MATS, LOUISVILLE -- Intelligent control of the air compressor reduces the load on a truck’s engine, and soon this will be done electronically in an option to Meritor Wabco’s System Saver 1200 Plus air dryer, the company announced at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

Called Electronic Air Processing, or EAP, the “connectivity technology” uses fuel-saving software stored in an upgraded control module on Meritor Wabco’s anti-lock braking system, explained Patrick Kealy, the organization’s director, compression and braking. Those electronic controls replace the compressor’s mechanical governor and more precisely operate the mechanism.

EAP has been used for some time on Wabco’s compressors in Europe, and Volvo Trucks has begun getting an electronic system for the driers on its new vehicles, he said. Otherwise, the system will be new to North America when it becomes available later this year. The product will be called System Saver 1200 Plus EAP.

As now, air system loads are monitored and compared with those on the engine; if situations allow, the compressor stays off until the engine eases up on power, such as on level roads or while coasting downhill. That it’s done better saves as much as 1% in fuel, Kealy said.

The controls also monitor air flow through the dryer’s cartridge and alert the operator when it needs to be changed.

Integration of the air and braking control systems reduces cost for truck builders, and several have inquired about offering the option, he added.

The current Meritor Wabco ABS will get the more powerful controller about three months before the EAP option will be available to customers. System Saver 1200 Plus air dryers with EAP are now being fleet tested.  

For now, EAP will be a product for new trucks, Kealy said. It could conceivably be retrofitted to existing trucks, but their ABS controllers would have to be replaced with the more capable module, so it might not be financially feasible.

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