Bosch Australia has survived the end of Australian car manufacture and transfer of ABS manufacture to Asia by becoming the group specialist in Trailer Safety Control (TSC) for fitment to caravans and trailers equipped with electric brakes and towed by passenger vehicles.

“This shows how Bosch Australia is diversifying into new products and markets including the global caravan and trailer sector, building on 30 years of local automotive engineering expertise,” the supplier said in a statement.

“Despite the end of volume passenger car production in Australia this year, Bosch Australia’s 200 strong automotive engineering team is busier than ever,” said Gavin Smith, president of Bosch Australia. “Trailer Safety is a great example of how to apply existing capability to an adjacent and attractive niche with global potential.”

Global centre of competence for trailer safety

The need for a solution to trailer sway and subsequent crashes was identified by the supplier’s Australian Vehicle Safety Systems engineering team. This prompted an innovation idea and subsequent R&D project in 2014. The parent company acknowledged the local engineering capability and market opportunity which led to the establishment of a Bosch global Centre of Competence for Trailer Safety in Australia by 2015.

The launch of the first system, an active safety system, will aid accident prevention by incorporating ABS, sway mitigation and other value-adding functions, for new caravans and trailers with electric brakes. It has the potential to reduce the number of trailer related incidents by up to 45%.

Mounted to the trailer’s chassis, the system comprises an electronic control unit (ECU) with integrated motion sensor, and wheel speed sensors. These sensors determine the movement of the trailer and the speed of each individual wheel, respectively. The brain of the system, the ECU, will be manufactured at Bosch’s production facility in Clayton.

Mark Jackman, head of Bosch Australia’s Vehicle Safety Division said: “Our extensive vehicle safety systems experience is carried over into the Trailer Safety Control system.”

DexKo Global provides its global expertise in trailer brake development to the supplier. With its support, Bosch is in the final stages of development, readying the TSC system for sale early in 2018. The system will be offered initially in Australia and the US. In these two markets alone, there are approximately 1m new trailer registrations annually (including caravans) and 12m registered trailers.

Bosch started in Australia in the 1950s, supplying electrical components to Volkswagen Australia also located in Clayton. The automaker both manufactured and assembled its vehicles in the country for a couple of decades.