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truck news

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At Mid America Trucking Show, Bridgestone has launched a total tire solution which can save up to 5% on fuel costs and shave up to 29% in total tire wear costs.

Bridgestone presented five new tires in the EcopiaTM line for steer, drive, and trailer positions, and four new tread designs in the Bandag FuelTech line that complement the drive and trailer Ecopia line up.

Both product lines were developed to be used together using specially engineered compounds paired with matching retread patterns which continue low rolling resistance from the new Ecopia tires to the FuelTech retreads while extending casing life.

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The Everest reefers have been re-designed in order to meet better standards and to be more efficient than the previous models.

The new upgrades include stainless steel rear frame, a corrugated aluminum roof and PunctureGuard interior lining, a lightweight, puncture resistant and glass-reinforced thermoplastic material.

Moreover, the trailers are also offered with standard aluminum doors with dual-sealed gasket. The flooring system now features aluminum ducts and full-width composite floor sills to protect the trailer from moisture damage from the inside and out.

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At Mid America Trucking Show, LOUISVILLE, Continental Tire presented a new tire pressure monitoring system developed especially for commercial vehicles.

The new system is named the ContiPressureCheck and constantly monitors the pressure and temperature of each tire on the vehicle in order to provide real-time, on-demand tire status information and to warn the driver of tire-related problems before they become a critical concern.

Clif Armstrong, director of commercial vehicle tire marketing for the Americas, said: “ContiPressureCheck is a unique product that brings together all Continental’s expertise in tires, inflation, in-cab displays, sensors and monitoring technologies for a direct system that not only provides advanced, accurate pressure data, but also addresses fleet concerns about fuel economy and operating cost reductions.”

ContiPressureCheck integrates its sensors, communication system and data processor into a single module that is housed inside a rubber container and glued to the inner surface of the tire. The sensors continuously monitor both air pressure and the tire’s temperature, and transfer data wirelessly to the truck’s electronic control unit (ECU). This processes the data, saves warnings and sends them directly to a display in the driver’s cab.

Armstrong explained: “Since a tire’s contained air pressure naturally increases as a vehicle moves, it can be difficult to tell if a hot tire is underinflated. Without some form of temperature compensation, a hot tire that is underinflated might appear to be fine, because the contained air pressure is at or above its cold inflation pressure”.

Thanks to proper tire inflation, the fleet owners will benefit from low fuel consumption and a longer life for tires which translates directly in reduced operating costs. ContiPressureCheck will be available to the North American trucking marketplace in fall 2012.

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At Mid-America Trucking Show Volvo presented the innovative ‘Mean Green’ which is the world’s fastest hybrid truck ever built. On April 27th will attempt to break it last year record and to reach a top speed of 260 km/h (165 mph) at Wendover Airfield in Utah, USA. Last year the Volvo Mean Green was driven by Boije Ovebrink and managed to set the world’s speed record in the standing 500 metre, standing kilometre and flying kilometre.

The Volvo Mean Green uses a modified aerodynamic VN cab and develops a massive 2,100 horsepower and nearly 5,000 lb-ft (6779 Nm) of torque – of which 200 horsepower and 885 lb-ft (1200 Nm) of torque come from the electric motor.

“Technology and innovation are at the core of our business,” said Ron Huibers, president, Volvo Trucks North American Sales & Marketing. “’Mean Green’ is a prime example of Volvo’s technical capabilities and our continued focus on emerging technologies. Our engineers developed the world’s fastest hybrid truck utilising the same Volvo hybrid drive system powering hundreds of Volvo buses throughout the world - including London’s double-decker buses.”

Volvo’s team of hybrid technology experts adapted Volvo’s hybrid driveline to the chassis requirements of a world-class truck built for speed. Engineers then outfitted ‘Mean Green’ with a highly-tuned Volvo D16 engine and a modified version of Volvo’s automated I-Shift gearbox, which interacts with the hybrid’s electric motor.

