New equipment debuts at Mid-America

May 1, 2005
Manufacturers used this year's Mid-America Trucking Show to introduce a variety of trailers and components. They were among 1,080 exhibiting companies

Manufacturers used this year's Mid-America Trucking Show to introduce a variety of trailers and components.

They were among 1,080 exhibiting companies from 46 states and 11 foreign countries who exhibited at the event. In total, the show encompassed more than one million square feet of exhibit space and attracted 75,650 individuals from all 50 states and 43 foreign countries.

The event was held March 30-April 2 in Louisville, Kentucky. Here are some of the highlights:

ThermoGuard reefer guards against insulation loss

GREAT DANE TRAILERS has developed a new refrigerated trailer liner that dramatically slows down the loss of insulation performance. Called ThermoGuard, the new liner will substantially extend the useful life and value of a refrigerated trailer, according to Phill Pines, chief operating officer of Great Dane Trailers.

As a refrigerated trailer ages, the effectiveness of its insulation decreases continually because traditional interior wall liners do not completely seal the insulation. This allows “out-gassing” that causes the foam insulation to degrade in insulation effectiveness.

Designed and engineered by Great Dane, ThermoGuard is a glass-reinforced, thermoplastic liner that contains an innovative composite layer to seal the trailer's insulation more effectively. In addition, ThermoGuard offers strength, durability, and extreme puncture resistance in a lightweight package, saving up to 200 pounds, according to Chris Adkins, senior vice-president sales and marketing.

The building block of ThermoGuard is Great Dane's Puncture Guard, available as a scuffband and liner on Great Dane trailers exclusively, Adkins says. ThermoGuard is available as an option on all Great Dane refrigerated trailer models.

ThermoGuard is one of two new products launched by Great Dane Trailers at the Mid-America Trucking Show. The other is i -Van, a new semi-insulated trailer. It combines the traditional sheet-and-post van construction with the press-panel technology of a refrigerated van, which creates a modular wall construction having a flat and smooth interior lining of glass-reinforced plastic with minimal fasteners.

Many classic reefer features are available in the i -Van, including overlaid scuffband, cargo tracks, and side doors. Post cavities are insulated on the press-foamed panels. For freight companies operating in such sub-zero temperatures as in Canada, heater bracings on the front wall are available. In addition to the standard 99" wide interior, the i -Van is available with a 100" interior width.

“We are spending $5 million to retool our refrigerated and specialty dry freight trailer production lines at our Brazil, Indiana, manufacturing plant where the new i -Van semi-insulated vans will be built,” says Pines. “We are adding specialty foam presses to build i -Van as well as refrigerated trailer wall and roof assemblies. This is part of our new modular design assembly, which allows for reduced manufacturing cost while lowering the trailer weight and improving the design integrity.” Great Dane Trailers, Savannah GA.

Emerging trend to wide singles, air-disc brakes

UTILITY TRAILER highlighted the growing trend to wide-base single tires and air-disc brakes with this exhibit at the Mid-America Trucking Show. Utility, the third-largest trailer manufacturer, sold more than a thousand trailers with wide-base single tires in 2004 and expects to double that this year. The company is running the wide singles on its fleet for interplant transfers of materials, parts, and subassemblies.

Air-disc trailer brakes are coming back because of their shorter stopping distance and resistance to brake fade, says Craig Bennett, senior vice-president sales and marketing. The federal government had considered proposed new regulations that would have reduced the FMVSS-121 stopping distance of 355 feet to something between 248 and 292 feet. Air-disc brakes can reduce that stopping distance to 215 feet or to 221 feet for air-discs on the trailer only.

The pictured display shows Utility's proposed package for the running gear of the future and now: Michelin X One tires, Alcoa 14" wide-base wheels with zero offset, Con/Met aluminum hubs, Haldex air-disc brakes, and Hendrickson Tire MAAX automatic tire inflation system. Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co, City of Industry CA.

Haldex system monitors trailer's center of gravity

HALDEX recently launched the new Haldex EB+ TRS Roll Stability System to reduce the possibilities of combination vehicle rollovers by monitoring the trailer's center of gravity. Equipped with information regarding the trailer's lateral acceleration, pressure from the air suspension and wheel speed, the EB+ TRS determines when a trailer is approaching its rollover threshold. If it is approaching the threshold, the trailer brakes are applied as required to slow the vehicle and improve its stability.

The EB+ TRS system reacts to pneumatic or digital signals from the towing vehicle, including signals from an air suspension equipped trailer. The system electronically processes the signals and regulates pressure to the brake chambers in response to those signals.

Carrier expands refrigeration control system

CARRIER TRANSICOLD'S Advance microprocessor now offers 30 preset commodity profiles — twice as many as before — through its improved IntelliSet control option.

Designed especially for use in the transport of temperature sensitive commodities with Carrier's X-Series single-temperature trailer units, the IntelliSet control solves the problem of configuring optimum controller settings for the specific cargo being hauled. With select-and-set simplicity, the IntelliSet control is the only profiling option that allows a driver to set multiple reefer control parameters simply by choosing the name of the commodity being hauled — for example, “strawberries,” “romaine lettuce,” “frozen fish,” or “ice cream.”

