March 26, 2013
The suspension has been field-tested by customers for more than three million miles and features paired high-strength steel blades for each wheel end attached to the axle using the upper and lower axle seats. The design acts to control windup for smoother and more effective braking and improved traction especially at startup.
“The Volvo Blade Air Suspension is an example of Volvo’s enduring committment to ensuring Volvo drivers are the most productive in the industry,” said Frank Bio, Volvo Trucks product manager-trucks. “Ease of operation is a major factor in productivity as well as comfort for drivers, and if drivers are comfortable, they will be more productive on the job.”
In traditional highway trailing arm suspensions, braking and tractive forces cause the vehicle to rise during acceleration and drop during braking as the axle twists, increasing driveline bearing stresses and vibration. The Volvo Blade Air Suspension design prevents excessive axle windup and resulting vibration, creating a more comfortable ride. Additionally, as a result of being less torque reactive, the suspension allows input torque ratings up to 2,050 lb.-ft. higher gross-combination weight ratings.
The blades of the Volvo Blade Air Suspension are stiff vertically and flex laterally, allowing them to track and reduce tire scuffing, improving tire wear. Customer field tests reported up to a 25 percent improvement in tire wear.
The Volvo Blade Air Suspension is lighter weight and requires less maintenance than trailing arm suspensions. Huck U-bolts are used to connect the axle seats to the axle housing that never require re-torqueing. There are no wear pads to wear out or bushings that need lubrication or maintenance. Because of the unique construction of the suspension, axle alignment is easier on VBAS-equipped vehicles.