REEFER INNOVATION AND A REVIVAL

Rolf Lockwood

April 26 Vol. 2, No. 9

Never ending. That’s the only way to describe the task of writing about the countless products that have been launched in the last month or two. I’m still wading through the pile and finding gems I’d been unable to get to earlier. It’s still a big pile, I can tell you.

One that’s been waiting patiently is the interesting Vector 1800MT refrigeration unit that tops the list this time out. It’s billed as “North America’s first trailer refrigeration unit to use Deltek hybrid diesel electric technology.” From Carrier Transicold, it’s not a ‘hybrid’ of the sort that most of us would probably think at first – there’s no alternate fuel at work here, no seamless shifting from one power source to another during operation. It simply has two ‘engines’ on board – the standard little diesel for normal use and an electric generator for standby work.

And in reality, it’s not new. Carrier’s Deltek technology has already proven itself elsewhere, and done so many times over in both Europe and Asia over the last few years. The company says tens of thousands of units are on the road, adding that truck and trailer specs in those other parts
of the world were better suited to the initial designs. In the North American marketplace trailers are larger, sometimes less insulated, and often harder to cool. The regulatory environment is also different.

The key component that makes Deltek technology possible is the ultra-high-performance generator made by Hamilton Sundstrand, a global aerospace industry supplier and sister company to Carrier under the United Technologies Corp. corporate umbrella.

Carrier has lots of expertise in the shipping container industry, which demands reliable electric refrigeration systems for unattended operation on ships during lengthy cross-ocean voyages. It made sense, then, to equip the new Vector with the company’s own marine-quality ’06D’ sealed
six-cylinder compressor – similar to the one used on its ThinLINE container reefers.

And with many fewer mechanical components in the mix, the relative calmness of this thing is more or less assured. Efficient, too, when the generator is the source of its power.

Speaking of mechanical components, there’s an interesting development over at ArvinMeritor’s Commercial Vehicle Systems business in Troy, Michigan. They’re “revitalizing” – that’s their word — the ‘Meritor’ product and services brand, a decision based on extensive marketing research
that showed the name had real market strength despite being just eight years old.

“We have chosen to refocus on Meritor as the premier commercial vehicle systems product brand for ArvinMeritor,” said Dennis Kline, vice president, sales and marketing, during a recent press conference.

It makes sense to me, given that the old and very successful ‘Rockwell’ brand had to be given up nearly a decade ago and that the ArvinMeritor moniker replaced the simple ‘Meritor’ not long afterwards when the original company merged with Arvin Industries. The products hadn’t changed, but buyers grew somewhat confused.

This is by no means a unique situation, and I can think of several other companies facing a similar challenge. These days, the brand is everything.

And that has rather a lot to do with the revival of the ‘Dunlop’ tire name, though the circumstances are entirely different. The mid-price Dunlop brand is back in North America as Goodyear, its newish owner, fills out its commercial tire line with new tires and sizes for on- and
off-road mixed service to go along with a full line of Dunlop linehaul, regional, and urban tires. Last year the company added commercial tire capacity at its plant in Buffalo, N.Y., to enable the Dunlop expansion.

Two new mixed-service commercial tires – the Dunlop SP831 and SP931 – and two new sizes for the SP581 on/off-road tire line have been introduced.

Welcome back, I say.

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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