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Title:
PNEUMATIC AXLE SUSPENSION FOR A REAR AXLE OF A VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/021181
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Pneumatic tandem axle suspension for a pair of rear axles of a vehicle, in particular a heavy goods vehicle, comprising a front suspension portion and a rear suspension portion, each comprising spring beams arranged beneath a frame, two pairs of air bellows arranged at the vehicle frame, a pair of hydraulic shock absorbers and a triangular rod being pivotable linked to an upper center portion of the axle and the frame, and front hangers extending downward from the frame, each of the front and rear suspension portions comprising a pair of longitudinal rods extending between the front hangers and the spring beams, characterized in that each of the front and rear suspension portions comprises a stabilizer bar which is generally U-shaped and disposed above the axle, with a traverse beam and two legs extending from the ends of the traverse beam in a direction perpendicular to the axle, wherein the traverse beam is rotatable supported within a pair of pivot bearings mounted between the frame and an air bellow, such that the legs can perform a swiveling movement, and the ends of the legs being pivotable linked to the axle suspended by the respective suspension portion via generally perpendicular thrust rods and axle brackets on top of the axle, with each thrust rod being hinged to one leg end and to one axle bracket.

Inventors:
KONRAD, Christian (Wiesgehrenweg 11, Vohringen, 89269, DE)
Application Number:
EP2016/067596
Publication Date:
February 09, 2017
Filing Date:
July 22, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
IVECO MAGIRUS AG (Nicolaus Otto Str. 27, Ulm, 89079, DE)
International Classes:
B60G5/00; B60G9/02; B60G11/27; B60G11/28; B60G21/055
Domestic Patent References:
2012-05-10
2006-06-29
2011-08-18
2008-05-08
Foreign References:
EP1110848A22001-06-27
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FRANZOLIN, Luigi et al. (Studio Torta S.p.A, Via Viotti 9, Torino, 10121, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Pneumatic tandem axle suspension (10) for a pair of rear axles (12, 14) of a vehi- cle, in particular a heavy goods vehicle, said pair of rear axles comprising a front axle (12) and a rear axle (14) arranged behind each other with respect to the driving direction (D) of the vehicle, wherein the pneumatic tandem axle suspension (10) comprises a front suspension portion (16) and a rear suspension portion (18) for suspending the front axle (12) and the rear axle (14), respectively, each of the front and rear suspension portions (16, 18) comprising:

- a pair of spring beams (20,22) for supporting the axle (12, 14), each of the spring beams (20,22) being arranged beneath a vehicle frame (24) and extending perpendicular to the axle (12, 14), - two pairs of air bellows (26,28; 30,32), with each one pair being arranged at one side of the vehicle frame (24) and comprising a front bellow (26,30) and a rear bellow (28,32) arranged in front of and behind the axle (12), respectively, to support the respective front or rear end of the spring beams (14) at this side of the vehicle against the bottom of the frame (24), - a pair of hydraulic shock absorbers (42,44; 46,48), each shock absorber being arranged to support one of the spring beams (20,22) with respect to the frame (24),

- and a triangular rod (50,52) being pivotable linked to an upper center portion of the axle (12,14) and the frame (24), respectively, wherein the pneumatic tandem axle suspension (10) further comprises a pair of front hangers (70,72), each front hanger (70,72) extending downward from the frame at a position between the front axle (12) and the rear axle (14), and each of the front and rear suspension portions (16, 18) comprises a pair of longitudinal rods (74,76), each longitudinal rod (74,76) extending between one of the front hangers (70,72) at the respective side of the vehicle and one spring beam (20,22) of the respective suspension portion (16, 18) and being hinged with its ends to the hanger (70,72) and the spring beam (20,22), respectively, characterized in that each of the front and rear suspension portions (16,18) comprises a stabilizer bar (78,80) which is generally U-shaped and disposed above the axle (12, 14), with a traverse beam (82,84) and two legs (86,88; 90,92) extending from the ends of the traverse beam (82,84) in a direction perpendicular to the axle (12, 14), wherein the traverse beam (82,84) is rotatable supported within a pair of pivot bearings (94,96), with each of the pivot bearings (94,96) being mounted between the bottom of the frame (24) and one of the air bellows (26,28; 30,32) such that the legs (86,88; 90,92) can perform a swiveling movement, and the ends (100, 102) of the legs (86,88; 90,92) being pivotable linked to the axle (12, 14) suspended by the respective suspension portion via generally perpendicular thrust rods (104,106) and axle brackets (108,1 10) mounted on top of the axle (12), with each thrust rod (104, 106) being pivotable hinged to one leg end (100, 102) and to one axle bracket (108,110), respectively.

2. Pneumatic axle suspension according to claim 1, characterized in that the traverse beams (82,84) of the stabilizer bars (78,80) have a cranked shape.

