Neway Has Aggressive Expansion Plans
December 15, 1999
A newly acquired and restructured Neway International has aggressive plans to expand its presence in the brake and suspension markets.
Two years ago it was restructured into five business units to boost flagging sales by getting closer to customers and developing more new products in a shorter time frame. It was acquired by the Holland group earlier this year and is now known as Holland Neway International, Inc.
Neway plans to introduce two or three new products a year. One of the first to come will be a smooth-riding cab suspension expected to be introduced by one truck manufacturer in six months, according to Bill Wakefield, director of Trailer Suspensions and VP of European Operations.
It also has a goal to be a worldwide leader in air suspension valving. It began making valves in 1972 and currently has around 80% market share in the U.S. A total of six different valves are offered and two new ones will be introduced early next year.
The introduction of the Life Seal product in 1996 has helped the company's Anchorlok division grab 37% of the spring brake business on trucks and tractors and 45% of the trailer business. Anchorlok brakes became standard at Mack Trucks in November. The Life Seal product has a Gore-Tex membrane which filters ambient air and keeps water and dirt out of the brake chamber whenever the spring brake is applied.
Neway is working on a new spring brake to eliminate water damage to brake chambers which occurs when when trailers are parked at flooded loading docks with inadequate drainage.
Trailer suspensions still constitute the biggest part of Neway's business. The company is a major supplier to Wabash with its Cargo Care air suspensions. Commercial Manager Russ Franks says 58% of all van and reefer trailers are now built with air suspensions. Flatbeds, tankers, lowboys and other specialty trailers are now 65% on air and growing.
The weight penalty compared to a spring suspension is down to 200 pounds compared to 800 pounds only eight years ago while the cost premium has dropped from 200-300% to just 15%.
One of Neway's biggest technical breakthroughs has been its NEWeld weldless for suspension mounting points to the axle. The quality of the weld has always been the weakest link in axles-suspension manufacturing. By bonding and clamping the suspension to the axle, the trailer OE eliminates welding on the tube, dramatically reducing axle stresses and allows the use of thinner wall axles which reduces weight and cost. Weight and cost is also reduced by using shorter brake camshafts. The only welding in NEWeld is on the clamp, not the axle tube.
The NEWeld process was tested for over 4 years before the company switched over from the traditional welding process. The company says it has yet to break an axle at the connection point.
Neway hopes to use the NEWweld technology to connect air suspensions to drive axles and to apply it to the square trailer axles and brakes built by Pro Par, also owned by Holland.