Daimler defends SCR technology

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Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire said that its Greatec wide base drive and trailer tires have been added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay-certified list of fuel-efficient commercial tires. Tires that earn EPA SmartWay certification must achieve at least 3 percent better fuel economy than the average new tire.

Eaton Corp. and Dana Holding Corp. agreed to renew their Roadranger marketing agreement for an additional five years. The agreement gives truck buyers the option to select Eaton and Dana products as a complete system for single-source specification, and service and support for those products.

ArvinMeritor’s Mascot Truck Parts signed a new long-term supply agreement to provide remanufactured transmissions and axle carriers to Navistar Parts under the ReNEWed brand. Mascot, which ArvinMeritor acquired in December, has produced remanufactured components since 2000 for the ReNEWed program as the exclusive supplier.

SAF-Holland S.A. acquired Austin-Westran’s landing leg product line and its China-based production operation, which SAF-Holland says significantly expands its presence in that market.

Hino Trucks announced that all models now will have an optional extended cab version. The 30-inch extension – which has the same cab height as its standard cab – will have side windows with operating vents, as well as a fully trimmed Hino interior.

With 2010 approaching, engine manufacturers are beginning to talk more frequently and thoroughly about their emissions solutions. Cummins and International are focusing on an engine-based approach for reducing the required levels of NOx using exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), while Volvo/Mack, Detroit Diesel and Paccar are preparing to roll out aftertreatment systems that use a catalyst to break down NOx into harmless byproducts. At the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., in March, Daimler Trucks North America – parent of Detroit Diesel, as well as Freightliner, Sterling and Western Star – devoted much of its press conference to a defense of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) from both an environmental and economic standpoint.

“No disaster is looming” with the introduction of SCR technology, declared Mike Delaney, senior vice president of marketing for DTNA, in response to criticism leveled by engine makers choosing a different approach. Emissions reduction addresses both human stewardship and business needs, Delaney said. “It flat-out needs to be done.” Daimler’s BlueTec SCR system – already in use in Europe – would deliver on the responsibility to reduce total emissions “to the lowest possible level. … But we also have a goal to provide truckers sound business solutions and to produce the most fuel-efficient trucks on the road.”

DTNA President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Patterson said that the more than 100,000 SCR-equipped trucks in the Europe-wide fleet are seeing a 3 percent to 5 percent improvement in fuel efficiency relative to EGR-based engines. Truckers could expect much the same in the North American market for 2010, Patterson said.

SCR technology treats exhaust with diesel exhaust fluid based on urea to reduce NOx emissions. Delaney, responding to recent allegations of the “toxic” nature of the fluid, said that urea is totally nontoxic and noncombustible. “Urea is widely used as fertilizer for food crops, and in chewing gum, and in skin cream, and in many, many other applications that you touch or consume every day.” Delaney added, however, that DTNA isn’t anti-EGR and that Detroit Diesel will continue to use some degree of EGR in its 2010 engines as it does today. Rather, DTNA views SCR as the better solution overall.

Addressing the largest criticism against SCR – the current lack of a distribution system for urea in North America – Delaney presented a map showing the quick rollout of urea pumps at fueling stations and other spots in Europe between January 2006 and today. The number of European distribution spots in that time jumped from a mere 200 to more than 1,600.
-Todd Dills

Brenntag prepared for 2010
Brenntag North America announced at the Mid-America Trucking Show that it will be ready to deliver diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), known more commonly as urea, to truck owners using selective catalytic reduction (SCR) in 2010. Brenntag already has more than 120 locations across the United States and Canada able to make local deliveries, but more locations will be built once the 2010 engines come into service, the company said.

Initial supplies of urea are expected to come to most trucks in 2.5-gallon jugs, enough to get an SCR-equipped truck 600 to 700 miles. Eventually, large above- or below-ground tanks of urea could become a common sight at truckstops, said Alan Smith, Brenntag North America business development manager. Discussions with truckstop chains are under way, Smith said.

“While North American operations have different challenges than in Europe, we don’t see any of these challenges as showstoppers,” said Chet Murphy, vice president of market development at Brenntag.

Paccar to begin building hybrids
Kenworth and Peterbilt will begin full production of medium-duty hybrids this summer at Paccar’s manufacturing facility in Ste. Therese, Quebec, the truck makers announced separately at the Mid-America Trucking Show. Kenworth Models 270 and 370 and Peterbilt Models 330 and 335 feature Eaton Hybrid Power for electric propulsion.

