Mack Trucks has honed in on a very specific set of goals in the years ahead, and integration is its central focus. Mack offered an update on its latest products and services at its annual press luncheon briefing at the Mid-America Trucking Show, taking place this week in Louisville, Ky.
“(Integration) is about application excellence; about finding and developing a truck that is going to work in that specific application,” says Stephen Roy, president of Mack Trucks North America. “Integration also optimizes communication between drive and power trains, in turn boosting efficiency.”
In another step toward application excellence, Mack Trucks introduced at MATS the Mack Load Logic and a 6×2 liftable pusher axle option for the Pinnacle highway model.
Designed for applications that routinely haul out heavy and return empty, Mack Load Logic and the 6×2 with liftable pusher axle are designed to monitor trailer weight and adjust the truck’s driveline configuration to boost fuel efficiency without impacting performance.
Load Logic integrates an advanced sensor in the rear suspension with the Mack mDRIVE automated manual transmission.
Roy Horton, Mack director of product marketing, says when a fully loaded trailer is detected, mDRIVE operates as a direct drive transmission, locking out twelfth gear for increased performance and pulling power.
Horton adds when an empty trailer is detected, the transmission switches to overdrive, enabling twelfth gear to lower cruise RPMs and maximize fuel efficiency.
During normal operation, control of the lift axle is automatic based on payload. The system offers a manual control feature that enables a driver to raise or lower the suspension for easier landing gear retraction or trailer hook-up. To deliver optimal traction, the system’s suspension pressure and ride height are continuously monitored and adjusted to maintain a load bias toward the drive axle.
Connectivity will also be a major focus of the company, and of the industry as a whole Roy adds.
“The connected truck is here to stay,” he says. “We’re already looking beyond what you see today.”
“It’s about taking data and turning it into action,” Roy adds. “At the end of the day, the fleets are looking to take that data and do something with it.”
For fleets waiting on repairs from their dealer, connectivity allows Mack’s Uptime center to monitor how long a truck has been siting in service and follow up with the dealers to see how repairs could be expedited.
By 2020 Roy foresees vehicles that can self-evaluate and be repaired remotely via updates.