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AL-KO launches IQ7 trailer braking system

TRAILER part manufacturer AL-KO this week launched its latest IQ7 and IQ7 Xtreme trailer brake systems at Melbourne’s Sandown Raceway.

The IQ7 is designed specifically for boat trailers and this week’s launch included an opportunity to test drive the new product towing a heavy fibreglass boat.

AL-KO’s former trailer brake brand Sensabrake was acquired in 2009 from a New Zealand manufacturer to complement the company’s full line-up of trailer accessories. Manufacturing was moved to Melbourne to iron out some previous problems with the original product. The company also released its popular ESC product, an anti-sway device for caravans. Following the success of the ESC, AL-KO switched its attention back to boat trailers and has spent the past two years designing the new IQ7 from the ground up.

“We started with a blank sheet of paper and developed a brand new product,” said AL-KO Managing Director Sven Mannfolk.

The IQ7 is designed to improve stopping distance for large boat trailers with hydraulic brakes. It also has a useful feature which stops the trailer if the boat ever becomes unhitched from the car. This function could be a real lifesaver!

AL-KO claims the new system is superior to the alternative vacuum or compressed air system. The price is lower and the IQ7 doesn’t void the tow vehicle’s warranty. Using the IQ7 allows the legal use of hydraulic disc brakes for towed vehicles and trailers over two tonne.

The IQ7’s compressed air within a pressure chamber means stopping time is significantly improved over earlier technology. There’s no lag time in an emergency braking situation.

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Image: Peter Elgar.

Tests by AL-KO reveal the IQ7 Xtreme stops a 2000kg GTM car and boat in just 18 metres while travelling at 80km/h. The same boat and car stops at 22 metres with standard IQ7 and at 35 metres without brakes.

Marine Business tested the brakes at Sandown Raceway, and while wet weather increased braking distance slightly, the results were impressive. There was no noticeable lag time after applying the brakes and the system pulled up the heavy rig in a short distance. The difference between IQ7 and IQ7 Xtreme was also impressive with a few metres gained on the Xtreme version. Slow driving, simulating stop-start traffic, was just as effective.

The Xtreme requires additional components such as Brake Pedal Pad, Xtreme Electronic Control Unit, and Xtreme Controller Mouse. The complete package allow a faster response time and smoother braking. The Electronic Control Unit offers detection of various failures while the Controller Mouse offers a panic button and Gain Control lever for braking adjustments.

While test results give AL-KO’s IQ7 the thumbs up, technical and manufacturing manager Rob Funder said the new brakes were also built to endure years of use.

“We’re not only after a response time and performance, but also reliability,” said Funder.

The IQ7 has gone through 220,000 test cycles at AL-KO’s Dandenong factory. That’s the equivalent of 42 trips per year over 10 years. The test is still going…

Quality brakes are a crucial component on heavy boat trailers. When an emergency happens, the increased stopping distance on AL-KO’s latest IQ7 could mean the difference between life and death.

Check out the video below showing the latest brake technology in action.

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