Feature: Hold the rolls, please

With today’s technology, there’s almost no reason for a tractor-trailer to roll over. While there are extreme cases – such as a truck hits a high curb or goes off the road into a ditch, in which cases, no degree or amount of technology can bail them out – rollovers caused by extreme maneuvers should be a thing of the past.

And, now, there’s a new trailer rollover-avoidance system from Meritor WABCO called RSSplus that will be available early this year for aftermarket retrofit through trailer OEM dealers. It’s a 2-modulator (2M) roll-mitigation system with side-by-side wheel end control. Unlike Meritor WABCO’s existing system, which relies, partly, on electronic braking system (EBS) technology, the new system will rely totally on antilock braking (ABS) technology and yaw sensing for simplicity’s sake.

The system senses wheel speed and yaw motion (instability), then selectively applies brakes to correct the situation.

Ron Szapacs, maintenance specialist, Air Products & Chemicals, Allentown, Pa., has reviewed the new system, and plans to test it when available. It’s especially important to Szapacs, since APC operates high-center-of-gravity, bulk-type trailers, which are especially susceptible to rollovers.

But, “We don’t outfit all of our equipment with new products, until we’ve tested a few examples for at least a year,” he says. “This one looks like it has the potential to reduce rollovers, especially where independent contractors are operating our equipment. I think it will offer a fast return on investment.”

A plus is the system helps prevent tire flat spotting and abnormal tire wear, and offers simplified installation and advanced communication capabilities through an onboard data recording unit with event broadcasting capability via power-line carrier communications or telematic devices.

The RSSplus electronic control unit can communicate between the tractor and trailer, including suspension weight, tire pressure, wheel-end temperatures or other customer-specific data.

Configurations include 2S/2M (2 sensors, 2 modulators) 4S/2M (4 sensors, 2 modulators and 4S/2M +1 (4S/3M, 4 sensors, 3 modulators).

RSSplus is backward-compatible with existing trailers and can be retrofitted for somewhere south of $1,500, as long as the trailer has ABS.

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