3. Pneumatic axle suspension according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the axle brackets (108, 110) each comprise an extension portion (1 12) extending from the top of the axle (12, 14), with its end being hinged to the lower end of the respective thrust rod (104, 106).

4. Pneumatic axle suspension according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the pivot bearings (94,96) supporting the traverse beams (82,84) are disposed within frame brackets (114) mounted at the bottom of the frame (24).

5. Pneumatic axle suspension according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the pivot bearings (94,96) supporting the traverse beam (82,84) are disposed within air bellow plate brackets (118) mounted at the top of the respective air bellow (28,36;30,38).

6. Pneumatic axle suspension according to claim 5 in connection with claim 4, characterized in that the air bellow plate brackets (118) and the lower part of the frame brackets (114) are formed as one piece.

7. Pneumatic axle suspension portion (20) for an axle (214) of a vehicle, in particular a heavy goods vehicle, comprising:

- a pair of spring beams (220,222) for supporting the axle (214), each of the spring beams (220,222) being arranged beneath a vehicle frame (224) and extending perpendicular to the axle (214), - two pairs of air bellows (230,232; 234,240), with each one pair being arranged at one side of the vehicle frame (224) and comprising a front bellow (230,234) and a rear bellow (232,240) arranged in front of and behind the axle (214), respectively, to support the respective front or rear end of the spring beams (220,222) at this side of the vehicle against the bottom of the frame (224), - a pair of hydraulic shock absorbers (244,248), each shock absorber being arranged to support one of the spring beams (220,222) with respect to the frame (224),

- a triangular rod (250) being pivotable linked to an upper center portion of the axle (214) and the frame (224), respectively,

- a pair of hangers (270,272), each hanger (270,272) extending downward from the frame at a position in front of the axle (214) or behind the axle (214),

- and a pair of longitudinal rods (274,276), each longitudinal rod (274,276) extending between one of the hangers (270,272) at the respective side of the vehicle and one spring beam (220,222) and being hinged with its ends to the hanger (270,272) and the spring beam (220,222), respectively, characterized in that the suspension portion (200) comprises a stabilizer bar (280) which is generally U-shaped and disposed above the axle (214), with a traverse beam (284) and two legs (290,292) extending from the ends of the traverse beam (284) in a direction perpendicular to the axle (214), wherein the traverse beam (284) is rotata- ble supported within a pair of pivot bearings (294,296), with each of the pivot bearings (294,296) being mounted between the bottom of the frame (224) and one of the air bellows (232,240) such that the legs (290,292) can perform a swiveling movement, and the ends (300,302) of the legs (290,292) being pivotable linked to the axle (214) via generally perpendicular thrust rods (304,306) and axle brackets (308,310) mounted on top of the axle (214), with each thrust rod (304,306) being pivotable hinged to one leg end (300,302) and to one axle bracket (308,310), respectively.

8. Pneumatic axle suspension portion according to claim 7, characterized in that the traverse beam (284) of the stabilizer bar (280) has a cranked shape.

9. Pneumatic axle suspension portion according to one of claims 7 or 8, characterized in that the axle brackets (308,310) each comprise an extension portion (312) ex- tending from the top of the axle (214), with its end being hinged to the lower end of the respective thrust rod (304,306).

10. Pneumatic axle suspension portion according to one of claims 7 to 9, characterized in that the pivot bearings (294,296) supporting the traverse beam (284) are disposed within frame brackets (314) mounted at the bottom of the frame (224).

11. Pneumatic axle suspension portion according to one of claims 7 to 10, characterized in that the pivot bearings (294,296) supporting the traverse beam (284) are dis- posed within air bellow plate brackets (318) mounted at the top of the respective air bellow (232,240).

12. Pneumatic axle suspension portion according to one of claims 7 to 11, charac- terized in that the air bellow plate brackets (318) and the lower part of the frame brackets (314) are formed as one piece.

Description:
PNEUMATIC AXLE SUSPENSION FOR A REAR AXLE OF A VEHICLE

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention concerns a pneumatic tandem axle suspension for a pair of rear axles of a vehicle, in particular a heavy goods vehicle, according to the preamble of claim 1. Moreover, the present invention concerns a pneumatic axle suspension portion according to the preamble of claim 7.

BACKGROUND ART

Axle suspension systems for vehicles already exist in many different embodiments. Suspensions for heavy goods vehicles often comprise a combination of pneumatic and other mechanical suspension means for providing sufficient driving comfort. These suspension and dampening means are installed underneath a frame forming the chassis of the vehicle, under which the suspended axle is arranged in a traverse direction, i. e. per- pendicular to the front-rear direction or driving direction of the vehicle. The suspension means combine the functions of shock absorption with a guidance function for guiding the axle movements in a predetermined manner.

