TTMA Associates Unveil New Products

June 1, 2001
What's new in the industry? A lot, judging from the presentations made by 18 Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association associates at the annual convention

What's new in the industry? A lot, judging from the presentations made by 18 Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association associates at the annual convention in Orlando, Florida.

Some went with the creative approach — Kemlite Co, for example, made a video in which a Regis Philbin imitator did a takeoff of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” — while others went with the more basic Powerpoint.

Here's a summary of the presentations:

New Suspension Series at ArvinMeritor

ArvinMeritor has announced the FS Series, a single-axle/fabricated design for the specialized vocational trailer market. It will join the RHP Series in the family of RideStar Suspension Systems.

Steve Luc said the goal was to provide the ride quality, stability, low maintenance, and lightweight advantages of the RHP Series by incorporating them in trailers such as flatbeds, dumps, tanks, and auto haulers.

The patent-pending design of the bushing uses interleaf shims for superior fore/aft stiffness, while the narrower profile saves on total suspension system weight and bulk. Using shock absorber technology being developed at ArvinMeritor's Ride Control business, the shock absorbers have been specially developed to work with the FS suspension geometry. Exceptional damping characteristics are combined with an integral check-strap to provide years of low-maintenance dependability.

Since the suspension has a greater ability to keep trailer tires in contact with the road, tire wear is reduced, braking and control are improved, and axle vibration is minimized.

Same Game, But New Name: CitiCapital

Associates Commercial Corp was acquired by Citigroup last November and now operates under the name CitiCapital, Del Seehusen said.

The company will once again sponsor the National Trailer Dealer of the Year award it initiated last year. Stan Zeamer of Utility/Keystone Trailer Sales in Manheim, Pennsylvania, won the award last year, selected over 48 other dealers in the US and Canada.

CitiCapital is seeking nominations, which can be e-mailed to del [email protected] or by calling him at 972-652-2688. Dealer profiles must be received by August 8 to be considered by the independent panel of judges. The finalists and national winner will be honored at the National Trailer Dealers Association's annual convention in Scottsdale, Arizona, September 26-29.

Sensors for Quick Brake-Stroke Status

The new MGM Brakes e-Stroke system enables heavy, air-braked vehicle operators or service personnel to conduct quick, accurate brake-stroke status checks, according to Steve Stein.

Sensors that are factory pre-installed and pre-calibrated as an integral part of service chambers and spring brakes convert air-brake actuator shaft travel into an electronic signal. A Chassis Communications Module (CCM) monitors these signals and outputs wheel-specific blink codes, revealing whether a brake chamber is experiencing normal stroke, overstroke, or is simply not functioning. Dragging brakes can also be identified with the system.

The need to actually crawl under a vehicle to determine the stroke status of brake chambers is eliminated.

Stein said MGM feels the most important development is the increased truck and bus safety on roadways, because necessary maintenance can be performed in a timely manner, reducing traffic accidents due to out-of-adjustment or faulty brakes.

Tuthill Suspension Is Strong and Light

Tim Gilbert said a van trailer manufacturer typically hears this plea from customers: “Give us less weight so we can haul more freight.”

Tuthill Transport Technologies believes it has done that with the ReycoGranning 19AR/RS1062 — a suspension strong enough to be the lightest air ride van slider on the market, Gilbert said.

Using finite element analysis, Tuthill's engineers discovered where material and weight could be eliminated, then built the 19AR and tested it more rigorously than it had tested any suspension.

A hanger wraps around both sides of the slider frame rail and is unitized with the opposite side through very deep but lightweight crossmembers. The circular fillet welds reduce the chance for stress cracks, and the 9"-deep side rails offer strength. The connection between the axle and the trailing beam distributes stress over a wide area. Tuthill uses the same connection design in its heavy-duty suspensions rated up to 30,000 lb, so long life in a 20,000-lb-per-axle van slider is assured.

Tear-Resistant Translucent Roof

Kemlite announced its new translucent roof panel for truck trailers called ETR (Enhanced Tear Resistant). Its slogan: THINK OF IT AS A TRANSLUCENT ROOF ON STEROIDS.

Jim Canaday said the new roof panel incorporates a super-strong, cross-weave engineered fabric that is encapsulated in the panel during production. The result is a roof panel with maximum tear-strength characteristics and superior resistance to tear propagation.

Like Kemlite's standard roof panel, ETR features an additional glass fabric matte on the roadside and curbside edge, providing added bearing strength to resist rivet pullout. ETR roof panels also contain Lumashield protective surface film for added UV protection.

Cargo Securement Products from Penz

Penz Products Inc has developed two new products for cargo securement: the #55-15 Bolt-On Chain Tie Down and the 66 Series Rear Swing Door Lock-Rods.

