Associates present product news

A BAKER'S DOZEN associate members of TTMA updated trailer manufacturers on the latest their companies have to offer. Here is what they had to say:

Alcoa keeping wheels light and bright

Alcoa Wheel Products had two new products: its line of super singles wheels and tires and Dura-Bright Surface Treatment Technology, according to Larry Mueller.

“We have a new line of 14-inch tires,” Mueller said. “As carriers are getting more comfortable with respect to single tires instead of the duals, we are going to turn 18-wheelers into 10-wheelers in the future.”

The aluminum wheel penetration has doubled in the North American market, Mueller said. “I personally think it will double again in the next four or five years. The lightweight durability is really starting to hit a critical mass out in this marketplace. With fuel prices the way they are, and with requirements the way they are, it's going to continue.”

The Dura-Bright technology is designed to keep wheels looking good year after year.

Alcoa has created a new organizational structure called Market Sector Lead Teams (MSLT) for Alcoa's key markets, Mueller said. The teams include a wide range of product areas, such as Alcoa Wheel Products, Alcoa Fastening Systems (also known as Huck Fastening Systems), wire harness systems, aluminum sheet and plate, aluminum extrusions, structures and castings, and the Alcoa technical center for design work and technical services.

Ancra offers decking system

Ancra International now offers a decking system to provide additional loading options for van trailers, Ancra's Paul Wolford announced.

The Lift-A-Deck II decking system utilizes decking beams that remain in the trailer. It is intended for use primarily by carriers transporting palletized freight.

“The Lift-A-Deck II system is designed to move into place quickly and economically,” Wolford said. “It helps carriers reduce the loss of their decking beams. And most importantly, it enables them to increase revenue per mile by maximizing usable trailer cube.”

For 2003, Ancra International is introducing a platform deck system that adjusts to a variety of heights in one-inch increments. When not in use, it stores at ceiling level.

The platform deck system eliminates the need to use plywood for a deck surface, and the user is not restricted to a specific size of pallet. Non-palletized freight can now easily be decked as well.

The platform deck system uses standard Lift-A-Deck beams and system track. The deck, made of aluminum diamondplate, is 23.1 inches wide and weighs 52 pounds. Each deck is rated at 1,500 pounds. When the deck is stored at ceiling level, it takes up less than five inches of ceiling space.

ArvinMeritor expands air suspension line

A new air suspension is now available from ArvinMeritor, according to James Sharkey.

The RHP 55 single-axle parallelogram air suspension, one of the newest members of the RideStar air suspension family, is perfectly suited for the LTL market, Sharkey said. “Its design eliminates back slack and induced steer common to trailing arm suspensions in less-than-truckload applications. The upper and lower control arms remain parallel to each other. And the air springs rest directly over the axle with the smoothest possible ride.”

The RHP Single carries the same benefits to the LTL market as the RHP Tandem, and the two suspensions share many of the same components, including the shock absorber, light control valve, axle bracketry, upper control arm, and attachment hardware.

With a 20,000-pound rating, the RHP Single is available with a wide range of Meritor axle models, including all spindle profiles and the complete portfolio triad of TL, TA, and TB long-life wheel ends. As an ArvinMeritor product, it can be spec'ed with other ArvinMeritor components such as the Meritor tire inflation system, brakes, axles, automatic slack adjusters, hubs and drums, and the new StarLift Landing Gear — all of which are backed by a nationwide team of authorized service centers.

The RHP Single comes with a five-year, 500,000-mile warranty.

Bendix streamlines parts system

Bendix CVS will be simplifying its ABS offerings while also introducing new products, according to William Gantz.

“Currently, Bendix offers two systems,” Gantz said, “our own unit called the MC30 and the Bendix KB System, which was formerly the Eaton ABS System. Starting the first quarter of 2003, we will consolidate our ABS offerings into one platform.

“The Bendix A-18 system, which was the Eaton-branded product, will be the new platform we're going to be using to grow our penetration via product improvements and new product technology.”

The current Bendix MC-30 systems will be phased out by Dec 31, 2003.

“Ongoing product improvements are the cornerstone of the A-18 system,” Gantz said. “We will be using this system for reinvigorating our Bendix ABS products portfolio. The first of these efforts is a new modular design that was introduced April 1. This will allow for system improvements and part number reductions.

Gantz also gave an update on the company's trailer stability system, a compact product controlled by a single electronic circuit. The system has backup pneumatic control, and it comes in various trailer configurations.

“The key is it works totally independent of the tractor system,” Gantz said.

The Bendix system supports SAE J1939 and ISO 11992 data links. It also supports other features, including ABS, lining wear sensing, electronic load sensing, odometer reading, lift-axle control, and other auxiliary drivers.