A pneumatic tandem axle suspension, to which the present invention refers, suspends a pair of axles, namely a front axle and a rear axle, that are arranged behind each other at the rear portion of the vehicle. It is noted that the terms "front" and "rear" shall refer to the driving direction of the vehicle here in the following description. For each axle of this pair one suspension portion is provided, each front and rear suspension portion being part of the pneumatic tandem axle suspension. The construction of the two suspen- sion portions is generally the same, such that the resulting tandem axle suspension is generally symmetric with respect to a vertical plane perpendicular to the driving direction. In more detail, each of the front and rear suspension portions comprises a pair of spring beams for supporting the respective axle, each of the spring beams being arranged beneath the frame and extending perpendicular to the axle. Moreover, two pairs of air bellows are arranged between the spring beams and the frame, wherein each one pair of air bellows is arranged at one side (i. e. the left or right side) of the vehicle frame and comprises a front bellow and a rear bellow arranged in front of and behind the axle, respectively, to support the respective front or rear end of the spring beams at this side of the vehicle against the bottom of the frame. Each one shock absorber is arranged to support one of the spring beams with respect to the frame. A triangular rod is pivotable linked to an upper center portion of the axle and the frame, respectively. The pneumatic tandem axle suspension further comprises a pair of front hangers extending downward from the frame at a position between the front axle and the rear axle, to connect the respective front and rear suspension portions. Each of these suspension portions comprises a pair of longitudinal rods extending between the front hangers and the spring beams at the respective left and right sides of the vehicle. The longitudinal rods are hinged with their ends to the hanger and the spring beam, respectively.

Additional stabilizer bars are arranged underneath the frame for guiding the axles, with one stabilizer bar arranged within each of the front and rear suspension portions. The stabilizer bars are generally U-shaped and comprise a traverse beam extending parallel to the axle and two legs extending from the ends of the traverse beam in a direction perpendicular to the axis. The stabilizer bars are received within pivot bearings so that they can perform a turning movement around the main axis of the traverse beam, wherein the legs perform a swiveling up and down movement. In a construction known as the state of the art, the respective pivot bearings supporting the stabilizer traverse beams are disposed at the front and rear sides of the pneumatic tandem axle suspension, on the height of the spring beams. In this position the respective suspensions of the stabilizer bars do not obstruct any other mounting components of the front and rear suspension portions in the space underneath the frame. However, there is a major disadvantage that this construction takes much space and restricts the ground clearance of the vehicle in front of and behind the tandem axle suspension. Another disadvantage of this arrangement is that the stabilizer bars introduce high forces and torques into the spring beams to which they are mounted. Consequently, the spring beams must have a solid construction and consequently a high weight.

It is a common demand in vehicle constructions to reduce the overall weight of the vehicle, and so that there is a demand to reduce the weight of the axle suspensions and also their costs. Another common requirement is a compact design of all components, which is still to be improved in the pneumatic tandem axle suspensions of the kind as discussed above. The driving comfort should be further improved, in particular the transfer of vibrations from the axle to the driver's cabin should be decreased. At the same time, a harmonic tracking on the road surface profile is desired. These demands also occur with single axle suspensions.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

Therefore the problem underlying the present invention is to improve the design of the pneumatic tandem axle suspension as described above according to the state of the art, under the aspects of a more compact design, increase of ground clearance, weight reduction, cost reduction and improvement of driving comfort. Another problem is the provision of a corresponding axle suspension portion suitable as part of a tandem axle suspension but also suitable for supporting only a single axle, provising the same advantages.

These objects are achieved by a pneumatic tandem axle suspension comprising the features of claim 1, as well as by a pneumatic axle suspension portion comprising the features of claim 7. According to the present invention, the respective U-shaped stabilizer bars are disposed above the axle, with the two legs extending from the ends of their traverse beams in directions perpendicular to the axle. The pivot bearings for supporting the traverse beams are mounted between the bottom of the frame and one of the air bellows, respectively. The ends of the legs are pivotable linked to the axle suspended by the respective suspension portion via generally perpendicular thrust rods and axle brackets mounted on top of the axle, with each thrust rod being pivotable hinged to one leg end and to one axle bracket, respectively.

With the respective stabilizer bars being arranged in the space above the axles directly under the frame or enclosed by the frame work of the frame, the design of the pneumatic tandem axle suspension according to the present invention is very compact. Moreover, the forces acting on the stabilizer bars can be better absorbed by the frame and the axles. For this reason the spring beams can have a lighter weight, leading to a cost re- duction. It has turned out that this design further increases the driving comfort by a decreased transfer of vibrations from the axle to other parts of the vehicle, and the road tracking of the axle has also improved. Because of the new position of the stabilizer bars, the ground clearance in front of and behind the pneumatic tandem axle suspension has been increased.

In particular the arrangement of the pivot bearings for rotatable supporting the traverse beams in a position above the air bellows and under the frame contributes to the compact design. These pivot bearings can be arranged, for example, within a bracket part for supporting the air bellows with respect to the frame.

