VB Airsuspension

E-NEWS November 2012

Placed on 05/11/2012

Foreword from the Management

In the previous issue of E-News from VB-Airsuspension, I indicated that major changes have taken place within our company. Time never stands still and by now we have gotten used to the fact that Eric Bruil is no longer with the company. In the meantime, his workload has been divided among new and existing members of the workforce. We have also hired a number of additional employees across all departments and we are already seeing the first signs of progress and an increase in capacity.
We are continuing to grow steadily and every day we are faced with new challenges that we tackle together and try to solve as quickly and efficiently as possible. In doing so, we are guided by our motto ‘making every day smoother’.
Our logistics system has been modified, the new assembly line is now running like clockwork and in the meantime, the old assembly department has been relocated. By taking down the partitions of this old assembly department, we have created an area where the new packing line can be tested and developed further. We plan to start the construction of the new canteen before the end of the year so that this project will be underway by the beginning of next year. The wellbeing of our employees is very important to me. Everyone works extremely hard at VB-Airsuspension and therefore our employees deserve good working conditions and a pleasant working environment.
Our test department has been expanded recently with the addition of a climatic chamber and a wide variety of new test equipment.
In short, VB-Airsuspension is very active and there is a great deal of activity going on within the company: all positive developments that we are proud of.
As many of you know, I took part in “Le Dakar” in 2009 as a “rookie”. That was an adventure in itself. In 2013, VB-Airsuspension is going to be involved in the great Le Dakar adventure once again. To find out more, see the detailed information below.
I hope that I have succeeded in keeping you up-to-date with all that is going on at VB-Airsuspension. Until next time.
Regards, Iginio Voorhorst, CEO of the VB-Group




Full air suspension on the new Mercedes-Benz Citan

The waiting was over. On 31 August and 1 September 2012, the latest addition to the Mercedes-Benz family – the Mercedes-Benz Citan – made its first appearance.
During these two days in Copenhagen, Denmark, the “Partners” of Mercedes-Benz were given the opportunity to take a closer look at the vehicle and, of course, to test drive it and find out what it could do.
Naturally, VB-Airsuspension attended the two-day event and took full advantage of the opportunity to test drive the Mercedes-Benz Citan.
After test driving the Mercedes-Benz, it immediately became clear that there was considerable room for improvement as far as the suspension system was concerned.
So the team from VB-Airsuspension immediately set to work on developing a full rear axle air suspension system for the latest addition to the Mercedes-Benz family. A kit designed specifically for the MB Citan is now available and the first few of these have already been sold.
Soon VB-Airsuspension will be able to offer a full rear axle air suspension system for the whole range of vans produced by Mercedes-Benz, having been awarded various approvals by Mercedes-Benz.
VB-Airsuspension voert test uit op hydropulstestbank
Over the past few weeks, the Engineering team from VB-Airsuspension has carried out various tests on a new air suspension system using its hydro-pulse test bench (also known as the road surface simulator). The test bench is able to run through a reproducible test programme that, just as the name suggests, corresponds exactly to actual sections of the road surface or theoretical unevenness in the road. The input for this test programme is a section of the road surface recorded and measured beforehand or a theoretical predefined programme. The exact reproducibility means that numerous tests can be carried out within a very short space of time without any influences from a driver, the weather, available time at test circuits or other factors that often have a negative effect on practical tests. With hydro-pulse testing, you can carry out the same number of tests in one day that could take up to five days to carry out at a circuit. Therefore, this represents an enormous benefit in terms of efficiency.
As you would expect from VB-Airsuspension, we are constantly working on improving and optimising our air suspension systems. That is why we have carried out a number of tests on the hydro-pulse test bench in order to improve our suspension system even further in terms of comfort, stability, handling and numerous other aspects.
A photograph of the team from VB-Airsuspension who carried out the tests is shown below. You can also click on this link to view the short film on our YouTube channel:

VB-Airsuspension op Dakar Pre-Proloog

The time has come again. Sunday 11 November 2012 will be the date of the 9th RTL GP Dakar Pre-Prologue to be held at the Eurocircuit in Valkenswaard.
After the successful events in previous years, Dakar drivers will soon be presenting themselves to the public again when they take part in this year’s rally. Le Dakar is due to start on 5 January 2013 in Lima, Peru. The drivers will then follow a route across the Andes to Argentina and back again across the Andes and the rally will finish two weeks later, on 20 January 2013, in Santiago de Chile.
This year, VB-Airsuspension will be present at the Dakar Pre-Prologue not only with three competing trucks fitted with VB-FullAir 4C air suspension systems but also with a VW Amarok and a Toyota Land Cruiser fitted with VB-Airsuspension air suspension systems. In addition, VB-Airsuspension will be sharing a stand at the Eurocircuit with the Dakar Press Team and Veth Carrosseriefabriek during the Dakar Pre-Prologue.

Read the complete news item "VB-Airsuspension goes Dakar 2013" here.


Kees Dute – Process Engineer

My name is Kees Dute. I am 23 and Beltrum born and bred. I am in a relationship with Marije but I still live with my parents. My hobbies are playing football, building carnival floats and tinkering around with cars, especially Volkswagen Beetles.
After graduating from high school, I went on to HTS Autotechniek in Arnhem where I specialised in Automotive Development. After studying for three and a half years, I went to VB-Airsuspension to work on my final assignment. My task was to develop a new and improved generation of McPherson front air suspension struts that would be better than the current generation of front suspension struts. I enjoyed working on this task very much and was awarded a high mark at the end of it. At the beginning of June this year, I was awarded my diploma and became a qualified Automotive Engineer. VB-Airsuspension then asked if I would like to stay on at the company. VB-Airsuspension offered me a job as a Process Engineer, a new position within the company.
As a Process Engineer, I serve as the link between the Engineering department and the Operations department. I make sure that the process runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible from the engineering stage up until the time when the product leaves the plant. My day-to-day activities include the construction, management and optimisation of production equipment, drawing up assembly instructions and developing special tools. I am also the first point of contact for the Operations department for any day-to-day queries relating to assembly.

Technical advice
Problems with electrical installations
Winter is just around the corner which means that road salt and bad weather are too.
It is a fact that minor problems often start with installations that do not work properly or even not at all. One reason for this may be the use of connectors that are not watertight or wiring that has not been installed correctly.
It all starts with the installation: this must be carried out properly. If you are installing wires in a vehicle, they must be installed correctly. For example, connectors must always be firmly attached and wires must not be left dangling.
If the connectors and wires are not fastened firmly, the wires will be able to move around too much or they will vibrate when you are driving. Cracks can form in the layer of insulation around wires as a result of it hardening over the years. Moisture and salt can penetrate wiring through these cracks and consequently cause corrosion.
Therefore, if you should come across a watertight connector that is corroded, then inspect the wires at both ends of the connectors first of all instead of immediately suspecting that the watertight connector is the cause.
Another reason for the problem may be the use of corrugated pipe as protection. If the wires are able to move around too much inside that corrugated pipe, then there is a risk of the wires being damaged by coming into contact with the sharp edges inside the pipe. The moisture that can easily collect in this type of pipe can then naturally cause problems. VB-Airsuspension advises to only use soft corrugated pipe or a comparable product and only in places where wiring can come into contact with sharp edges or be exposed to high temperatures.
So always install wires correctly. Unfortunately, it is all too often the case that not enough care is taken when carrying out this task. So here is our advice on wiring:
-          Do not attach wires to moving parts
-          Do not attach wires to brake lines
-          Keep power cables at least 10 cm from the ABS/ESP valve block
-          Do not attach wires to the original wiring for the vehicle unless this is explicitly permitted in our fitting instructions. The manufacturer’s suspension clips are for the manufacturer’s wiring harness and are therefore not always designed to carry the extra weight of our wiring harness
If you want to find out why, for example, your battery keeps going flat during the winter and you don’t know how to do that: remove one part of the installation at a time and then see whether or not the battery still goes flat. If you are not sure where the fault is, then pull briefly on the wires (but not too hard, of course). It may be that the wires in the connectors have become corroded and/or that there is a contact resistance which has caused the problems.
A poor earth connection can cause a lot of problems in the winter. Check the earth points to find out whether or not they are corroded and clean them. This will often solve the problem.


Victor Benno