The IntelliSet control works in concert with Carrier's patented Product Shield technology, which monitors conditions inside and outside the trailer to efficiently manage temperature and air flow inside the trailer.

The IntelliSet control offers a wide range of variables for each profile setting. Settings include temperature, air flow, start/stop or continuous operation, off times, restart times, temperature overrides, return/supply control probe, and defrost intervals.

Before a trip, the driver uses three simple, familiar keystrokes to choose the type of product being hauled from the list of profiles. With a backlit 30-character display, Advance system profiles can be very specific — even including the name of the food brand, wholesaler, or retailer. The microprocessor automatically adjusts the Advance controller to provide the best environment for the product and the best fuel efficiency possible.

Using a desktop computer, the fleet manager can pre-program settings for various commodities, save them to a memory card, and load them into each Advance control unit in the fleet so all reefers have the same settings for the same commodities.

Refrigeration unit needs no diesel

HYDRACOOL INC, a start-up company based in Eugene OR, introduced a totally new refrigeration system for the commercial truck market.

The HydraCool refrigeration unit replaces the conventional diesel engine with a hydraulic motor powered by a PTO. As such, the refrigeration system does not need a variety of other components, including fan clutch assembly, muffler piping, by-pass oil filter and fuel filters, and trailer fuel tank. In addition, the system's frame is constructed of high-strength aluminum. All of this results in a weight savings estimated at 1,000 lb.

Advantages include: a simplified maintenance procedure; a system controller that constantly records and verifies all temperatures; built-in fail safe mode gives drivers the ability to operate the system manually in the event of controller failure; and eco-friendly design that meets and exceeds the recently enacted California environmental rulings through the year 2009.

The company has filed patents on its technology and will soon begin manufacturing, distributing, and servicing the product.

Disc brakes coming from Haldex

HALDEX introduced its ModulX line of air disc brakes engineered specifically for heavy duty applications.

ModulX offers 19.5" and 22.5" sizes to meet brake torque, wheel size, disc diameter, and other specific vehicle requirements, in addition to a 17.5" size coming later in 2005 for medium-duty applications.

ModulX uses a two-piece caliper that can accommodate different rotor thicknesses by changing one piece. Caliper slides on four stainless steel slide pins, providing a stable design. Slide pins can be replaced without opening the caliper housing.

Both a pad wear indicator (warning of a worn out pad) and a pad wear sensor (minimizing pad inspection time and costs) are options.

ModulX brakes are fully-interchangeable from left to right. The modular design, combined with the common parts between different ModulX model sizes, requires fewer part numbers, which reduces inventory costs and simplifies maintenance.

Thermo King offers new system to reduce engine idle time

AS FUEL PRICES remain at record high levels, Thermo King Corporation has purchased the patents and intellectual property right to Tri-Pac, a system designed to provide air-conditioning, heating, and electrical power to heavy truck operators without idling the big bore diesel powering tractors. Thermo King purchased Tri-Pac from its inventor, David Swanson of Transport Refrigeration in De Pere, Wisconsin.

Tri-Pac uses a two-cylinder Yanmar diesel engine and a Thermo King TM-15 air-conditioning compressor for cab and sleeper berth cooling, a fuel-fired bunk heater for heating, and a 65 amp, 12 volt alternator and a 120 volt inverter to provide power to in-cab appliances. Housed in a compact case and equipped with microprocessor controls for easy operation, Tri-Pac mounts to the tractor frame. In addition to its comfort control features, Tri-Pac can charge tractor batteries.

Thermo King says the new system can reduce heavy engine idle time by 85%, paying for the Tri-Pac in less than a year. The new auxiliary power pack will become available at retail from Thermo King dealer on May 16, 2005.

MeritorWABCO introduces ABS-based electronic stability control

MERITORWABCO Vehicle Control Systems announced its new Electronic Stability Control (ESC) for truck/tractor applications, founded on the company's existing E-version anti-lock braking system (ABS). The announcement came during the Mid-America Trucking Show March 31 to April 2 in Louisville, Kentucky.

The ESC system will be available beginning May 2005 and builds upon the already-established Roll Stability Control (RSC) system currently operating on more than 10,000 commercial vehicles across North America.

“ESC exemplifies our continuing efforts to pioneer stability enhancement technologies,” said Denny Sandberg, president and general manager of MeritorWABCO Vehicle Control Systems. “This new system provides another level of vehicle control by sensing the vehicle's tendency to rotate and automatically applying the brakes to reduce that risk.”

ESC combines the proven features of the company's Roll Stability Control (RSC) system with added yaw (rotational) sensing. This improves vehicle handling and performance if there is an impending loss of control due to rotational forces. These rotational forces may occur as a result of rapid lane change, or cornering maneuvers on slippery surfaces.

RSC is an optional feature of the company's ABS. While RSC provides a great value relationship for most truck operators, some fleets or vehicle types may benefit from the additional yaw stability control integral to the ESC system. To accommodate these needs, the current ABS electronic control unit has been enhanced to enable integration of ESC across a variety of vehicle configurations with different engines, transmissions, suspensions, and wheelbases.

