Mid America Trucking Show: Back on Track?

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International announces addition to High Performance Truck family

International has added a new member to its High Performance Truck line, the 8600 regional tractor.

The new truck, which is available for order now and will begin full production this September, replaces the International 8100 and International 9100 tractors.

Designed to maneuver well in tight places, the 8600 delivers an 107- inch BBC, a 46-inch setback wide track front axle as well as a 50-degree wheel cut. Cat and Cummins 10- and 12-liter engine provide the muscle. The ride is made smoother with the standard cab rear mounted air suspension system.

The new truck is available in both 4×2 and 6×4 models and in an extended cab with bunk.

To address driver comfort and fatigue issues, International is employing a high-pressure power steering pump that it claims makes it easier to maneuver in tight loading docks. Interior noise has also been reduced by using a frame-mounted vertical muffler and better placement of sound deadening material throughout the cab.

In other company announcements:

International is beefing up its High Performance Truck line with the rollout of the 7600 4×2 and 6×4 models, which come with big bore power. The 7600, aimed at the road maintenance, waste collector and construction markets, has 430 horsepower under the hood delivered by Caterpillar C10 and C-12 engines. But this is a giant that remains nimble on its feet with set forward and set back axle settings and up to a 50-degree wheel cut delivered by wide track front axles.

International is making a six-man crew cab available on its 4000 and 7000 Series models. All crew cabs are designed with a one-piece roof section for strength, and equipped with 41 inches of front-to-back fixed rear seat spacing. The interior sheet metal is coated in all cabs except portions of the door panels and behind the instrument panel for a quieter ride.

ArvinMeritor unveils armful of new product introductions

ArvinMeritor and its joint venture companies came to the Mid-America Trucking Show armed with a whack of new product announcements. These included the following:

New technologies targeted at meeting the upcoming stringent emissions regulations (October 2002 and 2007) for commercial vehicles. Two basic designs, a passive system and an active system, can be used for OEM or retrofit applications, and are expected to be available in September 2002. The Eliminator is a passive system, designed as a stand-alone solution that will replace a truck’s existing muffler. The active system, Eliminator with I.R. Tech – a diesel particulate filter with Intelligent Regeneration Technology – is a self-regenerating soot filter system that consists of a diesel burner, electronic controls and a high-durability particulate filter.

A new packaged bearing wheel-end system in North America for the new TL and TA series axles for trailers in June and October 2002, respectively.

The DX 225 brake, which fits within 22.5-inch wheels and is available on axles with up to 24,000 lbs. gross axle weight rating. It’s compatible with both ABS and EBS and will be released to OEMs starting mid-year.

A simplification of its component warranty categories from 16 to four. Effective with model year 2003 trucks, with an in-service date of October 1, 2002, ArvinMeritor will offer customers four warranty vocations – Linehaul, General Service, Heavy Service and Severe Service – for its DriveTrain Plus components (axles, transmissions, braking systems, drivelines, clutches, and suspensions.) The company is also going to offer end-users extended service packages up to one million miles, from the previous maximum of 750,000 miles. The extended coverage will initially be offered on its steer and drive axles and clutches.

A new original equipment dealer customer technical support center, called OnTrac, that offers “real time” support for U.S. and Canadian heavy-duty truck and trailer dealers. Accessible via the telephone and Internet , the company’s representatives will assist dealer service and warranty personnel with diagnostics, repair strategies and repair times; validate warranty coverage and claims; and expedite parts for repairs.

ArvinMeritor’s Commercial Vehicle Systems Ride Control division has developed a new cab-stabilizing module by combining a shock absorber, an air spring, an internal height-leveling valve and Gabriel’s patented electronic damping. The module, manufactured at the company’s Toronto facility, combines three distinct components found in standard cab suspensions into one, eliminating the need for separate brackets, linkages and assembly. In addition, the patented electronically adjustable damping uses a solenoid-controlled valve to adjust compression forces by up to 600 percent.

A new wheel hub with a 15 to 20 percent weight reduction from past models. The LMC hub is a part of a unitized wheel end that contains a fully sealed, lubricated cartridge bearing. This eliminates seal leaks and provides precise bearing adjustment to reduce downtime and increase wheel end life.

Also from ArvinMeritor’s Commercial Vehicle Systems Ride Control division comes the launch of a Gabriel electronic stability control system and load-sensitive pneumatic adjustable shocks. The Electronic Stability Control System reduces road noise and vehicle vibration by minimizing the amount of road energy transferred to the chassis of the vehicle. The Gabriel load sensitive pneumatic adjustable shock allows the air spring pneumatic pressure to automatically optimize damping under varying load conditions.

InfoLink, developed by Meritor WABCO Vehicle Control Systems, to provide communication between the tractor and trailer, as well as to third-party telematic devices, such as computers and cellular phones.

InfoLink software uses special addresses to allow data to be transferred through the tractor/trailer “gateway” via existing ABS data links.

Tractor and trailer electronic leveling modules (ELM) developed by Meritor WABCO Vehicle Control Systems. The modules are designed to electronically sense and control the operation of the tractor and trailer air suspensions, supplying air to the respective suspension on an as-needed basis only. This results in optimum control of ride height with minimal parasitic compressor load on the engine, the company says.

