Associates offer product news

June 1, 2004
TTMA's associate members updated trailer manufacturers on the latest their companies have to offer. Here's what's new with 14 of them: Accuride introduces

TTMA's associate members updated trailer manufacturers on the latest their companies have to offer. Here's what's new with 14 of them:

Accuride introduces lightweight wheel

Accuride Corp has introduced several new products, including a lightweight steel wheel, enhanced machine finish on standard aluminum wheels, and ACCU-SHIELD surface protective aluminum wheels. In addition, the company has expanded its aluminum and steel lines.

The lightweight steel wheel, which is drawing interest from fleets, is made out of a HSLA (high-strength low-alloy) material, which allows Accuride to use less steel to produce the wheel to achieve the same load rating. The end result is a 66-lb wheel (as opposed to the standard wheel at 78 lb).

“This will give you the opportunity to offer your customers nearly a 100-pound weight saving at a nominal up charge,” Mike Brown said. “The dollar spent for pound saved for this product is much lower than what is spent for lightweight components. In addition, it is powder coated for additional corrosion resistance. The design of the ten holes matches perfectly with the aluminum wheels. Fleets are putting it in an inner position on a trailer with an outer aluminum, which offers some benefit of the weight savings but at a lower cost.”

Accuride's new enhanced-finish machine aluminum wheels use a modified manufacturing process to produce a machine-finish wheel with a near polish appearance at no added cost.

The ACCU-SHIELD protects the surface of aluminum wheels. The wheels are easy to clean with just soap and water, and no polishing is required to maintain the polished appearance.

New suspension from ArvinMeritor

ArvinMeritor's Commercial Vehicle Systems' RideStar RHP trailer air suspension system, the RideStar RXP, combines qualities of the current RideStar RHP trailer air suspension while satisfying the needs of weight-sensitive customers.

For extra strength and resistance to impact and fatigue, the suspension's slider has integrated lateral plates. The pin mechanism is protected with cross members, while the pin handle has been moved to the front of the suspension for easy access.

All of these enhancements are designed to be interchangeable with the current RHP, as it evolves to the next level — the RXP. These modifications, along with the existing premium features of the RHP trailer air suspension all aim to help fleets haul more cargo more profitably.

The RXP is designed to eliminate dock walk. The RXP has a parallelogram design with unified frame brackets and offers superior roll stability and enhanced resistance to curbing. It comes standard with Q Plus brakes.

The system can be customized with Meritor's entire line of products, including Meritor Tire Inflation Systems by PSI, automatic slack adjusters, disc brakes, and a variety of wheel-end packages.

Also incorporated into the RideStar RXP Trailer Air Suspension is a new axle design that allows lighter axles to be integrated into the suspension system. The new Meritor 5000 series axle, available with a full range of spindle profiles, offers a 5" round beam with compact attachment hardware. The upper control arm assembly has a new weight-saving profile. The enhanced bushing design, based on more than 15 years' experience in Europe, offers extra wear-resistance and protection against corrosion.

The RHP will evolve into the RXP in phases, with each component introduced as a running change to the RHP, and being compatible with existing RHP systems. The product will only be designated the RXP with the completion of the final phase, the optimized slider. Most changes are targeted for introduction by the end of 2004.

Bendix redesigns ABS system

Bendix has released its next-generation trailer ABS system and Cyclone DuraDrain air treatment device.

The new ABS is a completely redesigned system, focusing on reduced packaging size, while increasing functionality. The new system has already undergone winter testing, with on going field-testing being conducted now. The new system will be available for production release in January 2005.

There are two models of the new TABS 6 system — standard and premium. Both models possess integral trailer power connections, PLC communications, integral nylon control line screen, internal ECU/modulator power connection, locking ECU connector cover, blink code and diagnostics capabilities, and tank- and frame-mounted units in one package.

The standard unit will focus on 2S/1M systems equipped with an integral five-pin power connection. The premium model will offer 2S/1M to 4S/3M configurations with various auxiliary functions and an integral 18-pin Deutsch connection. The premium model will utilize Auxiliary Design Language (ADL), which will permit customer auxiliary requirements without hard-coding them into the ECU. The ADL software will accommodate auxiliary features such as lift axle control, wheel-end temperature sensing, low-pressure brake system sensing, and proximity and reverse alarms.