The system detects lateral vehicle instability, reducing risk of roll by reducing speed — with or without driver intervention — and sending a warning to the driver.

Consolidated Metco has new drums, hubs

Consolidated Metco offered details on two products: one a little heavier than before, another a little lighter.

One product — a new ductile iron hub — complements the preset aluminum hubs that the company has produced since 1996, Jerry Justice said. The iron hub is available with inner and outer bearings, premium seal, and a shipping cap. The company assembles them with space between the bearings, then ships to the trailer manufacturer's location.

The wheel end is repairable with common parts in the field and extended service intervals up to 500,000 miles.

The other product is the CastLite brake drum, a standard drum from which the company has removed 13 pounds. Consolidated Metco accomplished this by removing material from non-critical areas. Compared with standard cast drums, a set of Cast Lites can save 52 pounds on a trailer with little additional cost.

New line from Continental Tire

Continental Tire North America has a new line of medium radial truck tires designed specifically for the North American market, said Douglas Neves and David Misbrener.

The company's long-haul lineup includes the HSL Eco Plus tire for steering axles, the HDL Eco Plus for drive-axle applications, and the HTL for trailers.

Other additions to the Continental line:

  • A steer and drive position duo (the HSC and HDC) for the construction market.

  • The HSU waste-hauling tire.

  • A deep-tread traction tire (the HDO) for off-road applications.

Also in the works are the new super single HDL and HTL designed to replace duals for long-haul use.

Hendrickson unveils platform suspension

Hendrickson International introduced a new family of slider suspensions.

The Intraax AAZ family of platform sliders weighs substantially less than comparable mechanical and air-ride suspension, Gary Ciapetta said. The suspensions also are designed for improved performance and long life.

“The Hendrickson AAZ family brings platforms slider operators the first fully integrated system — from slider box to wheel ends specifically developed for their hauling needs,” Ciapetta said. “That results in as much as 800 pounds less than tandem air bag sliders.”

Hendrickson expanded the platform slider family with a 23,000-lb-capacity single-axle version.

“Drawing on Hendrickson experience in slider design, we perfected a smooth slider Z Rail profile box, hence the AAZ designations,” Ciapetta said. “It is compatible with I-beam centers of 37", 38", and 43". At 44", the Z-Rail fits neatly between trailer I-beams with lock pins engaged through holes in the web of the trailer beams.”

AAZ trailer air power eliminates the struggle associated with releasing locked or jammed slider pins. The system is activated by a fingertip push-pull valve.

Fleets and owner-operators can customize their Intraax systems to include automatic tire inflation systems, long-life wheel ends, and extended service brakes.

MeritorWABCO system adds stability

The Roll Stability Support System (RSS) from MeritorWABCO provides electronic monitoring of trailers to help prevent rollover, Bob Sibley said.

RSS is part of a new MeritorWABCO trailer anti-lock braking system. Integral lateral accelerometer and side-to-side wheel speed differences are used to determine the lateral acceleration of the trailer. A pressure transducer in the suspension air bags monitors the load conditions on each side of the trailer, detecting changes that indicate potential rollover.

The RSS continuously calculates lateral acceleration from the wheel speed lateral accelerometer during driving. If rollover tendencies are detected, the system applies maximum pressure to outer wheels and lower pressure to the inner wheels.

“The result is deceleration of the whole vehicle combination that brings stability back to the vehicle,” Sibley said. “When the danger of rollover ceases, the brakes release and the RSS function is switched off. The RSS will also be switched off if the driver demand ever exceeds the RSS pressure values.”

The system works independently of a tractor system and will operate with tractors having either conventional or brake-by-wire ABS brake systems.

The system uses the same external components common on today's WABCO trailer ABS system and is installed in the trailer in much the same way. Fleet testing for this product started in the third quarter of calendar year 2002. The system should be available toward the latter part of 2003.

Michelin single reduces fleet costs

More than 400 fleets around the United States are using the Michelin X One tire, according to Henry Schwerdtfeger.

Replacing duals with single X One tires saves weight, improves fuel economy, and reduces maintenance, Schwerdtfeger said.

The X One is available in two sizes and two tread designs. The XTE is designed for regional high-scrub applications, and XTA is intended for a long-haul highway application where fuel savings is most important.

“Probably the most significant reason why fleets have changed over to the X One Tire is its weight savings capability,” Schwerdtfeger said. “On a tractor trailer, the weight savings could be up to 1,350 pounds.”

The X One improves fuel economy by reducing rolling resistance. “Just on trailers alone, measured against our most fuel-efficient dual tires, we are seeing 3% fuel savings,” Schwerdtfeger said.

Maintenance costs can be lowered because there is no inner dual tire. The valve stem is easily accessible, and only one tire needs to be mounted instead of two. “The driver can usually spot if there is a slow leak in the tire, because there is no dual tire to hide or mask that,” Schwerdtfeger said. “You can repair a leaking tire in the yard instead of on the side of the road.”

