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Fontaine Fifth Wheel capitalizes on large R&D investment

TRUSSVILLE, Ala. -- Fontaine Fifth Wheel's investment in creating the world's largest fifth wheel research and...


Fontaine Fifth Wheel's research and development lab, found at its Alabama-based headquarters, is the largest lab of its kind, according to company officials.
Fontaine Fifth Wheel's research and development lab, found at its Alabama-based headquarters, is the largest lab of its kind, according to company officials.

TRUSSVILLE, Ala. — Fontaine Fifth Wheel’s investment in creating the world’s largest fifth wheel research and development lab has paid off, according to company officials.

The 9,000 sq. ft. lab, located at the manufacturer’s new headquarters in Trussville, Ala., is decked out with top-of-the-line computers, software, a 3-D printer and custom testing equipment, and has aided in the design and creation of several new products.

Some recent new products released through the assistance of the R&D lab include:

-The Fontaine Ultra NS, which officials say is the only fifth wheel to offer infinite, automatic slack adjustment.

-The Fontaine Ultra LT, which the company claims is the lightest-weight fifth wheel slider system available.

-The Fontaine Ultra HD, a lighter-weight, heavy-duty fifth wheel for severe service applications.

-The Fontaine Ultra HR, a direct replacement for competitive standard-duty fifth wheel top plates.

“Fifth wheels are our business – we don’t make anything else,” explains Henry Bell, president of Fontaine Fifth Wheel North America. “As a result of this singular focus, we invest considerable resources in fifth wheel research and development. In fact, even during the current recession and industry downturn, we have not reduced engineering personnel and have actually increased our R&D budget every year since 2007.”

Other projects in the works include the first fifth wheel to be installed directly into a truck’s frame; the first fifth wheel top plate made out of lightweight and durable composite material, and a unique removable lock cartridge.

“We listen and work closely with our customers to develop new products that meet their needs today and into the future,” Bell says. “We believe that this commitment to our customers and our willingness to devote our team to designing innovative system solutions for them really sets Fontaine Fifth Wheel apart.”


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