According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the traverse beam of the respective stabilizer bars have a cranked shape. This shape can be chosen to provide more room for central parts of the axles, in particular a drive shaft. Such bulky axle parts can obstruct the movement of the stabilizer bar. However, by the cranked shape this problem can be solved.

More preferably, the axle brackets each comprise an extension portion extending from the top of the axle, with its end being hinged to the lower end of the respective thrust rod.

According to another preferred embodiment of the present invention, the pivot bearings supporting the traverse beams are disposed within frame brackets mounted at the bottom of the frame.

More preferably, the pivot bearings supporting the traverse beam are disposed within air bellow plate brackets mounted at the top of the respective air bellow.

According to another preferred embodiment of the present invention, the air bellow plate brackets and the lower part of the frame brackets are formed as one piece. The present invention is further related to a pneumatic axle suspension portion for an axle of a vehicle, in particular a heavy goods vehicle, comprising:

- a pair of spring beams for supporting the axle, each of the spring beams being arranged beneath a vehicle frame and extending perpendicular to the axle, - two pairs of air bellows, with each one pair being arranged at one side of the vehicle frame and comprising a front bellow and a rear bellow arranged in front of and behind the axle, respectively, to support the respective front or rear end of the spring beams at this side of the vehicle against the bottom of the frame,

- a pair of hydraulic shock absorbers, each shock absorber being arranged to support one of the spring beams with respect to the frame,

- a triangular rod being pivotable linked to an upper center portion of the axle and the frame, respectively,

- a pair of hangers, each hanger extending downward from the frame at a position in front of the axle or behind the axle, - and a pair of longitudinal rods, each longitudinal rod extending between one of the hangers at the respective side of the vehicle and one spring beam and being hinged with its ends to the hanger and the spring beam, respectively, wherein the suspension portion comprises a stabilizer bar which is generally U- shaped and disposed above the axle, with a traverse beam and two legs extending from the ends of the traverse beam in a direction perpendicular to the axle, and the traverse beam is rotatable supported within a pair of pivot bearings, with each of the pivot bearings being mounted between the bottom of the frame and one of the air bellows such that the legs can perform a swiveling movement, and the ends of the legs being pivot- able linked to the axle via generally perpendicular thrust rods and axle brackets mount- ed on top of the axle, with each thrust rod being pivotable hinged to one leg end and to one axle bracket, respectively.

Such a suspension portion can be used for suspending a single axle of a vehicle. It can also form a part of a tandem pneumatic tandem axle suspension for a pair of rear axles of a vehicle, as described above, comprising two of such suspension portions, namely a front suspension portion for suspending a front axle and a rear suspension portion for suspending a rear axle of the pair of rear axles. In this configuration both suspension portions share one pair of hangers disposed between them.

Further embodiments of this suspension portion are represented by the claims 8 to 12. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent and elucidated from the following description of preferred embodiments of the invention, which will be described hereinafter.

Fig. 1 is a side view of an embodiment of the pneumatic tandem axle suspension according to the present invention;

Fig. 2 is a top view of the embodiment of the pneumatic tandem axle suspension shown in Fig. 1;

Fig. 3 is an enlarged perspective view of the portion designated by the letter B in Fig. 1, with some construction parts being omitted;

Fig. 4 is a side view of an embodiment of a pneumatic axle suspension portion according to the present invention;

Fig. 5 is a top view of the embodiment of the axle suspension portion shown in Fig. 4; and

Fig. 6 is a perspective view of the axle suspension portion shown in Fig. 4 and 5, with some parts being omitted. BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

Fig. 1 shows a pneumatic tandem axle suspension 10 for a pair of rear axles 12,14 of a vehicle, which is a heavy goods vehicle in the present embodiment. However, it is noted that the present invention is also applicable to other kinds of vehicles and not restricted to heavy good vehicles. The driving direction in Fig. 1 is the left direction (indicated by an arrow D), and both axles 12, 14 extend perpendicular to the plane of the drawing, i. e. perpendicular to the driving direction D. In the following, the terms "front", "rear", "left", "right", etc. refer to the indicated driving direction D. The axles 12,14 are spaced apart from each other with respect to the driving direction D and shall be designated as front axle 12 and rear axle 14, referring to their mutual arrangement with respect to the driving direction D. Each of the axles 12, 14 is suspended within its own suspension portion 16, 18 of the pneumatic tandem axle suspension 10. Both suspension portions 16, 18 generally have the same construction, such that the por- tions of the pneumatic tandem axle suspension 10 marked by the letters A and B in Fig. 1 are generally mirror symmetric with respect to a vertical center plane P perpendicular to the driving direction D.

