CTEA ready to make an impact with new trailer guard

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KANANASKIS, Alta. – With the implementation of new regulations regarding the rear impact guard (RIG) for new trailers on the near horizon, the Canadian Transportation Equipment Association (CTEA) has developed a product it says is ready to make the grade.

The CTEA provided delegates at the association’s 43rd manufacturer’s conference in Kananaskis, Alta. Oct. 23-25, with an update on the progress of the RIG program.

The idea of a rear impact guard on trailers stretches back to the 1960s when a group of scientists got together to look at the physics of crashes.

Numerous products were developed with consideration of the findings, and the latest industry standard was set in 1996 when the US introduced FMVSS 223 and 224. In 2000, the Centre for Surface Transportation Technology (CSTT) developed a generic guard that currently exceeds FMVSS 223.

The new CMVSS 223 regulation was published in the Canada Gazette on Oct. 6, 2004 and after a period of grandfathering in the new legislation; the absolute deadline is less than a year away.

“You must comply by Sept. 1, 2007,” noted Jeff Patten, manager of test and evaluation engineering with the National Research Council (NRC). “A Transport Canada compliance assessment will be required once these are in place.”

The NRC has developed three qualified designs for trailer manufacturers to utilize. There is a standard design, a slanted design and a four-post design. All three designs are composed of standard materials. There is also one stainless steel design and another one made from aluminum, but those two selections are only available in the standard design.

“We used readily available sections so you could go to the metal supermarket to get readily replaceable materials,” added Patten.

Much of the changes in the new regulations are in regards to dimensions, which ultimately will create a rear impact guard that is as strong as possible, while still absorbing energy.

Under the old regulations, a rear impact guard required a minimum vertical height of eight inches. The new strengthened CTEA generic guard now has a minimum height of 12 inches.

The poster plate is constructed to move only 125 mm and CMVSS 223 requires 22 inches after the ground clearance test. The brace for the new guard will be shorter, however the support and border are the same at 4″x4″x1/4″ and 4″x4″x3/16″ respectively.

“We think we have a fairly conservative design to exceed the worst combination of conditions,” said John Billing, senior research officer with the NRC.

The new guard can be attached to the rear of a trailer by welding, bolting or some combination of the two.

“You have to design a brace so that under the specified load there will be no deformation to the rear-end of the vehicle,” explained Billing. “Manufacturer’s compliance is to design the attachment, keep drawings, put on the compliance sticker and keep recorded files.”

With the product ready to go, the CTEA is now accepting applications to join its RIG program.

“The investor rights gives us and Transport Canada some confidence that we’re running the program fairly and appropriately,” explained Don Moore, executive director of the CTEA. “You will need the information to back it up that it will meet the standards.”

Investment into the RIG Program can vary depending on the level of need for a manufacturer. Investment prices will vary depending on the different range of guards a manufacturer would like to utilize.

“The attachment is just a simple strength design what you pay for is the information. Part of compliance is to provide the calculations,” added Billing. “Distribution privileges will be ready by Dec. 15. These are just preliminary results, the details may change and we hope they’ll change for the better.”

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