Foreword from the Board
As we indicated in the last newsletter, this is a time of change for us. But, as you already know, change is not something we are afraid of.
One very important development, however, is Eric Bruil's decision to step down as shareholder and director of VB effective as of 1 July this year.
Eric Bruil has been coping with health problems for some time now, and has gradually found it harder over recent years to contend with the rapid pace of change at VB.
After much discussion and reaching a mutually agreeable settlement, we decided to go our separate ways in terms of the business. But I'm glad to say Eric and I remain firm friends with or without our business connection.
So, this is the start of a new era: VB will now have to carry on without the B, but that is going to be good too!
We - that is the employees and I - have every confidence in the future of the company and will put our all into achieving our aims.
The trade fair season is once more upon us. In fact I worked out that in a period 83 consecutive days, 50 of those are trade fair days at 12 fairs around the world.
“Isn't that taking it a bit far?”, I hear you thinking. Well, you're quite right. But, the thing is I always say there's nothing sexy about a product like air suspension. What I mean is that in our job you're working under vehicles, so we're not exactly high profile! After all, it's dark down there and, once the vehicle's done one trip, dirty as well. So, definitely not sexy!
Trade fairs are a fantastic opportunity to make ourselves “visible” and to meet customers and particularly the end users. This is our chance to pick up ideas for new developments. Trade fairs are the only real opportunity we have to meet the end user. This is particularly valuable as we no longer sell directly to end users and have not done so for some time: everything passes through our partners, dealers and fitting stations instead.
Unfortunately, my additional workload means I will not be there for all of the trade fair days, and I hope this is something you will understand. However, I can assure you that my colleagues will be able to provide you with advice and information just as well as I could. In any event, I will certainly be popping up here and there at the different fairs, as we have a great deal of news to share.
VB-Airsuspension on track for Caravan Salon 2012, Düsseldorf!
Caravan Salon Düsseldorf (CSD),
the world's no. 1 trade fair for motorhomes, caravans and accessories, will take place between 24 August and 2 September,
and VB-Airsuspension will again have a stand this year. You can find VB-Airsuspension in Hall 13, Stand E58 or on Stand FG13-13 in the outdoor park.
VB-Airsuspension will once again have a number of interesting innovations on show:
Iveco Daily “Generation 2” - unique improvement to the comfort of “4-corner” air suspension for the Iveco Daily
This was still being discussed behind the scenes last year, but has gone into production this year:
VB-Airsuspension has developed a unique comfort improvement specifically for motorhomes at the top end of the market. Many premium motorhomes are based on the Iveco Daily platform, and it is for this platform that VB-Airsuspension has now enhanced the 4-corner air suspension system. The system is already one of the most comfortable air suspension systems in its class, but the engineers at VB-Airsuspension believed there was still room for improvement. They have succeeded in making the system even more comfortable, without any loss of stability, and have introduced even greater safety: the bar has been raised once again. We are curious to see how long it will take the competition to catch up.
The latest simulation software, innovation and 19 years of experience with electronic controls for air suspension
systems all went into making this development a success.
- 40% faster raising and lowering
- 15% more comfort
- 12% more stability
- 5% less weight
2. Full air suspension on VW Transporter (T5) with AL-KO chassis
In its capacity as a development partner of AL-KO, VB-Airsuspension has developed full rear axle air suspension for the Volkswagen Transporter T5 in combination with the well-known AL-KO AMC chassis.
The combination of VW Transporter and AMC chassis is a popular one, especially in the motorhome segment. AL-KO and VB-Airsuspension's partnership means that motorhomes built on this platform can also enjoy additional comfort and stability.
Benefits of the system:
- Improved spring comfort + 24%
- Constant ride height
- Improved driveability and stability +18%
- Improved protection for fragile goods
- More comfortable ride for the passenger
- Kneeling function for loading and unloading goods
- Reduced tyre/brake wear
- More environmentally friendly, reduced CO2 emissions
- Spare wheel remains accessible under the vehicle
In addition to the already familiar air suspension systems, VB-Airsuspension now offers a complete range of coil springs for various types of motorhomes. These springs, marketed under the name VB-CoilSpring, improve comfort and provide spring reinforcement, and are available for the front and rear axle. The VB-CoilSpring (VB-CS) range is made up of replacement and/or auxiliary coil springs.
