Autocar, headquartered in Hagerstown, Indiana, and Hendrickson, headquartered in Itasca, Illinois, say they have partnered to offer a new severe-duty axle and suspension system engineered by Hendrickson for Autocar’s refuse trucks operating on the toughest routes.
Autocar’s ACX truck features the Hendrickson Steertek NXT front-steer axle and integrated suspension, which are designed to deliver maximum performance as a complete system solution, Hendrickson says. “The fabricated Steertek NXT design integrates lightweight axle durability with advanced spring suspension technology, saving 60 pounds compared to traditional I-beam axle and multileaf spring systems,” the company adds.
“Autocar has a very different strategy from other OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) in the refuse business,” says Adam Burck, Autocar vice president of brand management. He adds that many OEMs use their own engines, transmissions, axles and suspensions. While he says this approach can offer efficiencies, it may not be able to address customers’ specific needs.
“We work with components suppliers to help us create the best possible tool for what the customer is doing,” Burck says of Autocar’s approach.
Autocar’s partnership with Hendrickson is not new; the two companies have been working together for more than 50 years.
“We like to work closely with the customer and work with their specific requirements to bring added benefits to the customer,” says Stephen Hampson, director of marketing and business development at Hendrickson.
He adds that refuse vehicles traditionally use an I-beam axle that can be “quite heavy.” Hendrickson’s Steertek NXT solution features box welded construction that is hollow inside, making it lighter than a forged I-beam design.
The company also is supplying Autocar with a suspension system. “We have developed a specific spring design that provides a softer ride but still has carrying capacity,” Hampson says.
The combination of the axle and suspension system allows Autocar to provide its users with a better ride and better handling, the partners say.
Burck says the Hendrickson axle and suspension system improve the ride quality of Autocar trucks when they are empty as well as when they are full.
These claims have been proven with field evaluation units that Hendrickson has places with key customers in real-life applications, Hampson says, and with “arduous” lab testing.