A portable diagnostic unit also will be available to troubleshoot the system. The remote diagnostic unit, which utilizes LED's readouts, can be connected directly to the trailer's diagnostic connector or plugged into the trailer's seven-pin electrical connector.

The Cyclone DuraDrain water separator is a water (and debris) separator that uses cyclonic action to separate liquids and contaminants in air lines. The liquid-removal feature contains a pressure-sealing drain valve that allows immediate purging when no air pressure is present. When pressurized, the unit will hold liquids until the next air cycle.

The Cyclone DuraDrain unit is 98.5% efficient in capturing and removing water from control or supply lines during normal braking applications. The Cyclone DuraDrain can be retrofit and installed by OEMs. About the size of a baseball, the unit mounts to trailers or converter dollies with two bolts and two fittings. Its primary use is in the control line, but it also can be installed in the supply line. Currently in fleet evaluation, the Cyclone DuraDrain will be production ready in the third quarter of 2004.

Buffers USA adds dessicant pouches

Buffers USA, formed in 1989 as a subsidiary to Buffers AB in Sweden, sells a broad variety of intermodal hardware as well as rail car buffers and wear parts to major rail-connected companies in Europe.

Buffers USA added desiccants to its range of products in 1996. The company is the exclusive distributor in North and South America for the range of Absortech products such as Absorpole, Absorbag, Absortop, and Absorvent. E-Sorb desiccant pouches were added this year to offer desiccants that protect inside the packages as well.

“Our customer base is diverse and extensive and constantly growing,” Kenneth Petsch said. “For the land-based equipment, our aim is to be the best possible supplier/manufacturer to a network of dealers that serve the container, chassis, and trailer repair industry in North and South America.”

Hayes Lemmerz offers 14"×22.5" wheels

Hayes Lemmerz International now offers two 14" × 22.5" wide single wheels to be used in conjunction with 4-45-50 and 4-55-55 wide-base tires. The wheels are targeted to fleet customers who are looking for ways to reduce weight in their trailer equipment, improve fuel economy, and reduce cost per mile of tire operation,

For fleets that prefer the N Spindle, the wheel offers a 5½" offset, which moves the tracking width in about 4⅛". The virtual carrying capacity or the centerline of the load is virtually unchanged from dual. This wheel offering allows companies to run the N Spindle without compromising the outer bearing life.

For fleets that like to use the P Spindle, Hayes Lemmerz offers a 2" offset that moves the tracking width in about 2⅛".

“Hayes does not recommend the use of the 2" outset wheel on P Spindle applications,” Denny Weisand said. “With our steel wheel offerings, we have restored the traditional spread between steel and aluminum wheels. The next generation of wheels we will be offering in this configuration will lose about 10-12 lb, enhancing the cost of pound value saved.”

The company also is introducing a lightweight ductile iron hub that has the weight-saving characteristics of aluminum, but with the durability of ductile iron. Both are available in N and P Spindle applications. The hubs have been optimized and designed with internal and external ribs to provide the necessary weight-carrying capacity at a reduced weight.

“A standard ductile iron hub on a N Spindle produces an assembly that weighs 160 lb,” Weisand said. “Using a full cast drum with this lightweight hub, you can reduce the assembly weight by 14 lb — or 28 lb per axle. You can reduce the weight of the standard CentriFuse Drum by 36 lb per assembly — or 72 lb per axle. With the CentriFuse Lite Drum, you can take 81 lb out of your axle end. These drums are available to accommodate whatever your fleet customer braking requirements may be.”

Hendrickson unveils tire inflation system

Hendrickson has unveiled TIREMAAX automatic tire inflation system for trailers.

“Mounting industry statistics reveal that tires account for some 50% of total maintenance expense on trailers,” Baine Adams said. “Flats and tire failures stand as the chief cause of trailer breakdowns. Statistics also show that tires come second only to fuel in trailer operating costs. The prime culprit remains improper inflation. Some operators even overinflate tires to compensate for anticipated air loss over time.”

