www.truckandtrack.com Summer 2023 Truck and Track 55 OEM COMPONENTS happen. This costs fleets valuable time and money in repairs. It was clear that a safer and more reliable invention with a larger detection range was needed – and even better if the system could automatically apply the brakes. Bearing all of this in mind, the brainchild of Lee Rush and Mark Toghill (engineer and head of sales) was born. Enter the Aspöck RADC. Naturally, there were challenges in creating something that hasn’t been done before. Applying sensors to a large commercial vehicle is very different to applying them to a car. Where a car uses six sensors to get coverage of the vehicle, a trailer would need the same amount or more. There is often very little space available on the rear of commercial vehicles, with no ‘bumper’ that sensors can be embedded inside to hide and protect them. Adding sensors also increases wiring and connections, which then need to have space found for them in the chassis of the vehicle. Then there’s the reliability of having multiple sensors working efficiently at all times. There was also the need to increase the detection zone and be able to modify it for various clients. There were plenty of things to think about in the design process, but that did not hinder Aspöck. The team tested the RADC at MIRA test facility and, upon initial testing, found the RADC to be rather sensitive, causing brake applications due to spurious detections by the sensor. Testing revealed that, in some instances, the radar was seeing the trailer on which it was mounted as an object to cause an activation. With heavy commercial trailers, there is often a large amount of material in the area near the sensor – bumpers, lighting, steps or lashing rings - and all of these have the potential to be detected by the sensor. But, like all setbacks, it gave way to a stroke of genius. A feature of the radar sensor is that it is much more intelligent than the traditional ultrasonic versions which have no in-built processing power and report any objects its signal bounces back from. With the Radar sensor, Aspöck can filter out information that isn’t necessary to see or act upon. The “ignore” zone can be adjusted as part of the setup, adapting the RADC so that the furniture at the rear of the trailer could be removed from the object detection. This and other challenges presented themselves whilst the RADC was in development, but the extensive testing led to one thing – an ingenious and compact design with an easy installation process that detects across 100% of the vehicle width and interfaces with all three European trailer braking systems. The vehicle manufacturer has the option to fit the system, irrespective of brake supplier. The sensor has also been designed to be much more effective than traditional ultrasonic versions in poor weather, meaning the driver gets reliable performance in even the heaviest conditions. The RADC provides fleets with significant benefits in terms of preventing damage to vehicles, saving both time and money. Not only does it detect obstructions, but the smooth and steady application of the brakes greatly reduces levels of impact, thus preventing any structural or shock damage that could be caused. More importantly, the impact that the RADC has on commercial vehicle safety could be crucial. Managing director, Lee Rush, reflects on the success of Aspöck UK and what it means to win a King’s Award. ‘We are immensely proud that the RADC has been recognised under the King’s Awards. Aspöck has been leading the way in commercial vehicle lighting in the UK for many years, and we are very excited that we have now been able to apply the talents and knowledge of our employees to help improve safety in other areas of the industry. We hope to rewrite the standard for safety with this product, as well as forging long lasting relationships. We couldn’t do what we do without our wonderful customers and suppliers, but most importantly all our Aspöck employees. A huge thank you goes to all who have supported us over the last 21 years, and we look forward to the next 21.’ Aspöck UK truly have created something special that looks to the future in vehicle technology. Perhaps such braking systems will be made a safety standard. We certainly hope so. Aspöck Systems, whose headquarters are in Peuerbach in Austria, is a family run company founded by Felix Aspöck in 1977. The company was taken over by his son, Karl Aspöck, and the success only grew. Aspöck Systems and the Aspöck group have just celebrated 45 years in lighting and vehicle accessory innovation. They are Europe’s leading manufacturer of prefabricated lighting systems for towed vehicles of all types. The Aspöck group employs approximately 1,500 people and has production sites in Portugal, Poland and Brazil. For more information on Aspöck UK and to get in contact, please visit www.aspoeck.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org Find Aspöck on LinkedIn as Aspöck UK. Article written by Ciara Waterfield.