For those hauling tankers, “steady as she goes” can be something easier said than done.
“Driving tankers has its own set of balance issues with more than 4,800 gallons of liquid moving around in the tank,” said Dean Magura, transportation manager for Border Chemical, a Winnipeg, Manitoba-based chemical manufacturer. These chemicals are used in water treatment facilities, mining, pulp and paper manufacturing, and farming. Magura said the company wants drivers to be as comfortable and as alert as possible. “We welcome any new technology that can make our drivers’ jobs easier and more comfortable,” he added.
That’s why Border Chemical has started to specify the Kenworth AG130 suspension on all of its new Class 8 tractors. Border Chemical now has four of its 15 Kenworth T800s equipped with the new suspension, and plans to continue with the suspension in future Kenworth orders.
“The drivers who operate the new Kenworths say the difference between the new front air suspension and the leaf spring suspension on our older trucks is very noticeable,” Magura said.
The Kenworth AG130 suspension utilizes an innovative design, advanced technology, and high-performance components. The disc-brake compatible AG130 is available in 12,000-lb. and 13,200-lb. ratings for Kenworth T660 and T800 Class 8 models.
The AG130 features a four air-bag configuration while other competitive suspensions typically have just two air bags. The four air bags allow the suspension to resist high input torque encountered with disc brakes. The AG130’s four air bags handle 75 percent of the vertical load while a lower leaf spring handles the remainder. This design reduces vibration into the cab and onto the chassis to help provide a smooth ride without sacrificing the feel of the road that customers expect from a Kenworth.
Border Chemical runs its trucks in a 700-mile radius of Winnipeg, primarily on the roads and highways of northwestern Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada, and on the roads and highways of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota in the United States. Border Chemical trucks, which travel about 160,000 kilometers annually, operate in some very windy areas and on roads that can often be snow-packed and icy in the winter or rutted and pothole-pocked for much of the rest of the year, Magura said.
“The Kenworth AG130 suspensions make a big difference because they’re absorbing the bumps and jolts our trucks encounter on the roads and even some of the highways in the north,” he added. “Since our trucks and drivers are not taking as much of a pounding, the AG130 provides driver comfort and protects our equipment from damage from too much vibration. It’s hard for a person who hasn’t driven to understand that going down the road in a noisy or a rough truck does take a toll in how it tires you out,” Magura said.
That’s why the company chooses truck specifications that offer drivers a comfortable and productive work environment, he added. Border Chemical specs its Kenworth T800s with 62-inch AeroCab(R) FlatTop sleepers to provide drivers a place to sleep on overnight trips, or if they need to stop due to weather conditions, Magura said. As for power under the hood, the company chooses the 485-hp Cummins ISX engine powered through a 13-speed manual transmission.
“Our drivers are often making time-sensitive deliveries of hazardous materials,” Magura said. “We want them to be as alert and focused as possible and part of accomplishing that is providing them a Kenworth truck with the AG130 suspension.”
Specifying the AG130 suspension was something recommended by the local Kenworth dealer, Custom Truck Sales. “The folks at Custom Truck Sales provide great service by keeping our trucks in top shape and making suggestions on how to get the most value out of our trucks by choosing the right equipment,” Magura said. “We’re not a trucking company, we’re a chemical manufacturing company. We’ve come to rely on their expertise.
“When we bought our first two Kenworth T800s, the folks at Custom Truck Sales told us that we could expect to get a better resale value when it came time to sell and replace them,” Magura said. “Recently, the time did come for us to sell those trucks and we found out that Kenworths do indeed have a substantially higher resale value. We had no problem in selling our Kenworth T800s and getting a better dollar for them because they’re so versatile for anyone from a gravel hauler to an on-highway operator.
“Now our newest Kenworth T800s have the AG130 suspensions, I’m sure they’ll be even more desirable in the used truck market when it comes time to sell them in a few years,” concluded Magura.