Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC commenced production of air disc brakes for the commercial vehicle market in Frankfort, Ky., this month and became the first truck brake manufacturer with the ability to mass produce air disc brakes in North America.
An air disc brake assembly line was installed at an existing Bendix manufacturing facility in Frankfort, Ky., and represents a total investment for tooling and related costs of approximately $6 million. Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, a wheel-end and foundation brake joint venture between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and Dana Corporation, now has the capability to manufacture up to 120,000 Bendix ADB22X air disc brakes at the facility annually.
“Our commitment to produce air disc brakes in North America demonstrates an evolutionary first step toward greater North American air disc brake adoption,” said Kishor Pendse, president, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake. “Our investment in air disc brakes in North America enables the technology to better compete on a cost-basis with current brake designs.”
Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake believes the mass adoption of air disc brakes by North American commercial vehicle fleets and OEMs is a several year process. More needs to be done to address cost concerns, Pendse said, but Bendix is working toward that end on a daily basis.
Performance characteristics of Bendix air disc brakes have been proven by extensive testing to improve brake responsiveness, provide a passenger car-like feel, minimal fade, exceptional stopping capability, and greater brake balance and wear life.
“Today’s air disc brake is a dramatic improvement over past generations offered in North America,” said Alf Siebke, director, air disc brakes, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake. “It has a larger rotor that absorbs more energy, achieves better ventilation, and is an overall more robust system than past versions. The Bendix® ADB22X™ model design utilizes the proven Knorr-Bremse air disc brake technology, a dynamic and evolving product that has been leading the European commercial vehicle market and serving the needs of global customers since the early 1990s.”
Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake benchmarked the manufacturing process it’s using in Kentucky against its affiliated Knorr-Bremse facility in Germany, which produces nearly two million units annually for use in Europe. More than eight million Knorr-Bremse air disc brakes are on European roads today, making Knorr-Bremse the undisputed world leader in air disc brake production.