TTMA associate members provided updates on new trailer products and services during the TTMA convention Pictured just prior to delivering their presentations are front row Joe Langemeier AZZ Galvanizing Services Randy Flanagan SAF Holland Rick Rickman Ridewell Corporation Darrell Thompson SAF Holland John Millsap Ridewell Suspensions and Nick Grandominico Ridge CorporationBack row Greg Nelson Accuride Corporation Eric Thorstensen Grote Industries Tom Cunningham Forgitron Technologies Tim Duke Steel of West

TTMA associate members provided updates on new trailer products and services during the TTMA convention. Pictured just prior to delivering their presentations are: (front row) Joe Langemeier, AZZ Galvanizing Services; Randy Flanagan, SAF Holland; Rick Rickman, Ridewell Corporation; Darrell Thompson, SAF Holland; John Millsap, Ridewell Suspensions; and Nick Grandominico, Ridge Corporation.

Back row: Greg Nelson, Accuride Corporation; Eric Thorstensen, Grote Industries; Tom Cunningham, Forgitron Technologies; Tim Duke, Steel of West Virginia; Denny Weisend, Hayes Lemmerz International; Steve Meagher - Peterson Manufacturing Company; Jim Sharkey, TRAX Mechanical Systems; and Mark Melletat, Meritor WABCO.

A look at new 2010 trailer products

Each of the participating associate members at the convention had four minutes to explain a product and its benefits.

Here are the 12 who offered an update:

Trax introduces Traxium axles

Trax Mechanical Systems, a Louisville, Kentucky-based company specializing in undercarriage components for trailers, has launched a line of Traxium trailer axles.

The axles are available in multiple configurations, such as 16.5" and 12.25" brakes, straight and tapered spindles, drop center and crank axles, and non-standard tracks, according to Trax's Jim Sharkey.

Traxium axles have been designed for low cost of ownership, and most parts have been engineered so that fleets can use industry-available parts for routine service.

Also available now is Traxium Pro50 landing gear. Certified to exceed all industry requirements, it is standard with premium low-temperature grease and low-maintenance features.

Available this summer will be the 40K tandem slider and 23K vocational air suspensions. A key feature includes an axle connection utilizing a formed tube, which transmits torque through the axle tube, rather than the weld.

One of the company's primary manufacturing partners is in a new state-of-the-art campus in Taishan, China, consisting of over 5.5 million square feet of manufacturing. Designed and managed by Trax personnel, manufacturing is vertically integrated, providing maximum visibility and control over all critical aspects that go into products. It features new gear-cutting equipment, forging, stamping and forming presses, the latest in heat-treat equipment, and premium e-coat systems.

New lighting products from Grote

Grote Industries Inc introduced the latest additions to the Grote WhiteLight line of product: the new Motion Sensor nterior LED light and the Trilliant 36, which provide superior lighting capability while simplifying installation, Eric Thorstensen said.

The Motion Sensor interior light stays off until a person enters the cargo area of a reefer or dry van. This approach can eliminate the need for timer switches to turn off the lights if the driver forgets to.

The Trilliant 36 has an expected life of 30,000 hours versus 300-500 hours for the incandescent bulb Par 36, while using about one-third the power. Grote introduced three versions: a stand-alone lamp with an AMP style connector, a bulkhead mountable version, also with an AMP style connector, and a replacement bulb version. This version is a drop-in replacement for existing lights.

The Trilliant 36 lights are available in a combination pattern for near as well as distant lighting, and a flood version that offers a tremendous amount of light in a near area. The flood lamps would be perfect for dock lights or for lighting the back of a tanker.

Hayes Lemmerz means wheels

One of every 10 wheels worldwide is a Hayes Lemmerz Wheel, according to Denny Weisend.

Hayes' manufacturing facilities produce a full-line of steel wheels ranging from 17.5 × 6" through 24.5 × 8.25" wheels, as well as a full-line of wide-base wheels.

Weisend said Hayes is the first wheel manufacturer to offer a complete line of 22.5 and 24.5" wheels that are seven to eight pounds lighter than many standard-duty wheels. On trucks and trailers, that means as much as 144 fewer pounds, improving fuel economy and increasing load-carrying capacity.

Using high-strength steel, design optimization, and a quality-controlled manufacturing process, Hayes Lemmerz has achieved weight reduction for all standard-duty 22.5 and 24.5" wheels for both hub-piloted and stud-piloted systems.

Wheels are triple protected with a zinc-phosphate coating, epoxy EDP primer, and premium powder topcoat paint. This durable baked-on finish produces higher gloss, enhanced appearance, improved paint adhesion, and increased durability. This superior coating provides for a maximum corrosion resistance, exceeding 2000-hour salt spray as tested per ASTM standards, providing better fade resistance to UV exposure and protection against harsh chemicals such as magnesium or calcium chloride used in treating today's snow-covered highways.

Peterson unveils Defender system

Maxi-Seal Harness Systems, a subsidiary of Peterson Manufacturing, has introduced a powerful new weapon against trailer wiring's deadliest foe: corrosion. It's called the Defender, a modular harness/lighting system with “the toughest integrated moisture/corrosion protection ever engineered,” Steve Meagher said.

The Defender system features harness components along with Piranha LED lights — all sealed against moisture and corrosion through Maxi-Seal's Power Seal technology. An extended warranty backs the system against defects and corrosion for 10 years.

Peterson and Maxi-Seal launched field tests in 2008, partnering with one of the world's largest carriers to see how the Defender performed on a fleet of 20 semi-trailers. At the one-year mark, random inspections showed all connections were still in pristine conditions. Today, after 1.6 million miles over all types of roads in all kinds of weather, not a single problem has occurred.

“Our tests will continue for the life of those trailers,” said Tim Barnett, Maxi-Seal general manager, “Given the results so far, we're confident the Defender will continue living up to its name.”

Maxi-Seal's Power Seal technology includes: universal distribution module; heavy-duty terminals; long-life silicone seals; installation-friendly modular plugs; sealed break-out molds; improved 180-bullet mold design; integrated moisture barrier; dual isolated grounding; sealed terminal rings; innovative j560 connectors.

According to Gilbert, the average cost to repair a corroded harness system is around $300 — not counting lost revenue from trailer downtime.

“Eliminating only one such repair event in the trailer's life cycle would more than pay for the Defender,” he said.

Ultra-enhanced finish offered by Accuride

Late in the third quarter, Accuride will launch its new “ultra-enhanced” finish for its forged aluminum commercial wheels, Greg Nelson said.

Several years ago, Accuride announced the original enhanced finish as the standard finish for its high-volume aluminum wheels. Last year, the company expanded the enhanced finish, making it standard for all of its standard aluminum wheels.

“This year, we are again upping the ante by introducing the ultra-enhanced finish,” Nelson said. “It represents a significant improvement in gloss and shine over our current enhanced finish.”

To produce these wheels, Accuride is making a multi-million-dollar investment in state-of-the-art finishing equipment. The finish is achieved through the use of state-of-the-art robotic finishing cells that are optimized for commercial truck aluminum wheels and allow Accuride to achieve gloss levels previously only seen on fully polished wheels.

The wheels will continue to be produced at Accuride's facility in Erie, Pennsylvania. The new finish will be available in late summer, beginning initially with the 29644 wheel, with other wheels to follow shortly thereafter.

Steel of West Virginia invests $22.5 million

Steel of West Virginia has invested $22.5 million in the last two years in capital-improvement projects designed to improve product quality and processing efficiencies, Tim Duke said.

The new rolling mill equipment started up late in the fourth quarter of 2009. This upgrade includes two new strengtheners and a stacking system that will not only improve product quality but will also expand product offerings.

New band-saw equipment has been added in the fabrication department to ensure capability in cutting to precision lengths. New latest-generation robot welders have been installed to improve efficiencies and quality of the welded clip crossmembers. Numerous other steelmaking and rolling mill upgrades were also part of this capital-improvement project.

AZZ Galvanizing offers ‘advantage’

Corrosion of truck trailers has long been a leading concern of trailer owners and consequently, trailer manufacturers, Joseph Langemeier said.

“In recent years, the adoption of various liquid de-icers by state and local transportation departments has exacerbated the problem,” he said. “The automotive industry and more recently the truck trailer industry have come to recognize the outstanding corrosion protection provided to steel components by zinc coatings, specifically hot dip galvanizing.”

He said AZZ Galvanizing Services is the largest hot-dip galvanizing company in North America, with galvanizing plants in 22 locations across the United States.

“This large geographical footprint provides the AZZ advantage to many trailer manufacturers in the US,” he said. “The AZZ advantage can be summarized as: state-of-the-art facilities, large capacity, multi-site synergies, stringent standard operating procedures, on-staff engineering/design support, and knowledgeable marketing support.

More information at AZZ Incorporated has a 24-year history of continuously profitable operations and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (AZZ).

Forgitron features apoxy-e Ivory 60 finish

Forgitron is a forged aluminum company located in Camden, South Carolina. It was established in May 2008 and features a state-of-the-art facility, with a sales office in Mobile, Alabama.

Tom Cunningham said Forgitron makes the F-47, a 22.5× 8.25 wheel, and the F-56, a 24.5 × 8.25 wheel, with an 8000-pound load rating and seven-year warranty on a bright wheel finish.

“Our best coating system is an apoxy-e Ivory 60 finish, which is an attractive apoxy-e coat powder top coat finish wheel on both sides,” he said, “It's an excellent way to keep a wheel from rust. We are also registered with the Department of Transportation.”

SAF-Holland unveils SAF CBX40

SAF-Holland has introduced the SAF CBX40 — a total trailer suspension system solution, Randy Flanagan said.

The CB stands for “cast beam” construction that delivers maximum strength with minimum weight. The “X” indicates the new SAF “X” series of global axles. The ‘40’ means the System is rated at 40,000 pounds capacity. The new 5¾" diameter axle is made in North America.

The SAF CBX40 integrated system also incorporates Swing Align, the patented axle alignment system that requires no loosening or disassembly of the pivot connection; Quick Release, which allows one person to quickly and easily reposition the slider; and Posilok, which eliminates dock walk and squat for a stable and safe loading environment.

The SAF CBX40 slider sub-frame is constructed of high-alloy steel with an advanced high-strength design. The SAF CBX40 also features standard drum brakes, or integral disc brake technology that was introduced to North America in 2008. The integral disc brake features a patented system to control heat. A proprietary bi-metallic casting mechanically combines the rotor and the adapter-flange into a single assembly, resulting in a wear-resistant design that optimizes braking, lowers overall weight, and limits heat transfer to the bearing assembly.

Ridge Corporation offers trailer panels

Nick Grandominico said Ridge Corporation is a “company built on ideas, with products designed around the needs of the industry and a five-year plan in place for managed significant growth of lining systems for the trucking industry, dry-freight solutions and refrigerated solutions.”

“We created a business that would take the benefits of a raw material and marry those together with some manufacturing techniques to provide the products that the market wanted,” he said. “The first products were thermo form products for dry-freight vans. Then we graduated to the refrigerated trailer market, where we produce the integral walls.”

DymondPly is a thermoplastic glass reinforced panel. Ridge thermoforms the panel to OEM specifications for the trailer design. DymondPly is a wall-lining system, high-impact panel. It has low weight and is easily repairable.

DymondGuard is a reinforced composite panel. Ridge takes both panels and fuses them together. Ridge has a lower scuff band and high-impact area of the trailer, and an upper wall that is a thinner gage.

PolarX is a one-piece liner that is thermally efficient and easily installed. It's the next generation for reefer and dry freight trailers. It has integral wall liner for refrigerated freight trailers, lower maintenance costs, fastener-less design, lightweight ballistic strength, and refrigerated sideliners.

PAN22 brake from Meritor WABCO

Mark Melletat said the latest product in complete brake-systems integration is the PAN22 Air Disc Brake, designed specifically for trailer applications. It's a third-generation product that was introduced with a previous design 17 years ago.

PAN22 has a single-piston design to provide simplification and optimized weight reduction. It has been engineered on various suspensions and axle applications, and fits the 22.5, 19.5 and 17.5 wheel ends. Over two million are in operation globally.

One of the key features in the single-piston technology is even lining wear.

“We have a patented spreader plate technology that provides for the even lining wear,” he said. “The simplification of the single piston reduces the component necessary to apply the brake about 50%.

“Most people recognize the air-disc brake provides longevity and longer life. NHTSA supports brake lining life in the neighborhood of about a million miles. Also, they reduce maintenance cost and are much easier and quicker to service. Also, there's improvement in the brakes' feel from a driver perspective, and the performance elements reduce fade and easier adjustments.

“The biggest question that comes up with the most recent NHTSA regulations regarding air-disc brakes is, ‘How does that fit within the trailer market, and are they required?’ Air-disc brakes are not required to meet the shorter stopping regulation as they exist today. There will be some applications that may require that 4×2s are on the tractor side but not required on the trailer application.

“The other question that is commonly asked is, ‘What about trailer balance? Will that be affected?’ It has been proven that there is no issue with that. Over time through development and application, we have corrected any balance issues related. Some air-disc brakes are currently more expensive. As time goes on, the economies will help reduce the cost.”

Ridewell Suspensions unveils 260 series

Ridewell has released the 260 series suspension.

“Our design objectives were to create a suspension as durable as our 240 series suspension, design it to have a comparable weight to our RAR 200 lightweight series suspension, and to be able to build it at a significantly lower price than either of the two aforementioned products,” John Millsap said.

“This product had to be built with close coordination between design engineering and manufacturing. We made optimal use of our design tools and engineering to make manufacturing-friendly suspensions.

“Our new 260 series has a dual-cavity bushing comparable to the bushing used by most of our competitors and must be pressed in or out. Offering a durable, but lower cost bushing, along with elimination of the clamping feature, makes the 260 both lighter and less expensive.

“The 240 and the 260 series of Ridewell suspensions both offer easy alignment systems. We eliminated the easy alignment features in exchange for a simpler alignment adjustment method to achieve weight and cost reductions in the 260 series. The 240 series utilizes our patented eccentric bolt for the pivot. That design has a long proven track record. But for the 260, we fasten the pivot joint with a ‘twist-off torque’ bolt that does not require re-torquing.”

The 260 is available in overslung, underslung, and wishbone versions. A wide variety of mounting heights accommodates needs for 5½ through 18 inches.

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