Each of the front and rear suspension portions 16, 18 comprises a pair of spring beams 20,22 for supporting the respective axle 12, 14, wherein each of the spring beams 20,22 of this pair is arranged beneath the vehicle frame 24 and extends in the driving direction D perpendicular to the axle 12, 14. With other words, each of the front and rear suspension portions 16, 18 comprises a left and a right spring beam which are arranged beneath the left and right side of the frame 24. It can also be taken from the top view in Fig. 2 that the two left spring beams of the pneumatic tandem axle suspension 10, belonging to different suspension portions 16, 18, are arranged behind each other with respect to the driving direction D, and this is also the case for the respective right spring beams in the upper part of Fig. 2. Moreover, each of the front and rear suspension portion 16, 18 comprises two pairs of air bellows 26,28; 30,32, with each one pair being arranged at one side of the vehicle frame 24 and comprising a front bellow 26,30 and a rear bellow 28,32 arranged in front of and behind the axle 12, 14, respectively, to support the respective front or rear end of the spring beams 20,22 against the bottom of the frame 24. In Fig. 1, only the air bellows 26,28; 30,32 on the left side of the vehicle are visible, namely (in the order from left to right in Fig. 1) the left front bellow 26 of the front suspension portion 16, the left rear bellow 28 of the front suspension portion 16, the left front air bellow 30 of the rear suspension portion 18, and the left rear air bellow 32 of the rear suspension portion 18. The corresponding right air bellows 34,36,38,40 are visible in the top view in Fig. 2.

Moreover, each of the front rear suspension portions 16,18 comprises a pair of hydraulic shock absorbers 42,44; 46,48 to support the spring beams 20,22 with respect to the frame 24. The lower ends of these shock absorbers 42,44,46,48 are mounted to portions of the respective spring beams 20,22 extending away from the respective axle 12,14 on the side of the axle 12, 14 away from the respective other suspension portion, i. e. at the outer side of the pneumatic tandem axle suspension 10. The upper ends of the shock absorbers 42,44; 46,48 are attached laterally to the frame 24. The shock absorbers 42,44; 46,48 can perform a swiveling movement around their upper attachment bearings. As usual, the hydraulic shock absorbers 42,44,46,48 can be linearly extracted or retracted to change their length, i. e. the distance between the respective spring beam 20,22 and the frame 24. As can be taken from the top view in Fig. 2, each of the front and rear suspension portions 16, 18 comprises a triangular rod 50,52 which is hinged to an upper center portion of the respective axle 12, 14 and the frame 24, respectively. More specifically, each triangular rod 50,52 has a shape of an isosceles triangle, the legs of which is formed by two upper rods 54,56,58,60 being connected to each other to form one piece, enclosing an acute angle. They extend from a common joint 62,64, with their ends being linked to the left and right parallel beams 66,68 of the frame 24. By this hinged arrangement, the respective triangular rod 50,52 can follow a vertical movement of the respective axle 12, 14 to which it is attached, performing a swiveling movement. The two triangular rods 50,52 of the pneumatic tandem axle suspension 10 are arranged such that their re- spective upper rods 54,56 and 58,60 extend toward each other and being hinged to the left and right beams 66,68 of the frame 24 in a center portion of the pneumatic axle suspension 10. In this center portion, one pair front hangers 70,72 is disposed to extend downwardly from the beams 66,68 of the frame 24. Each of the front and rear suspension portion 16, 18 comprises one pair of longitudinal rods 74,76 (see Fig. 1), each longitudinal rod 74,76 extending between one of the hangers 70,72 at the respective left or right side of the vehicle and one spring beam 20,22 of the respective suspension portion 16,18 and is hinged with its ends to the front hanger 70,72 and the spring beam 20,22, respectively. With the spring beams 20,22 performing a vertical movement together with the axles 12, 14, the longitudinal rods 74,76 follow this movement by performing a swiveling movement around their hinge bearings at the hangers 70,72. It can be taken from Fig. 1 that on each side of the vehicle (with the left side visible in Fig. 1), two longitudinal rods 74,76, belonging to the front and rear suspension portions 16, 18, respectively, extend from the lower end of the hanger 70 in the driving direction D and opposite to the driving direction D, i. e. opposite to each other. According to the present invention, each of the front and rear suspension portions 16, 18 comprises a stabilizer bar 78,80 which is generally U-shaped and disposed above the respective axle 12, 14. Each stabilizer bar 78,80 comprises a traverse beam 82,84, extending parallel to the respective axle 12, 14. The legs 86,88 of the stabilizer bar 78 of the front suspension portion 16 extend in the driving direction D, while the legs 90,92 of the stabilizer bar 80 of the rear suspension portion 18 extend in the opposite direction. That is, the respective legs 86,88;90,92 of the front and rear suspension portions 16, 18 extend in a direction away from the respective other suspension portion, respectively.