Michelin unveils two new X-One wide-based singles

Michelin has expanded its line of wide-based single tires with the launch of the X-One XDA-HT and the X-One XTE at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

The XDA-HT promises to deliver higher scrub resistance while handling higher torque requirements. It is designed for over the road use on tandem axle trailers. The company claims the new addition to the X-One family will deliver the same fuel efficiency and weight savings as its original X-One counterparts.

The XTE is billed as an ultra low aspect single trailer tire, capable of replacing 22.5-inch duals. Its main selling points include excellent resistance to scrubbing, increased removal mileage and 12 percent less vibration than traditional duals.

Ibrahim Janajreh is the mastermind behind the X-One product line, and he says fleets are beginning to realize the benefits of using the wide-based singles, which north of the border are currently only legal in Ontario and Quebec.

“Fuel expense is the number one cost for fleets and 33 percent of fuel consumption comes from the tires,” says Janajreh. “With X-One technology, we can cut this in half.”

Kenworth announces extended daycab, night vision option

Kenworth Truck Company used the Mid-America Trucking Show to introduce carriers to a new extended daycab for its T600, T800 and W900 models.

The extended daycab adds six inches to the current cab length, mounts the seat two inches further back from the steering wheel for added room, and offers a seat recline up to 21 degrees. In addition, the extended daycab provides an additional storage of 2-1/2 cubic feet on the rear wall. It also offers an additional three inches of headroom, has an option for Kenworth proprietar
y corner windows, and will be available with back of cab and side of cab mounted exhaust.

And Kenworth assures weight conscious truckers that the extra length will have only a “slight weight increase over the current cab.”

In other company news:

Kenworth is adding Night Vision technology as an option for its Class 8 product line that can help drivers see 1500 feet down the road, about five times further than a driver can see with standard headlamps, the company claims.

Kenworth’s new AG380 air suspension weighs in at 650 pounds fully installed, a weight reduction of up to 400 pounds compared to similar trailing arm suspensions, according to Kenworth Chief Engineer Jim Bechtold.

Kenworth has redesigned its T2000 roof fairing option to squeeze another 1.5 percent in fuel savings. “For the typical long-haul truck driver, that means an extra $300 or more in fuel savings per year,” said Jim Bechtold, Kenworth’s Chief Engineer.

Peterbilt rolls out new options for Model 330

In an effort to improve its award-winning model 330’s performance, Peterbilt has introduced a number of new optional features.

“The model 330 is a highly versatile vehicle that is delighting customers in a broad range of fields, such as pickup-and-delivery, beverage, municipal, dump, fire and rescue, crane, mixer, refuse and utility,” says Nick Panza, General Manager and Paccar Vice-President. “These new options – the Allison transmissions, heavy-duty auxiliary helper spring and axle-mounted parking brake – further increase the model 330’s versatility and value.”

In an effort to make drivers, of any skill level, more productive, the five-speed, automatic Allison 2000 and 2400 series trannies – featuring the ease of two-pedal operation – were additions to the company data sheets, explains Panza.

Peterbilt also announced that the hood for its 357 with a set-back front axle has been redesigned to improve visibility by as much as five feet.

Volvo opts for EGR technology for new emissions standard

Volvo Trucks has announced its solution to the upcoming emissions standards coming into place this October. It’s no surprise that the truck maker will use exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) technology in its V-Pulse system to ensure the emissions standards are met by the deadline this fall.

The V-Pulse system uses injection reshaping to ensure the Nox levels are reduced to acceptable levels, and the company is confident there will be few side effects.

“We are able to maintain our fixed geometry turbo charger,” says Jim Fancher, Product Marketing Manager with Volvo Trucks. He does admit, however, there will be some compromise in terms of fuel efficiency, but he insists that problem will plague all engine manufacturers.

Looking under the hood for next generation of fuel savings

Most of the efforts on improving fuel efficiency have so far focused on the moving vehicle. Cat Electronics says it’s now time to look under the hood for the next generation of fuel economy improvements and it believes technology it’s currently testing can deliver up to 18 percent annual fuel savings.

The technology, called MorElectric, delivers fuel savings by converting the air conditioner, air compressor, water pump, and other engine belt or gear driven accessories to be powered electrically. The MorElectric technology, which Cat Electronics hopes to have ready by late 2004, will provide heating, cooling and accessory power, including battery charging, without idling the engine. Trucks equipped with the technology will be able to use “shore” power to reduce idling at truck stops, loading docks or fleet terminals where electrical power is available.

Driving truck accessories through electric power rather than belts and gears should also reduce maintenance costs associated with belt and gear wear as well as wear on the accessories themselves, which must often run at speeds much higher than required. There are also advantages to be realized from parts reduction. The electronically driven HVAC system on its own eliminates 65 parts, said Mark Pflederer, Managing Director, Cat Electronics. Finally, making accessories electrically driven removes the need to have them positioned near the engine; they can be mounted in more easily accessible and less punishing positions. The company believes doing so can reduce the heat load on radiators by up to 23 percent.

Peterbilt rolls out new options for Model 330

In an effort to improve its award-winning model 330’s performance, Peterbilt has introduced a number of optional features.

“The model 330 is a highly versatile vehicle that is delighting customers in a broad range of fields, such as pickup-and-delivery, beverage, municipal, dump, fire and rescue, crane, mixer, refuse and utility,” says Nick Panza, General Manager and Paccar Vice-President. “These new options – the Allison transmissions, heavy-duty auxiliary helper spring and axle-mounted parking brake – further increase the model 330’s versatility and value.”

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