For more than a decade, we’ve been pointing out the benefits of air disc brakes – not just their performance advantages, but also the impact they can make on a fleet’s bottom line by reducing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
We know not everybody likes to crunch numbers, so to make it easier for fleets to see just how air disc brakes provide that return on investment, this year Bendix launched ValueByBendix.com. Simply visit the website and provide some basic information about your fleet’s braking and maintenance practices, and the value calculator generates a report that will help show whether spec’ing air disc brakes over foundation drum brakes makes financial sense.
It’s an easy-to-use tool that helps make sense of a range of variables in a complex equation. For instance, one of the things we’ve learned from fleets who have used valuebybendix.com is the simple fact that air disc brakes’ longer friction life turns out to be a big TCO factor. Here’s an example: One fleet we worked with had established a tractor trade cycle of three years, largely to avoid taking on the cost of changing the friction on their drum brakes. By switching to air disc brakes, that fleet now has a longer friction life, and they’re re-analyzing how long they keep their vehicles…in fact, they might actually opt to extend their trade cycle to five years as a result.
We’ve also spoken with customers who have trade-in agreements requiring that vehicles are traded in with at least 50 percent of their brake friction remaining – which means that they’re essentially throwing out half their friction if they need to replace it just to trade away the vehicle. Again – the longer life of air disc brake friction changes the equation, so a fleet in this situation can better strategize based on what they learn from the online calculator.
Another eye-opener for folks is the cumulative effects of costs that are sometimes overlooked. Take checking the adjustment of a drum brake: It’s maybe 10 minutes per wheel-end, four times a year. But you multiply that by the size of your fleet, and how long you’re running a vehicle, and suddenly you’re talking about thousands of dollars of annual costs that aren’t associated with air disc brakes. One customer we talked to said they had never really considered including the maintenance time and cost of adjusting drum brakes – because who considers calculating 10 minutes? – but they were amazed to see how that cost added up over an entire trade cycle.
The ADB value calculator is direct and easy to use –it only requires about 20 inputs to generate the report, and takes only a few minutes if you’ve got the basic fleet information handy. We’ve used it to help people aiming to build a business case for air disc brakes, and heard from manufacturers interested in utilizing the tool to help their customers spec vehicles, too.
Air disc brakes may not be the ideal solution for all fleets, but if you’ve considered looking into them, make a stop at ValueByBendix.com and plug in some figures to get started. It can help open your eyes to a new way to evaluate your fleet operations.
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