The traverse beam 82,84 of each stabilizer bar 78,80 is rotatable supported within a pair of pivot bearings 94,96, with each of the pivot bearings 94,96 being mounted between the bottom of the frame 24 and one of the air bellows 28,30; 36,38 of the pair of air bellows disposed at the side of the respective suspension portion 16, 18 facing the other suspension portion 18, 16. As can be taken from Fig. 1, the pivot bearings 94 for supporting the traverse beam 82 of the stabilizer bar 78 of the front suspension portion 16 are disposed between the rear air bellows 28,36 of the front suspension portion 16, behind the front axle 12, while the pivot bearings 96 for supporting the traverse beam 84 of the stabilizer bar 80 of the rear suspension portion 18 are mounted on the front air bellows 30,38 of the rear suspension portion 18 in front of the rear axle 14. With other words, the pivot bearing 94,96 are mounted on those four air bellows 28,30; 36,38 that are mounted underneath the frame 24 in the space delimited by the front axle 12 and rear axle 14. By supporting the respective traverse beams 82,84 within the pivot bearings 94,96, the stabilizer bars 78,80 can perform a swiveling movement, with their legs 86,88,90,92 being pivoted up and down when the traverse beams 82,84 are rotated within their respective pivot bearings 94,96. As can be taken from the enlarged perspective view in Fig. 3, showing the stabilizer bar 80 of the rear suspension portion 18 in more detail, the rear ends 100,102 of the legs 90,92 are pivotable linked to the perspective axle 14 via generally perpendicular thrust rods 104,106 and axle brackets 108, 110 mounted on top of the axle 14, with each thrust rod 104,106 being hinged to one leg end 100, 102 and to one axle bracket 108, 110, re- spectively. To this purpose, each of the axle brackets 108, 110 comprises an extension portion 112 extending from the top of the axle 14 at the side of the respective bracket 108, 110 facing the traverse beam 84. In the arrangement, the thrust rod 104,106 can perform a pivot movement with respect to the axle bracket 108, 110, on one hand, and to the respective leg 90,92 of the stabilizer bar 80, on the other hand. The upper and lower ends of the thrust rods 104, 106 are connected to the legs 90,92 and the axle brackets 108, 110 by hinge bearings.

The pivot bearings 94,96 supporting the traverse beams 82,84 are disposed between the lower portions of frame brackets 1 14 mounted at the bottom of the frame 24, namely at the bottom of the respective bars 66,68 delimiting the frame 24 laterally, and the upper portions of air bellow plate brackets 118 mounted on top of the respective air bellows 30,38. For supporting the pivot bearings 94,96 from top and from below, the frame brackets 114 and the air bellow plate brackets 118 are provided with semi-shells to surround the respective pivot bearings 94,96 in the mounted state. The frame brackets 114 are fixed to the bottom of the respective bar 66,68, while the air bellow plate brackets 118 are fixed to the upper surfaces of the respective air bellows 30,38 or being formed as one piece with this upper surface. The frame brackets 114 and the air bellow plate brackets 118 can also be formed as one piece. In Fig. 3, two pivot bearings 94,96 are disposed on top of the air bellows 30,38 for supporting the stabilizer bar 80 of the rear suspension portion 18. However, the construction shown in Fig. 3 for supporting the stabilizer bar 80 is mirror symmetric to the sus- pension of the stabilizer bar 78 of the front suspension portion 16, and the arrangement of the respective pivot bearings for supporting the front stabilizer bar 78 is the same as shown in Fig. 3 in a mirror symmetric arrangement with respect to the plane P.

The traverse beam 84 of the stabilizer bar 80 shown in Fig. 3 has a cranked shape, with a central section 116 having a bent shape bending towards the top of the vehicle. At the concave side of this section 116, there is space for accommodating other construction parts of the vehicle. By the cranked shape of the traverse beam 80, a collision of the respective stabilizer bar 80 with other bulky construction parts of the vehicle is avoided.

The front and rear suspension portions 16, 18 operate independent from each other. When a pushing force acts on the respective axle 12, 14 in the upward direction, for example, by a road bump or the like, the load is taken by the air bellows 26,28,30,32,34,36,38,40 and the hydraulic shock absorbers 42,44,46,48 so that they are compressed. At the same time, the axle brackets 108, 110 on top of the respective axles 12, 14 transmit the force onto the thrust rods 104,106 to which they are linked and the thrust rods 104,106 in turn pivot to legs 86,88,90,92 of the stabilizer bar 78,80 to which they are linked in an upward direction, with the respective traverse beam 82,84 being turned within its pivot bearings 94,96. The longitudinal rods 74,76 connected to the hangers 70,72 have a guiding function in this movement, together with the triangular rods 50,52 of the respective front and rear suspension portions 16, 18. Stopper brackets 120 mounted at the bottom of the frame 24 act as stopping elements to absorb shocks from impacts of the axle 12,14 abutting the frame 24.

The arrangement of the stabilizer bars 78,80 is very compact and consumes little space above the axles 12, 14. In particular, the mountings of the air bellows 28,30;36,38 arranged in the space delimited by the axles 12, 14 are used for accommodating the pivot bearings 94,96 supporting the traverse beams 82,84 of the stabilizer bars 78,80. The ground clearance in front of and behind the pneumatic tandem axle suspension 10 is increased. In the present construction, the stabilizer bars 78,80 are lighter, decreasing the overall weight of the vehicle and the manufacturing costs.