MeritorWABCO's Roll Stability Support (RSS) is operating on hundreds of trailers across North America. The RSS system provides improved vehicle stability independent of an ESC- or RSC-equipped tractor, albeit having systems on both the tractor and trailer can achieve even greater levels of vehicle stability.

Addressing anticipated federal government-mandated, shortened stopping distance requirements, ArvinMeritor officials said the company continues to participate in field test studies to develop the best solutions for a variety of vocations.

Per recent communication from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), Advance Notification of the regulation change is due out in early Summer 2005. ArvinMeritor projects the changes will be implemented on a staged basis beginning in 2008. However, the company feels that it is imperative to assist motor carriers today to prepare them for the imminent changes.

“We believe there are various existing braking product alternatives to meet these projected new requirements set forth by NHTSA,” said Paul Johnston, senior director, North American Foundation Brake Business, ArvinMeritor. “While some in the industry believe air disc brakes to be the only solution, we have a range of product offerings designed to best meet a motor carrier's needs.”

Beyond the company's own track and road tests, ArvinMeritor began field testing with various fleets and transportation entities over 18 months ago. These ongoing tests have included:

  • NHTSA tractor and trailer testing of drum and disc brake alternatives to evaluate stopping distance baselines and improvements;
  • Department of Transportation (DOT) field evaluation of air disc brakes and alternative systems for trailers;
  • NHTSA school bus evaluation of air disc and drum brake alternatives, and;
  • Multiple fleet air drum, air disc and hydraulic disc brake alternatives with major refuse, fire truck, city transit, emergency vehicle, truckload, retail and other fleets.

“Our drum brakes and automatic slack adjusters have established themselves as market leaders in a wide variety of applications, and we've been committed to provide the commercial vehicle industry with an air disc brake product for 20-plus years,” said Johnston. “With fleets and OEMs looking for the most viable alternatives to meet the anticipated new stopping requirements, we're prepared with time-proven products, whichever choices they make.”

Volvo extends warranty coverage for VT800 highway tractor

VOLVO Trucks North America used the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, to introduce an exclusive warranty package for its new VT880 highway tractor. The Platinum Coverage package provides coverage for three years or 600,000 miles. In addition the warranty package covers the cab structure for six years or 1 million miles and the frame for six years or 750,000 miles. If the VT880 is powered by Volvo's new D16 engine, coverage is three years or 600,000 miles; the Cummins ISX engines are covered for three years or 300,000 miles. The Platinum package covers VT880 tractors with a towing allowance for two years or 250,000 miles and up to $450 for towing per incident covered by the warranty. The plan will provide a dedicated toll-free telephone line and replacement D16 engines on short notice to minimize potential vehicle downtime. Where necessary, Volvo will dispatch factory technicians to the dealership where repairs are performed. Volvo says the new Platinum Coverage plan is the longest basic warranty in the industry.

Volvo broadens horsepower ratings for 16-liter engine

PREVIOUSLY offered only in the new VT880 highway tractor for independent contractors, Volvo Trucks North America announced new horsepower ratings for the 16-liter engine and its availability in other Volvo trucks. The announcement came at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky.

When first introduced, the D16 was rated at 500, 525, 600, or 625 hp with torque ratings of 1,850, 2,050, or 2,250 lb/ft. Orders for the new engine installed in Volvo VNL series tractors will be accepted starting in June with production of the vehicles scheduled to start in late August 2005.

Volvo will offer the D16 as power for the VNL series in three horsepower and two torque ratings, still reserving the super-engine ratings for the VT880. VNL tractors can be powered by D16 engines rated at 450 hp or 500 hp with a torque rating of 1,650 lb/ft or 500 hp or 535 hp with a torque rating of 1,850 lb/ft. Engines rated at 1,850 lb/ft torque are equipped with Volvo's Intelligent Torque management system for driveline protection at low speeds, limiting engine output to 1,650 lb/ft in start-up gears.

In standard form, the recommended oil change interval for the D16 is 25,000 miles. An optional cast aluminum oil pan with a capacity of 55 quarts (13.75 gallons), allows an oil change interval of 35,000 miles.

Components for the D16 are cast and machined at a Volvo foundry in Sweden; engines are assembled at the Volvo/Mack engine and transmission plant in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Caterpillar will stick with ACERT technology for 2007 engines

CATERPILLAR officials said during a press conference at the Mid-America Trucking Show that it will be able to comply with the 2007 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions regulations using ACERT technology.

“We developed ACERT technology with the goal of meeting all current and future emissions regulations, while continuing to provide the overall value on-highway vehicle owners need to operate profitably,” said Greg Gauger, director, On-Highway Power Systems. “ACERT technology delivers long-term emissions reduction capability and provides all of the key elements of value — reliability, durability, fuel economy, and lower operating costs.”

The 2007 EPA emissions requirements impact on-highway engine design in five areas. First is particulate matter (PM), in which a ten-fold reduction is required — from .10 to .01 grams per horsepower per hour. To meet this requirement, engine manufacturers will need to employ a diesel particulate filter.

Secondly, Cat engines will move from 2.5g/hphr NOx + HC to 1.2g/hphr NOx. This 1.2 figure is based on the phase-in provision, which is allowed by the EPA — the actual requirement is to reduce Nox emissions to .20 by 2010. Third, crankcase emissions are now regulated as exhaust emissions.

