Volvo to develop lighter sleepers

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Navistar announced that its new International LoneStar tractor has been certified as fuel-efficient under the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay progam. For a limited time, Navistar is offering a program called Maxximum MPG to help customers specify trucks to maximize fuel economy. This program is available on ProStar and LoneStar trucks and includes a $1,000 customer incentive.

Strick Trailers will offer PSI’s Meritor Tire Inflation System with ThermAlert as its preferred tire management system on Strick, Cheetah and Evans product lines. ThermAlert is designed to alert drivers of elevated wheel-end temperatures.

PSI chose Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co. – which has furnished more than 400 fleets with ThermAlert since going standard with it in June 2007 – to receive its inaugural ThermAlert Athena Award.

Kenworth has launched a section of its website – www.kenworth.com/environmental.asp – devoted to its “green products,” including its Kenworth Clean Power no-idle system and its alternative fuel and hybrid trucks.

Daimler Trucks North America recognized Phillips Industries with the Masters of Quality Award as one of its best suppliers for 2007. Phillips, based in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., supplies DTNA with cab harnesses, trailer cables and related products.

Sterling Truck Corp. launched a website, www.SterlingTrucks.com/CompleteLease, designed for customers researching full-service leasing opportunities.

Michelin Americas Truck Tires announced the addition of product offerings and services at 32 more U.S. truck stop locations during the first half of 2008. A list of travel plazas offering Michelin services is available at www.michelintruck.com.

Mitchell 1 says independently-owned Ambest Service Centers throughout the United States have adopted its Tractor-Trailer.net Web-based platform to diagnose and repair virtually any 1990 or newer Class 8 tractor, trailer or reefer.

Thermo King Corp.’s Instant Rebate Program, which runs through Sept. 30, offers customers instant cash rebates of up to $100 when they purchase qualifying parts for Thermo King and Carrier units from participating Thermo King dealerships nationwide. To find a dealer, go to www.thermoking.com and click on the “dealer locator” link.

Chevron Products Co. announced that Chevron and Texaco commercial and industrial (C&I) lubricants now are being marketed under the Chevron brand in the United States and Canada.

New England Truck Tire Centers Inc., headquartered in Scarborough, Maine, joined the Michelin Retread Technologies network as a franchisee. MRT retreads now are available at seven New England Truck Tire Centers in New Hampshire and Maine.

Hino Motors Sales USA appointed Sumio Fukaya as president and chief executive officer.

Continental Tire North America plans to invest more than $60 million to expand its Mount Vernon, Ill., facility over the next three years, including about $20 million to provide new and updated machinery for its commercial vehicle tire manufacturing operation.

Volvo Trucks North America created a website) to show how its products, operations and facilities demonstrate its core value of environmental care. The website also provides information about selective catalytic reduction – Volvo’s solution for meeting the stringent EPA 2010 emissions regulations.

ArvinMeritor agreed to acquire Trucktechnic, a Belgium-based remanufacturer and distributor of commercial vehicle disc and foundation brakes and components, expanding ArvinMeritor’s European aftermarket portfolio.

Phillips Industries says its new see-through package design allows users to identify spools of primary wire more easily. The new packaging design covers 12-gauge to 20-gauge primary wire and is available in 11 different colors for use in all 4-way, 6-way and 7-way connector configurations.

Travis Body & Trailer Inc. of Houston appointed Denver-based Utility Trailer Sales of Colorado as its dealer representative for the entire state.

Vipar Heavy Duty announced that Brooks Range Supply Inc. of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska – site of the largest oilfield in North America – joined its distributor network.

TravelCenters of America reopened its newly completely remodeled location in Southington, Conn., located at Exit 28 on I-84.

Volvo Trucks North America announced that it will develop lightweight prototype sleepers made with advanced composite material technology as part of a U.S. Army program to reduce the weight and improve the fuel economy of trucks. The project, part of the Army’s Military and Commercial Truck Weight Reduction Program, calls for Volvo and program partner TPI Composites Inc., based in Scottsdale, Ariz., to design, build and test prototype truck sleepers.

Because of their generally lighter weight, the use of composite components can improve truck fuel economy. TPI says its processes yield components that are even lighter and stronger than composite components formed using traditional methods. Composite materials also resist corrosion, insulate better and may provide a quieter sleeping environment for resting drivers, TPI says.

