RECOLUBE eliminates the need for drivers and repair shops to lubricate a tractor’s fifth wheel manually. “At MAN, our strategy is centered on low-maintenance vehicles,” reports Stefan Marx, Team Leader Equipment Systems at MAN Truck & Bus. “The automation of manual activities not only increases the ease of maintenance and operation but also protects the environment.” Because only the required amount of lubricant is automatically applied precisely to the right places, only the amount of lubricant actually needed is used, meaning excess oil and grease don’t end up on the road. “The commercial vehicle manufacturer MAN is using our fifth wheel together with our new, controlled lubrication pump as a standard component for the first time,” says Gerhard Herberg, who heads sales to bus and truck manufacturers at SAF-HOLLAND. “Height-adjustable fifth wheel couplings are also equipped with this system.”
The pump is connected to the tractor’s central on-board computer via a standard interface. Five independent pump elements deliver the grease to the cap and four other points on the fifth wheel where lubrication grooves distribute the grease. “The on-board computer has a lubrication plan that is precisely tailored to the respective requirements,” says Michael Riesterer, Deputy Engineering Director at SAF-HOLLAND. “The system continually applies the lubrication according to this plan, which under normal driving conditions is about every one and a half hours.” The grease supply is sufficient enough for about a year of operation, or roughly 100,000 kilometers. “You have to refill the tank,” says Riesterer. “But apart from that, the RECOLUBE system is completely maintenance-free.” The display in the truck’s cab shows when the lubricant’s supply has been exhausted, allowing the driver to monitor the process directly from the cab.