Equipment specialist, SAF-Holland, will have double the products at this year’s SOLUTRANS event in Lyon, showcasing its trailer axle and suspension systems alongside the brake and suspension systems from its recently acquired subsidiary, Haldex of Sweden.
The highlight of the expanded company exhibit – which will be found in Hall 3 AO15 – is a series production version of its SAF TRAKr axle, which recuperates kinetic energy from braking into electrical power to feed on-board systems such as fridges and tanker pumps.
Starting from drive speeds of 15km/h, torque passes from both wheel ends along split camshafts, through a 1:14 ratio gearbox to spin a 20kW generator. High-voltage DC electricity can then be fed directly to on-board power consumers or to batteries, helping reduce the parasitic loads on the vehicle’s fridge, vehicle internal combustion engine or electric drive.
The TRAKr axle – of which only prototypes have been previous shown in France – will sit alongside other products, including SAF-Holland’s MODUL axle, fifth wheels and V. Orlandi towing components. It is based on the SAF-Holland Entra-disc axle, meaning spare parts and service know how are readily available.
Meanwhile, Haldex will showcase its latest trailer EBS braking system EBS+4.0, the LifeSeal+ brake actuator, its recently launched TEM+ trailer emergency module, and its new TPMS 2.0 system, which complies with the new European Union directive on tyre pressure monitoring systems, due to be announced in 2024.
It’s an exciting time for the freshly expanded company, which has begun the process of bringing Haldex into the fold with a number of sales functions. Trailer-users, trailer OEMs and aftermarket clients in France can now speak to the SAF-Holland team, in French, about both brands. Having a single point of contact and a single supplier, for two big brands in trailer chassis systems, offers a huge benefit to clients, the company says.
Business is concentrated at SAF-Holland’s base in Ablis, near Paris, where 25 staff carry out sales, technical support, service and back-office functions in the trailer and aftermarket divisions.
“So far, the process of integration has been very smooth,” said SAF-Holland France Managing Director, Jean Baghdad.
“We already know our Haldex colleagues, as we have met them at trade shows, and through customers. We have the same understanding of the market, which for me is very important, so integrating Haldex into the SAF world is easier, as we are focusing on the same issues concerning customers and markets and have a shared focus on product quality and a culture of strong customer service.”
The Ablis, France site houses a 5,000 sqm logistics facility that is able to hold spare parts produced in SAF-Holland factories in Germany, and in Italy, products by V.Orlandi, a corporate subsidiary, are held.
Haldex, meanwhile, continues to run its production facilities for kits in Weyersheim, in the west of France, independently of SAF-Holland.
The next step in unification of the French operations will be bringing together service, Baghdad says, as both brands continue to currently offer separate warranty claims and servicing networks.
“We are looking to optimise these networks to be more complementary in terms of service, and geographically as well,” he said.
More than 150 independent workshops in France are approved by SAF-Holland to work on its products, having completed a technical audit, and many of those now work with the company’s newly acquired brand.
“It’s the same situation with Haldex,” Baghdad said – adding that he predicts even more synergies will soon be established especially within the trailer chassis product line. “We now have to work together to have only one network that is bigger.”
In terms of the integrations of systems in vehicles, such as combining telematics and trailer EBS systems, SAF-Holland expects even better harmonisation, especially as SAF-Holland and Haldex engineers begin working together on combined products.
“We are already working together to combine axle and suspension systems, telematics and EBS control into one intelligent unit,” said SAF-Holland Management Board Chairman, Alexander Geis, following the acquisition of all outstanding Haldex shares in March. “With innovative products and solutions in the areas of connectivity, electrification and autonomous driving, we will proactively shape the transformation of the transportation industry.”
With two leading European commercial vehicle brands now united, and coming together to meet French customers this autumn, SAF-Holland is confident that the future looks bright for commercial trailers