Running the gauntlet

BPW showcases its latest axle and suspension innovations, quality made in Germany. Between running gear kit improvements and the finetuning of a solid product portfolio, BPW has a solution for every road transport fleet.

Engineers at BPW Bergische Achsen KG announced an industry breakthrough in April this year. They achieved weight savings of up to 60kg thanks to their new generation Airlight II running gear kit which now covers an even wider range of applications both on- and off-highway with one single axle beam type. It’s the axle and suspension specialist’s digital DNA, laser technology and intelligent modules that has led to this development.

Trailer running gear systems are generally precisely designed for their intended freight task whether it be transporting Covid-19 vaccines or heating oil.

BPW’s technologies enable vehicle manufacturers to build highly specialised and outstandingly economical trailers. The new Airlight II kit supports of the best-selling trailer running gears in Europe.

The generation change is being introduced in the Airlight II kit for the nine-tonne axle load range with clamped spring seat arrangements, as they are typically used for tipper, tank and silo vehicles or also for special box bodies. For the first time, all components of Airlight II are also based on the ‘digitial twin’ principle. The digital DNA enables vehicle manufacturers to determine the perfect running gear configuration for highly specialised applications online from countless options.

A new feature is the combination of the clamped spring seat arrangement of the Airlight II air suspension in conjunction with a round axle beam. This is made possible by the patent-pending laser processing of the contact surfaces in the spring seat arrangement. This extremely robust mounting, combined with a round axle beam used in both nine-tonne on-road and off-road applications, enables off-road weight savings of up to 60 kilograms compared to previous versions.

“BPW sets standards in this combination,” said BPW Trailer Solutions & Mobility Services Product Manager, Denis Wierwille. “We combine unshakeable sturdiness with a new lightness.”

In on-road weight-sensitive transport, the two lightweight design options LightTube trailing arm and aluminium hub can still be used. In this way, a module weight of less than 370kg can be achieved, which is the benchmark in the range of running gears for nine-tonne axle loads.

BPW already heralded the revolution in running gear design in 2019 with the ECO Air running gear kit. This kit covers standard running gears for the 9-ton segment. The laser process celebrated its premiere with ECO Air and has since proven itself hundreds of thousands of times over.

Looking for a modular revolution? The BPW ECO Air is reported to be the first modular running gear of its kind.

It not only streamlines the configuration, design and production of trailers, but also opens up new flexibility for vehicle manufacturers and significantly reduces both weight and costs. From the moment it is ordered, ECO Air carries a unique digital DNA that stays with the running gear throughout its entire life, from production to maintenance. This digital DNA makes highly efficient processes and intelligent services possible across its entire life cycle. A patented laser welding process not only makes the running gear much lighter, it proves that at BPW, innovation is not only considered in terms of digital processes, but that renewal is also possible in the traditional field of metal processing.

Meanwhile, BPW’s SL air suspension is a tougher option for off-road use suited for axle loads between 12 and 14 tonnes. Ride heights can range between 230mm to 600mm, trailing arm width is 100m and single and double leaf trailing arms are available. Welded axle mounting comes as standard. Also, air suspension hanger brackets have 8mm wall thickness.

And then there are the mechanical suspension options.

In many markets, mechanical suspensions play a major role according to BPW. The durability, ease of maintenance and emergency running properties of these running gears are critical to their utilisation – especially in situations where tough operating conditions, long distances between service points or long operating lives with low mileage are the order of the day.

The BPW product portfolio covers axle loads from 5.5 tonnes to 20 tonnes. The equipment specialist has appropriate solutions for every market, and in the case of mechanical suspension, can cater for those heavy duty trailers built to ensure challenging road conditions and long term use.

Fast Fact
Airlight II, the suspension solution for all applications ranging from nine to 12 tonnes is easy to install, robust for on- and off-road use and is weight optimised to allow for more payload.

Fast Fact
Mechanical running gears from BPW are designed to allow assembly and maintenance with simple tools. Even in regions with poor infrastructure, the high availability of spare parts worldwide ensures that vehicles can be kept up and running when repairs are necessary.

Fast Fact
BPW’s SL air suspension is a tough performer. The axle beam, axle spring seat arrangement and trailing arm are combined with the air suspension hanger bracket to form a highly robust unit that can withstand extremely tough conditions.