In conversation: SAF-Holland CEO, Alexander Geis, and President EMEA, Christoph Günter.
Diesel engines are still the norm everywhere, not only for all kinds of trucks, but also for Trailer Refrigeration Units (TRUs). Since 2012, Schmitz Cargobull offered its own cooling engine, as an alternative to the widely known TRUs of Thermo King and Carrier.
It’s unlikely Socrates had axle and suspension design in mind when he stated that the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing* – and yet he perfectly summarised the sector’s collective state of mind in 2017 AD, according to some of the most prominent names in the industry.
It would be easy to lose orientation among the flood of perturbing economic news that have kept the world community on edge since the beginning of 2016 – starting with the Chinese stock market rout in January and most recently culminating in the UK’s decision to leave the European Union – or dismiss them as acts of randomness that defy any kind of strategic preparation.
It’s fair to say that the official launch of the Valx brand at the 2010 IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Germany was a game-changing moment for the European trailer axle industry. Then part of Holland’s MCB Group, the novice seemingly ignored the traditional market hierarchy and staged itself as a fresh alternative to the German establishment – boasting a distinct international edge and a firm commitment to innovation.
Technically the word Gigant, German for giant, doesn’t quite capture what is, in essence, anarchetypal German Mittelstand business with some 195 staff and revenue around the €50 million mark.
It was only a question of time until the global app craze would reach the transport equipment industry. With anything from banking to grocery shopping now manageable via smartphone, the advent of an app that could access critical trailer data was merely the next logical step on humankind’s journey to a fully connected society.
There is something serene and strangely revealing about the two-hour drive between Knorr-Bremse’s busy head office in Munich andthe company’s high-profile brake plant in the country town of Aldersbach, located halfway to Prague in Germany’s rural southeast.
It’s safe to say that Roll Stability Control (RSC) is now a common optional extension of ABS and EBS technology on powered vehicles, not only in Europe, but also in the US and Japan. In fact, it is often part of a more extensive ‘ESC’ stability control package. RSS, also known as RSP, is the equivalent feature in the trailer world, and is now standard on all TEBS systems currently available.
As fifth wheels are vital safety components, their development is slow, steady and deeply considered – but that doesn’t mean they are not subject to continuous research and development. Global Trailer had the opportunity to meet Wendy Cowan, Jason Howe and Rob Nissen, the team responsible for driving SAF-Holland’s fifth wheel program forward.