Spending is estimated to advance another 7.1% in 2018 and will expand to $1.7 trillion total by 2022.
Liquid Spring Technologies CEO Richard Meyer first came up with his patented liquid-based suspension system over 20 years ago when he was applying it to some of the biggest vehicles in the world. In the mining business, hauling trucks can have operating weights exceeding 200 tons, and the super-sized vehicles need to travel over rough terrain to carry their cargo out of the mines.
Meyer developed a spring and strut that was dampened by a special compressible silicon oil so the large dump trucks could carry their heavy loads safely and efficiently. It was a great success, but as the mining industry declined and business receded, Meyer decided to downsize the scale of his product to increase his market range.
Now Liquid Spring is bringing its industrial strength dampening to motorcoaches and limo buses. “We made the decision to downsize 10 years ago, and it took maybe eight years of development time in order to get it on highway vehicles,” Meyer says. One of the first road vehicles Liquid Spring worked with were ambulances, and the EMTs were amazed with how they could more easily administer aid to patients while the vehicle was in motion.
“The response has been fantastic,” Meyer says. “We started from ground zero with no one knowing we even existed and went to manufacturers of buses and ambulances, and to dealers and we went through end-users like the fire department. And we’ve done demonstration rides for over 300 individuals now, and all of them have said that the ride is unbelievably impressive.”
The Magic Oil
The main distinctions of Liquid Spring suspension products are the oil fluid surrounding the truss rod and its real-time electronic system that can adapt as the road conditions change. One of the challenges for conventional suspensions is they have little variance with the type of ride they deliver. If a car endures a heavy load, then it is typically fitted with stiffer springs, which will keep the vehicle from depressing and rolling, but can make for quite a bumpy ride.
Conversely, if a manufacturer is looking for a soft and luxuriously smooth ride, they’ll need to use softer springs, which can depress more and have limited lateral correction.
The benefit of Liquid Spring’s suspension is that the electronic monitoring system on-board sends real-time adjustments to the fluid in the springs as the vehicle travels down the road. When it senses a sharp turn, the lateral adjustments will become stiffer, and when it is traveling on a straightaway the system softens the springs to smooth out the bumps.
“Instead of having to compromise between soft and stiff,” Meyer says, “we give you both the soft and the stiff in the same strut because the liquid can move easily and because the amount is so small.”
Making A Difference
One of the markets that Meyers has developed an interest in is transportation groups that service seniors homes and senior citizens. It started when he took a phone call from a retirement center that was unhappy with a new shuttle purchase.
“The executives were saying they were having guests opting not to go on the travel events they sponsored because the ride was so rough they couldn’t stand it,” he says. “We gave them a ride in our demo bus, with six residents, and before we even made it out of the parking lot they were saying they could feel a big difference. If we can help change the lifestyle of someone or improve it just a little bit, that’s pretty darn important.”
Location: Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
Key Executives: Richard Meyer, president
Product: Vehicle suspension
Contact: (765) 474-7816
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