The patented architecture of the belt package enables the X One to address the shortcomings of previous wide-base tires.

“The old wide-base tires didn't work well, their life was a lot shorter than duals, they had limited retreadability if any at all, they weren't fuel-efficient, they had a restriction in speed of 65 miles per hour max, and they were larger diameter than the steer tires,” Schwerdtfeger said.

Phillips Industries fights killer chemicals

The chemicals that states are using to de-ice roads are ruining equipment and compromising safety, according to Steve Davis with Phillips Industries.

“Magnesium chloride packs a killer punch with corrosive properties that are attacking vital components,” Davis said. “Of those vital components, the two largest are wiring harnesses and aluminum castings. Fleets that have been exposed to magnesium chloride report that their wiring systems are deteriorating at an alarming rate.”

Davis recommended using modular wiring systems that incorporate molded sealed connectors.

“Always use dialectic grease when opening resealable plugs and junction boxes,” he said. “Never probe the insulation when checking for electrical continuity. Never splice into wiring that would destroy the integrity of the sealed system to replace modular components.”

To help fight killer chemicals, Phillips has developed the QCSII, a socket that plugs into a molded, flange boot. It incorporates a seven-way socket, with a flange that creates a seal to eliminate moisture buildup.

Some of the features include non-metallic, glass-filled sockets; nylon, injection-molded pins; and a lid that opens 180 degrees. It has oval mounting holes and interior ribs to allow moisture to escape.

The advantage of glass-filled nylon is that it is a natural lubricant. As such, it prevents the trailer cord and socket from bonding together. The material withstands abuse, extreme temperatures, and resists oil, greases, and diesel fuels. The main component — nylon — does not corrode.

R L Polk provides truck, trailer statistics

A commercial trailer database, part of R L Polk's Trucking Industry Profile (TIP), is a market intelligence system for commercial vehicles, according to Frank Maly.

The database, updated monthly, is built upon official title and registration records, including information on trailers, commercial trucks, motor homes, school buses, and coaches. Among the 45 million vehicles in the database are more than 4.5 million trailers, with new registrations dating from 1985.

It also includes information on more than 300 OEMs. Maly said R L Polk has put intense targeted effort into its trailer file over the past year. Specific attention has been given to the top 30 trailer manufacturers, for which Polk has been able to update VIN specifications.

“Improving our coding for those vehicles has allowed us to go back into our master data store to obtain about 130,000 more vehicles, which we will be including in our trailer database history within the next month,” Maly said. “This system really lets you answer questions about what's going on in the marketplace. It lets you look at things by make, body style, length of trailer, and number of axles per trailer. If you need an answer in a specific geographical area, you can see what's happened in a state, in a group of countries, or in a dealer's particular area.”

Southern Fabricators, Arko form SFI

Southern Fabricators Inc and Arko are now SFI, Joe Gallo told his TTMA audience.

Acquired by the Lerman family, SFI operates two steel fabrication manufacturing and assembly facilities, one each in Memphis TN and Conway AR.

The Conway location has 175,000 square feet under roof and more than 175 employees. The Memphis facility is a 600,000-sq-ft complex on 43 acres with more than 250 employees. Both facilities offer carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum fabrication.

“We routinely machine, fabricate, stamp, weld, paint, and assemble parts that range in thickness from three quarters of an inch to as light as 30 gauge,” Gallo said.

The facility is equipped with multiple lasers and plasma cutting machines, including a 22' × 62' Linde burn table. SFI also has stamping equipment that ranges from 35-ton to 2,000-ton capacities. Five roll formers can produce specialized shapes. The company also has robotic welders, 1,500-ton brake presses, milling machines and lathes, paint booths, and powdercoat systems. The company is ISO 9002-certified.

“We deliver your parts when you need them,” Gallo said. “Our approach to metal fabrication could dramatically reduce or even eliminate your need for costly raw materials, parts inventory, or even warehouse space.”

Webb Wheel reinvents its approach

Webb Wheel has a new approach to the market, according to William Walther.

“We are going to be doing a lot of things differently at Webb Wheel,” Walther said. “You probably know us for the hubs, drums, rotors, and spoke wheels, which is our business. We are in the wheel-end equipment business, and that's where we must stay.”

The company, however, is offering what it calls “performance-based products” that will come with more options and cost savings.

“We are going to rebrand our products,” Walther said. “We want your customers to be able to choose what is a value to them, and pay an appropriate price, and expect all of the cost benefits that you get with customized performance from these products. These are the new products or the new brands we are introducing.”

Things such as performance, price, warranty, assembly options, ordering and delivery, and special options will distinguish the different brand families.

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