An option for INTRAAX and VANTRAAX trailer suspension systems, it automatically taps trailer air supply to maintain tire inflation up to a preset level. This helps minimize tire wear and help fuel mileage and productivity.

TIREMAAX activates only when needed. Constant air pressurization to the tires is not required, prolonging inflation system life. Governed by an electronic control unit (ECU), the system detects when the air pressure gets below the preset level in one or more tires and directs air to that tire. An LED light signals technicians to circumstances that require attention.

The system features a bolt-in, ball bearing rotary union that allows air to flow through the axle spindle to the rotating hubcap fitting. Braided hoses with stainless steel jackets connect the reinforced hubcap tee to the tires. Check valves help prevent tire pressure loss back through the system and allow manual fill and pressure checks. A system status signal light design to be installed in view of the driver notifies the operator of system status and maintenance requirements.

An optional hand-held programmer featuring a 32-character display accesses status information and reduces guesswork in troubleshooting. This maintenance tool reprograms target pressure to settings from 70 to 130 psi in five-psi increments and helps prevent system tampering. TIREMAAX comes with a hubcap tee fitting, reinforced in high stress areas. A guard around the tee fitting reduces potential damage from improperly using the wheel hub as a step.

Holland Group releases alignment system

Darrell Thompson said the CB400 air suspension comes equipped with SwingAlign, which the company says is the industry's fastest in-axle alignment system.

“You put a standard impact wrench on the adjustment nut, get your measurements, then start adjusting,” he said. “Plus, you will be realigning your axle with the same technology. There are no special parts, no special tools, no welding, no taking anything apart, no torque issues, and no bolt replacement, a revolutionary development in suspension design. Which means you can align your axle in a fraction of the time, without any special tools.”

The CB400 utilizes beams produced with the same casting technology that Holland has been using for years in its fifthwheels. SpringBeam is equipped with a multi-functional bushing with external voids that provide better bushing protection than internal voided bushings. The use of high-strength, low-alloy steel reduces weight and increases durability. Thompson said that all Holland trailer suspension systems come standard with QwikRelease pin-pulling system, a safe and easy way to reposition a trailer slide.

Michelin introduces new trailer tire

The newest Michelin XTE trailer tire is developed for high-scrub applications such as highway/delivery service and spread axle trailers. It is manufactured with a specially formulated tread compound designed to resist the abrasion of high lateral forces. Optimized tread profile combined with strong shoulders reduce the thread distortion common in applications with frequent sharp turns, according to Greg Stultz.

The tire is available in four sizes, both standard and low profile 22.5 and 24.5. It has curb guards with added protection in the sidewall and a full-width protector ply, which provides added penetration in the crown. It also has Michelin's rectangular bead bundle, which ensures the proper fit to the wheel.

The rounded bead toe helps reduce the damage in the bead area in both mounting and demounting and also helps ensure the proper fit on the 15° tapered bead seat.

“It has very acceptable rolling resistance, which is very important today with the fuel economy being the way it is,” Stultz said. “It will definitely enhance that with the rise in diesel cost.”

PSI inflation system adds heat-sensing

Meritor Tire Inflation by PSI is developing a new feature: heat-sensing capability. It can detect and warn of excessive heat in a wheel end area with Heat Warning Sensor (HWS). The Meritor Tire Inflation System incorporates a heat sensor in the spindle press plug. The sensor is a eutectic material. When heat buildup occurs, the pressure in the axle is released, causing the warning light to flash TIRE HEAT. The air pressure continues to flow, escaping through the vented hubcap. Escaping air in this area indicates a heat situation that can be dangerous. The vehicle is not to be moved and wheel end servicing will be required.

If the hubcap is not releasing air, tire inflation is in progress. The vehicle can be moved to a place where the tire can be repaired or replaced efficiently and economically.

