Eaton sees hybrid future

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Michelin North America signed an agreement to acquire Oliver Rubber Co., a subsidiary of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. that produces tread rubber and retreading equipment. In other news, Michelin also is investing $350 million to improve and expand its manufacturing facilities in South Carolina over the next four years.

Mack Financial Services is offering customers special financing arrangements for a limited time on qualifying Mack Granite vocational trucks and tractors through its Spring Into Action program. Trucks must be financed by Oct. 31 to be eligible.

Spicer Life Series and Spicer 10 Series medium- and heavy-duty driveshafts are available as standard equipment at Western Star Trucks, Freightliner Custom Chassis and Thomas Built Buses, and are offered as a published option on Freightliner and Sterling branded medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

ConocoPhillips Lubricants introduced Triton Synthetic Gear Lube 75W90 and 80W140, a tri-branded member of its “Family of Brands.”

Rotary Lift purchased Fort Worth, Texas-based Hanmecson, which manufactures vehicle lifts at its plant in China.

Manufacturing of Raydan’s Air Link suspension is under way at Arvin-Meritor’s factory in Monterrey, Mexico.

Thermo King dedicated its new $7.1 million Frederick M. Jones Research and Development Center in Minneapolis.

Pressure Systems International (PSI) presented Great Dane Trailers with its 2006 Customer Excellence Award.

Viking Plastics received Delphi Corp.’s Pinnacle Award for Supplier Excellence.

Air-Weigh On-Board Scales now are available as an OEM option on Western Star vehicles.

WABCO, a global provider of electronic braking, stability, suspension and transmission control systems for commercial vehicles, will make its debut on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol WBC.

Western Star Trucks is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Northwood University and Leading Edge Logistics of Philadelphia announced a new support program for the Aftermarket Management program at the school, to be sponsored by the firm.

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Petro Stopping Centers presented a check for $48,842 to the USO as the result of a recent fund-raising promotion.

Joined by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson, Eaton Corp. announced Aug. 9 in Kalamazoo, Mich., that its medium-duty hybrid power systems now are available commercially. The system will be ready for customer deliveries in 2008 on the chassis of several major North American commercial vehicle manufacturers, including International, Kenworth, Peterbilt and Freightliner. The system has been in development for more than four years and has undergone 2 million miles of field testing.

“Eaton formed this business unit almost seven years ago to provide a cleaner and more fuel-efficient future for the world’s commercial vehicle fleet,” said James Sweetnam, Eaton senior vice president and president of the Truck Group. “Now, we’re poised to fulfill that goal with the help of our forward-looking OEM and fleet partners that share our vision.”

Eaton Corp. expects to produce several hundred systems by year’s end and to ramp up production capacity over the next three years, said Kevin Beaty, manager of Eaton’s Hybrid Power Systems business unit. More than 220 hybrid-powered vehicles with Eaton’s technology have been produced for testing and evaluation. Vehicle configurations include package delivery vans, medium-duty delivery trucks, beverage haulers, city buses and utility repair trucks. Each has generated significant fuel economy gains and emissions reductions, the company says.

Fleet customers have included package giants FedEx Express and UPS, beverage giants Coca-Cola Enterprises and the Pepsi Bottling Group, and 14 public utilities. Truck body builders also involved in the delivery of new vehicles include Altec Industries of Birmingham, Ala., and Terex Corp. of Westport, Conn.

“Financial incentives at the local, state and national level will help encourage early adoption,” Beaty said. “Meanwhile, increased production volumes will help drive down the per-unit cost of the systems and empower the industry to offer a compelling value proposition that is sustainable.”

In the hybrid systems being released into production, Eaton employs a parallel-type diesel-electric hybrid architecture with Eaton’s Fuller UltraShift automated transmission. It incorporates an electric motor/generator between the output of an automated clutch and input of the transmission. The system recovers energy normally lost during braking and stores the energy in batteries. When electric torque is blended with engine torque, the stored energy is used to improve fuel economy and vehicle performance for a given speed or used to operate the vehicle with electric power only. The system also can be designed to provide energy for use during engine-off worksite operations, further reducing noise, emissions and fuel costs.

Protect your TPMS
Tire pressure monitoring sensors typically are held to a wheel with a mounting ferrule nut that is threaded to the outside of a specially designed valve stem, and are susceptible to damage or breakage during tire mounting or demounting. Damage can be caused by inadvertent contact with the tire-changing equipment, by the bead of the tire when it is broken free of the wheel, or when the bead is forced over the rim of the wheel.

Ken-Tool’s TPMS Sentry is designed to keep the sensor in a safe and secure position after the mounting nut has been removed and the sensor is released from the wheel. The current common practice when dismounting a tire is to release the sensor from the wheel by removing the mounting nut and then dropping the sensor into the tire cavity. While this keeps the sensor away from the tire machine, it makes the sensor susceptible to damage as the tire is removed from the wheel.

But when using the TPMS Sentry, the sensor remains attached to the T-shaped tool by a flexible cable attached to the valve stem through the valve hole. Once released, the sensor can easily be lowered into the cavity to hang from the valve hole in the center of the wheel, away from both the top and bottom beads, and away from the bead seating surfaces.

As a result, a technician always knows where the sensor is, and can take care to avoid making inadvertent contact with it. In addition, the technician doesn’t spend time searching for a sensor that has moved around inside the tire during demounting, or that might have been otherwise destroyed and could cause additional damage to the tire and wheel if it gets trapped between a bead and the wheel.

TPMS Sentry, which is made of hardened steel, features a T-shaped end that includes an integrated threaded valve core depressor tool to deflate tires on one side of the “T,” and a valve core removal and replacement tool on the other side. The compact, lightweight design reportedly makes the TPMS Sentry easy to carry and use, and it fits through all valve stem holes. All surfaces are knurled to provide positive grip, even when coated with water or bead lubricant.

For now, TPMS Sentry has applications on all new vehicles under 10,000 GVW. For more information, visit

Ready for some football?
According to Dan King, Yokohama Tire’s vice president of sales, starting this fall, the company is partnering with the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns, as well as two high-visibility college teams, the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans.

The football promotions follow successful partnerships with two minor league baseball teams this season, the Triple-A Columbus Clippers and the Double-A Reading Phillies.

Protect trailer tires to the max
Hendrickson Trailer Suspension Systems has introduced TireMaax CP (Constant Pressure), a new configuration of its automatic tire inflation system for trailers. With the launch of TireMaax CP, the original version becomes TireMaax EC (Electronic Control).

Both systems draw from the trailer air supply to help keep trailer tires properly inflated. TireMaax CP is designed to continually check tire pressure without pressurizing axles or wheel ends, and employs a pneumatic controller to direct air to tires that fall below a preset pressure level. A signal light illuminates only when attention is required to alert the operator of tire or system leaks.

Equipment Puzzler
In July, we asked: After replacing front and rear U-joints on a vehicle, a technician notices a vibration coming from under the floor when the vehicle is in motion. What is the likely cause?

“Assuming the driveshaft is a two-piece system with a slip yolk, the shafts are out of phase,” writes Nick Collins, truck inspection supervisor for the New York State Department of Transportation, based in Glens Falls. “This happens when the shaft is reinserted into the slip yolk, and the yolk ends are not properly lined up. This would cause a vibration.”

Nick gets the nod and an elegant CCJ pen and Air Brake Book. You can, too, if you’re the first to send the correct answer to this month’s Puzzler to [email protected], or if you send in a Puzzler of your own and we use it.

This month’s Puzzler: With an increasingly English/metric blend of measurements, what’s a fast way of converting degrees Celsius to Fahrenheit? No fair looking it up.