FUWA K Hitch

World best practice

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Melbourne company Fuwa K-Hitch is right at the centre of a global network of expert axle and suspension businesses that has set out to revolutionise the transport equipment market.

Fuwa K-Hitch’s (FKH) long-standing involvement with Chinese manufacturing giant Fuwa has not only catapulted the company into the highest echelon of the Australian axle and suspension market over the past decade, but also helped it build an international support network that is unique in the transport equipment scene.

Via Fuwa, FKH is connected to US axle and suspension expert AXN as well as European counterpart Valx, allowing it to grow and nurture what could be the most complex axle and suspension knowledge base in the world. Also part of the Fuwa support network is innovative Dutch brand, VDL Weweler, which has developed a unique Modular Bolt-On Suspension (MBS) that continues to set the FKH, AXN and Valx triad apart in the trucking scene.

The key to VDL Weweler’s MBS system – available in Australia exclusively via FKH – is a parabolic trailing arm that acts as an integrated roll stabiliser and guiding arm for the axle and is manufactured in a new, world-unique facility in The Netherlands.

“By being part of the Fuwa family we have access to the latest in modern axle and suspension technology,” says Chris Barrett, National Sales Manager at FKH. “The resulting suspension and axle package is able to provide excellent weight savings without compromising on strength, stability and life of components, which is critical in the Australian transport market.”

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According to Chris, the MBS system does not only simplify product engineering by forging the axle clamp into the actual trailing arm, but will also positively affect operational performance by keeping weight down. “By continuously minimising the amount of components used in the design we also minimise the risk of failure,” he says. “The MBS suspension module only features one trailing arm, one shock absorber, one hanger bracket and two tail ends, and it is friendly on the axle because there is no welding involved. On top of that, the design is able to absorb stresses in a way no conventional solution has ever been able to.”

Chris explains that the wide, weld-free clamping area, combined with the small diameter pivot bushing of the suspension and Fuwa’s unique 146mm axle beam, will lead to “superb” roll stiffness and stability – particularly for loads with a high center of gravity. The result is less stress on the axle, and with it an increase in service life.

Another unique selling point is that the suspension is ‘locked’ in position by a groove in the axle beam, providing a “high degree of modularity” in spring track, ride height and offset, as Chris puts it. “By removing the axle seat, there is no need for welding in the axle. In combination with the in-built clamping area, Fuwa’s unique axle design and leading wheel end technology, this realignment-free, non-welded solution will provide exceptional roll stiffness while putting less stress on the axle. It’s the ideal package for on highway vehicles, particularly PBS equipment.

“Of course things can and always do happen, but the major benefit of the system is that whether due to accident or simply end of service life of components, all parts of the suspension and axle are easily replaced or repaired – unlike complete integrated designs – therefore maximising and controlling costs over the life of the trailer.”

According to Chris, Fuwa’s combined knowledge has led to the creation of a product that will be hard to beat in the Australian marketplace: “I think having the new VDL Weweler plant join our global support network will enable us to be more competitive across the board, especially here in Australia,” he says. “The message we really want to get across is that MBS has evolved into a globally proven technology that is backed by years of development and testing, and coming out of one of the most advanced manufacturing facilities in the world. The benefit for Australian road transport will be enormous.”


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