THREE THINGS THAT CAUGHT MY ATTENTION AT TMC
The Technology & Maintenance Council meetings are upon us and it’s one for the ages. Nashville was hit with its worst ice storm in 20 years, meaning many visitors and even some presenters were unable to make it in. I came in Saturday because press conference day was Sunday, so I arrived before the weather.
But then I found myself cooped up in my off-site hotel because even the taxi-cabs were told to keep off the roadways.
At any rate, there was lots to report on Sunday. Here’s a rundown of a couple new product announcements that caught my attention:
A new Ride System from Bose: Bose has come out with a new vibration-cancelling Ride System high-tech truck seat. It builds on the technology offered in the first seat but adds new capabilities. Acknowledging not everyone found the previous seat to be comfortable right off the bat, Bose now offers three settings: Soft, Middle and Firm. This means drivers can customize the ride characteristics to their own liking. Also new is a training module that helps educate drivers on how to get the greatest benefit from the seat. The seat itself has also been redesigned, to offer improved ergonomics. More info here.
A self-adjusting converter dolly: Silver Eagle unveiled a neat product: a converter dolly that at speeds of 45 mph automatically shortens the gap between trailers by 12 inches. This can save 2.5% in fuel according to extensive testing. UPS has been running the system on the US West Coast with considerable success. It’s going to be priced at a premium – about US$4,500 more than a standard converter dolly – but Silver Eagle projects a 3.5-year payback. More here.
Tire inflation systems that work on tractors: Meritor is the latest company to bring to market an automatic tire inflation system for tractors, joining a growing list of providers who can manage tractor tire inflation pressures. Aperia’s Halo tire inflation system also works on the power unit, albeit the drive axles only. Dana also has a system that’s undergoing fleet trials, and it works at every position on the tractor. So the point is, this proven technology is now being expanded to cover tractors and multiple systems are, or will soon be, available. That’s a good thing. It has proven so effective on trailers that now 80% of new trailers ordered in the US are being spec’d with tire inflation. There are several benefits: reduced tire failures; better fuel economy; faster pre-trips; and more regular wear/longer service life, to name a few. More on the Meritor system here and you can read about Aperia’s technology here. And here’s some info on Dana’s system.
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