WABCO and other Oakville businesses receive top marks

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WABCO and other Oakville businesses receive top marks
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R. G. Beltzner

R. G. Beltzner

A long time automobile enthusiast, and competitive race driver, Rainer Beltzner provides performance driving and racing instruction for Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari owners and clubs. He's been doing this for over 25 years. Often, Rainer is found driving/teaching on one of the Canadian Tire Motorsport, Shannonville or Watkins Glen tracks. During the “off-season”, Rainer spends his spare time driving and evaluating a broad range of vehicles. Follow Rainer on Twitter @redy2rol.

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Congratulations to WABCO and other Oakville based companies – winning prestigious awards and recognition for innovative solutions and solid business performance.

Earlier this month, a company known as WABCO received an important award from the Heavy Duty Trucking magazine’s 2018 Top 20 Products for its “OptiFlow Auto Tail” that deploys and retracts tail panels based on driving speed. WABCO’s Oakville plant is where this innovative technology was developed and is manufactured.

Image Credit: WABCO

Most of us will have experienced driving next to one of those huge transport trucks with roof wind deflectors and their 53’ trailer and possibly wondered – what are those skirts on the side of the trailer? – or, what are those odd looking flaps sticking out from the doors of the trailer? Well, wonder no more. All of these are innovations designed to dramatically improve fuel efficiency, reduce operating costs and emissions on the thousands of transport trucks that ply our highways every day.

Right here in Oakville, some of these innovative solutions come from a former privately owned company that designs and manufactures aerodynamic devices for heavy-duty trucks and trailers, known as Laydon Composites Ltd. Located on Wycroft Road and founded in 1994, Laydon Composites was acquired by WABCO in 2016. WABCO was founded in 1869 as the Westinghouse Air Brake Company and today supplies electronic braking, stability, suspension and transmission automation systems for heavy-duty commercial vehicles in over 30 countries around the world.

Today, the Oakville based WABCO company employs over 50 office and manufacturing employees. I had an opportunity to visit the plant and chat with Hjalmar Van Raemdonck, about the importance of these aerodynamic devices for heavy-duty trucks and what makes the recent award winning “OptiFlow Auto Tail” so unique.

Image Credit: WABCO

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Their uniqueness comes from their ability to automatically deploy and retract the panels based on driving speed. At low speeds such as driving in a city environment, or loading/unloading, the “tail” retracts against the rear doors automatically, both reducing the potential for damage as well as improving the efficiency of the driver. At higher highway speeds, the “tail” extends automatically, significantly reducing air drag and thus improving fuel efficiency and operating costs.

Best of all, significant testing in extreme cold weather environments has assured that these will function properly in our environment, despite freezing temperatures, snow and ice. In addition to the “OptiFlow Auto Tail”, this WABCO plant also designs and manufactures air deflectors as seen on the roof of truck cabs and the side skirts seen on the 53’ trailers they pull.

Despite its smaller size, Oakville continues to develop and retain some of the best minds and processes in manufacturing, technology, distribution, and business improvement. In addition to fuel efficiency innovations such as those delivered by WABCO, companies that employ large or even smaller fleets of commercial vehicles are also concerned about optimizing their fleet use and managing their driver safety.

The Canadian Business Magazine recently announced the 2018 list of Canada’s Best Managed Companies and Oakville’s Geotab Inc. joins the list for the first time. This Oakville based business is one of the largest and fastest-growing telematics companies in the world.

Telematics involves the integrated use of telecommunications and informatics for application in vehicles and with the control of vehicles on the move. Geotab’s GPS fleet management solutions capture data on vehicle position, speed, fuel use, idling, and offer solutions to monitor and report on driver safety. Geotab’s head office is located on the North Service Road.

Geotab is not the only Oakville winner of the 2018 Canadian best-managed companies. For the past six years, Oakville companies including Astound, Callisto Integration Corp, Levitt-Safety, and STRONE have all made the list. Rounding out Oakville’s success is Pelmorex Corp that has been on the list for the past seven years.

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