Fourth, the regulation requires engine manufacturers to monitor the performance of the engine's emissions system. This industry standard is called Engine Manufacturer Diagnostics (EMD) and will detect issues within the emissions control system.

Finally, the 2007 standard regulates the engines emissions system useful life, which has been set at 435,000 miles for heavy-duty and transit bus applications and 185,000 miles for mid-range applications.

The Caterpillar heavy duty solution for 2007 will use existing ACERT technology, which includes series turbochargers, variable valve control, a high-pressure multiple injection fuel system, Cat electronics control systems, and an oxidation catalyst. All 2007 Cat engines with ACERT Technology feature an enhanced combustion process called Clean Gas Induction (CGI), closed crankcase ventilation system, and diesel particulate filter system with active regeneration.

Mid-range engines also build on ACERT technology and feature a high-pressure injection system and the closed crankcase ventilation, with the addition of a variable turbine geometry turbocharger.

The Cat diesel particulate filter uses a wall-flow filter technology. Regeneration is necessary to activate a process of oxidation that eliminates the soot that collects along the inlet walls of the filter. To aid the regeneration process, the exhaust gas is heated by auxiliary means. Regeneration only takes place when needed, which optimizes fuel economy.

Engines with 500 horsepower or less will require one diesel particulate filter; engines with 550 or more horsepower will require dual filters. The filter system also provides sound attenuation and will be serviced by the Caterpillar dealer network and authorized truck dealers.

The primary process for achieving additional NOx reduction includes the elements of ACERT Technology with Clean Gas Induction (CGI). CGI draws clean inert gas from downstream of the particulate filter and then puts this clean gas into the intake air system.

A key advantage of CGI is the intake charge is soot-free. In addition, CGI's low intake manifold gas temperature contributes to the engine's low NOx emissions. ACERT technology for 2007 delivers the same reliability, fuel economy, service intervals, and durability provided by current Caterpillar engines.

“We expect that our heavy duty engines with ACERT Technology for 2007 will maintain the same fuel economy as today's engines, and our mid-range products will improve by approximately four percent,” Gauger said.

Oil change intervals and sump capacity remain unchanged from today's ACERT Technology. By using Cater-pillar's Clean Gas Induction technology, which employs soot-free inert gas as a NOx reduction building block, 2007 Cat engines with ACERT Technology will have the same durability as today's engines with ACERT Technology.

Bendix adds trailer roll stability control system

BENDIX COMMERCIAL VEHICLE SYSTEMS LLC has enhanced diagnostic capabilities for its new trailer antilock braking system, TABS-6, and has added TRSP trailer roll stability system to its portfolio of advanced electronics technologies designed specifically for trailers.

Bendix TABS-6, a scalable ABS technology for trailers, offers robust diagnostic capabilities that help technicians pinpoint causes of system faults. Advanced blink codes provide timesaving, detailed information. To further streamline troubleshooting and repairs, technicians can now use the company's trailer remote diagnostic unit (TRDU). This low-cost, full-function ABS diagnostic tool fits right in the technician's pocket and provides immediate system status, displaying ABS fault information using colored LED lights. A green LED indicates power and active communication with the electronic control unit (ECU), eight red LEDs indicate the fault status of each ABS component, and a blue LED provides odometer mileage.

Bendix also saves technicians time after repair work is complete. This feature eliminates the time-consuming task of moving or lifting trailers to clear trouble codes, a common aggravation with European-designed systems used in North America. The TRDU, which can reset all active diagnostic trouble codes by use of a magnet, is compatible with TABS-6, A-18, and MC-30 trailer ABS models.

The TRSP trailer roll stability system is an addition to the Bendix stability systems offering, providing sophisticated braking for trailers. The TRSP system is a trailer-only system designed to mitigate rollovers through advanced sensing and automatic application of the trailer brakes. It is supplied as a kit designed for North American trailer mounting.

The TRSP system provides stability on medium- and high-friction surfaces by detecting a vehicle's impending loss of stability. The TRSP system utilizes a lateral acceleration sensor to determine if the trailer's lateral force is high enough to cause instability. Based on this information and other factors, the system may automatically intervene to attempt to regain stability.

“The addition of a roll stability system for trailers to the Bendix portfolio emphasizes our commitment to providing a multitude of safety options tailored to the trailer market. This investment in trailer-oriented stability will help fleets and operators realize safer cornering, lane changing, and obstacle avoidance maneuvers,” said Paul Waszkowski, product manager for trailers, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems. “In addition, TRSP and TABS-6 both have the potential to reduce the cost of vehicle ownership for fleets and vehicle operators.”

Haldex electronic sensor monitors drum brake linings

THE NEW Electronic Lining Wear Sensor from Haldex continuously monitors wear on vehicle drum brake linings.

With a sensor on every wheel, wear monitoring helps to determine the optimum time to replace the vehicle's brake linings.

The Electronic Lining Wear Sensor smoothly integrates with the electronic braking system and most on-board diagnostic systems, effectively replacing current visual wear indicators. It installs onto most existing spline-types S-cam shafts by mounting to the Haldex S-ABA, then connecting the signal cable.