“There is tremendous interest in our Kenworth hybrids, and excellent results have been reported by customers that were part of last year’s limited hybrid production,” said Gary Moore, Kenworth assistant general manager for marketing and sales.

Kenworth and Peterbilt have found that their hybrids can provide up to a 30 percent improvement in fuel economy in pickup-and-delivery applications and up to 50 or 60 percent improvement in utility configurations.

Peterbilt and Kenworth models also may qualify for federal tax credits. The maximum $12,000 credit for Class 7 hybrids is available for the Peterbilt 335 and Kenworth 370. A $6,000 credit – the maximum for Class 6 hybrids – is available for the Peterbilt 330 and Kenworth 270.

Peterbilt also announced its plan for full production of the hybrid Model 320 Hydraulic Launch Assist vehicle in the fourth quarter of 2008. The low-cab-forward vehicle, for vocational stop-and-go applications such as refuse collection, uses technology developed by Eaton exclusively for Paccar. The system captures the truck’s kinetic energy during braking to assist in launching and acceleration. Besides a significant improvement in fuel economy, the technology has the potential to cut necessary brake realignments in half, Peterbilt said.

CARB verifies integrated Cummins APU
The California Air Resources Board has verified the Cummins ComfortGuard as compliant with CARB’s anti-idling regulations. CARB rules require that any diesel-powered APU used on a truck with a 2007 or newer diesel engine be approved by the agency if it is to be used in California. Battery-based solutions are not subject to CARB approval.

Cummins sought CARB approval of its ComfortGuard system in two different configurations: a standalone particulate filter on the ComfortGuard APU, and a Cummins engine installation kit to route the ComfortGuard diesel exhaust gas into the Cummins Particulate Filter. So far, CARB has verified only the integrated kit for the ISX engine, but Cummins hopes to have approval for the standalone option soon. The company plans to begin production of both options by the end of June.

Cummins ComfortGuard APUs feature a two-cylinder low-emissions diesel engine and either a regenerative diesel particulate filter or an exhaust adapter kit for use with 2007 Cummins ISX engines. Equipped with a Cummins alternator, the APU produces 4,000 watts at 120 volts, 60 Hz AC, the company said; it also produces up to 40 amps at 12 volts DC for charging the truck’s batteries and powering lights and fans. Cummins estimates an 18-month payback period for the ComfortGuard APU.

Penske recognizes ArvinMeritor
ArvinMeritor was recognized as Most Improved Supplier for 2007 by Penske Truck Leasing. ArvinMeritor earned the largest year-over-year rating improvement among all of Penske’s suppliers in four major categories – communication, product support, service support and teamwork. In 2007, ArvinMeritor provided more than 1,200 hours of instructor-led training to Penske technicians, and created a Web-based training program for technicians available directly on the Penske website.

Nissan to produce light CV
Nissan North America Inc. announced last month that it is entering the light commercial vehicle business through a significant investment in North America. NNA said it will introduce to the North American market three LCVs in three years, starting in 2010, and will forge partnerships with Cummins Inc. for engines and ZF Friedrichshafen AG for transmissions.

Leading the LCV business unit in the United States will be Joe Castelli, who has been named NNA vice president for light commercial vehicle and fleet. Castelli recently joined Nissan North America from Ford Motor Co., where he served for more than 23 years in various capacities, including commercial vehicle operations. He will oversee the expansion of the LCV business operations, which includes development, sales, marketing, service and distribution. Nissan will build the commercial vehicles at its plant in Canton, Miss.

Webb Wheel unveils new drum technology
Webb Wheel Products Inc. unveiled its new brake drum technology at the Mid-America Trucking Show. The Webb Vortex, a new idea in lightweight brake drum design utilizing full cast iron metallurgy, was displayed.

The drum profile results in a lighter-weight drum that does not compromise the structural integrity, reliability or braking capabilities expected in heavier drums, the company said.

Additionally, the patent-pending Webb Vortex, with a repositioned squealer band and reinforced exterior ribs, is designed to produce a cooler running drum by pulling the heat away from the braking surface, maximizing lining life without sacrificing strength.

Webb Wheel, based in Cullman, Ala., said its representatives will work with major equipment OEMs to determine availability of the Webb Vortex on new trucks and trailers.