The fitting of reinforced coil springs provides a non-adjustable solution for suspension problems. Reinforced suspension primarily ensures that the vehicle returns to the original (or a higher) ride height, which increases the spring travel and hence improves stability. This solution is frequently adopted for vehicles that always have a heavy load when in use, such as motorhomes.
Benefits of VB-CoilSpring:
- Relatively cheap solution for suspension problems
- Ride height is increased (4-6 cm), depending on the spring
- Longer spring travel compared to the original springs
- Less drift, thus protecting the superstructure
- Less rattling of items in your motorhome's cupboards
4. Completely new range of VB-SemiAir (VB-SA) auxiliary air suspension systems
Auxiliary air suspension as Basic or Comfort kit. The largest air bellows that are technically feasible for the type of vehicle are fitted. The Basic kit has a 2-chamber system with 2 inflation valves as standard. The Comfort kit is also a 2-chamber system, but includes 2 pressure gauges, 2 comfort switches, a
“ heavy duty” compressor and a dashboard or seat console in which the pressure gauges and comfort switches are mounted. This 'plug-and-play' system is supplied completely pre-assembled and tested.
Benefits of VB-SemiAir:
- Plug-and-play system, for quick fitting and reduced risk of incorrect installation
- Available with vehicle-specific dashboard/seat consoles
- Largest possible bellows always used
- 2-chamber system for all models
- High quality
- Clear installation manual in 4 languages supplied with every kit
- Standard “heavy duty“ compressor
We are delighted to announce that Martin Fabisch has become the new Director of VB-Airsuspension Deutschland GmbH. Prior to this he worked as Sales Manager for VB-Airsuspension Deutschland for two years.
Martin is an engineer and has more than 17 years experience in a number of technical sales and purchasing roles in the automotive business. He has worked for Philips Car Systems, Philips Automotive Playback Modules, KOSTAL Kontakt Systeme (Connectors) and Konfektion E (Amphenol Group).
Martin is 46 years old, divorced and has two children, Lena (8) and Henrik (10). In his spare time he enjoys jogging, mountain biking and most of all spending time with his children.
Problems with body roll/drift
The technical tip in this newsletter has been provided by Maarten Roelofs (Training and Service VB-Airsuspension)
A question vehicle owners and particularly the owners of motorhomes often ask is whether there is a solution to the problem of body roll. This problem is more apparent in motorhomes because of their dimensions and vehicle construction: a large surface area, high centre of gravity and suspension not specifically designed for this application. There are exceptions, as this situation has started to change in recent years.
The vehicle's tendency to lean is most noticeable when cornering, but is also experienced as a buffeting effect when large vehicles overtake. Although body roll is not necessarily caused by poor handling in all situations, it may be useful to carry out the following checks if you are experiencing these problems:
- Start with the tyres. The need to monitor tyre pressure goes without saying, but it's also important to consider whether your tyres are suitable for the weight and speed of your motorhome. A vehicle can and will roll over the sides of the tyres. Check the load index of the tyre and whether it has a reinforced wall.
- The anti-roll bar is the main component designed to counter roll. However, this is not always fitted for whatever reason, and sometimes a stronger anti-roll bar can be obtained from the factory. Some older vehicles do not have an anti-roll bar as standard, so VB-Airsuspension supplies anti-roll bars for this situation. Ask about the options we have available.
- If fitting an anti-roll bar does not improve the problem, consideration could be given to fitting more powerful shock absorbers. VB also offers an extensive range of shock absorbers.
- Additionally, there is the option to install auxiliary air suspension. However, in this case, it needs to be a version where left and right are separate – known as a 2-chamber system. Auxiliary air suspension from VB-Airsuspension is supplied as a 2-chamber model as standard. The 2-chamber system ensures that air cannot flow from one side to the other. This also improves the vehicle carriage (prevents tilting to one side and “sagging” of the vehicle) and improves the vehicle's drive characteristics.