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Previously, we looked at Air Disc Brakes (ADBs) from a sort of engineering perspective and reviewed their advantages over drum brakes in critical performance areas like stopping distance and heat management. In both cases, the result is: Advantage ADBs.

But how do those advantages translate to real-world advantages to you and your commercial trucking operation?

Safety, longer brake life cycle, and driver comfort and confidence are key areas that benefit from the advantages of ADB technology. Let’s look at how.


A 2017 report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety1 states that in a single year, heavy trucks were involved in 414,958 crashes that resulted in 116,000 injuries and 4,067 fatalities (FMCSA, 2016). The report identified potential heavy truck advanced safety technologies – including ADBs – as promising countermeasures to reduce these crashes – estimating that ADBs can prevent up to 2,411 crashes, 1,447 injuries and 37 deaths each year.

While the human cost in traffic crashes is immeasurable and the primary focus of safety technology is to avoid, and ultimately eliminate injuries; there also are measurable operating costs that can be avoided  –  down-time because of repairs or equipment replacement and delayed delivery schedules, for example.

Maintenance, Brake Life Cycle

As we discussed last time, the more efficient heat management of ADBs means elimination of brake fade, less grab and pull, and an overall longer brake life cycle due to less wear. And when maintenance is necessary, there are significant advantages then as well. Faster and easier maintenance, combined with extended service intervals vs. drum brake systems mean overall cost savings. How? Here are a few examples.

ADBs: Wheels-on inspection. During a regularly scheduled lubrication, a service technician can take a look at each brake for pad wear and rotor condition and do an adjustment test. Additionally, the caliper can be inspected for loose or missing caps, plugs, and mounting bolts. Savings: More up-time.

When it is time for brake service, installing new pads on a drum brake system is usually a 10-step procedure that takes an average of 90 minutes. Compare that to installing new pads on an ADB system – a nine-step procedure, that’s usually substantially faster – as few as 30 minutes. Multiply the time saved by the number of wheels serviced, and the overall savings can be significant.

Driver Comfort and Confidence

No component of your truck is more important to its safe, efficient operation than the driver. Comfortable, confident drivers are the key to increasing uptime and improving safety. The confidence provided by shorter braking distances, and the “car-like feel” that drivers report with ADBs can help reduce fatigue and improve driver response and performance.

All three of these critical concerns are even better addressed with ZF ADB technology – WABCO MAXXUS™ 2.0. Brought to you by the market innovator and pioneer behind single-piston technology, MAXXUS 2.0 is the latest generation of single-piston ADB, backed by 20 years of technological innovation. Its single-piston design makes it the lightest truck ADB on the market. It also offers comparable output force to double-piston technology and better heat management, resulting in longer brake life, and greater stopping power.

Whatever your focus or interests within the trucking ecosystem, ADBs offer the advantage you need.

1Leveraging Large-Truck Technology and Engineering to Realize Safety Gains: Air Disc Brakes, ©2017, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety