The best from Intermodal Expo

THE 2004 Intermodal Expo featured over 300 exhibitors at the Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, from Nov. 14-16.

It was held in conjunction with the Intermodal Association of North America's annual membership meeting and co-located with the National Industrial Transportation League's TransComp Exhibition, which greatly increased traffic on the exhibit floor and provided those participating with the opportunity to reach a larger audience.

The Intermodal Expo draws senior executives of the rail, ocean, and trucking industries, port authorities, third-party logistics managers, intermodal equipment manufacturers and lessors, and marketers and buyers of intermodal products and services.

Exhibiting companies included rail, motor, water carrier and intermodal marketing companies, state-of-the-art equipment manufacturers, marine terminals and port authorities, manufacturers of equipment components including tires, brakes, and on-board devices, freight forwarders and custom brokers, information technology providers, and industry publications.

This year's event is November 12-15 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.

Here's a look at the key products that were displayed at the Expo:

The new 53' intermodal container from Stoughton Trailers, Stoughton, WI, accommodates 10-15% more palletized cargo and has a new width of 100⅜" that allows loading 25 pinwheeled pallets. Previously, containers were 99" wide and could accommodate 22 pallets. The container size is the same for both road and rail, with the same load configuration as a van trailer, allowing for easy highway conversion. The container has non-corrugated interior sidewalls for easier loading and unloading, and is authorized for use on any railroad. Full-function logistics include flush vertical posts for blocking and bracing up to 60" high on 16" centers, optional horizontal brace for blocking and bracing up to the full length of the container, and a newly designed post connection that is unobtrusive and easy to use. www.stoughton-trailers.com

Chief Intermodal, Grand Island, NE, displayed AnySizer, a combination adjustable intermodal container chassis. Dave Dunn says it can handle two empty 20' containers, a heavy 20', a 40', or a 45', using laminated phenolic glides to assist rollers for easy adjustment. The 109" tandem widespread suspension allows 39,000 lb on the axle group. A 2s/2m premium antilock brake system provides added stopping safety. The chassis also has three-leaf heavy-duty springs; diagonal bracing throughout for additional strength and chassis life; and a greaseable, steel-plated roller system that can be easily adjusted and removed. www.chiefind.com

Landoll Corp, Marysville, KS, has released its 340 model trailer designed to move empty high cube containers. It is 46', single-axle trailer, with a six-ton capacity. “It's the ultimate container transport trailer,” Jim Ladner says. “It handles high cubes from 53' and down, and multiple containers, or any of the odd lengths that are being manufactured now. That market has been extremely good, with short-term storage rental units in demand. They've looked at ways to legally transport high cubes. They've been retired out of shipping fleets and they've been lower-priced because there was no way to legally transport them. Now, with the 340, there's a legal way.” www.landoll.com

The SB-310R intermodal rail unit from Thermo King Corp, Minneapolis MN, has the Smart Reefer SR-2 that offers enhanced safety and security for load protection with these features: Keypad with lock-out; mode-lock; phase-correction; diesel/electric auto switching; setpoint warning; and return or discharge air control (with ETV). It also has OptiSet with FreshSet, a fresh way to structure temperature management. FreshSet offers a demand based control system that reduces product shrinkage, prevents top freezing, and extends shelf-life of fresh products. It takes into account trailer age, ambient temperatures, customer hauling requirements, and other specific trailer variables. Doug Lenz also displayed the Trac-King Global Communications System, which allows a company to not only monitor and track in real time, but also to interact with and control untethered units within the fleet. www.thermoking.com

Larry Osborn says Airgo Systems, Edmond OK, talked to fleets when it was designing its Constant Tire Inflation System, with the goal of determining their preferences and problems. The system, designed for tankers, intermodals, dry haulers, refrigerated, and specialty trailers, works like this: When a tire loses pressure due to a puncture or other seepage, a series of check valves automatically detects it. The system then immediately draws air from the vehicle's pneumatic system and directs it to each tire requiring air, even as the truck is moving. The air pressure is delivered via the trailer's hollow axle housing (or pressure tubing, for non-pressurized applications). The air then goes through the hub assembly and into the tires, and is completely isolated from the brake system. The driver knows the system is working because once the system is activated, a warning indicator alerts him via a light mounted on the trailer in sight of the rear-view mirror. www.tireinflation.com

The composite floor from Havco Wood Products, Cape Girardeau MO, is a laminated wood flooring with a sheet of fiberglass bonded to the bottom. It is primarily for those who want to take some weight out of their trailer and still have strength, or those such as paper and beverage haulers who want to take advantage of the fiberglass underlayment to increase water resistance, according to Chuck Bradford. It reduces floor weight by up to 325 lb for a 53' trailer — translating to a value of up to $325 based on the trucking industry's estimate of a cost savings of $1 per pound. “We're seeing more and more fleets interested in it,” Bradford says. “We've had quite a few buy it just to add length to the trailer life.” He says test results have shown that there is a 50% increase in strength over a conventional oak floor. www.havoinc.com

The Cyclone DuraDrain from Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Elyria OH, is a trailer air brake protection device that screens out solid particles and automatically expels liquid contaminants from the trailer air lines, according to Jeff Foreman. Contaminants in the air supply can prevent air from getting through the system and lead to premature brake valve wear, inefficient brake performance, or in extreme situations, total loss of trailer brakes. The Cyclone DuraDrain features a cyclonicaction water separator that automatically ejects moisture through a pressure-sealing drain valve and screens out debris immediately upon its entrance to the air brake system through open gladhands. It can be used on both supply and control lines, and is 98.5% efficient in capturing and removing water and particles during normal braking applications. www.bendix.com

Selecto Flash Inc, West Orange NJ is helping rolling stock to meet the Federal Railroad Administration's conspicuity requirement during a 10-year retrofit period, using a product line that includes roll goods and strips and laminated plates for the surfaces that are not suitable for adhesive backed conspicuity tape, says Joseph Shondel. The FRA will require the owners of the rolling stock to submit a plan of how they will accomplish the project. Although the railroads have 10 years to comply, they must submit a progress report to the FRA supporting a 1/10th completion rate of their railcar fleet each year. www.selectoflash.com

ArvinMeritor, Troy MI, unveiled its new ChassiPak chassis axle package for the intermodal transport industry, available in January. The package includes Meritor TN-2670 axles, Q Plus brakes with MA212 premium linings, and ASAs equipped with corrosion-resistant cotter and clevis pins for intermodal applications. ChassiPak is a buttoned-up axle package, complete with spoke wheels or hubs and drums. Also standard is the B-Lock system for additional protection against moisture and rustjacking. The assembly is available with the Meritor WABCO antilock braking system, and both axles are prepped with sensor blocks to accommodate either basis or premium systems. www.arvinmeritor.com

The QCS2 molded socket from Phillips Industries, Dallas TX, protects against moisture, corrosion, and failure by resisting the most extreme environmental conditions, says Mike Langan. Completely sealed, molded connections protect against water and contaminant intrusion. Harness modules allow for easy replacement if accidental damage occurs. The Quick-Connect System protects harnesses at the most vulnerable connection. Anti-corrosive, Dupont Super-Tuff Nylon housing resists magnesium chloride, salt, oil, grease, and fuels. www.phillipsind.com

The Holland Group Inc, Holland MI, has released the 51000 landing gear. Frank Puciul says the gearbox has a low-temperature premium lube that is rated for service from — 65° F to 250° F. The exclusive floating nut design is for high side-load capacity and reduced dock-walk damage. The 51000 landing gear has a static load capacity of 140,000 lb, a lift capacity of 50,000 lb, and a side-load capacity of 27,000 lb. www.hollandhitch.com

The PLC Plus ECU Platform from Haldex, Kansas City MO, links to “smart” trailer technologies to give trailer ABS systems greater capabilities. Data processed by the PLC Plus ECU can enable and manage multiple monitoring and control auxiliary functions to provide various preventive maintenance, warning, and operational features that can improve productivity and ownership costs. A 256-byte “notebook” function electronically stores trailer information, maintenance information, and other data in the ECU. “A lot of fleets are using it to send information back and forth to keep maintenance records, because the trailer will be in one location one day and clear across the country the next day,” Glen Bailey says. www.haldex.com

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