A RECENTLY introduced supplementary air suspension system is giving safety, body-roll stability and savings on wear and tear on truck parts for a Sydney long-haul transport company involved in building, mining and primary products.
The Loadshare helper air spring suspension system - manufactured by Firestone and proven in service with some of the world's hardest-working vehicles - is used by Jaz Transport, based at Catherine Fields in Sydney's semi-rural southwest.
Jaz Transport has been in the long-haul transport business for more than 40 years. For the past 30 years, the company has been operating 42.5 tonne 18-wheel semi-trailers on routes between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Company manager Fred Zammit says the types of cargo his trucks carry tends to vary greatly. He started his business by carrying coal, but since the coal industry has been subject to fluctuations Jaz Transport went on to transport grain and fertiliser as well.
"Now we carry everything from bedding foam to concrete pavers and everything in-between. We also carry a lot of pallettised stuff, including fruit and vegetables."
One of the family-run business' new Kenworth semi-trailers was recently fitted with the Loadshare system, which is distributed nationally by Airbag Man in association with Firestone industrial product supplier Air Springs Supply .
Adoption of the system has produced some surprising results in the road handling and performance of its 'big rigs'.
"The truck definitely handles a lot better," says Jaz Transport's heavy vehicle mechanic and truck driver Paul Zammit. "And it not only handles a lot better, but the air springs give a much softer ride in the cabin."
Because the air springs work in conjunction with the parabolic (leaf) springs, the truck suspension is more rigid and therefore more stable, giving the driver roll stability.
The Loadshare system allows drivers to transfer load onto the front axle with the turn of a knob, permitting tuning of the suspension for the best ride available in both conventional and cabover trucks.
The system incorporates a Firestone Air Spring isolator above each of the truck's front spring U-bolts and the underside of the vehicle chassis.
It is intended for use on primary front suspensions that have 89 or 102mm-wide leaf springs. It complements the Ride-Rite air helper suspension supplied by Airbag Man for 4WDs, vans, utes and lighter vehicles.
The company says the Loadshare system has been specifically designed to offer benefits to transport companies including maintaining correct steering geometry, improving vehicle steering stability, and reducing the incidence of leaf spring wear and repair.