In a first for Isuzu Australia and a first for any Japanese-made truck on Australian soil, rigorous Electronic Stability Control testing and calibration exercises have been undertaken with Knorr-Bremse Australia.
Conducted at the DECA (Wodonga TAFE) testing and training facility in Shepparton in Central Victoria on a medium-duty Isuzu FTR 150-260, the testing involved use of a customised Knorr-Bremse body fitted to the truck.
The test body featured flexible loading racks and extended outrigger wheels attached to the body sub-frame to enable a safe testing environment and assist with development of a new calibration for the EBS-5 control unit.
The control unit is factory-fitted to Australian-market MY22 Isuzu FTR 150-260 models and all MY22 FV models in the range, providing for an advanced ESC system.
What was unique about this particular FTR model was an extended wheelbase of 7.2-metres, which is a dimension beyond that available from the factory in Japan according to Isuzu Australia Limited Chief Engineer, Simon Humphries.
“It’s significant too in that this wheelbase length is the longest possible while remaining within the ADR turning circle limit of 25 metres,” he said.
“To determine the new calibration, we put the truck through a series of specific manoeuvres within the controlled environment of the DECA facility.”
Specialised Knorr-Bremse equipment on board the truck recorded and sent data back to the team throughout the manoeuvres.
The types of manoeuvres undertaken by the test truck were tailored to the way in which trucks are deployed within Australian industries and applications.
These specific manoeuvres on the DECA skid pan helped to simulate what a possible roll-over situation would look like on the bitumen, being operated by an Australian driver in Australian conditions.
“The ESC system being tested and calibrated would then intervene automatically for the test driver and help to prevent those incidences of rollover or loss of directional control,” noted Humphries.
“The system works by firstly removing the throttle from the driver’s control and then automatically applying appropriate braking to individual wheels to slow the truck down to a safe speed.
“As is the case with any development or proving work, especially in the road safety space, the devil is in the detail. The data collected throughout the testing was critically analysed and fed back into the programming of the EBS-5 control unit.”
The use of outriggers during this testing phase prevented any rollovers and determined, according to Humphries, the exact point at which it would happen on the test truck—but unfortunately you don’t get that type of back-up out on the open road.
“That’s why we conduct further extensive on-road testing to ensure calibrations are correct and the systems are working as they should in an everyday situation,” he said.
“While the bulk of Isuzu’s braking componentry, development and set-up is conducted in Japan by Isuzu Motors Limited (IML) and Knorr-Bremse, our local calibration and testing program at Isuzu Australia allows for a fine tuning that’s bespoke for our road conditions, wheelbase modifications and prevailing application use,” continued Humphries.
“It is important that we apply our local knowledge and engineering rigour to help refine the safety technology on the trucks which we sell here in the Australian market.
“It is a continued process as technology evolves, with our end goal to deliver the safest driving environment and the most fit-for-purpose on-road product to Australian businesses.”
In related news, Isuzu recently unveiled new methods for the management and development of local products.