The system works by measuring the S-cam shaft angle. As lining wears, the angle changes. A microprocessor collects data from the sensors. This data is translated into a digital signal, corresponding to the angle of the S-Cam shaft. In turn, the digital signal is converted into an analog signal before transmitting data to the vehicle. The accuracy of the sensor is better than +/-3%.

Detroit Diesel enhances Series 60, notes 2007 readiness

RECENT SOFTWARE MODIFICATIONS for the electronic control module on the Detroit Diesel Series 60, 14-liter highway engine could increase fuel economy by up to 1.9% depending on application, the company says. The announcement was made during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky.

Changes involve adjustments in fuel injection and exhaust gas recirculation flow. The increase in fuel economy has no impact on engine performance or exhaust emissions. Most important, company officials say, is that no hardware changes were required to gain the increased economy, which could result in a reduction of $800 or more per year in fuel cost for a tractor in typical service.

Detroit Diesel also announced changes for its line of MBE 900 and MBE 4000 engines from Mercedes-Benz that are available in Freightliner, Sterling, and Western Star trucks. A 7.2-liter version of the MBE 900 has been available in North America since 1999 with horsepower ratings from 250 to 330. Previously, the 300 hp and 330 hp ratings were restricted to fire and emergency applications. Those two horsepower ratings now are unrestricted and can be specified for any application.

A rear power take-off is now available for the 12.8-liter MBE 4000 for vocational applications. The new component is powered through the engine camshaft gearing and can provide up to 170 hp continuously at 442 lb/ft torque.

Detroit Diesel says that its Series 60, MBE 900, and MBE 4000 engines are almost ready to meet the new exhaust emissions standards proposed for 2007. The engines will use enhanced exhaust gas recirculation technology along with a particulate filter and a closed crankcase breather system to meet the requirement that oxides of nitrogen emissions fall by 55% and particulates be reduced by 90%. An electronic control system will support active regeneration of the particulate filter.

The crankcase breather system will be maintenance free. Exhaust gas recirculation will use an improved turbocharger.

Winter testing for the new engines is complete and preparations for summer testing are underway. Detroit Diesel is in the process of delivering more than 75 engines prepared to meet the 2007 rules to fleets for testing. When complete, the entire testing program will have put more than 25 million miles on engines.

Cummins restates commitment to EGR, filters

PARTICULATE FILTERS and exhaust gas recirculation are the way to go for heavy-duty diesel truck engines, according to Cummins Inc. The engine builder announced during the Mid-America Trucking Show that it would meet the stringent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2007 emissions standards for on-highway heavy-duty trucks by integrating the Cummins Particulate Filter with its current cooled-Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) engine technology.

“We said that cooled-EGR emissions technology would be the foundation for our 2007 product line back in 2002,” said Tom Kieffer, Cummins executive director of marketing. “Providing stable engine architecture assures customers that the engine they are operating today will be the same basic engine in 2007 and gives them confidence in the performance, reliability, and durability of the Cummins solution.”

Cummins officials are not only confident of the technology they have chosen, they are also certain that the 2007 engines will be fully proven and ready on schedule. Seventy-five trucks with the 2007 engines will be on the road by August 2005.

More than 100,000 trucks with various system components for the 2007 engines are already on the road. More importantly, the basic system in the Cummins engine package has been operating in the field since 2002.

The Cummins particulate filter, developed and manufactured by Fleetguard Emissions Solutions, a Cummins subsidiary, is designed to reduce particulate matter emissions by 90% from current levels. The Cummins particulate filter is designed to replace the existing vehicle muffler, adding minimal weight to the vehicle. Service requirements for the particulate filter can be extended as far out as 400,000 miles (643,783 km) for line-haul operations, minimizing the operating cost impact to trucking companies.

The 2007 engine will also feature a crankcase ventilation system from Fleetguard that virtually eliminates any oil carryover from the engine.

“Having the right technology and building upon our successful proven products gives Cummins a unique advantage to integrate the engine and Cummins Particulate Filter while providing the best value for our customers,” said Kieffer. “We have great confidence that these engines will have the same industry-leading fuel economy in 2007 and will provide the best performance, reliability, and durability of any engine in the marketplace.

“With over 9 billion miles of road experience accumulated by Cummins heavy-duty engines since 2002, customers are telling us that our engines are viewed as the best in the industry, providing the best fuel economy, performance, and reliability today,” he added.

Stemco wirelessly monitors truck and trailer tires

STEMCO introduced the first of what is expected to be a series of products that use radio frequency data transmission to monitor the conditions of trucks and trailers.

Tire pressure and mileage are the two factors tracked by the new Stemco products. AirBAT RF monitors tire pressure. It can be installed in less than 10 minutes on dual-tire wheel ends. TracBAT RF mounts on the wheel end to electronically track mileage.

The radio signals of both products can be read with a handheld receiver Stemco calls HandBAT RF. The data from the signals are processed and shown on the reader's LCD display. Also available from Stemco is DataBAT, proprietary software that allows data from the reader to be downloaded to a personal computer for tracking and reporting.

ISX engine durability proven in high-mileage evaluation

CUMMINS INC has successfully completed a high-mileage durability evaluation of on-highway ISX engines used in North America. The results, based upon engines with almost 600,000 miles (965,607 km) of commercial service, confirmed company projections that the engines certified and compliant to the 2004 Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards would have the same or better durability than the engines they replaced.

