Individual solutions for sophisticated services

To complement its low loader semi-trailer technology, Meusburger turns to BPW for reliable and robust swing axles.

Meusburger is a family business headquartered in Altstätten, Switzerland, and has been producing special commercial vehicles since 1992. Over the years the OEM has expanded its production area from a 4,200-square-metre site in Lower Bavaria to a 60,000-square-metre hall complete with state-of-the-art machinery and tooling.

Per annum, an average of up to 1,500 vehicles roll off the production line where each one is adapted specifically for the needs of the client.

The internationally active Meusburger Group also includes Meusburger Novtruck in Novgorod (RU), which was affiliated in 2009, Kotschenreuther Fahrzeugbau in Wallenfels (D), which was acquired in 2014, and the company M-Technika s.r.o. in Prachatice (CZ).

Thomas Meusburger is one of the founders of the business. As of 2016 he remains the sole owner of the group and does everything from sales to production.

“We have worked with BPW since 1992 and they deliver about 95 per cent of our special axles,” he said. “BPW is a reliable supplier and partner with whom we can develop new products.”

Meusburger uses BPW running gears for its two- and three-axle drop deck semi-trailers fitted with sliding tarpaulins. The OEM specifies seven tonne swing axles with small BPW drum brake ECO Drum for 17.5” or 19.5” tyres and narrow track. This results in an axle load of 12 tonnes per axle line (two swing axles side by side). Meusburger complements the chassis with a hydraulic suspension for lifting and lowering functions and axle load compensation. A hydraulic forced steering system enables steering angles of up to maximum of 60 degrees.

In order to be able to maximise the flatbed design of a drop deck semi-trailer, the running gear must be suitable for particularly narrow installation spaces. At the same time, the trailer must remain manoeuvrable, especially if it is a telescopic design.

Here, swing axles offer a good compromise between minimum installation space requirements, very high lift requirements, high axle loads and large steering angles.

When designing the chassis for Meusburger’s drop-deck semitrailers, the challenge was to position the brake cylinders of the swing axles in such a way that the installation space above the swing axle and the brake cylinders remained free.

In the compressed state, the brake cylinder of the swing axle was not allowed to touch the turret bearing slewing system, the hydraulic cylinder or the vehicle frame. At the same time, the brake cylinder was not allowed to touch the roadway when the swing axle was rebounded. It was therefore necessary to find and implement a suitable position for the drum brakes in the swing axle. As support for mounting the brake cylinders, the base plate was adapted and the brake cylinder was placed against the direction of travel.

The safe and reliable interaction of drum brakes, brake cylinder and slack adjusters had to be guaranteed without restriction.

In close cooperation, BPW was able to realise a swing axle for Meusburger that meets all of its stringent requirements.

Ideal balance under all conditions
With swing axles, low loaders can master any critical ground and difficult terrain. This is because the highly flexible equaliser bearing compensates for uneven ground and thus always ensures optimum grip on the ground and thus greater safety for the driver and the load. With swing axles from BPW, operators benefit from reliable, maintenance-friendly and space-saving technology from large-scale production. Swing axles offer a good compromise between minimum space requirements, high stroke requirements, high axle loads and large steering angles. Maximum steering angles require narrow track widths. With a track width of only 519mm at an axle load of six tonnes – swing axles from BPW are real space savers.

High lateral stability with hydraulics
During transport, high and heavy loads have a particular influence on the driving characteristics of a low loader. The high centre of gravity of the load can be a challenge for the driver and the low-loader. Added to this are the large compensating strokes required for long low-loaders and uneven ground. Here, hydraulic axle balancing is the solution. In this case a hydraulic axle equalisation is the best solution. Robust BPW axles – rigid or steered – are combined with customer-specific suspension elements from BPW and hydraulic cylinders provided by the customer to create a very stable running gear for low-loaders.

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