A foray into the future

From the February 2019 issue.

Markus Gehle, Managing Director of Gigant, debriefs on his experiences at the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicles Show and elaborates on the axle specialist’s plans for the new year.

Q: How was the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hanover, Germany, for Gigant?
A: The IAA show was great for us. We met a lot of our customers and also networked with new contacts. For this particular show, though, the quality of the professional audience well surpassed previous events, which was very positive in terms of genuine interest in our products and developments.

Q: What were your highlights from IAA?
A: IAA, for me, confirmed that we are moving in the right direction. We had this brilliant opportunity to showcase our entire selection of axles, suspension systems and other innovative products, and the overall reaction from the people we engaged with was overwhelmingly positive. That tells me that we are listening to our customers and are doing the right things. Therefore, my personal 2018 IAA highlight is positive customer feedback as well as personal support and service for our customers.

Q: Gigant has a new self-steering axle. Can you elaborate on this?
A: We solved a lot of issues of the end user with our new self steering axle.
The most interesting point is that the self steering axle is a low maintenance axle which means that we dispense all greasing points on the axle.
Furthermore, with our patent we can easily dismantle the steering arm from the axle beam without removing the whole axle from the trailer and without pressing the steering bolt out. That makes repairs much easier and faster, which saves a lot of money, especially in combination with the out bounded drum and our maintenance-free compact bearing. Soon, we will begin a field test to confirm that the design is robust and reliable.

Q: How popular was the disc brake swing axle at IAA?
A: Our disc brake swing axle drew a lot of attention at the show. Visitors to our stand said they were impressed by the design. Ultimately, it solves one of the biggest issues, limited space. The Gigant team had to find a way to remove the brake chamber, and our solution for that is a space saving transmission unit, which allows us to remove the brake chamber and find a position for it somewhere on the frame. We are in the process of testing the new transmission unit.

Q: At IAA, Gigant unveiled its low bed trailer air suspension. Do you have any comments to share regarding this development?
A: Gigant presented two new developments at the IAA show. The first one was the improved FB100 suspension with a 100mm wide air spring in combination with the new air below support plate. That reduces the variation because the customer only needs to order one type of suspension for the L2 distance of 380mm and 405mm just by assembling the air below differently.
The second new development is the GL70T suspension for low bed trailers with an axle capacity of 12 tonnes. This 70mm wide air spring gives us more space and it reduces the weight even more. With this development we can present one of the lightest 12 to axle sets on the market.

Q: In addition to bringing low tare options to market, there seems to be a greater push for ensuring more sustainable production processes among manufacturers in Europe. What are Gigant’s goals for the future?
A: We will carry on and listen to our customers; we concentrate on products that reduce road transport equipment lifecycle costs even more. The notion of digitalisation – especially in terms of our direction with tyre pressure control, refill, temperature control,  wearing control and so on – is front of mind.
Of course, we will continue to innovate with Augmented Reality – something we teased at 2016 IAA and refined for the 2018 IAA show.

Q: What major trade events do you look forward to in 2019? What do you intend to present there?
A: Gigant will be attending Bauma 2019 in Munich during April, which is a very interesting event for us. We intend to double our stand size as well as present further developments with our self-steering axle including greater ground clearance for the product. The Bauma show is focused on one of our strategic business areas, the low bed and heavy trailer industry.

Q: What do you hope to achieve at Bauma 2019?
A: We want to reinforce the impression that we are a good innovative partner. In addition, we want to reach customers and potential customers with our new products and service.

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