“The proof is in the parts,” stated Tom Kieffer, Cummins executive director of marketing. “The analysis concluded that the major contributors to engine durability exhibited outstanding results. In fact, the results indicate that today's ISX engine will have the same or better durability than the N14 engine — long regarded as the industry standard for durability. Our engines are achieving the durability levels we always said they would. With proven durability now added to the ISX performance, reliability, and fuel economy leadership as reported by our customers, this means they can depend on our products to provide the best value during their ownership period — and increased resale value.

“For 2007, we will use the same proven cooled-EGR emissions architecture with the addition of the Cummins Particulate Filter. Customers have confidence in our current product durability and tell us that they appreciate the stability our product plans will offer.”

Engine durability is typically defined as the point requiring an in-frame engine overhaul resulting from excessive component wear or oil consumption. The evaluation showed that the engines are corrosion free. Cummins officials reported no signs of acid damage in the engines.

Cummins officials added that durability is not about carbon in the intake. They contend that the high-mileage evaluation gave no indication that carbon buildup is reducing the lifecyle of EGR engines.

The evaluation engines were fully disassembled and all major components — from the crankshaft to camshafts, from the EGR subsystem to the power cylinder — were analyzed. Engineering analysis confirmed both the integrity of oil control and combustion control with components exhibiting normal and expected wear. Power cylinder components showed only 20% to 25% wear after 600,000 miles (965,607 km), with connecting rod and main bearings expected to have 50% additional life remaining.

Spicer extends drive axle family

DANA Corporation's Commercial Vehicle Systems group has expanded its family of heavy-duty single and tandem drive axles with the introduction of the 590 series, an extension of the 190 series introduced in 2004. The 590 series axles are designed for heavy applications. The axle series was introduced at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky.

The new 590 helical reduction gearing axles carry weight ratings from 23,000 to 35,000 lb and can handle torque ratings up to 2,450 lb/ft and horsepower to 700. Final drive ratios range from 4.75:1 for the fastest gearing to 10.9:1 for powerful starting under heavy load. The units have one-piece axle carriers for strength and stillness and a 30,000 lb housing with the largest box section available. Driver controlled wheel differential locks in both the leading and trailing axles provide maximum traction, and on-demand lubrication pumps help gearing to run cooler than in previous axles. Standard lubricant fill is 42 pints of Roadranger approved synthetic oil.

The new 590 series contains four single axles and four tandem drives. Production will begin in September 2005 with the axles available for all truck makes in North America.

Dana says that Spicer SmartRide suspensions and trailer axles equipped with Bendix air disc brakes can help fleets cut operating costs. Fleets such as TransX, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, are beginning to specify the axle, suspension, and brake combinations. The dry van and refrigerated truckload carrier has recently placed an order for 500 trailers equipped with the SmartRide modules. TransX operates more than 1,000 tractors and 2,300 trailers.

TransX has completed its testing and has settled on the Spicer components as standard equipment for all new trailer purchases. Disc brakes give drivers reduced stopping distance with less brake fade and lower maintenance costs by extending brake life three times that of conventional drum brakes, says Brian Hiebert, TransX equipment manager.

In other developments from the Dana Eaton Roadranger joint marketing venture, Eaton Vorad has announced the BackSpotter collision avoidance radar as part of its Vorad product line. The new detection system is designed to warn drivers as they approach objects while the vehicle is moving in reverse. The system can operate reliably under conditions such as darkness or snow that render mirrors or cameras ineffective.

BackSpotter is intended for installation on straight trucks. It detects obstacles in an area 15 ft wide and 15 ft deep in the space immediately behind the truck and sounds an audible alert to the driver in addition to displaying the range to the obstruction. The system has five range indications, and the audible warning volume increases as the range decreases.

Backspotter mounts under a rugged radome and uses a commercial wiring harness and connectors. It is only available as an aftermarket system, but it can be used in concert with other Eaton Vorad collision avoidance radar systems.

Michelin adds new tire to X One line

THE NEWEST addition to the Michelin X One family is the XDA-HT Plus drive tire for use in weight sensitive, long haul, and regional operations. The new tire is the sixth addition to the X One line and was rolled out at the Mid-America Trucking Show March 31 to April 2 in Louisville, Kentucky.

“The X One XDA-HT plus tire is the latest in the company's series of weight and fuel saving wide single tires,” said Marc Laferriere, vice-president of marketing, Michelin Americas Truck Tires. “We have regularly added new tires to our X One line since it was introduced in the fall of 2000 to better respond to the needs of specific vocations,” Laferriere said.

The X One XDA-HT Plus tire, which will replace the current X One XDA-HT tire, offers weight savings of approximately 415 pounds per tractor. It is engineered to replace dual tires and has a longer original tread life because of increased tread depth of 2/32-inches and a 16mm wider tread.

Michelin's Co-Ex dual compound technology offers a cooler running rubber underneath for optimum retread-ability and an application-specific compound on top for additional mileage. The new tire has improved wet traction compared to the X One XDA-HT tire, through optimized tread block distribution and 1mm wider groove bottoms.

