10 July, 2018
Transportation Components' Duroline and Eren friction material - an aftermarket ‘brake-through' for safe, reliable and more cost-effective trucks and trailers
South Africa's heavy vehicle transportation sector is a
highly competitive industry, and those involved in it are constantly looking
for ways in which to save costs.
Most transport companies understand that investing in a top-quality
heavy transportation truck and trailer will ultimately deliver the lowest cents-per-kilometre.
However, once this vehicle is out of warranty - and the time comes to start
replacing for example brake linings with aftermarket components - opting to
purchase the most economical product may not be the most financially prudent
"A highly critical part of any truck and trailer
combination is the braking system. All too often, we read of truck and bus
accidents, which are invariably very serious," says Transportation Components' Sales
Manager Patrick Bruinette, who has over three decades' extensive experience in
the field of heavy transportation and vehicle braking.
Bruinette explains that the sheer weight of a truck tends
to amplify the consequences of an accident - as does the number of passengers
carried in a bus.
"For this reason, when it comes to heavy vehicle brakes,
the quality of both the maintenance and the aftermarket parts that are fitted as
replacements are of crucial concern," he adds.
Truck and bus accidents are often blamed on faulty brakes.
However this is not always the case Bruinette observes, as the way in which
drivers operate their vehicles and use their brakes is also a significant cause
"For example, in the case of a truck-and-trailer
combination, we find that the drivers drive down hills using the trailer
control valve only, which means that only 50% of the braking system is being
applied," he explains. The problem arises when an incorrectly-used braking
system starts overheating and friction- and brake-fade diminish stopping
Friction material has certain
restrictions - the hotter the friction material gets, the less stopping power
it has. This loss is called ‘friction fade'.
On the other hand, ‘brake fade' happens
when the brake drum starts heating up and expanding; and the brake chambers
have to push out further to exert effective force on the drum. The longer the
stroke the diaphragm-type brake chamber has to make, the less efficient braking
becomes, and is consequently referred to as ‘brake fade'.
Apart from poor driving habits,
maintenance - or its neglect - is another contributory factor in many truck and
bus accidents today. For example, Bruinette has experience of supplying parts for
a truck that had been driven from Harare to Johannesburg with the brakes on
only two of its eight wheels actually in working order. "Unfortunately,
incidents like this are all too common," he continues.
Most mechanics who work on heavy
vehicles understand the critical nature of the work they are doing. However, what
they have little or no control over is the quality of the aftermarket
components that they are fitting.
In the very competitive heavy
transportation industry, those in procurement are frequently under pressure to
keep costs to a minimum. In addition, fleet owners/operators often do not fully
understand the very considerable differences in price-related quality which
exist in components such as brake linings.
Transportation Components has taken
samples of its brake lining friction material and tested them in a laboratory,
which has given them a rule-of-thumb guideline as to the durability of various
friction materials in service. "Compared to various lining materials from
second-tier manufacturers, our friction material original equipment
manufacturers (OEMs) Duroline's brake liners and Eren's disc pads - which are
the ‘gold standard' in the industry - proved to between 30% and 50% more
durable," asserts Bruinette.
"We put a lot of ongoing
effort into educating fleet owners and others in the transportation industry
about the varying quality of brake friction material," he continues,
adding that Transportation Components offers its customers parts that match OEM
quality but at a considerably reduced price.
Bruinette however cautions that, for
companies importing components, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS)
issues a ‘letter of authority' (‘LOA') which gives permission to import
specific components provided these parts meet certain minimum standards. Fleet
owners need to be aware of this, and when buying low-priced components need to
ask to see the supplier's LOA, in order to ascertain whether it is legally
correct; and whether the components which are being procured meet the required
Heavy vehicle owners/operators also
need to be aware of potential issues in the relining of brake shoes. This is a
very specialised operation, particularly when it comes to riveting linings to
brake shoes. A special piece of equipment is required to make sure the rivets
are both removed and fitted correctly.
"There have been instances where
rivets have been simply drilled out, a procedure which tends to enlarge the
hole in the shoe. Sometimes brake relining shops will use one size of rivet -
irrespective of the size of the mating hole in the brake shoe. Substandard
practices such as these can lead to problems when shoes that have been relined
in this way are refitted to trucks," Bruinette advises.
A further important aspect that those
involved in the maintenance ‘chain' - from the fleet or vehicle owner to the
mechanic - need to be aware of, is the importance of adherence to the
specifications on the data plate (which is usually attached on the side or at
the back of the vehicle).
However, experience has shown that the specifications
on the data plate are quite often ignored, explains Bruinette. Trailers, in
particular, are often given only cursory maintenance, while the truck-tractor
receives the very thorough levels of maintenance. "It is vital that trailer
brakes are maintained according to the specifications on the data plate, as it
is the trailer that has to actually carry the load, and the trailer brake
system which comprises at least 50 percent of the complete vehicle combination
braking system," he continues.
"Ultimately, in highlighting these
factors, Transportation Components is concerned to reduce the cost-per-kilometre
for heavy-vehicle operators by supplying top quality aftermarket parts and, in
so doing, assisting drivers, mechanics, fleet managers and owners.
Too often the focus is on the
initial purchase price of the vehicle - with subsequent disregard of the
quality of components required to keep the ‘rubber on the road' and the vehicle
operating at peak efficiency, reliability and safety. Transportation Components
has been striving to change the prevailing mind set, and through this
educational process, working to contribute to a safer, more profitable
transportation industry in South Africa," he concludes.
|Through the exclusive and revolutionary Wave Process,
Duroline offers linings that guarantee higher
durability, better performance and lower noise levels.
||Compared to various lining
materials from second-tier manufacturers, Duroline's
friction material, which is the ‘gold standard' in the
industry, proved to be between 30% and 50% more durable.