The #55-15 has met and exceeded the necessary requirements as specified in the CMVSS Test Method 905 and in TTMA RP-No. 47-99, Christopher Holmes said. It is available in two main body formats: 100% steel cast and by special order as a 100% welded fabrication, and with two different chain sizes (3/8" grade 43 High Test and 5/16" grade 70 Transport Chain). Securely bolted to the crossmembers under the floor, the #55-15's design allows for safe and effective passage of various goods topside.

Holmes said the Rear Swing Door Lock-Rods is the ultimate in anti-rack protection, with optimum reach and gather qualities for high-cube trailers and containers that find themselves susceptible to extensive end frame and door movement — forces that result in bolt-hole elongation, rapid seal wear, and potential water ingress.

The 66 Series features new style cams and keepers, with improved vertical and horizontal gather to allow the doors to be closed in the event of misalignment, a wide cam shoulder to maximize resistance to reverse racking loads, and anti-rack rings to further improve racking resistance. It is supplied with snap-on, anti-seize bushings and is available with a narrow base upper cam and keeper option for shallow header applications.

Cam Enclosure for Brake Systems

Hendrickson International has introduced the Cam Tube System for INTRAAX and VANTRAAX, saying it is the industry's first standard cam enclosure for trailer brake systems.

Gary Ciapetta said fleets have long recognized that the trailer S-cam bushings turn out to be a weak link in the maintenance chain of the heavy-duty brake system, especially considering improved service intervals with extended-service brakes and wheel-ends. This new system improves performance and life.

The Cam Tube System fits 16½" by 7" and 8⅝" brakes and is compatible with standard and HXS brakes. It eliminates two seals and half of contaminate entry points; introduces ozone inhibitors and double-lip seals to ensure long life; offers easy attachment; gives seven times the grease reservoir capacity; trims weight by 6½ lb an axle; improves warranty coverage; and provides easy servicing if damaged.

Long-life, Lightweight Brake Drums

Paul Levering said Webb Wheel Products' new Platinum series has everything the customer wants in a brake drum: a light weight and a long life.

In dynamometer testing, it had better fatigue life endurance than a standard brake drum or a steel-shell brake drum. The full cast brake drum cracked after an average of 34 stops in the 70-mph portion of the durability cycle, a steel shell brake drum cracked after an average of 20 stops, and the Platinum series testing was suspended without failure after 100 stops. It has passed the 23,000-lb axle rating.

In addition, the brake surface wear was much less: .003, as opposed to .027 for the full cast and .03 for the steel shell.

Weight? The Platinum's is 90 lb, compared to 110 for a full cast and 94 for a steel shell. This saves 80 lb a trailer over a full cast and 16 over a steel shell.

Untangle Spaghetti with SMART Box

TRAMEC Corp has unveiled the SMART Box, an electric link between tractors and trailers that reduces the mass of wire that can lead to incorrect wiring, shorts, or damaged wires and terminals.

Sergio Campanini said that historically, the nose of the trailer carried a receptacle capable of receiving the plug at the end of the light cord coming from the tractor, evolving from the four-way to the six-way and then the seven-way. The wires are secured to the receptacle, and the completed assembly is then installed on the nose of the trailer, sometimes by inserting the wires back through the hole or by packing them into an adapter box. With the advent of ABS and a few additional lights, the mass of wire has become a “spaghetti ball” creating installation problems for the OEM and requiring significant labor to re-wire in the field.

The newly designed J560 receptacle on the SMART box is installed simply by plugging it into the box and securing it with two nuts. The quality of the electrical connections between the plug-in receptacle and the box is assured by the design of the receiver. Brass buss bars bridge from the harness terminations on the stacking studs to the receptacle pins. Circular stainless-steel springs surround the brass terminals to grip the receptacle pins. This feature assures minimum voltage drop, even after many replacements of the receptacle during the life of the trailer.

Accuride Adds Capacity, 14" Wheel

Accuride Corp has expanded its capacity by 90% with a $22-million investment and is introducing the Duplex-One 14"-wide forged aluminum wheel for trailers.

According to Larry Taylor, the company has taken complete control of the process. Previously, the manufacturing was handled by Kaiser Aluminum — which was purchased by Accuride in 1999 after a 27-year association — and Accuride handled the engineering, development, and testing of the product.

With the purchase of the manufacturing portion of the business, Accuride has added machining, polishing, and forging capacity. The company has locations in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

The Duplex-One 14" forged aluminum wheel was developed in conjunction with Michelin Tire, and Accuride says it is the first in the market with this size. One 14" × 22½" wheel replaces a dual set of 8¼" × 22½" wheels. This reduces the overall tire and wheel assembly weight, which increases vehicle payload capabilities along with fuel savings.

LED Innovation at Grote Industries

David Baratti said Grote Industries Inc has developed a thermal management system for LED lamps that allows the user to manage the junction temperature of the individual diodes.

“This is important because as we increase the junction temperature, the output of the diodes degrades,” he said. “Junction temperature also impacts the longevity of the diodes. Lamp manufacturers have represented LEDs as 10-year products. In order to do that, we have to maintain a junction temperature in the diode of less than 30 degrees Celsius. Manufacturers have made changes to their diodes to make them more thermally conductive. Unfortunately, thermal conductivity is biodirectional and while these diodes performed well in the lamps themselves, they failed miserably in traditional manufacturing processes.”

Grote's system maximizes heat control at the junction temperature of the LED by taking a simple aluminum disk, applying insulated coating on the top, screening in the circuits and applying the diodes with a conductive adhesive. The diodes can be driven at higher outputs.

Holland's Advanced Trailing Arm Design

Jack Smith said that today's van market requires more from a slider/suspension system due to exposure to severe operating conditions, so Holland has developed the new stronger, more durable NS 400 series to address the problems of racking and buckling.

The NS200 suspension has an advanced trailing arm design that is stronger, more durable, and lighter than previous models, largely due to the stronger cross-sectional geometry of the NS-200 beam.

The NS 400 system allows flexibility in axle selection and options. A full Holland system can be configured from a higher-rated capacity NS 450 model, EDL dock-loading system, Holland Pro-Par axles and braking systems now available with 2½" anchor pin spacing, Holland Neway height-control valves, and next-generation Holland Anchorlok LifeSeal spring brakes.

For trailer OEMs, Holland will deliver the system in subassembly form to facilitate line setting, or in fully assembled units with welded-on axles.

Versatile Systems from Truck-Lite

With the introduction of three white LED lamps, the Model 15 license plate lamp, Model 44 interior dome lamp, and Model 44 backup lamp, the Truck-Lite line of Light Emitting Diode lamps now includes every lamp needed to legally equip any trailer, according to Mike McGowan.

Features and benefits of the white LED Model 15 license lamp: compatible with existing Model 15 license mounting brackets; hard-wired design with standard adapter plug eliminates the need for rewiring and provides an easy change-over from incandescent products; designed to operate at 13½ volts, .05 amps for use in the US, while a 24-volt version at .03 amps is available for European use.

Features and benefits of the Model 44 dome and backup lamps: rated for 13½ volts, .5 amps and fit within the same compact 4" round housing that all other Model 44s use; available in either grommet or flange mount versions; uses Fit ‘n Forget connector plugs for extra reliability; direct pin-to-pin soldering and Fit ‘n Forget connector plugs assure solid, watertight, vibration-resistant contacts.

McGowan also said Truck-Lite presents the industry's first lifetime harness and light system warranty. All vehicles equipped with LED Lifetime Lighting products using Fit ‘N Forget connectors and harnessed with the Series 88 “Plug Together” sealed electrical system will be covered for the useful life of the vehicle.

Bendix Pursues Value Proposition

Bill Gantz said the goal at Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems is to create a “winning value proposition” for its customers by using technology — but not just for technology's sake.

Bendix recently released the SP4 spring brake with a dual O-ring seal that prevents leaks between chamber halves, and a chrome-plated push rod that prevents premature seal wear. It has a heavy-duty synthetic rubber diaphragm for greater resistance against abrasion. The warranty is three years, 300,000 miles.

Bendix also released a new automatic slack adjuster that requires less installation times for the OEM and carries a five-year, 500,000-mile warranty.

ABS System by Meritor WABCO

Meritor WABCO has introduced a new, enhanced Easy-Stop version of its ABS system, Bob Sibley said.

He said it gives Meritor the ability to monitor and control trailer functions that are not necessarily MBF-related. The 2M systems include an integrated two-modulator valve design for lighter weight, a compact design, and easier installation. It also has a service interval indicator, electronic odometer, and notebook function for data storage.

The 2M system comes in two versions: a 2S/2M standard version that accepts two sensors; and the premium version, which can be used in two-sensor, two-modulator valve applications, up to four sensors and three valves.

Hayes Reducing Weight, Cost

Hayes Lemmerz International has released three new products, according to Ed Meador.

The TN aluminum hub will be followed in August by the TP. Later this year, Hayes will release the TNTB hub that will complete its line of components. In addition, in an effort to drive weight and cost out of its product lines, Hayes has produced a 16½" by 7" drum.

“Our efforts are to tie all of the components into a wheeling system that provides our customers with one company to come to for warranty, one for product development, and one for any needs they have in the marketplace,” Meador said.

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.