CORRECTED -- SAF-Holland says a new P89 air disc brake for trailers will greatly reduce the price premium compared to drum brakes, and an upgraded P89 Plus will virtually eliminate brake maintenance for seven years.
Company executives said they showed the new series to fleet managers at meetings and trade shows earlier this year. They formally announced the brakes at a press conference in Grand Rapids, Mich., June 9.
“We firmly believe that disc brakes are superior” to drums because of shorter stopping distances and reduced maintenance, said Steffen Schewerda, the firm’s president, Americas. “We know that discs have had a prohibitively high premium as trailer builders price these products.”
But the P89 base model should cost about $1,500 more than drum brakes now used on trailer tandems, he said. And the P89 Plus, while retaining a more usual $3,500 price premium, will soon pay for itself in superior performance, long life and low maintenance costs.
“SAF-Holland has leveraged their global supplier network to create economies of scale that drive down the cost of technology,” said Jeff Talaga, vice president of sales and strategic development for the Americas. “We are able to pass this cost savings to our North American fleet customers and for the first time put air disc brake technology within reach of fleets large and small."
In addition to reducing the upcharge, the base P89 will be “weight-neutral” compared to drum brakes, said Roger Jensen, product manager for trailer brakes and axles. The P89 Plus is a premium package that includes a beefier, bi-metal rotor that resists heat distortion and comes with a 7-year maintenance-free bearing system. The Plus weighs 30 pounds more per axle than the P89.
At the heart of the P89 is SAF’s SBS 2220 caliper and 430-mm-diameter by 45-mm-thick heavy duty vented rotor. The dual piston SBS 2220 caliper applies a more even pressure pattern across the brake lining and 30% more wear volume than competitive single piston designs, Jensen said. Both feature self-adjustment, quick-change pads and require no greasing, he said.
Traditional wheel seals, a common source of premature wheel end failure, are completely eliminated. Precision bearing spacers are installed between the inner and outer bearings to precisely control bearing pre-load for maximum life. Extensive product testing and long experience in Europe has shown the P89 Plus bearing system provides four times better bearing life.
Available on the SAF CBX air ride and ULX spring ride suspensions, the P89 Series provides advantages of air disc brake performance to nearly all fleet operations, whether high mileage long-haul or demanding vocational trailer applications, Schewerda said. The disc brakes go into production in July and should be available on new trailers soon after.
NOTE: This article was updated on June 10 to correct an error about pricing and the spelling of Schewerda's name.