June 2012

 

AL-KO's new sway controller under test

AL-KO's new sway controller under test

$2.4m in exports predicted

AL-KO helps combat lethal caravan jackknifing

Have your say

AN award-winning Victorian company has developed a unit which could drastically reduce the number of potentially lethal accidents involving caravans jackknifing.

And the electronic sway detector has been applauded by a government minister who recently opened AL-KO's $4.3m Recreational Vehicle Technology Centre at Dandenong, where the sophisticated unit will be manufactured.

"We have a great culture of caravanning in Victoria and this technology is not only an example of innovative manufacturing, but also something that will be welcomed as a safety measure by the thousands of grey nomad caravanners across Australia," Manufacturing, Exports and Trade Minister Richard Dalla-Riva said.

Sensors inside AL-KO's Electronic Stability Control (ESC) unit monitor any build-up of caravan swaying and applies the brakes to control the vehicle and smoothly bring it back into line.

Production of the ESC unit will create 18 new jobs at the newly opened centre.

Mr Dalla-Riva said: "This centre strengthens Victoria as Australia's hub for recreational vehicle manufacturing, as home to more than 90 companies responsible for over 80 percent of manufacturing in this sector.

"It is an automotive sector worth around $3 billion in annual revenue and directly employs around 6000 people across 1100 enterprises."

AL-KO heralded as a leading manufacturer and supplier of recreational vehicle components in Australia and New Zealand aims to see its ESC product fitted to most new caravans and trailers produced domestically, as well as a large number retrofitted to second-hand caravans and trailers.

The company estimates that ESC products will generate $2.4 million in exports over five years, particularly in America's new caravan market which is around 10 times the size of the Australian market.

AL-KO said that despite modern chassis technology, severe traffic accidents with trailers and caravans continued to be a serious issue and it saw the need for an electronic sway control system which would work under extreme driving conditions while towing.

The ESC would help keep a caravan stable during emergency evasive manoeuvres such as avoiding a vehicle or animal appearing suddenly on the road ahead.

Mr Dalla-Riva said the Victorian Coalition Government provided a $150,000 grant towards the new AL-KO Recreational Vehicle Technology Centre.

"We have also provided $45,000 to the Caravan Trade and Industries Association of Victoria to develop a detailed plan for growth of the local industry, and Victorian manufacturers will also benefit from the recent budget announcement of $58 million for Victorian manufacturing companies," he added.

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