“The result is a lightning-speed boost from start-off without any of the customary diesel-engine delay,” said Boije Ovebrink, ‘Mean Green’s owner and driver. “It’s like a champagne cork, but without the sound effects. For the first couple of seconds the truck just makes a slight whistle until the diesel engine, which runs on renewable liquid rosin diesel, starts delivering with an explosive force.”

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Agility Fuel Systems showcased a new line rail mounted compressed natural gas fuel systems at Mid America Trucking Show in Louisville. The new system was developed to fit seamlessly with today trucks and is available with a special outer cover made from composite material which offers additional protection it in case of an accident. The fuel tanks are attached to the rail with specially engineered break-away brackets, while an embedded wire in the composite material alerts the driver if damage is detected. Moreover, the company has also used composite materials for the straps for enhanced protection.

Barry Engle, Agility Fuel Systems CEO said :“Our new CNG systems are developed to the very specific needs of class 7 and 8 trucks, making natural gas more usable in the largest segment of the truck industry. We are really excited about the growth potential that these products will represent for Agility and to the wider adoption of natural gas in the truck industry.”

The tanks capacity ranges from 29-63 gallons of fuel and for the moment, the system is available only for Class 7 and Class 8 heavy duty trucks.

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Besides its lineup of Detroit engines, Daimler has also added a new transmission designed especially for commercial vehicles.

The new over drive automated transmission was presented at 2012 Middle America trucking show, and has 12 speeds. The unit mixes a classical manual gearbox with a faster computer controlled unit which automatically selects the right gear for maximum performances and efficient fuel consumption.

Talking about the new transmission Andreas Renschler, head of Daimler Trucks, said "It’s not just the heart of the truck it’s the heart of the truck value chain. It’s worth more than 50% of the truck’s value. We are working to optimize the complete powertrain not just the separate powertrain components. We believe that’s what customers want and we believe we understand their needs better than providers of separate components."

For the start the new transmission will be available for the Freightliner Cascadia equipped with the Detroit 15 engine. The new transmission will start to be produced in 2013.

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SAF-Holland revealed the new self steering integrated suspension system with lightweight Fusion Beam Technology at the 2012 Mid-America Trucking Show. The new system is fitted with disc brakes and offers a wheel cut between 20-30 degrees. The company also said that in the near future the company will also offer drum brakes configurations for a higher versatility.

The SAF CBX Self-Steer axle suspension system is designed to turn easier, greatly reducing tire wear, while improving fuel economy by reducing drag and tire scrubbing – which can also lead to frame damage, torsional stress and wear.

Thanks to the use of the new lightweight technology, the neam weight is reduced without compromising beam strength or integrity.

Various capacities are available in the series which include the SAF Self-Steer CBX23, SAF Self-Steer CBX25 and SAF Self-Steer CBX25/30. While the CBX23 and CBX25 models deliver capacities of 23,000 lbs and 25,000 lbs, respectively, the CBX25/30 offers an additional 30,000 lbs of load carrying capacity at creep speed (5 mph or less) and 25,000 lbs of capacity for on highway operation. The SAF Self-Steer CBX25/30 delivers its additional load capacity through the addition of a larger air spring.

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Mack Trucks Inc. showcased its new Mack Pedigree (signifying all-Mack (componentry) Super Econodyne integrated powertrain at the2012 Mid-America Trucking Show.

The new Super Econodyne powertrain uses only Mack parts which include a MP8-445SE engine, mDrive automated manual transmission, C125 proprietary drive axles and custom software. The new powertrain offers 3.5% better fuel efficiency compared to other vehicles in the segment. The Mack MP8-445SE produces 445 hp. and up to 1,760 lbs.-ft. of torque. The C125 axles have a 2.66:1 ratio. All powertrain components communicate with each other via Mack software.

John Walsh, Mack vice president, marketing said: “Mack recognized more than 112 years ago that components designed to work together provide superior performance. The new Super Econodyne powertrain package we’re rolling out here is a perfect example of what we can accomplish with a Mack Pedigree Powertrain. With Pedigree Uptime Protection, we’re extending the concept of integration beyond the product– integrating the entire truck ownership experience to deliver a total business solution that keeps our customers out in front of their competition.”