“This project allows Volvo to explore the benefits of advanced materials and manufacturing techniques for military vehicles and commercial freight operations,” says Scott Kress, Volvo senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Three sleeper cabs will be produced as part of the project, with the first to be delivered in late 2009. The project is slated to run for 21 months, with Volvo and TPI sharing the $2.5 million funding. Volvo Technology Corp., an advanced research and development unit of the Volvo Group, will coordinate the research for Volvo.

The sleeper cabs will consist of three pieces: a one-piece composite sleeper, a composite roof and Volvo’s steel cab, modified to attach to the composite sleeper. Testing will include the “cab shaker,” in which a full-size cab and sleeper, complete with all interior fittings, is attached to a large hydraulic device; the cab shaker subjects the cab and sleeper to prolonged violent shaking to test their durability and integrity. Volvo says the shaker is a standard part of its product development and testing. One of the three cabs also will be subjected to the Swedish Impact Test, which tests the ability of the cab and sleeper to protect occupants in the event of a rollover and other severe accidents. Volvo says every one of its trucks around the world must pass this test.


Haldex Trailer Roll Stability adds tools
Haldex says its Trailer Roll Stability System, designed to help control trailer speed by constantly monitoring its movements, now features FleetPlus, a PC-based program used as an operations management tool that allows the fleet to compile and evaluate braking information that can be used to reduce maintenance costs and promote safety with drivers.

FleetPlus records all trailer brake actuations, including ABS and roll stability events, according to the company, and allows the fleet to read the EC inputs and display the data in histograms, graphs and other formats. Haldex says the data report includes the number of brake applications, peak brake demand pressure, duration of brake applications, speed at start of brake application, reservoir pressure change, load change “profile” number of ABS events, and a complete vehicle profile for the last 32 rollover events avoided. This information is displayed in easy-to-read histograms and can be saved to external files, the company says.


Navistar raises truck prices
Citing commodity prices that have in some cases doubled in the past six months, Navistar International Corp. said last month that it was increasing prices on International trucks, effective immediately. Price increases will vary by model, topping at $1,600 per truck. Since the beginning of 2008, the price of steel has increased 100 percent, crude oil by more than 40 percent, aluminum by 22 percent, platinum by 32 percent and copper by 23 percent, Navistar noted.

“We are acutely aware of the financial constraints that many truck customers are currently facing and have been working diligently to absorb as much of these costs as possible,” said James Hebe, Navistar’s senior vice president for North American Dealer Operations. “However, global commodity spikes are affecting all manufacturing, and we finally, regretfully, must now share those additional costs with the customer.”


Isuzu Truck offers 2009 N-Series
Isuzu Commercial Truck of America has announced its 2009 N-Series lineup of low cab-forward trucks with new features it says will increase driver productivity, enhance fuel economy and reduce emissions.

The front suspensions, spring rates, steering and cab mount bushings have been tuned for more comfort and a better ride, according to the company, while a new optional limited-slip differential distributes torque evenly to the wheels, an important feature for trucks driven on surfaces where loss of traction may occur.

All N-Series diesel models incorporate a Data Recording Module that can provide a Vehicle Health Report showing the condition of the engine, transmission, emissions and brakes, plus fuel economy and driver operating habits. For longer brake life, an Electronic Braking Distribution system is designed to balance brake pressure to all wheels by automatically adjusting to the load’s weight distribution.

More wheelbases have been added to accommodate the widest possible range of bodies. Wheelbase choices from 109 to 212 inches handle bodies from 10 to 24 feet in length. GVWR offerings range from 12,000 to 19,500 lbs.


Marangoni increases retread production
Retreading materials manufacturer Marangoni Tread N.A. has increased production of its Ringtread product by 25 percent at its Alpha-Ring manufacturing plant in Madison, Tenn. The Madison facility added 14 percent more molds to handle the growth in the North American market and to provide better service to the North American Ringtread dealer network. In addition, the Madison plant now is shipping Ringtreads to other Marangoni global markets and plans further expansion in 2009. Marangoni Tread N.A. reports sales tracking 12 percent ahead of 2007 through the first half.

Ringtread is a single contoured piece of procure tread that is designed to match the natural curvature of a casing to maintain balance, cool running and even wear. Ringtread, which is available in multiple tread designs, eliminates the tread splice in the retread manufacturing process, removing a weak and heavy spot that is a likely place for contamination, Marangoni says.


Navistar offers aftermarket APU
Navistar has introduced a retrofit auxiliary power unit powered by a 14-horsepower, 2-cylinder Caterpillar diesel engine. The Fleetrite APU features a 60-amp DC alternator that charges the truck’s battery and a 6-kW generator to power appliances and the engine block heater. The control panel, which is mounted in the cabin of the truck, features a large LCD screen and single-touch menu functions.

