-duty air suspension is available in capacities of 46,000-lb. and 52,000-lb capacities, offering excellent ride and handling while providing best-in-class mobility. The ULTIMAAX rubber suspension, built for the most rugged of applications, rounds out the top-of-the-line suspension offering with capacities of 52,000, 60,000 and 70,000 lbs.
“The great news is that, with the X-Series, Western Star has the latest and greatest Hendrickson products that were designed to carry the load for the next 20 years,” Remus said.
With today’s trucks, how the load is carried is just as crucial. Gone are the days where fleets should expect truck operation to be hard on the driver’s body. Hendrickson’s latest suspensions systems keep ride quality top of mind when integrating with OEMs like Western Star.
“When I first started in the industry 20 years ago, there was this mentality of: ‘It’s supposed to ride like a truck, so get used to it,’ and there was an expected trade-off between the driver comfort and getting a job done. That’s not true for today’s trucks,” Remus said. “Ride quality for the driver and certainly the cabin equipment is paramount.”
Suspension selection for driver comfort runs in parallel with application. Suppliers like Hendrickson work with OEMs to identify specific suspensions for fleets to use depending on the type of application and amount of weight the vehicle will be hauling in specific environments and taking the time loaded and unloaded into account.