With a quieter running tread design from optimized harmonic pitch frequency, the X One XDA-HT tire also features reduced stone retention due to a new block shape with specially tapered groove walls. Just as in the other X One family members, the X One XDA-HT Plus tire features Michelin's patented Infincoil technology, which incorporates one-quarter mile of steel cable to help eliminate casing growth at operating temperatures.

New Alcoa wheel in production

ALCOA WHEEL PRODUCTS has begun production on Alcoa Classis wheels to replace its most popular round hand hole aluminum wheel design for medium and heavy-duty applications.

Alcoa Classic wheels have a concave face that enhances the polished surface. Load rating has been increased to 7,400 lb. Increased valve clearance makes them fully compatible with disc brake packages.

Freightliner adds disc brakes to entire line, offers Business Class lease

FREIGHTLINER TRUCKS has Bendix air disc brakes available as an option on all Class 8 and Business Class M2 trucks. In an announcement made at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, Freightliner officials said that the Bendix braking system offers improved brake pedal feel and reduced brake fade.

Freightliner first offered air disc brakes in the 1970s.

To make the disc brake option possible, trucks must be ordered with Freightliner proprietary front axles. The brakes are available for vehicles equipped with 24.5-inch tires.

A new leasing program for Business Class M2 trucks — 2005 BizLease Program — allows qualified users to lease up to five trucks with a minimum cash advance for terms of 48 or 60 months. The program is based on fair market value, so customers can walk away from the vehicles at the end of the term or purchase them at current fair market value.

Freightliner says the BizLease Program represents a way to offer M2 trucks to customers at a reasonable rate as well as help dealers develop a long-term relationship with medium truck users. The program applies to M2 106 trucks with GVW ratings of 25,500 lb or 33,000 lb. The trucks must be equipped with Mercedes-Benz MBE 900 engines, use Freightliner proprietary axles, and either Mercedes-Benz or Allison transmissions.

The company also has a new purchasing program for the Coronado highway tractor aimed at independent contractors. Called Coronado Quest, purchasers have the option of a retail load with a balloon payment at the end or a TRAC lease. The program is limited to 2006 model year Coronado tractors with premium interior packages, 70-inch mid-roof or raised-roof sleepers, aluminum wheels on all 10 positions, 13-speed transmissions, and engines rated at 500 hp or more.

Freightliner has two new noise abatement packages for its Business Class M2 106 and M2 112 medium trucks and its Columbia highway tractors. The standard package uses a decoupled barrier of lightweight foam spaced away from the firewall, engine tunnel, and floor. A premium package for Business Class trucks increases firewall insulation thickness by 50%, and adds additional noise dampening material to the floor, rear wall, and roof along with a layer of acoustical foam on the rear wall and roof.

Noise abatement for the Columbia comes in five sub-packages matched to the hood and firewall, the floor, cab sides, roof, and rear wall.

Kenworth adds components to standard equipment list

KENWORTH TRUCK Company launched its Class 8 truck line for model year 2006. Of special note, KW added 25 new standard features, moving more than half of them from the options list.

Trucks get a new speedometer and tachometer cluster accompanied by two-inch diameter gauges set in chrome bezels. An outside temperature gauge, an engine hour meter, odometer, and trip odometer now are standard, all with LED backlighting. Rocker switches on the dash are large and utilize LED indicator lamps. Five pre-wired spare switches are built into the dash for custom applications. The entire instrument and control panel uses multiplex wiring with color-coded and numbered positive locking connectors.

Some changes are small, but add to vehicle durability. For instance, the new door pad survived a 150,000-cycle door-slamming test. The map pocket in the door pad supported more than 400 pounds during testing. Power door locks now are standard equipment with a power window on the driver side. A power window lift is optional for the passenger side door.

Kenworth trucks offer two levels of interior trim with seats covered with vinyl, two cloth versions, or leather. Standard interior cab lighting is said to be better than any previous optional lighting with dome lamps and task lamps mounted above both doors, a dome lamp on the rear headliner, and a red under-dash lamp. New insulation at specific noise entry points has cut interior sound levels by 20%, Kenworth says.

A curved windshield is available for the W900, T800, and C500. Flat windshields remain available as an option.

No-holes scuffliner, fast-start lamps for Wabash reefers

WABASH NATIONAL showed two new innovations for refrigerated trailers at the Mid-America Trucking Show. One is the integral scuffliner, which is particularly important for reefers because no fastener holes are required. Fasteners that are driven into the foam insulation are potential leak points that can degrade the efficiency of the insulating foam.

The integral scuffliner uses Kemlite's Armor-Tuf liner panel, doubling the thickness for the bottom 24" of the sidewall. That is, the Armor-Tuf liner is 0.70" thick for the upper portion, while the lower 24" is .125" thick. It is molded as a seamless panel that cannot separate. When the sidewall is foamed in the press, the polyurethane foam bonds to the liner panel, so no fasteners are required.

The second innovation is a new LED dome light. Wabash National engineers have been campaigning for LED interior trailer lamps because of the problems with current fluorescent dome lights. Besides requiring a large hole in the ceiling foam insulation and causing heating problems, the fluorescent lamps are very slow to start in the cold interior of frozen food trailers. The Wabash refrigerated trailer shown at Mid-America was equipped with Grote's new LED dome light. Wabash National Corporation, Lafayette IN.