The Fleetrite APU operates on as little as 0.3 gallons of diesel, which is up to 80 percent less than normal idle, says Ron Sandefur, vice president of aftermarket purchasing and products for Navistar Parts Group. That can save fleets and owner-operators up to $8,500 and 1,920 gallons of fuel annually per truck, he says.

Navistar said the Fleetrite APU can be installed as is on trucks with engines built before 2007. To be compliant in California, installation on trucks with newer engines will require a diesel particulate filter verified by the state’s Air Resources Board.


Navistar delivers first big bore
Navistar delivered its first MaxxForce big bore engine to a fleet customer of North Central International, International’s newest dealership in North Mankato, Minn. Wayne Viessman of Cliff Viessman Inc. took delivery of a 2009 International TranStar with a MaxxForce 13 engine.

Cliff Viessman Inc., which had helped Navistar in the field testing of the MaxxForce big bore engines, also has seven more TranStar units with MaxxForce 13 engines on order, with delivery scheduled by the end of the summer, and has ordered 38 International ProStars with MaxxForce engines.

“We’re a very weight-conscious company, and with the new MaxxForce engine, we probably are about 325 to 350 pounds lighter than we were with the engine we were using before,” Viessman says.

The MaxxForce 11 and MaxxForce 13 engines are available on ProStar, TranStar and WorkStar trucks in six ratings from 330 to 475 horsepower and 1,250 to 1,700 lb.-ft. torque. Advanced fuel- and air-management systems allow drivers to reach peak torque at 1,000 rpm, meaning earlier acceleration upshifts and fewer grade-climb downshifts, Navistar says.


Mack displays hybrid refuse truck
Mack Trucks on July 18 displayed at the inaugural SMART Green Showcase in Frederick, Md., a heavy-duty truck equipped with hybrid technology. The Mack TerraPro Low Entry refuse truck was built under contract for the U.S. Air Force and will be placed into operation later this year in Macon, Ga. This is the fifth hybrid Mack has built for USAF; others are in operation across the country.

“Fuel economy improvements of 30 percent to 50 percent are achievable in refuse operations like the one this truck is built to handle,” says Mack President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Slagle.


Delphi, Peterbilt test solid oxide fuel cell APU
Technology converts fuel to electricity without combustion

Delphi Corp. and Peterbilt Motors Co. have demonstrated the use of a Delphi solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) auxiliary power unit (APU) to power a Peterbilt Model 386 truck’s “hotel” loads. The demonstration was held in June at Peterbilt’s headquarters in Denton, Texas.

The SOFC APU converts chemical energy in conventional fuels directly into useful electrical power without combustion, Delphi says. A SOFC operates quietly and at a higher efficiency level than traditional internal combustion engines, the company says. The new technology could run on a variety of fuels, including natural gas, diesel, biodiesel, propane, gasoline, coal-derived fuel and military logistics fuel. In addition to its fuel flexibility, the SOFC will be compact in size, according to the company.

The June test was intended to replicate a typical trucker’s day to provide a real-world evaluation:

  • At the beginning, the SOFC APU was brought to operating temperature with the truck’s main engine running, simulating normal on-road driving conditions;
  • Once the SOFC APU was at temperature and available to provide power, the Model 386’s main engine was turned off, simulating the beginning of a rest period;
  • During the rest period, the SOFC APU powered the 386’s electrical loads, including the electric air conditioner, radio, citizens band radio and lights. It also charged the truck’s battery;
  • After 10 hours (representing running overnight), the Model 386’s main engine was restarted to simulate the driver beginning his drive for the next day; and
  • The SOFC APU provided an average of 800 watts of electricity throughout the test.

“We are encouraged by the performance of the demonstration, especially given the 95-degree Fahrenheit Texas heat,” says Mary Gustanski, Delphi Powertrain Systems director of engineering.

“The SOFC system provides a technologically advanced solution to meet anti-idle requirements while surpassing expectations for reduced emissions, noise and fuel consumption,” says Landon Sproull, Peterbilt’s chief engineer. “This system has the potential to revolutionize future APUs by setting new benchmarks for performance and ease of operation, with no adverse effects on the environment.” The companies say the Peterbilt Model 386 was chosen as the test bed for the SOFC due to its aerodynamic and fuel-efficient performance. The SOFC technology development is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and Fossil Energy Solid State Energy’s Conversion Alliance (SECA) program.