Fig. 4 is a schematic side view of a pneumatic axle suspension portion 200 for suspend- ing an axle 214 of a vehicle, in particular a heavy goods vehicle. As in Fig. 1, the driving direction in Fig. 4 is the left direction (indicated by an arrow D). The axle 214 extends perpendicular to the plane of the drawing, i. e. perpendicular to the driving direction D. The axle 214 is a rear axle of the vehicle. The suspension portion 200 comprises a pair of spring beams 220,222 for supporting the axle 214. Each of the spring beam 220,222 is arranged beneath the vehicle frame 224 and extends in the driving direction D perpendicular to the axle 214. With other words, the suspension portion 200 comprises a left spring beam 220 and a right spring beam 222 which are arranged beneath the left and right side of the frame 224.

The suspension portion 200 further comprises two pairs of air bellows 230,232, with each one pair been arranged at one side of the vehicle frame 224 and comprising a front bellow 230 and a rear bellow 232 arranged in front of and behind the axle 214, respectively, to support the respective front or rear end of the spring beams 220,222 against the bottom of the frame 224. In Fig. 4, only the front air bellow 230 and the rear air bellow 232 on the left side of the vehicle are visible. In the top view in Fig. 5, the respective right front bellow 234 and the right rear bellow 240, forming the right pair of air bellows 234,240 are also visible, supporting the respective front and rear ends of the right spring beam 222 against the bottom of the frame 224.

The suspension portion 200 further comprises a pair of hydraulic shock absorbers 244,248 to support each one spring beam 220,222 on the left and right side of the vehicle with respect to the frame 224. Respectively, the lower ends of these shock absorbers 244,248 are mounted to portions of the respective spring beams 220,222 extending away from the axle 214, while the upper ends of the shock absorbers 244,248 are attached laterally to the frame 224. The shock absorbers 244,248 can perform a swiveling movement around their upper attachment bearings. As usual, the hydraulic shock absorbers 244,248 can be linearly extracted or retracted to change their length, i. e. the distance between the respective spring beam 220,222 and the frame 224. The shock absorbers 244,248 are disposed between the axle 214 and the respective front air bellow 230,234, i. e. in front of the axle 214, been attached with their lower ends to the respective section of the spring beam 220,222 extending in the driving direction D.

As can be taken from the top view in Fig. 5, the suspension portion 200 comprises a triangular rod 250 which is hinged to an upper center portion of the axle 214. The triangular rod 250 has a shape of an isosceles triangle, the legs of which is formed by two upper rods 256,258 being connected to each other to form one piece, enclosing an acute angle. They extend from a common joint 264, with their ends being linked to the left and right parallel beams 266,268 of the frame 224 in a position in front of the common joint 264 with respect to the driving direction D of the vehicle. By this hinged arrangement, the triangular rod 250 can follow a vertical movement of the axle 214 to which it is attached, performing a swiveling movement.

A pair of hangers 270, 272 is disposed in front of the front air bellows 230,234 and the axle 214 to extend downwardly from the beams 266,268 from the frame 224. With their upper ends, the respective left and right hangers 270,272 are attached laterally at the outer sides of the beams 266,268. The suspension portion 200 comprises a pair of longi- tudinal rods 274,276, each longitudinal rod 274,276 extending between one of the hangers 270,272 at the respective left or right side of the vehicle and one spring beam 220,222, being hinged with its front end to the hanger 270,272 and with its rear end to the respective spring beam 220,222. With the spring beams 220,222 performing a vertical movement together with the axle 214, the longitudinal rods 274,276 follow this movement to perform a swiveling movement around their hinge bearings at the hangers 270,272.

The suspension portion 200 further comprises a stabilizer bar 280 which is generally U- shaped and disposed above the axle, i. e. at a higher position than the axle 214. As can be taken from Fig. 5 and 6, the stabilizer bar 280 comprises a traverse beam 284 extending parallel to the axle 214, and legs 290,292 extending perpendicular to the traverse beam 284 in the driving direction D, i. e. towards the pair of hangers 270,272. The traverse beam 284 is rotatable supported within a pair of pivot bearing 294,296, being mounted between the bottom of the frame 224 and one of the air bellows 232,240. In more detail, the left pivot bearing 296 visible in Fig. 4 is disposed between the bottom of the left beam 268 of the frame 224 and the left rear air bellow 232, while the opposite right pivot bearing 294 (see Fig. 5 and 6) is mounted between the bottom of the right beam 266 of the frame 224 and the top of the rear right air bellow 240. By supporting the traverse beam 284 within the pivot bearing 294,296, the stabilizer bar 280 can perform a swiveling movement, with its legs 290,292 being pivoted up and down when the traverse beam 284 is rotated within the respective pivot bearings 294,296. In the present embodiment shown in Fig. 4, 5 and 6, the traverse beam 284 of the stabilizer bar 280 has a straight shape, other than the cranked shape of the traverse beam 84 of the stabilizer bar 80 shown in Fig. 3 of the first embodiment. In another embodiment not demonstated in the figures, the traverse beam 284 may also have a cranked shape. The ends 300,302 of the legs 290,292 of the stabilizer bar 280 are pivotable linked to the axle 214 via generally perpendicular thrust rods 304,306 and axle brackets 308,310 mounted on top of the axle 214, with each thrust rod 304,306 being hinged to one leg end 300,302 and to one axle bracket 308,310, respectively. To this purpose, each of the axle brackets 308,310 comprises an extension portion 312 extending from the top of the axle 214 at the side of the respective bracket 308,310 facing the traverse beam 284. In this arrangement, the respective thrust rod 304,306 can perform a pivot movement with respect to the axle bracket 308,310, on one hand, and to the respective leg 290,292 of the stabilizer bar 280 on the other hand. The upper and lower ends of the thrust rods 304,306 are connected to the legs 290,292 and the axle brackets 308,310 by hinge bear- ings.

