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Schneider set for kick-off of SAE testing program

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Schneider National is poised to kick off its rigorous annual Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) testing program in the next few weeks. Used by just a handful of carriers in the industry, the SAE has roots dating back to...


GREEN BAY, Wis. — Schneider National is poised to kick off its rigorous annual Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) testing program in the next few weeks. Used by just a handful of carriers in the industry, the SAE has roots dating back to 1989 with Schneider.

That year, Steve Graham (then manager of Schneider’s tire program) realized that fuel economy should factor heavily in tire purchasing decisions and wanted to learn how to test various tires for their fuel efficiency. He travelled to the Transportation Research Center of Ohio, which used the SAE protocol for tire testing. Graham believed that Schneider could adapt the scientific, methodical practices outlined in these widely accepted standards – designed to eliminate the influence of variables – to evaluate the efficiency and performance of its own equipment.

Upon returning, Graham launched Schneider’s first testing program. “It started quite primitively,” recalls Graham, now vice-president of purchasing at Schneider. “Today’s program is much more sophisticated, but the goal back then was the same as now: find new ways to minimize fuel usage and reduce our environmental impact.”

Today, Schneider employs an on-site team of engineers who work year round on a wide range of equipment-research needs for the company, including process development, maintenance training, troubleshooting equipment and component testing. Yet, according to Schneider, their focus is always on preparations for the coming summer, when they turn their attention to the careful and accurate testing of various equipment (following SAE’s Type II and Type III on-highway fuel economy testing guidelines) that may benefit both the company and the environment.

Some of the items Schneider has slated for testing between June and August this year include:

-Low viscosity motor oils;

– Renewable fuel alternatives;

– Low-rolling resistance tires;

– New engine calibrations;

– Predictive cruise control (in which the engine uses mapping software to determine how to best conserve vehicle momentum when approaching or cresting hills); and

– Verification of Freightliner tractor wind tunnel testing.


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