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Tech talk dominates APTA event

SAINT JOHN, N. B. - Shop bosses got a lesson in the latest in trucking technology and practices at the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association's 2008 Truck Technology Conference Feb. 25-26. The event ...


SAINT JOHN, N. B. – Shop bosses got a lesson in the latest in trucking technology and practices at the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association’s 2008 Truck Technology Conference Feb. 25-26. The event took place at the Delta Brunwick Hotel in Saint John.

Dozens of Maritimers were treated to a variety of topics in seminars ranging from engines to disc brakes to shop safety. Here are some highlights:

Engines

Representatives from Volvo, Cummins, Detroit Diesel, Caterpillar, Mack, and International gave the low-down on how fuel economy is affected during diesel particulate filter (DPF) regenerations during their presentations Feb. 25. The companies touched on the various kinds of regeneration, including passive, active and parked, and the consequences that each mode can have on fuel economy. The presenters each stressed the importance of regenerating in regular intervals to avoid clogging the diesel particulate filter.

For the inexperienced user, the reps also have a “how to” when it comes to using regeneration systems, including what each regeneration lamp indicates and the action that needs to be taken when each is lit. International rep Steve Perkins gave an overview of the 2008 MaxxForce engines and how their fuel economy has been improved over past models while Cummins rep Adam Whitney gave a talk on best practices for good fuel economy, including how factors like aerodynamics, tires, and shifting techniques can all impact performance.

Stability systems and disc brakes

Representatives from Haldex, ArvinMeritor and Bendix gave a dual presentation on disc brakes and rollover systems. Haldex rep, Todd Bourque, outlined the components of Haldex’s Trailer Roll Stability, including a list of the new “value-add” features for 2008.

Each company argued for disc brakes over drum brakes, citing such reasons as shorter stopping distances, improved high temperature stopping performance, less brake torque variation side to side, significant reduction in the number of parts that can wear out, reduced air consumption, and longer brake life in general. Some showed videos illustrating the stopping distance differences between disc and drum brakes. John Birtwistle of ArvinMeritor spoke about the function of rollover stability support (RSS) for trailers.

He also spoke about specific disc brake models that the company offers. Robert Greer from Bendix presented a workshop on what stability systems are and how they work.

Reefer technology

Reps from the two biggest reefer manufacturers Thermo King and Carrier Transicold spoke about the future of reefer technology on Feb.

25. Environmentally-friendly units are the way of the future, according to Thermo King rep, David Deane, and cryogenics may one day help lead that charge.

Deane said the company is currently working on cryogenic technology which would boast no CO2 gas in the cargo space, higher capacity, low noise and no diesel emissions, to name a few benefits. Hybrid technology and biodiesel fuels are also being researched by the manufacturer, as it continues to keep up with the industry’s latest emissions standards.

Regional sales manager, Ed Williams of Carrier Transicold spoke about its award-winning Deltek hybrid diesel electric technology. Williams gave an explanation of how the technology works, calling it highly reliable, simple, quiet, and requiring very little maintenance, not to mention being both environmentally sound and energy efficient.

He said that the refrigeration technology available now will soon be overtaken by future technologies. Carrier has released a list of new Intelliset profiles with each pre-set designed with a specific job in mind.

Shop Safety

“Safety is everything I do,”said John Cotterill, safety manager for Clarke Road Transport, at the APTA conference, so he made sure everyone knew he was serious from the start. Cotterill presented a comprehensive and occasionally disturbing look at the importance of shop safety. Cotterill opened with a 15-minute video presentation called “The Supervisor” which gave a fictional representation of the aftermath of an on-the-job death through the eyes of the shop’s supervisor.

The video, often showing realistic gore, set a sombre mood for a serious talk about shop safety. After the video, Cotterill reminded that since Bill C-45 passed (in response to the disaster at the Westray Mine in Nova Scotia which claimed 26 lives), there is no minimum fine a court can impose when an employer is found to be negligent. “So the supervisor’s responsibility is great,” Cotterill says.

To begin, a hazard assessment is necessary in order for a shop to take action against or control possible hazards and safety issues. Cotterill suggests inviting inspectors to meet with your company’s occupational health and safety committee rather than waiting for them to come on their terms.

“Do you want to be proactive or reactive?” Cotterill asked. He says the most effective way to achieve safety and lessen injuries is to enforce procedures. From there, it’s the responsibility of all forms of management – from line to middle to top – to set an example through safe behaviour. Training new or transferred employees on safe job procedures and including safety as a part of job orientation are also key, Cotterill says. He suggests training for East Coast shops through organizations like the APTA Safety Council, the N. S. Trucking Safety Association, the North American Transportation Management Institute, and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.


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