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Going with the flow

Considering the success of Volvo's lineup, one could be forgiven for questioning why the truckmaker would want to mess with its existing VN family design. But as with most equipment changes occurring ...


Considering the success of Volvo’s lineup, one could be forgiven for questioning why the truckmaker would want to mess with its existing VN family design. But as with most equipment changes occurring these days, the decision was necessitated in large part by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).The VN needed upgrades to accommodate the post-October engines and the manufacturer decided to take the opportunity to incorporate a host of improvements to its design. Many of these are intended to lessen the impact of EGR on fuel efficiency while also addressing serviceability and reliability.

“We think this puts us in a great position heading into the second quarter of 2003 and beyond,” says Susan Alt, Volvo Trucks North America’s Vice-President of Marketing. She adds the company’s production lines are already booked through the end of 2002 with dealer orders for the new tractors — which include VNL (the “L” designates a long hood design) 780, 670, 630 and 430 sleeper-equipped units and the VNM (the “M” designates a medium hood design) 200, 300 and 430 daycabs.

Engine performance is something Volvo says isn’t likely to trouble its customers once they get a chance to see its offerings in action. The captive EPA ’02 D12 and the Cummins ISX will fill the envelope of post-Oct. 1 Volvos with a range of horsepower from 365 all the way up to 565.

“These are two beautifully simple solutions,” says Ed Saxman, a Director with Volvo Powertrain. “There are no special maintenance requirements at all.”

Part in parcel with the engines, comes the new cooling system and grille design.

A high performance fan complete with new mountings, a new dual air intake system designed to better balance air flow and dissipate heat, a stock car-inspired bumper helping to draw engine heat away from the compartment and a new, aggressive looking grille that has been opened up significantly work together to cool the engine and keep the rig rolling and earning money for both owner and driver.

The added heat generated by EGR was one of the biggest challenges facing the truck design team and make no mistake, real world miles have gone into finding solutions.

EGR-equipped engines thirst for more go-juice than today’s designs. So the Volvo design team looked for ways to improve the aerodynamics in the new line.

“We knew that as an integrated manufacturer, we had an opportunity to make the entire vehicle work in concert,” says Alt. “Cab, chassis and engine all needed to be developed at the same time to work as a single unit for the truck to be as efficient as possible.”

The cab has been repositioned, as has the fifth wheel, which allows buyers to pick a rig with a trailer gap as much as 12 inches tighter than before.

New headlight and fender designs have been incorporated not only for stylistic reasons, but to also improve the airflow around the truck.

The new two-piece mirror design does much more than improve the driver’s visibility around the A-pillar. Its breakaway nature cuts down on the need for expensive repairs.

“They also have lower air drag, which means greater fuel efficiency,” says Volvo’s Kevin Hawkins.

Why even the new splash shields under the front fenders have been engineered to reduce dirt build-up on the vehicle, thereby contributing to the fight for aerodynamics.

Every angle has been maximized to slash the drag coefficient on the new models by 3.2 % compared to their predecessor. The result is a cab design that can boast up to 1.5% better fuel economy than the pre-October VNs.

But cab and component curves are just part of the equation.

“Hundreds of parts were scrutinized, reconfigured and streamlined for a cumulative weight reduction,” says Pannell. Liberal use of aluminum and other high-tech, high-strength alloys — as well as composite materials — have worked to shed almost a full ton from the VN as it was introduced in 1996.

These advances, in conjunction with the cab design, almost completely negate any efficiency penalties tied to EGR.

“You’ll experience more of a difference in fuel economy from a good driver to a bad driver than you will from these engines,” says Saxman. “With the enhanced aerodynamics, you’ll see a zero to two percent increase (in fuel use).”

Building off the $590-million European footings established with last year’s October launch, Jorma Halonen, the company’s worldwide President and CEO, says $190 million has been spent on the North American lines. The number dropped in large part due to the fact Volvo has achieved approximately 30 percent parts commonality with models from across the pond.

However, Halonen stresses “This is very much an American truck.”– Curran

New Michelin directional steer fights irregular wear

Michelin says the directional design on its new XZA3 long haul steer tire combats the onset of irregular wear allowing for a 20% improvement in service life compared to its predecessor.

Ralph Beaveridge, Marketing Manager – Truck Tires for Michelin, says three quarters of steer tires are removed for irregular wear adding that the XZA3 can reduce irregular wear by up to 50%.

While directional for the first half of its life, the tire may be rotated after the half-worn stage to help maintain long original tread life.

The XZA3 starts with a 19/32nds tread depth.

The tire will not replace its predecessor the XZA2, however. That tire will repair in production as long at there is demand for it in the marketplace.

Yokohama adds three new members to truck tire family

Yokohama has introduced a new family of premium long-haul tires with the purpose of counteracting the market trends of increasing fuel costs, longer hauls and higher speeds.

“The market demanded that we raise the bar,” says Greg Cressman of Yokohama, “and we want to continue our dedication to the highway market.”

Tires are one of the highest necessary operating expenses, and in an attempt to decrease these costs, Yokohama’s tire engineers designed three new tires that claim to increase tread life, decrease irregular wear, increase fuel efficiency, improve durability, enhance safety with reliable traction and improve driver comfort.

Yokohama created an entirely new manufacturing process based on the premise that long wear is dependent on irregular wear thus controlling irregular wear can result in a longer life for the tire.

All three tires are manufactured with Yokohama’s stress control technology, maximized conservation concept and the strain energy minimization concept.

