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Quality key to safety on the road

As cost pressures bite on suppliers to Australia’s major industries, safety can often be the first casualty of cutbacks to operating costs.
In very price-sensitive industries, such as transport, vehicle maintenance and logistics, cutbacks can lead to contractors turning to non-OEM parts for systems vital to road safety and on-time performance of vehicles.
Of all the trucks on the road today with air suspensions, more than half are equipped with Firestone Airide air springs. Airide air springs are sold directly to original equipment truck, trailer, and suspension manufacturers.
“Operators buying look-alike products are seldom making any savings at all really – they are just selling their risk management cheaply,” says Air Springs Supply sales manager Russell Chown. “Any small savings on products that don’t offer the same quality, performance and reliability as the genuine original can be wiped out in an instant by a single accident of downtime incident that puts a million-dollar truck off the road.”
Similar views are voiced by one of Australia’s most experienced specialist heavy brake companies, Australian Brake Controls (ABC) which produces transport, off-highway and industrial machinery braking systems engineered for optimum reliability and safety.
“We know it is tough out there for transport and off-highway equipment operators and we are sharing the pain with them,” says ABC Engineer Vinh Lam. “But cutting corners with lower-quality parts is no way to extend the value and life of vehicles and machinery costing hundreds and thousands and sometimes millions of dollars.”
Suspension and braking risks also exist for lighter vehicles. Vehicles without the right suspension components and setups for varying loads (such as a tank being progressively emptied in spraying operations), unevenly distributed loads or for towing can immediately experience a host of problems that compromise safety immediately and can ultimately wreck the vehicle involved.
“Not only can steering and braking be immediately compromised by poor load distribution, but also the chassis and tyres are placed under immense pressure by loading distortions,” says All Air Suspension Sales Manager James Maslin, a company that specialises in air helper suspensions for vehicles such as 4WD, utes, vans, and other machinery used for on and off-highway jobs and for towing. “Unevenly loaded vehicles can be subject to increased sway because of lateral forces, while trailer-imposed ball weight will cause headlights to shine up into the trees or blind other drivers. A perfectly good familiar vehicle can become a safety nightmare if its suspension is not properly set up to tow or cope with varying loads.”
Operating in conjunction with national air suspension specialist Airbag Man, All Air addresses these challenges with Ride-Rite, Coil-Rite and full air conversion kits manufactured in Australia incorporating Firestone airbags identical in construction to the Firestone airbags used in the suspensions of trucks and semi-trailers.

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