It was during the early ‘90s when John Krueger wanted a reliable, lightweight suspension coupled with ease of fitting. Being an innovator in transport manufacturing, he and his design engineers began work to release the first version of Krueger Transport Equipment’s own air suspension, Road Friendly Suspension (RFS), in 1997.
According to Krueger Operations Manager – QLD, Peter Grey, RFS has been a proven winner since its inception because it succeeds in all key areas of manufacturing, ease of fitting and servicing and manufacturing. This, he says, is why it continues to be a top-tier choice for fleets today.
“The vision and tenacity to design, test and then implement and manufacture an Australian air suspension is something that we are very proud of to be able to provide our customers,” he says. “The milestone of 25 years of RFS is testament to its original design function, ‘built for Australian conditions’.”
The difference between RFS and all other suspension units in the market, Peter explains, is seen in its simplicity of design.
“The RFS parabolic spring and U-bolts in both under and over slung configurations have not changed in 25 years because of their proven reliability,” he says. “Its genius in design is futuristic and testament to its 25-year service span utilising much of the original components. For example, trailer suspensions require different running heights for different applications, so in order for different ride heights to be achieved, other suspension suppliers use different height air bags and shock absorbers.”
Peter says this means a fleet of six B-double trailers running the same brand of suspension may need to stock six different sized air bags and shocks to keep them on the road. Whereas with RFS, there is only one air bag and one shock absorber size being used due to its design in all ride height configurations.
To back up its RFS product, Krueger has a national spare parts department which carries over 15,000 product lines on shelves across the eastern seaboard with access to thousands more. Krueger Manager – National Spare Parts, Ben Raudino, says this has directly benefitted the RFS product by prevented shortages and supply issues.
“The benefit for us having our own suspension with a spare parts department is that we’re not relying on third parties to provide the product,” he says. “We’re in charge of our own importing so we’ve always got stock on the shelf. In the 10 years I’ve been here we’ve never run out of our own RFS product, whereas our suppliers tend to have shortages and delays with all of their importing and involvement with third parties overseas.”
Having the amount of stock that it does, Krueger’s spare parts department also minimises downtime for customers.
“We tend to carry as much as we can on the shelf to minimise that downtime,” Ben says. “We also have access to our manufacturing plant which is only a couple of kilometres down the road from us, so for anything we don’t have on the shelf that’s RFS or Kruger-specific, we are able to source parts from there as needed as opposed to putting in an order and waiting for it to get packaged and shipped out.”
Adelaide-based linehaul carrier, Diamond Bros., invested in its first batch of trailers from Krueger in 1987 and hasn’t looked elsewhere since. The fleet has purchased a variety of trailer types ranging from 4.6-metre units, flat floors, drop decks, mezzanines and dry vans with Krueger’s K-Hitch suspension axles and RFS air suspension as well.
Diamond Bros. CEO, Kym McDermid, says having RFS suspension fitted to the fleet’s 4.6-metre trailers with higher centres of gravity has paid off.
“It gives a better ride to our trailers,” he says. “We’re carrying a lot of cages with loose freight so it stops it from moving around anywhere as near as much, and therefore there is less breakages and issues with movement of freight within the curtains.”
According to Kym, Krueger’s product is better in longevity – and that applies for RFS too. “They’re just really well-made trailers,” he says. “They last longer, they have less hassles and downtime on the equipment is a lot better because of that. They just do the right thing by us as we don’t have a lot of problems with them.
“RFS has made a massive difference to the industry as a whole, let alone just Krueger and Diamond Bros.”