The RY637 is the premium steer tire, which is designed for enhanced fuel efficiency, a long tread life and a reduction in irregular wear. The premium drive tire, TY527, features solid traction and exceptional tread life, and the RY587 premium trailer tire was designed for durability and reduced free-rolling wear.

Visit www.yokohamatire.ca or call 1-800-661-4033 for more information.

Freight Logix reveals software for LTL market

Freight Logix unveiled its new transportation management software at the Truck World show.

John Brutin, President, explains that Freight Logix built an LTL and cartage software from the ground up specifically for LTL and cartage. Truckload carriers simply do not face the same complexities as LTL and cartage, he says, and the truckload software doesn’t have the flexibility to handle less than truckload freight.

“There is no room for grace with LTL, you have to be fast and you have to be accurate,” says Brutin. “The response to the program has been fantastic.”

By integrating all functions of the operation, from order entry to driver settlements, the software improves efficiency by eliminating redundant data entry and reducing errors.

Freight Logix has integrated with PeopleNet Communications and Qualcomm, because it is strictly an application system that functions via the services of its wireless partners.

“We take over and integrate the data for the communication company, then relay to their interface with a single flow of data entry.

The program features shipment tracing, automated rating system, advanced planning and dispatch tools, complete z
oning capabilities, the ability to handle international exchanges, an integrated driver communications and a task management system.

It is a flexible package that addresses every point of operation for the company and can be configured to adapt to any company process. Also filters are in place to control the user and their functions, and the program can be configured to any user’s preferences.

According to Brutin, Freight Logix is a simple solution for complex freight, as it will help to lower operating costs by increasing profit per mile, maximizing resource utilization and keeping a record of all operations from day one.

For more information, visit www.freightlogix.com or call 519-576-5399.

Fuel tax and mileage made simple with new solution

Turnpike Global Technologies has partnered with Cancom communications systems to produce TurnpikeDirect – the fuel and miles tax solution.

The fuel and miles tax service eliminates the time and aggravation spent generating IFTA and state mileage tax reports by simply processing the data points provided by Cancom’s OmniTRACS system. Simple online applications compile, audit and store the data preparing it for reporting and inquiries.

Typically it is the onus of the driver to record and store trip sheets or logs manually, and often 7 to 10 days after the actual trip whereby the details become blurred and errors are made.

With TurnpikeDirect, the mandatory labor-intensive process that plagues all companies is streamlined and automated so that data entry and company review processes are removed.

“We take responsibility of this time consuming task and remove the paperwork from the driver,” says president Colin Warkentin.

It is an Internet-based product so IFTA requirements are monitored closely and any changes in the rates are implemented immediately, so a company doesn’t have to update their system each time the rates change.

“We collect the IFTA rates for the carrier and enter into the process and then produce the reports, so it’s another step in the process that we look after, and you don’t have to worry about,” Warkentin says.

Turnpike, with the help from its Cancom engine, has spent three years researching and developing TurnpikeDirect and have since installed nearly 5,000 units. The base price for a TurnpikeDirect system is $15 per month per truck.

For more information visit www.turnpikeglobal.com or www.cancom.ca or call 1-800-376-2188.

Carboxylate technology boosting performance of extended life coolant

EGR engines require hot exhaust gases to recirculate into the engine air intake to reduce exhaust emissions to acceptable government mandated levels. That makes the job the engine coolant has to do even more critical than before because it must be able to remove the excess combustion heat out of the engine, prevent the different metals from corroding, and prevent the cooling system from freezing or boiling over.

Even prior to EGR, studies showed the importance of the right engine coolant in reducing non-scheduled maintenance. Over 20% of equipment failures could be attributed to cooling system failure and over 60% of water pump failures could be attributed to seal failure.

At the Truck World show, ChevronTexaco Global Lubricants unveiled a new coolant designed to meet the challenge: Delo Extended Life Coolant (ELC).

Company officials pointed to several advantages with the new coolant:

Cavitation corrosion is a serious problem for heavy-duty engines. Traditionally, supplemental coolant additives are added to coolant/antifreeze to control corrosion. However, additive depletion limits fluid life.

Delo ELC uses a patented carboxylate technology which ChevronTexaco says has a longer life and contains no silicate, phosphate, borate or nitrate. Conventional coolant may require reinhibition as early as 20,000 miles but ChevronTexaco says its carboxylate technology is allowing the ELC to go beyond 300,000 miles (480,000 km). Its long life inhibitors do not deplete, as many other types of coolant are known to do, ChevronTexaco claims.

The carboxylate technology is also said to improve wet sleeve liner and high temperature aluminum protection. Another advantage is improved heat transfer. Radiator tubing taken from a fleet test using both carboxylate and traditional coolant, showed that the tubing from the traditional radiators was covered in a thick coating of silicate inhibitors. Plating decreases heat transfer efficiency. There was no measurable coating with the carboxylate coolant.

Other cited advantages include water pump and impeller protection and a reduction in seal failures.

Delo ELC is available in both concentrate form and pre-diluted 50:50 for immediate use. It will be sold in bulk, drums and one-gallon jugs. The product meets the CAT EC-1 approval rating and meets or exceeds ASTM D 3306 and ASTM 4985, as well as several specifications from OE manufacturers.

ChevronTexaco figures there’s up to $649.25 in savings over 600,000 miles (960,000 km) by switching to ELC, which costs about $32 more than currently available product. It bases that figure on a total cost to 600,000 miles of $786.75 with current coolant/antifreeze and a total cost of only $137.50 with ELC over the same distance.


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