NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Prime Transport Solutions (PTS) demonstrated at the Technology & Maintenance Council meetings, a pneumatic landing gear system that reduces the risk of driver injury and streamlines the coupling/uncoupling process.
The PTS50 pneumatic landing gear, already used in Europe and also incorporated into Daimler’s SuperTruck project, allows the driver to raise or lower the landing gear with the push of a button. What takes on average four minutes using traditional landing gear can be done in five seconds with the PTS50, according to Simon Bois, executive vice-president and general manager, North America, for Prime Transport Solutions.
Eliminating the crank handle also reduces weight by up to 40 lbs, and the screw and nut mechanisms that are the weakest components in a cranked leg are also done away with. The system has been piloted by four North American fleets with favourable results, Bois said.
In addition to reducing the risk of injuries, Bois said the PTS50 also provides a recruiting edge for carriers, especially those looking to attract aging or female drivers. The system is designed to last the life of the trailer and in the event of a hang-up, there’s an easy-to-use manual override option, Bois added. The system consists of fewer parts, which can be easily replaced if repairs are required.
“With the standard technology, more often than not if a leg is failing, you have to wait for your mobile technician to come,” he said. “With this technology, you can use manual override to simply raise or lower the legs within a couple of minutes.”
The system will only work when the trailer is coupled to a tractor with air lines connected, Bois noted. It draws its air supply from the trailer’s air system.
The PTS50 also provides fuel savings by reducing the time spent idling while coupling and decoupling. Bois said engine idle time is reduced by 97% during these activities. And he also noted carriers can pack more trailers into a yard, since they don’t need to leave as much space between units.
The PTS50 brings a consistent height to the trailer fleet, but Bois admitted that if the trailer legs sink into the ground and the tractor cannot slide underneath it by dumping its air suspension, that the trailer may have to be jacked up on occasion. Still, he said that’ll rarely be necessary.
“We’re trying to bring the trailer height to a consistent level,” he said. “There will be instances where it’ll sink in and under severe circumstances you’ll have to jack it up. We recognize that, but only rarely. Most of the time you’ll be able to lower the tractor suspension enough to raise the trailer as you need.”
The company is now finalizing its plans to bring the system to market. It’s exploring both distributor and OE distribution channels. It is also working on finalizing pricing, though single unit pricing is likely to be around US$1,200 per system. While pneumatic landing gear has been explored in the past, Bois said previous systems were much more complex than the PTS50 design. For more info, visit www.PrimeTransportSolutions.com.