Optimal retarder solutions for commercial vehicles

Voith has developed a retarder product line-up that offers the optimal solution for all known types of commercial vehicles

The new DIWA.6 transmission from Voith Turbo..jpg

Frederick Smit, vice president of commercial vehicles notes, “We are the only manufacturer featuring both inline and offline retarders. There has been phenomenal growth in the South African extra-heavy commercial vehicle market when it comes to Voith retarders. The market has grown substantially from a base of 10% to just under 30% in the space of five years.

“This proves the realisable benefits for South African operators. The trend is expected to continue, especially as Voith retarders offer lower operating costs within this truck segment, thereby not only adding value but boosting the bottom line as well,” Smit comments.

Voith inline retarders are mounted directly to the transmission, or installed freely in the driveline and connected to the propshaft. The VR 120 is for medium-class long-distance buses and touring coaches, as well as for trucks, while the VR 123 has been developed specifically for applications in trucks, city- and midi-buses with a permissible weight of up to 18 t.

The VR 133-2, on the other hand, is for heavy-class coaches and commercial vehicles, as well as for special vehicles. This is the most powerful hydrodynamic retarder available from Voith, featuring a high braking torque in combination with a low weight. With offline retarders, the speed is increased in relation to the propshaft speed by means of a step-up gear. These highly compact retarders provide enormous braking outputs, even at low driving speeds. In cooperation with Daimler AG, the GO/VR 115 E transmission-retarder system was developed specifically for coach applications.

The 115 HV, on the other hand, was developed for the Mercedes-Benz Actros and Axor commercial vehicles, and is installed on the PowerShift transmission. The VR 3250 Volvo compact retarder is deployed in the Volvo FH and FM truck series. Voith retarders really come into their own at high speeds, where safety is paramount. Here they are capable of producing an enormous braking power of up to 700 kW. With their high braking torques and low unit weight, Voith retarders convert huge quantities of energy effectively in the shortest time possible.

The fact that a Voith retarder features its own oil-supply system also means that the operating medium can be utilised up to its highest permissible operating temperature range. Friction brakes can reach temperatures of up to 1,000°C when operated over extended periods. This means that their braking effect declines rapidly, with the added danger of fissures developing and the brake linings themselves wearing out. Voith retarders, on the other hand, are genuine continuous brakes.

They offer safety reserves in critical areas such as demanding downward gradients and on motorways, and even in urban start-stop traffic. With secondary retarders, the braking power is not interrupted during gear-shifting, a definite plus in terms of overall safety. “The engine brake and Voith retarder complement each other in the sense of contributing to a cumulative braking power,” Smit explains. “The end result is optimum braking power at both low and high speeds.”

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