Thus in 2011, it was WABCO that brought an air compressor with integrated clutch to market – with development partner ZF taking a back seat.
The story goes as follows: Commercial vehicles need compressed air, because only pneumatic systems can exert the enormous forces required for braking, air suspension, or shifting clutches and engaging gears. The compressed air is generated by a compressor driven by the truck’s combustion engine. These compressors used to run permanently, even when no compressed air was needed. “We looked for ways to reduce this wasted energy,” says Frank van Son, today Head of Marketing for Division W’s Vehicle Energy Management Systems (VEMS) Business Hub. “If you can temporarily disengage the compressor from the engine and only re-engaging it when it’s needed, you can save up to half a liter of fuel per 100 kilometers,” explains van Son.