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Bus technology in truck aftermarket push

One of Europe’s leading manufacturers of bus and coach automatic transmissions sees growing potential for business development in the flourishing UK truck aftermarket.

Voith, a large German manufacturer of automatic gearboxes, fluid couplings and compressors, is taking a CV Show stand for the first time this year as a result.

Voith air compressors are well-liked by many bus manufacturers and bus fleet engineers. The LP490 two-cylinder Voith compressor has also been fitted as original equipment on some Euro-VI trucks such as the Mercedes Actros, Antos and Arocs for the past three years. Now Voith’s wholly-owned UK subsidiary, Voith Turbo of Croydon, is keen to make truck operators aware that it can supply replacement compressors and other components.

John Domigan, Voith Turbo Sales and Marketing Manager, said, “Many UK truck operators may not be aware that their vehicles are fitted with Voith compressors. If a compressor needs replacing we are now geared up to supply them direct from our Croydon head office.”

Specific advantages claimed for these compressors include better fuel economy, better compressed air quality, and longer duty cycles. “The newly developed idle system reduces fuel consumption by as much as one litre per 100 kilometres,” says Domigan. “And as a result of lower temperatures the engine oil is subject to less stress. Oil cracking and the formation of harmful substances are therefore prevented.”

A good example of Voith heavy truck transmission technology will be on display at the CV Show in the shape of what Voith calls VIAB (from the German for “wear-free integrated starting and braking system”). Daimler calls the VIAB a “turbo retarder clutch” and uses it in the latest Mercedes SLT heavy-haulage tractive units at gross combination weights up to 250 tonnes.

Slow-speed heavy-haulage operations always place huge demands on clutches and gearboxes. The safe choice usually is a torque converter and epicyclic, fully-automatic gearbox, as produced by Allison and ZF as well as Voith. But in this case Mercedes-Benz has stuck with its well-proven PowerShift 3 G280-16, 16-ratio automated-manual gearbox, coupled to the latest version of the novel Voith VIAB combined fluid coupling, lock-up clutch and hydrodynamic retarder.

One of its main benefits in this heavy-haulage application is precise and wear-free movement away from rest as well as low-speed manoeuvring. Shortly after the truck starts moving the fluid coupling element of the component is by-passed and the conventional friction-plate clutch engaged.