Aimed at dry van, reefer, liquid and dry bulk hauling and flatbed operations, the Super Econodyne is available on all Mack Pinnacle Class 8 models. Rated up to 88,000 lbs. GCWR, the new Super Econodyne integrated powertrain is aimed at dry van, reefer, liquid and dry bulk hauling and flatbed operations.

David McKenna, Mack director of powertrain sales said: “Mack pioneered the low-speed Econodyne engines in the 1960s. Historically, we’ve insisted on gearing fast, running slow. Now, we’ve designed a completely integrated system to run efficiently at 450 rpm above idle speed when before it was 700 to 800 rpm above idle speed.”

Moreover the new integrated powertrain is also fitted with a “down speed” feature., that was designed to “down speed” more than 200 rpm at a highway speed of 65 mph, cruising at 1160 rpm vs. 1380 rpm. Thanks this innovative feature the fuel efficiency is improved with 2% compared with the conventional engines.

The engine is mated on a “clutchless” 12-speed automated manual transmission which comes with a shift pad module to change the gears.

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Two years ago, Volvo started a Bio-DME project which aims to assess whether there is a market for Bio-DME (Di-Methyl-Ether) for commercial vehicles. If this technology could be used for commercial vehicles and diesel fuel were to be replaced by Bio-DME, CO2 emissions would be able to be reduced by 95 percent.

Together with a number of partners including Bio-DME producer Chemrec and fuel distributor Preem, Volvo has developed a transport system that encompasses the entire chain from production and distribution of Bio-DME to operation in Volvo trucks in a number of haulage firms. Ten Volvo Bio-DME trucks have been used with success for over 100,000 kilometres and the results were promising.

"This is the first time Bio-DME is being used as a vehicle fuel on a large scale, and following the first evaluation of the field test we can see that the Bio-DME trucks function very well on the road, way exceeding our expectations. The technology is reliable and the entire process is characterised by energy-efficiency, from production and distribution all the way to the vehicles themselves," says Per Salomonsson, Project Manager Alternative Fuels at Volvo.

The biofuel is made from black liquor, a by-product of pulp production, at the Chemrec gasification plant in Pitea. The production system works smoothly and the possibility of delivering the fuel on a large scale depends to a considerable extent on the incentives available for renewable fuels.

"Bio-DME can also be made from other renewable raw materials, and we feel this is a vehicle fuel with a great future. We’ve developed technology that makes it possible to use the fuel in commercial operations. The biggest challenge in the future is to establish a market and an infrastructure for a new vehicle fuel, and this requires investment. Here society’s decision-makers play an important role in creating the essential preconditions by taking long-term decisions and developing incentives," says Per Salomonsson.

The field test will continue until the end of the year, followed by an evaluation to chart the viability of a future market for Bio-DME.

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Aerofficient developed a new innovative system designed for trailers which expands or contracts the slider fairing depending on the trailer’s axle position. The company says that thanks to this feature the fuel efficiency is improved with up to 80 percent compared to the fixed trailer fairings. With the new system the gap between the trailing edge of the fairing and the front tire is completely eliminated thus minimizing the drag coefficient.

Jim Reiman, CEO of Aerofficient declared: “In TMC Type IV testing by a prominent fleet using an independent fuel economy testing expert, our Slider fairing boosted fuel savings by 80% over trailers using standard fixed fairings in a zero wind condition when the trailer’s tandems were set at the 41-ft. setting. Assuming 60,000 miles of highway driving and $4.00 per gallon fuel cost, the Aerofficient Slider will save $1,235 more than a standard side fairing.”

“The greater the gap between the trailing edge of the fairing and the trailer’s front tire, the less efficient the side fairing becomes,” said Marty Fletcher, executive director of product development and fuel economy testing expert with Aerofficient.

The Aerofficient Slider is affixed to the trailer’s sliding axles and moves with the automatically axles, without any need for driver involvement. The new system will start to be produced in April.


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