The pivot bearings 294,296 supporting the traverse beam 280 are disposed between the lower portions of frame brackets 314 mounted laterally at the outer sides of the bars 266,268 of the frame 224 and extending downward from the bars 266,268, and the up- per portions of air bellow brackets 318 mounted on top of the rear air bellows 232,240. The air bellow brackets 318 may have a plate-like shape to cover the top portions of the rear air bellows 232,240 for supporting the pivot bearings 294,296 from top and from below. The frame brackets 314 and the air bellow brackets 318 are provided with semi- shells to surround the respective pivot bearings 294,296 in the mounted state. The air bellow brackets 318 can also be formed as one piece with the upper surface of the respective rear air bellow 232,240. The frame brackets 314 and the air bellow brackets 318 can also be formed as one piece.

While the air bellow brackets 318 support the pivot bearings 294,296 from below, air bellow brackets 319 on top of the front air bellows 230,234 are mounted directly to the bottom of the respective bars 266,268 of the frame 224 to attach the top portions of the front air bellows 230,234 directly to the frame 224.

The suspension portion 200 shown in Fig. 4, 5 and 6 operates similar to the suspension portions 16, 18 of the pneumatic tandem axle suspension 10 shown in Fig. 1, 2 and 3. Namely, when a pushing force acts on the axle 214 in the upward direction, the load is taken by the air bellows 230,232,234,240 and the hydraulic shock absorbers 244,248 so that they are compressed. At the same time, the axle brackets 308,310 on top of the axle 214 transmits the force onto the thrust rods 304,306 to which they are linked and the thrust rods 304,306 in turn pivot the legs 290,292 of the stabilizer bar 280 in an upward direction, while the traverse beam 284 is turned within its pivot bearing 294,296. The longitudinal rods 274,276 have a guiding function in this movement, together with the triangular rod 250. A buffer element 320, for example, a rubber buffer is mounted on top of the axle 12 to act as a stopper which absorbs shocks from impacts of the axle 214 abutting the bottom of the frame 224. At the abutting position, the frame 224 is provided with a reinforcing element 322.

The suspension portion 200 shown in Fig. 4, 5 and 6 can be used as a single axle sus- pension for one axle of a heavy goods vehicle. However, this axle suspension portion 200 can also be combined with another axle suspension portion with the same construction but being mirror symmetric to the suspension portion 200 shown in Fig. 4, 5 and 6, such that these two suspension portions for two axles share one pair of hangers 270,272, as demonstrated in the embodiment shown in Fig. 1, 2 and 3, forming a tandem axle suspension, with the longitudinal rods 274,276 of the front and rear suspension portions being linked at opposite sides to the bottom ends of the hangers 270,272. Such a combination of two mirror symmetric suspension portions 200 would be different from the tandem axle suspension 10 in Fig. 1, 2 and 3 with respect to the arrangement of the sta- bilizer bars 280 and the shock absorbers 244,248. In the suspension portions 200 shown in Fig. 4, 5 and 6, the stabilizer bar 280 is arranged at the side of the axle 214 opposite to the pair of hangers 270,272, with the legs 290,292 of the stabilizer bar 280 being directed towards the hangers 270,272, with the shock absorbers 244,248 being arranged between the axle 214 and the hangers 270,272, while in the tandem axle suspension 10 in Fig. 1 to 3, the stabilizer bars 78,80 are arranged on the inner side facing the hangers 270,272, with their legs 86,88;90,92 extending away from each other.

Moreover, according to still another embodiment of the invention, it is possible to use the suspension portion 200 as a single axle suspension for one axle in an arrangement mirror symmetric to the embodiment in Fig. 4, 5 and 6, with the stabilizer bar 280 positioned in front of the axle 214 (with respect to the driving direction D) and the hangers 270,272 positioned behind the axle 214.