Walking the show floor at TMC, I was intrigued by Prime Transport Solutions’ demonstration of pneumatic landing gear, which uses the trailer’s air system to deploy or raise the landing gear at the touch of a button. The system reduces weight by up to 40 lbs since no crank handle is required and the ability to reduce injury risk is obvious. How many drivers have hurt their backs or shoulders while cranking the landing gear?
The PTS50 pneumatic landing gear is already used in Europe and is featured on the Daimler SuperTruck project. Simon Bois, executive v.p. and g.m., North America, for Prime Transport Solutions, rhymed off the benefits of the system. Trailers can be packed closer together in yards, time spent idling while coupling and decoupling can be reduced by 97%, a mechanical override system means the system can continue to be used if it fails, reducing downtime and repair costs. There’s a lot to like about this very cleverly designed product.
Asked what happens if the trailer legs sink into the ground and the trailer needs to be raised, Simon acknowledged there’ll be some instances where the trailer will need to be jacked up. Under normal circumstances, however, a driver will be able to dump the tractor’s air suspension and slide underneath the trailer for coupling. But since the system only works when it’s connected to the tractor (an obvious requirement, to avoid hijinks) jacking may be required at times. But on the other hand, Simon said this system is designed to make the trailer height consistent across a fleet.
The PTS50 is currently being piloted by four big fleets and one has already asked its OEM to begin offering the pneumatic landing gear. Simon said the company is finalizing its distribution strategy and pricing. Pressed for a ballpark price, he guessed at about US$1,200 per system, based on single-unit purchases. That’s a lot more than traditional landing gear, but he vowed this system will last the life of the trailer and will provide fuel savings as well as reducing driver injuries. When I asked him, on behalf of a reader, about air bleed-off while sitting for extended periods of time, Simon said the pneumatic cylinders don’t support the load – a locking pin does – and so no air bleed-off occurs. It’s definitely an intriguing piece of equipment. More info can be found on their site at www.PrimeTransportSolutions.com.
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