LiquidSpring has partnered with the IC Bus company to offer the CLASS® suspension system as an approved upgrade option for their commercial and school bus offerings. LiquidSpring adds another level of safety via the smart suspension system. It automatically and instantaneously changes the spring stiffness and damping at each wheel in response to road and driving conditions. When the road is rough, the ride is soft and smooth. When the vehicle makes sharp turns, corners, or emergency evasive maneuvers, the suspension stiffens to provide superior stability and eliminates roll. Thanks to the onboard processor, the suspension adapts and makes adjustments without driver intervention for a fluid, seamless experience.
An immediately noticeable change is the improved smoothness of ride and comfort to both drivers and passengers. “I couldn’t get my staff, the passengers, to slide out of their seats, which had happened when I was a new driver,” said Nancy Geesey, director of transportation for Kingman Academy of Learning. LiquidSpring gives a substantial reduction in bouncing and body roll, so drivers experience less fatigue and safer handling. A smoother ride is not just a luxury. Longer shifts are possible when drivers stay comfortably in their seat and upright. The constant fight against sway and neck-snapping induced by the road with a traditional suspension can add much fatigue.
This enhanced comfort can also be an advantage to special needs students and their bus loading assistants. These assistants often sit in the back of the bus, where the ride is noticeably worse, leading to more physical strain to remain in their seats. Combined with the physically demanding nature of the job itself, the retention rate for this position, as well as drivers, is a constant concern.
The special needs students themselves also benefit, especially those with reduced motor function and less ability to fight these forces. The rough ride of a standard suspension can cause pain which lingers throughout the day for these students, leading to reduced sociability and poor academic performance.
With multiple chassis to choose from, there are options for both standard and smaller mobility busses. LiquidSpring has a proven track record of increasing comfort in EMS/ambulance systems where performance and comfort are key deciding factors.
For areas with poor roads, it can also improve school bus maintenance issues. The same comfort provided to passengers is also at work reducing vibration and flexing issues with the frame at the same time. The frame bends upwards at the point of the highest stress because each wheel experiences differing force levels. Anything bolted to the frame will be stressed along with it. This repeated movement can make bolts loosen, bolt holes enlarge, and rivets pop, and cause undue wear on components and body panels.
The IC bus chassis has a focus on smart technologies. New safety features are now standard this year, such as traction/stability control along with collision mitigation in the form of automatic braking via forward sensors on all models. LiquidSpring’s improved handling can add to this impressive list of safety features.
“We have powered so many other systems in our vehicles, from antilock brakes to power steering to collision prevention, yet suspensions have mostly stayed unpowered due to their complexity–until now. LiquidSpring’s smart controls work in real-time, with no driver intervention. It optimizes the ride based on speed, leveling, braking, and individual wheel heights automatically,” said Carl Harr, director of sales/marketing at LiquidSpring. The practical effect? A smooth ride that keeps drivers focused and passengers comfortably in their seats.
For more information about LiquidSpring’s bus suspensions, contact Travis Ward, national bus sales, at 765-474-7816.
Founded over 20 years ago, LiquidSpring began building suspensions for large off-highway mining equipment where they pioneered a unique system to help reduce operator injury in extreme conditions. The new strut was filled with a pressurized compressible liquid capable of supporting vehicle load and damping in a single element. Today, LiquidSpring continues to develop suspension products for other Class 3-7 on-highway trucks for various markets such as EMS, transit and school bus, recreational vehicle and work truck. The company provides application engineering, manufacturing, distribution, service, and sales of their products throughout the world. Visit LiquidSpring.com to learn more.