“How did PSI choose 350° F for the warning temperature?” Frank Sonzala said. “From our conversations with bearing manufacturers, we believe that a bearing experiencing about 300° F for an 8-hour period begins to soften, and that is the beginning of the destruction process. If the operator has a warning that his vehicle is operating in this environment, he has the opportunity to make standard, simple repairs such as bearing and seal replacement with a minimum of disruption. He can have the opportunity to avoid the dangerous and more disruptive spindle damage in wheel end separation.”

The Meritor Tire Inflation System Heat Warning Sensor will be available soon to all fleets throughout North America and the world.

3-M enhances reflectivity, visibility

3-M Traffic Safety Systems has introduced its new Diamond Grade 9/83 conspicuity material, with an enhanced optic system that delivers an even brighter and stronger reflectivity at extremely wide entrance angles.

“Several years ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and US Department of Transportation sought to validate two key mandates required for reflective markings on trailers, and the 1999 retrofit regulation, which called for new remarking of existing trailers that were on the market,” Angie Hadrits said. “They wanted to quantify the effectiveness of those mandates in terms of the value of those reflective markings on trailers. The research was centered on gathering accident data from almost 11,000 heavy trailer accidents, taken from Florida and Pennsylvania. The data from law enforcement agencies through police accident reports were tabulated and analyzed in two categories: those trailers that were involved in accidents that were marked with reflective markings and those that weren't. It also took into account the lighting conditions that were in effect at the time of the accident.

“The research showed some compelling results: first, when you are looking at accidents where a trailer was involved, there are trailers that were marked versus unmarked trailers. Severe accidents with a marked trailer were reduced 44%, a much greater percentage than NHTSA was anticipating at the time of the research. Also they found that reflective marking was effective during conditions of rain and fog, which we might expect.”

With the Diamond Grade 9/83 conspicuity, there is the same ease of application as with 9/81 conspicuity, and the same adhesive and mill thickness. It meets all DOT recommendations and requirements and there is no price increase with this new product, Hadrits said.

Shipments started in mid-June.

Truck-Lite releases LED mini-marker lamp

A marker lamp that addresses lighting's four failure modes while still meeting applicable DOT and SAE standards is new from Truck-Lite, Mike McGowan announced. The new LED Model 33 Mini-Marker Lamp, part of Truck-Lite's SingLEDiode LED family, is only about the size of a dime.

“Basically there are four failure modes to lamps,” McGowan said. “One is physical damage. We estimate about 40% of fleet marker lighting costs are the result of physical damage. Second is corrosion, basically between the interface between the lamp and the harness. Third is bulb outage. This is more with incandescent lighting in that the filaments with road vibration will break. Fourth, theft has been an issue with LEDs.”

The mini marker lamp is designed to address all of these issues, McGowan said. With its flush mount, it is protected from impacts from objects such as dock seals, and it will not be knocked off. And because the LED is integral with the harness, sources of moisture intrusion — and subsequent corrosion — have been eliminated. Optional designs allow the LED to snap into place, reducing the likelihood of theft. McGowan explained how the LED can be mounted.

“We have a grommet mount, and we have a theft resistant, snap-in mount,” he said. “From a manufacturing standpoint, once the required 3/4" hole is drilled, no tools are required past this point. Simply fish the light from the back of the trailer, push the grommet in and push the light back in. Same with the theft snap-in issue. It's very easy for factory installation.”

He said LED technology is advancing. This is a SingLEDiode made with high-impact polycarbonate. As with all Truck-Lite LED products, LEDs are encapsulated into epoxy to resist moisture, corrosion, and issues with weather.

Tuthill suspension eliminates dock walk

Tuthill Transportation Technologies, which has been known for producing an air ride slider and air rider suspension system with anti-dock walk and no extra components, has introduced the latest version, the Dockmaster II.

“You probably have heard the term dock walk,” Ray Mueller said. “That's the tendency of the trailer to walk away from the dock while loading and unloading. Have you ever seen it in action? As the fork truck drives onto the trailer, the compressing of the suspension tends to rotate the wheels forward or away from the dock. Each successive trip creates a ratcheting effect, moving the trailer farther and farther away from the dock.

