Link Manufacturing, Ltd. introduced its ROI Cabmate Semi-Active Cab Suspension. The newest and most advanced version of its popular Cabmate cab suspension features Link’s Road-Optimized Innovations (ROI) technology, delivering a level of ride quality that responds to road and weather conditions.
“In 1980, the Cabmate premium cab suspension irrevocably improved safety and comfort in Class 7 and 8 cabs. Today we are the global leader in cab suspensions with our two millionth Cabmate rolling off the assembly line this May,” said Jim Huls, president of Link Manufacturing. “The new ROI Cabmate you are about to see will usher in a revolution in computer-controlled suspension systems for a variety of vehicle applications, and Link is leading that revolution.”
The ROI Cabmate Semi-Active Cab Suspension employs multiple sensors and is constantly assessing environmental circumstances, while responding simultaneously. An accelerometer monitors the motion of the cab, while a position sensor measures the position and velocity of the cab relative to the frame.
Using Link’s proprietary algorithms, the system’s electronic control unit (ECU) interprets the stream of information from all sensors in real time and responds by continuously adjusting the stiffness of shock absorbers and by filling or exhausting air from the system’s air springs to optimize ride stability and comfort. The entire ROI system operates on less than 10 watts of power.
“With Link’s ROI Cabmate, operators will enjoy the enhanced ride quality of a vehicle in a constant state of dynamic dampening,” said Michael Hof, vice president of new business development for Link. “With adjustments being made hundreds of times per second, the system can respond appropriately at each instant, thus drivers and passengers immediately have a very soft shock when traveling on a smooth highway, and a very stiff shock when driving on uneven or off-road terrain. The system deals with unexpected encounters, like potholes, in real time.”
After transitioning from on- to off-highway conditions, cabs can sustain structural damage, vehicles can become harder to handle, and drivers can be forced to decrease speed to avoid losing control. Even at reduced speeds, operators may be exposed to dynamic forces that, according to ISO 2631-1:1997 standards, can cause internal injury over time. The ROI Cabmate Semi-Active Cab Suspension can help prevent health risks, handling impediments, and asset destruction that decrease worker satisfaction, productivity, and revenue potential.
In the past, advanced seating has been used to keep drivers more stable and to reduce discomfort. However, seating doesn’t prevent steering wheels, gear shifters, and accelerator and brake pedals from moving with dynamic force around the driver. Structural components may also still be damaged, and the contents of the cab, including those occupying a sleeper compartment, are still at risk.
During the ROI Cabmate’s development, Link’s 39 years of cab suspension experience positioned it like no other to put the prototypes through their paces. Link is certified to IATF 16949 standards (previously TS16949), and over the years the company has assembled a testing lab that quantified the new suspension’s performance.
The lab data collected indicated a significant improvement in all areas of measurable ride quality performance, according to the company. The quantitative difference could be examined by comparing the vehicle’s numerical ride characteristics, but for the qualitative differences, Link set its sights on logging a million miles of field-testing, using hardworking fleets and real-world conditions.
“As a family-owned, customer- and employee-focused corporation since 1920, we are always interested in learning about new technologies that can improve driver comfort, increase job satisfaction, promote safety, and reduce maintenance costs,” said Gary Van Ekelenburg, director of equipment for C.R. England. “Like most fleets, we are very familiar with Link’s traditional Cabmate suspension, so field-testing Link’s new ROI Cabmate was a logical business decision and gave our drivers and our company a chance to experience the future of HD cab suspensions.”
The ROI Cabmate Semi-Active Cab Suspension System also features electronic height control. The system minimizes air consumption compared to traditional height control valves, because it does not fill or exhaust air in response to dynamic suspension motion. The system is designed to produce a better overall ride regardless of road surfaces and atmospheric forces, such as wind sheer.
“Fleets will find numerous advantages associated with any vehicle fitted with Link’s ROI Cabmate Semi-Active Cab Suspension System, beginning with protection of the driver and the whole-cab asset,” said Hof. “Reducing driver and vehicle fatigue and enhancing ergonomics may enable operators to traverse an uneven route more quickly and safely, enabling productivity to rise and additional runs to be made in a single shift. And what fleet or owner-operator doesn’t want that?”
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