Pete shows new conventional, upgrades entire line

ADDING to its line of low-drag conventional tractors begun with the Model 387 in 1999, Peterbilt Motors Company introduced the new Model 386 at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The company also announced enhancements to its entire line of convention cab trucks and tractors.

The new Model 386 has a sloped hood, integrated headlamps, swept-back fenders, a form-fitting front bumper, and chassis side fairings. Craig Brewster, Peterbilt's chief engineer, says the 386 offers a 10% improvement in aerodynamic performance compared to its predecessor model, the 385-120. Better aerodynamic performance translates to an increase of 3/10ths mile per gallon in fuel economy, he says.

Designed with computation fluid dynamics, Peterbilt analyzed every exterior component for drag efficiency. For instance, 80 different sun visor shapes were considered. Peterbilt also analyzed materials such as the Metton material used for the front bumper. It is a composite that is 60% lighter than steel and durable enough to withstand the rigors of highway applications.

The Model 386 has a new chassis design that allows the radiator to mount lower for a more radically sloped hood that lets the driver see the ground at least two feet closer to the front of the vehicle. The new chassis also repositions the front axle, allowing a shorter wheelbase that, combined with a 50-degree wheel cut, reduces the turning radius by one foot.

Peterbilt has upgraded its entire line of conventional cab vehicles with a new multiplex electrical system that improves instrument performance and diagnostic capability while reducing the amount of wiring required to build the truck. All conventional Peterbilt models can now be ordered with Platinum Level premium interior packages in addition to the more basic ProBilt or Prestige interiors. Conventional cab tractors can be ordered with a 36-inch low roof sleeper, a 48-inch sleeper in the UltraCab or low roof configuration, a 63-inch berth with UltraCab, high roof or low roof, or a 70-inch UltraCab sleeper.

Bendix ABS-6 antilock brakes are available as an option throughout the conventional line. Antilock brakes are standard on all Peterbilt trucks; the Bendix system can be ordered at no additional cost. New heavy-duty Paccar commercial batteries are available for all Peterbilt vehicles. The dual purpose battery will be standard on all Peterbilt trucks. It has 700 amps of cold cranking power. The Paccar starting battery has 1,000 amps of cold cranking power for use in extreme weather conditions.

Peterbilt has added the Caterpillar C9 engine rated at 335 or 350 hp to the engine options for the Model 357. Specifying the C9 compared to the C11 reduces chassis weight by 780 pounds, the company says. The Model 357-111 can be powered by the Cat C11 or C13 or the Cummins ISL or ISM engine in addition to the C9.

At the other end of the power scale, Peterbilt has added the Cat C15 rated at 625 to the engine options for the Model 357. With the high horsepower engine, radiator area has been increased to 1,440 square inches.

New Webasto system cools truck cabs overnight

BLUECOOL Truck will keep the cab or sleeper bunk of a heavy-duty truck cool on hot nights without requiring the idling of the truck's engine or the running of an auxiliary power unit. The system was developed by Webasto Product North America and its German parent company Webasto AG of Stockdorf, Germany.

“BlueCool Truck presents a huge step forward in presenting solutions that assist fleet and owner operators to meet the regulations yet still provide interior comfort irrespective of the vehicle's location in hot or cold climates,” said Rolf Lichtner, director of marketing services at Webasto Product North America. “Paired with the Webasto truck cab auxiliary heaters in our C5 (Complete Cabin Climate Comfort Control) concept, BlueCool Truck completely eliminates the need for engine idling to condition the vehicle's interior environment.

“Not only is this good news for the environment, it's also good news for the truck operator. According to experts, idling diesel engines consume about a gallon of fuel every hour; so over time BlueCool Truck and our truck heaters save remarkable amounts of diesel fuel,” added Lichtner. “Both BlueCool Truck and Webasto truck heaters truly are smart solutions to engine-off heavy-truck cab comfort.”

Unlike auxiliary cab heaters and engine pre-heaters that use the vehicle's on-board fuel tank as a direct energy source during the heating phase, the patent pending BlueCool Truck system uses no diesel fuel during its cooling operation. The core technology is an innovative cold storage cell that is charged during the daytime when the truck is being driven. At night, the truck engine can be switched off, BlueCool Truck turned on, and the system and cool air circulated to the cab interior.

BlueCool Truck runs independent of the vehicle's air-conditioner, utilizing only small amounts of electricity to circulate super-chilled coolant (between the cold storage unit and a heat exchanger in the truck sleeper cabin) and run four small, exceptionally quiet air distribution fans.

The 17,000-BTU cold storage unit incorporates Webasto proprietary technology in order to provide outstandingly efficient heat transfer, both during the charging and discharging (or cooling) phases. A key design element is the use of a graphite matrix to provide excellent heat conductivity between the circulated coolant and the core of the cold storage unit. The result is a remarkable capacity for absorbing heat and the ability to cool the cab's interior over a prolonged period, even in high ambient temperatures. Tests have demonstrated the capability to cool a truck's sleeper cab to below 70° F for approximately nine hours, even in 90°+ F ambient temperatures.

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