Volvo Trucks unveils Adaptive Loading suspension

Volvo unveils Adaptive Loading suspension

Volvo Trucks introduced Adaptive Loading at MATS, a new 6×2 liftable forward axle that automatically adjusts to load weight changes and offers 4×2 operation under certain conditions. Key benefits of Adaptive Loading include greater fuel efficiency, improved traction, lower maintenance costs and increased driver productivity, according to Volvo. Adaptive Loading is ideal for bulk haul or general freight operations where the truck goes out loaded and returns empty and for diminishing-load applications.

“As our customers continually strive to reduce operating costs and increase productivity, we must deliver solutions tailored to their specific applications,” said Göran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “For many operations that run empty or lightly loaded much of the time, Adaptive Loading is an innovative way to change the truck’s configuration on the fly for maximum efficiency.”

To further enhance fuel efficiency gains, customers selecting Adaptive Loading can choose one of Volvo’s XE powertrain packages, including XE Adaptive Gearing and XE Economy. XE powertrain packages improve fuel efficiency by lowering engine rpm at a given vehicle speed, a process called “downspeeding.”

“Many customers selecting Adaptive Loading will find XE Adaptive Gearing a great choice as well because it is designed to benefit applications that go out loaded and return empty,” said Wade Long, Volvo Trucks product marketing director. “Customers can magnify their fuel savings by optimizing both suspension and powertrain specs.”

XE Adaptive Gearing, available as an option since the beginning of the year, operates in direct drive when loaded and in overdrive when empty.

Like other 6×2 setups, Adaptive Loading improves fuel efficiency compared with traditional 6×4 configurations, which have two drive axles, Volvo explained. The non-drive axle, which is in the forward position of the tandem axles, helps distribute load weight without the internal gearing of a drive axle, lowering weight and reducing internal friction. The reduced weight—more than 300 lbs. compared with a 6×4—enables a greater payload.

The liftable forward axle and Volvo’s electronically controlled suspension (ECS) technology offer additional fuel efficiency benefits. Adaptive Loading and Volvo’s current 6×2 option both use ECS to dynamically transfer weight among the two axles. In Adaptive Loading, ECS—based on pre-programmed weight thresholds—automatically lifts the axle in empty or light-load situations to create a 4×2 configuration, which reduces rolling resistance from tires.

Another advantage of operating in a 4×2 configuration is reduced wear and longer life for tires and brakes installed on the lift axle, Volvo stated. More consistent loading also offers increased tire life on the steer axle and drive axle.

According to Volvo, technology alleviates any concerns over traction in a 6×2 operation versus a 6×4. ECS preserves traction under lighter loads by transferring more weight to the drive axle. In adverse weather or other special situations, drivers can achieve enhanced traction through special ECS settings and traction support integrated into the chassis. Enhanced traction supports the truck during high-slip situations—better than 6×4 without inter-axle differential lock.

For more information, visit www.volvotrucks.com.

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