KALAMAZOO, Mich. — When the next generation of the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles for the U.S. Army goes into production this year, the trucks will include an innovative modification to the Dana Spicer Central Tire Inflation Systems that have been speced into the 2.5- and 5-ton trucks.
The modification the addition of a new automated "kneeling feature" will significantly ease the army’s ability to load and transport the trucks for duty in Iraq and other sites abroad.
According to Jim Beverly, chief engineer for the Advanced Chassis Control Systems Group at CVSD, the kneeling feature is used to depressurize the tires to a point (about 10 to 12 psi) below even emergency operating pressure settings. The resulting reduced vehicle height simplifies and speeds up the loading of the trucks into C-130 transport planes. When offloaded, the tires are then automatically pressurized to whatever levels the local terrain calls for as selected via the CTIS control panel in the cab.
"Prior to our adding the kneeling feature, a valve on the tires was manually actuated with a screw-driver to achieve these low pressures. Once the vehicles where unloaded, it was then required to manually close the valves before the vehicles where put back into operation. Now, with the addition of this new technology, the army’s logistics have been greatly improved. It also reconfirms our commitment to providing our customers with products that also provide solutions."
These systems provide adjustment of tire pressures to enhanced traction effort, reduce vehicle maintenance, and improve driver comfort. The system allows the operator to select 1 of 4 terrain settings via pushbutton controls in the cab, and then inflates or deflates the tire pressure to match the terrain and load. In addition, the system can be configured to control differential locks and interact with other vehicle sub-systems to enhance overall vehicle mobility. The system can be configured to control independent channels (steer, drive and trailer). Additional features include integrated diagnostics via the on-board data bus, a CAN data bus for control, and configuration "downloading" capability.
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