TORONTO, Ont. -If you can gauge the health of the trucking industry by the mood at the truck shows, then things have indeed improved. As was the case at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March, Canada'...
TORONTO, Ont. -If you can gauge the health of the trucking industry by the mood at the truck shows, then things have indeed improved. As was the case at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March, Canada’s own Truck World was ripe with enthusiasm and a sense that the worst of the economic downturn was behind us.
This sentiment was evidenced not only verbally and anecdotally, but also by the fact there were arguably more new products making their debut at Truck World than in recent memory.
Here’s a rundown of items that caught our attention: Alutrec unveiled a new lightweight aluminum flatdeck trailer that it says weighs in at just 6,950 lbs, providing about 2,500 lbs of extra payload compared to the average aluminum trailer and weighing 1,500 lbs less than Alutrec’s standard offering.
The Capacity trailer was tested by FPInnovations as part of its Energotest project and saved 6-9% fuel compared to other flatdecks, the company announced. The new trailer also offers a lower deck for additional volume, providing more than 100 inches of height, said Alutrec’s Jean Fournier.
He also said the trailer has a con- centrated load rating of 60,000 lbs in four feet and has 1,000 fewer parts than traditional flatdeck trailers.
“That’s 1,000 less parts to worry about,” he said. The Capacity trailer is in a pre-launch stage. The first 50 sold will involve a follow-up program, where Alutrec will work with the customer to collect data and make any necessary enhancements.
There was a new driver simulator on display which featured stunning graphics and is made in Canada to boot. The Virage VS600M is modeled on a standard truck cab and features a motion/ vibration system for added realism as well as surround sound.
But it’s the visuals that really grab one’s attention. The system features a 180-degree forward view plus rearview mirrors. The graphics reproduce city, highway, industrial, farmland and mountainous environments.
Three high-resolution 52-inch displays show graphics in 1,980 x 1,080 pixels. For more info on the new simulator, visit www.viragesimulation.com.
El Cargo was at the show to debut its new 651-MF Multi-Flip tarp system for vocational trucks. The system operates from front to back using arms on each side of the dump box. When fully-opened, the electrically-operated tarp allows loading acces from either side, the company says.
The vinyl top covers dump boxes up to 32-feet long with a 12-inch overlap on each side to protect against the elements.
For more info, call 877-353-3560.
Shell Canada officially kicked off a new contest that asks professional drivers to nominate Canada’s toughest roads. The Rotella Challenge is now on, and will reward a grand prize winner a trip to the fall Nascar race in Charlotte, N.C.
Other prizes are available as well, including Shell gas cards, Rotella- branded merchandise and other prizes. To enter, drivers can visit www.RotellaChallenge.com and submit their information.
The contest runs through Aug. 31. Shell also provided on-site instant oil analysis at the show, using the company’s On-Site Oil Analysis Machine. Shell was able to analyze oil in about 10 minutes using just a few drops of used oil.
If you didn’t bring an oil sample with you to the show, the service is also offered at participating Rotella Express sites across Canada.
ArvinMeritor made a big splash with its Meritor MOR-32 heavy-duty single drive rear axle for shunt trucks, which was displayed on a Tico terminal tractor belonging to B.C. Ferry Services.
The company said Tico of Canada Intermodal is the first to offer the axle on port and terminal tractors. It’s available immediately on Tico Pro Spotter tractors.
“This new axle takes durability and cost-effectiveness up a notch. It delivers the quality and reliability that Tico of Canada customers expect from a Pro Spotter tractor,” said Mark Schneider, business unit director for off-highway, ArvinMeritor. “The Meritor MOR-32 axle reflects our commitment to increasing asset utilization and reducing maintenance costs in demanding port and terminal environments.”
The Meritor MOR-32 is a 32 metric tonne-rated planetary rear drive axle built to handle heavy payloads. It’s available in a range of axle ratios from 8.5 to 24.8 to optimize fuel efficiency and performance, the company announced at the show. Meritor made the claim that the axle can handle up to 20,000 lbs more payload than other offerings. For further info, contact Tico’s Aidan Bolger at 905-267-0207.
There was also plenty of new iron on display at the show. Paccar showcased its new MX engine for the first time in Canada. Peterbilt had two new trucks on display, including the new Model 587 which attracted a steady crowd (we know, because the Peterbilt display was directly across from the Truck News booth)! The new Model 382 also made its Canadian debut.
Kenworth had its new T700 on display at the show. It too was introduced at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March and made its Canadian debut at Truck World.
Other new products from the OEMs first introduced at Mid-America and then launched to the Canadian market at Truck World included the International ProStar+ and the Mack mDrive automated transmission.
Fontaine Fifth Wheel and Fontaine Parts Connection also introduced some new products at Truck World, including four new models.
“We have worked very closely with our customers to develop new fifth wheels that meet their increasing requirements for strength, durability, reliability and safety,” said Henry Bell, president of Fontaine Fifth Wheel. “In doing so, our R&D team has also found new ways to make these products lighter, more convenient and lower maintenance than other fifth wheels. They truly do go beyond the ordinary.”
Displayed at Truck World were the new: Fontaine Ultra NS, which the company claims to be the only fifth wheel to offer infinite, automatic slack adjustment; the Fontaine Ultra LT, which it dubs the lightest-weight fifth wheel slider system available; the Fontaine Ultra HD, a lighter-weight, heavy-duty fifth wheel for severe-service applications; and the Fontaine Ultra HR, a direct replacement for competitive standard-duty fifth wheel top plates.
In Canada, the products are marketed in partnership with Pro Force Marketing. You can find out more at www.fifthwheel.com or by calling 800-874-9780.
It wasn’t just new products and equipment that was showcased at Truck World. Through a new program called Road Trip, the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council (CTHRC) showcased the industry’s career opportunities to area high school students.
“Road Trip highlights the wide variety of opportunities that the trucking industry has to offer,” said CTHRC project manager Tamara Miller. “In addition to introducing participants to specific career options and similar occupations, the new tools clearly explain the essential skills that are required to perform these roles.”
Students were hosted by OTA Road Knights who took them on a guided tour of the show, stopping by select booth to learn about specific career opportunities. About 80 students took part, according to the CTHRC.
Avaal Technology Solutions showcased careers available in information technology while Volvo Trucks Canada discussed occupations in manufacturing. Trimac Transportation explained the opportunities behind the wheel and Bison Transport showcased the roles of drivers and dispatchers.
Challenger Motor Freight informed the students about careers in safety and human resources. And Centennial College discussed its modified apprenticeship program.
“Road Trip has the potential of giving many high school students their first real exposure to caree
r options in the trucking industry,” said Miller. “And the format lets industry partners bring the information to life.”
And as always, the folks from NAL Insurance were busy raising money for Make a Wish through their highly-popular Trucking for Wishes program.
The highlight of NAL’s activities included the head shaving of Challenger Motor Freight operations manager Bruce McGray. McGray was taking part in the Trucking for Wishes ‘Go Blue, Go Bald’ program. He first dyed his hair blue for the week-and-a-half leading up to Truck World and then had his hair shaved completely off in front of a large crowd at the show.
Challenger’s driver services manager Tanya Theroux donned the clippers and shaved McGray down. Leading up to the show, McGray and his Challenger coworkers were able to raise about $5,000 for Trucking for Wishes.
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