Consortium delivers high tech proto-trailer

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Great Dane, Volvo Trucks, Thermo King, Meritor WABCO and Hendrickson Intl. have given a glimpse at where technology may eventually take the trucking industry.

Highlighting the tractor (a Volvo 770) and trailer (a Dane SuperSeal XLT) combination is its Power Line Carrier (PLC) for trucks communication system using the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) of the Meritor WABCO TCSII Enhanced Easy-Stop Trailer ABS.

“We’ve got lining wear sensors, wheelend temperature sensors and can even monitor the state of the reefer,” says Charles Fetz, Dane’s vice-president of research and development.

“We can then take that information — and much more — and send it to the in-cab display or beam it to the fleet via satellite.”

While the configuration is far from ‘commercialized,’ he adds customers will now have a chance to see and try out many new technologies. Feedback gleaned from those demonstrations will help determine how individual consortium partners will proceed with some of the features.

“A lot of this technology is available today,” says Fetz.

“We need to see if there is a potential market out there.”

Obviously interested in the reefer trailer first and foremost, Dane’s contribution includes a new vacuum insulation system boasting two to three times the R-factor of current state-of-the-industry offerings.

“For someone hauling blood plasma, they might be able to justify the cost at this point,” he says adding wide market use is still likely a while away yet.

Furnished by SAES Getters USA of Colorado Springs, Col., allows for a larger inside cube space — which means the potential for larger payloads and more money.

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