“More than 10 years ago, Reyco suspension engineers found a better way to control dock walk than the conventional dump valves or air-activated block mechanisms. They reversed the rear suspension of Reyco 86AR tandem slider. So the two suspensions work in opposite directions, canceling dock walk, and also maintaining dock height. This time Reyco engineers took our lightweight conventional trailing arm slider and reversed the front suspension. The result: no dock walk. The front and rear suspension still cancel each other out, and with the parking brake set, the rigid trailing arm design in essence becomes locked, which maintains dock height.”

The Reyco Dockmaster II is a light tandem air-ride slider and axle assembly with integrated axles and brake shoes.

“One center hanger assembly reduces the parts count,” Mueller said. “A unique beam-to-axle connection also reduces unneeded parts and material.”

Mueller said Tuthill reduced weight without reducing strength. He said the large center hanger spreads low forces over a wide area. The deep center cross member provides a strong side-to-side connection, and circular welds reduce the chance of cracking due to stress risers.

Other features include true one-person alignment and low-effort pin-release system.

“So now, you can have van air rider suspension with no dock walk, no dock drop, and no extra parts,” Mueller said. “That means it's safer and simpler. No extra weight means you can haul more freight. No loss of strength means this is the suspension designed for longer life trailers and longer trade cycles.”

USA Harness unveils USA Plug System

USA Harness has introduced the USA Plug System, a patented, seal-plugged-together harness design to insure solid electrical contact, according to Patrick Leahy.

Leahy said the system eliminates the need for junction boxes for the industry's most complicated and demanding vehicle applications. The USA Plus System offers an advanced harness connector that accommodates as many as 10 separate circuits on one system. The keyed pin terminal orientation prevents mis-mating.

“Many electrical components such as LED lamps and monitoring devices can be non-functional or damaged if not properly connected,” Leahy said. “Our system features an integral o-ring style seal and a contrasting pin lock for a complete sealing engagement.”

Splices are ultra-sonically welded for greater conductivity and reliability. Splices are staggered and tape-wrapped before encasing with the boot.

Dialectic grease helps protect against corrosion. Adjustable or fixed grommets are also available to seal light boxes from water intrusion. USA Harness offers compatibility with all leading domestic and international lamp plug and socket manufacturers. It offers male and female terminated plugs, as well as plugs for incandescent and LED lamps.

Valspar meets tighter EPA rules

Effective in January, the EPA published a new rule affecting manufacturers that paint metal parts. It's called MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology), Valspar's Tom McAffe reported.

“When you take a look at paints and how they affect our environment, you look at three key categories,” McAfee said. “First, the air quality or the air that we breathe, which is governed by the 1989 Clean Air Act and its amendments. Secondly, the safety of our employees who handle things governed by OSHA. And third, the safe disposal of those coatings that we use.

“Prior to 2004, manufacturers that used coatings to paint metal were required to report on the consumption of all volatile organic compounds (VOCs). When you report VOCs, they are measured in pounds per gallon. Moving forward, you will not only report VOCs but what is also called hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). The restrictions will require paint companies to reformulate.

“There are three acronyms to look at. First, NESHP (National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants) that falls under EPA. Secondly is MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) — it requires manufacturers to buy the best available technology and essentially reduce the amount of HAPs used in paint. HAPs are defined in a list by the government — 188 known toxic chemicals that cause adverse health effects. A lot of the solvents used in paint today such as toluenes and ketones will have to be eliminated.

“Here are some key dates for this MACT ruling. The effective date was January 2004. If you are going to build a new source such as a paint booth, for example, you will have to be compliant with this new ruling. The good news is that the existing sources that you have will not have to come into compliance until January 2007. But keep in mind if you modify any paint booth, then you will immediately need to come into compliance with the MACT rule.

“We offer most of these commonly used products to the market place. The good news is Valspar offers all of our products that are sold to this market place now in either low HAP or no HAP versions. We've assembled a technical team, and now offer all these products to the market. We also have application engineers. Their sole purpose is to make sure these new formulas are applied properly on your production line. We also have a regulatory affairs staff of 15 people in our corporate offices that are knowledgeable in both state and federal laws.”

He said Valspar supplied paint on 72% of the total trailers built in 2003 at the factory level.