MORE BRAKES, MORE SOFTWARE

Rolf Lockwood

May 10 Vol. 2, No. 11

Before I write anything else here, let me remind you that the 43rd annual Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar is on tap next week. It starts Sunday night, May 28, with a reception sponsored by Mack Trucks and then runs through lunch on Wednesday the 31st. It’s being held once again at the Doubletree International Plaza Hotel on Dixon Road near the airport in Toronto.

Highlights include a session on 2007 engines and another on auxiliary heating and cooling systems. Such anti-idling devices are a hot topic these days and seem bound to grab attention for some time to come. Not only are no-idle bylaws sprouting up all over the place, but fuel economy is
becoming a crucial issue once again – and it will stay that way for as long as you want to look ahead. The price of a barrel of crude oil is not coming down any time soon, and probably never will.

Speaking of the future, the trucks and technologies of tomorrow are the subject of another session at this year’s CFMS, to be presented by yours truly. Seminar attendees may or may not find it interesting, but I can tell you it’s been a lot of fun putting it together. I’ve learned a few things in the process, not surprisingly, and I think some folks will themselves be surprised by a few of the things we’re likely to see in the trucks of 2015 and even 2025.

For instance, don’t expect a fuel cell to power medium or heavy trucks in the foreseeable future, but keep your eye on the big punch of power offered by hydraulics. More to follow on that one.

Call CFMS organizers at 519-886-6265 if you’d like to be a last-minute registrant for the Seminar. You can also check things out at www.cfmsonline.com.

Coming back to the present, there’s been recent news from Meritor WABCO Vehicle Control Systems, the joint venture between ArvinMeritor and WABCO. That operation has expanded its commercial vehicle brake portfolio with the addition of air disc brakes from both partner companies.

The joint venture becomes the exclusive North American source of WABCO’s “new generation” lightweight, single-piston air disc brake. The technology is said to offer end-users increased payload potential, easier maintenance, and reduced operating costs for a broad range of heavy-duty
vehicles. As well, Meritor WABCO will offer the Meritor brand EX225 air disc brake family, designed for severe service.

Effective immediately, the expanded product line enables North American customers to select from a pretty complete braking systems portfolio that includes ABS, stability control systems, air dryers, compressors, and now air disc brakes.

Jon Morrison, the new general manager of Meritor WABCO, says this step bolsters the joint venture’s ability to handle the market’s transition to disc brakes in preparation for the NHTSA (U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) shorter stopping-distance
regulations coming soon. Both WABCO and ArvinMeritor expect air disc brakes to grow gradually in linehaul and trailer applications and reach a significant share of the market by 2010.

This week’s featured new products include some new training and diagnostic software from another major player on the braking systems scene, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems. The company has updated its ACom Diagnostics software, now in version 5.3. It’s a Windows-based program that interfaces with the vehicle and reduces steps in the
troubleshooting process. It covers most earlier generations of both tractor and trailer ABS applications from Bendix, including the most recently released ABS-6 Advanced with the ESP electronic stability program.

A separate tool, the Bendix ABS Repair and Diagnostic CD, serves as a reference for training technicians about Bendix ABS and how to use various tools, including ACom diagnostics, to troubleshoot the system.

I rather like the contrast between the vision of white-coated technicians in spotless shops using such software and that of the rough-and-ready world inhabited by another of this week’s featured products, the Kenworth T800
high-hood model. Built for the bush and the quarry and the toughest of oil-patch jobs, it can now be spec’d with Cat 600 and 625-horse engines.

That contrast pretty much sums up our future in a way. As refined and sophisticated as we might become in some aspects of our industry, there’s still going to very tough work to be done in harsh conditions where refinement doesn’t really mean very much at all. And in the shop, the guy tearing down a transmission or a diff unit better not be wearing a white coat.

This newsletter is published every two weeks. It’s a heads-up notice about what you can see at www.todaystrucking.com where you’ll find in-detail coverage of nearly everything that’s new. Plus interesting products
that may not have had the ‘air play’ they deserved within the last few months. Subscribe today!

If you have comments of whatever sort, please contact me at
rlockwood@newcom.ca.

Rolf Lockwood

Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to Trucknews.com.

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