Forward thinking

Turning a truck is a challenge for the driver, but also for the trailer manufacturer. With its ‘Active Reverse Control’ electro-hydraulic auxiliary steering system, BPW has turned trailers into manoeuvring marvels and radically simplified installation. equipment manufacturer is upping the ante with wheels that can also be steered while driving forwards.

Charming old towns, narrow loading ramps, overcrowded car parks, busy construction sites, old-fashioned petrol stations and quaint little dairy farms have all one thing in common – they are all a nightmare for any truck driver.

Turning or threading a trailer in the tightest of spaces makes even the most experienced truckers work up a sweat. One hapless move and there’s a risk of damage that jeopardises both time and business plans.

The vehicle industry has therefore long grappled with the development of all kinds of auxiliary steering systems. However, most of them proved to be too complicated to operate, too complex to install and ultimately too expensive for trailers in most price categories and application scenarios.

But now, BPW is offering Active Reverse Control (ARC),  a solution that immediately impressed experts and drivers alike.

It is based on the proven BPW self-steering axles and an innovative gyroscope sensor technology controlling the steering angle electro-hydraulically. ARC facilitates and speeds up previously hair-raising turning manoeuvres, reduces the risk of accidents and also enables drivers to fulfil the demanding transport tasks more quickly.

But it is also the plug & play system design for the vehicle manufacturer that has helped the ARC achieve industry-wide recognition.

How it works

The steering cylinder and sensors are mounted directly on the axle. This means the steering system is completely free of the clunky, conventional steel rods.

Image: BPW.

There is also no need for an extra sensor on the king pin. ARC’s control unit and the hydraulic tank can be mounted anywhere under the trailer.

Power can be supplied either via the towing vehicle or independently via a battery. This unprecedented flexibility and compact design enable vehicle manufacturers to equip a wide range of trailers with ARC – including low loaders, where the installation space is a matter of millimetres.

The system covers a range of drum and disc brakes.

A streamlined installation is an economical one which allows manufacturers to target broader trailer market segments with ARC. BPW delivers the axles with pre-assembled parts ex works, ensuring a seamless integration process. The software is also pre-installed.

As another industry first, BPW has developed a smartphone app that enables effortless initial commissioning and remote diagnostics. Notably, no additional adaptations to the vehicle frame are required, eliminating unnecessary complexity. A sample test report in accordance with ECE R79 and EMC certificates in accordance with ECE R10 are included for compliance and safety.

Enhanced agility

When reversing, sensors and electrical and hydraulic systems ensure that the wheels are steered at the optimum angle. The driver can also manually select the steering angle when reversing by remote control. This gives the driver even greater manoeuvrability. Now, for the first time, the operator can remotely steer the wheels when manoeuvring forward at speeds up to 10 km/h with the same steering angle as reversing.

Previously, during forward manoeuvring, the wheels followed the natural movement of the self-steering axle. However, this required the vehicle to travel a few metres.

Now the wheels can also be manually steered forwards. With radio control, the driver can drive the trailer both forwards and backwards in confined spaces, reducing the number of manoeuvres required.

This saves time, effort and wear on the wheels.

The BPW engineers took up suggestions from drivers who had gained experience with the ARC. Drivers and vehicle engineers were correspondingly enthusiastic during the first  drives that BPW offered the manufacturers with a test vehicle.

The additional function does not make the ARC any more complicated – forward driving is activated by the EBS system.

To implement the new feature, BPW makes clever use of the EBS’ ISS (Integrated Speed Switch) interface. The ARC will be connected to the EBS with an additional cable set. BPW supplies the appropriate cable set for the vehicle ex works. This means that the ARC remains a plug & play system, with which BPW is once again proving itself to be a forward thinker within the industry.

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