LiquidSpring has partnered with IC Bus to offer the CLASS suspension system as an approved upgrade option for some of the bus manufacturer’s school buses.
LiquidSpring’s smart suspension system is designed to automatically change the spring stiffness and damping at each wheel in response to road and driving conditions, according to a news release from the suspension system supplier. When the vehicle makes sharp turns or emergency evasive maneuvers, the suspension stiffens to provide stability and eliminates roll. The onboard processor enables the suspension to adjust without driver intervention for a fluid, seamless experience.
The suspension system is available as an option on IC Bus’s Type C buses, Sudha Veerapaneni, IC Bus’s product marketing director, told School Bus Fleet.
One immediately noticeable change a user has experienced is a smoother ride, enhancing comfort for drivers and passengers, according to LiquidSpring.
“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, the director of transportation for Kingman Academy of Learning in Kingman, Ariz.
LiquidSpring can also provide a substantial reduction in bouncing and body roll, so drivers experience less fatigue and safer handling. A smoother ride is not just a luxury: drivers can work longer shifts when they are able to stay upright and comfortable in their seats. The constant fight against sway and neck-snapping induced by the road with a traditional suspension can add significant fatigue.
Enhanced comfort can also be an advantage to special-needs students, especially those with reduced motor function and less ability to fight the constant motion and resulting pain caused by a rough ride.
Meanwhile, the suspension system can benefit bus monitors as well. These assistants often sit in the back of the bus, where the ride is noticeably less smooth, leading to more physical strain to remain in their seats.
For areas with poorly maintained roads, the suspension system can also improve school bus maintenance issues, according to LiquidSpring. The same comfort provided to passengers is simultaneously at work reducing vibration and flexing issues with the frame. 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.
IC Bus has a focus on smart technologies: safety features such as electronic stability control, along with collision mitigation in the form of automatic braking via forward sensors, are standard on all models. LiquidSpring’s improved handling can be added to this 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,” said Carl Harr, director of sales and marketing at LiquidSpring. “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.”
For more information contact your local IC Bus dealer or Travis Ward, LiquidSpring’s national bus sales representative, at (765) 474-7816.