Second Annual GATS Ushers In New Products for the Transportation Industry

Jan. 1, 2001
The second annual Great American Trucking Show (GATS) filled the Dallas Convention Center November 16-18 with more than 700 exhibitors of truck, trailer,

The second annual Great American Trucking Show (GATS) filled the Dallas Convention Center November 16-18 with more than 700 exhibitors of truck, trailer, and transportation related products.

The event was spotlighted with the Dallas Cheerleaders performing at the opening ceremonies and concerts performed by LeAnne Rimes, Terri Clark, and Lonestar throughout the three-day event.

More than 45,000 participants attended the three-day show. Participants were able to take advantage of in-person discussions and product demonstrations by exhibitors' representatives.

Along with existing products that were exhibited during the show, there were a number of new product introductions. The following pages contain a few examples.

Freightliner and Wabash to Integrate Truck Chassis with Dry Van Body Straight truck operators soon will be able to order a complete truck and dry van body package at Sterling or Freightliner Trucks dealerships. Wabash National Corporation will build the integrated truck body using its DuraPlate material that has proven popular as a sidewall material for van trailers.

"With our integrated truck/body concept, Freightliner LLC and Wabash National are simplifying the process of specifying a truck body, ordering it, paying for it, and taking delivery," said Freightliner President and CEO James L Hebe.

Jerry Ehrlich, President of Wabash National, called the new concept "a streamlining of the supply chain to benefit the customer."

Integrated dry freight van bodies are targeted for Freightliner Class 5-8 Business Class vehicles and the Sterling Class 5-8 Acterra product line. These truck chassis will be outfitted with Wabash's advanced DuraPlate van bodies in lengths from 16 feet to 26 feet. Freightliner and Wabash intend to integrate the truck chassis and van bodies at four separate body installation centers throughout the US.

The Freightliner/Wabash integrated truck/body concept offers numerous advantages to dry freight van body operators, such as one stop shopping. Customers no longer will have to specify the truck chassis, then wait on separate quotes and specifications for the van body. Freightliner LLC will add Wabash DuraPlate bodies to its SpecPro software; so customers can simultaneously specify and order a truck chassis, van body, and associated features and components such as a tailgate lift. The chassis/body combination is financed as one package. Customers will receive one invoice for the combined truck and body.

Freightliner and Wabash will integrate their ordering systems. As soon as a truck/body is ordered, Wabash is automatically notified of the scheduled build date and exact specifications. This guarantees a quick installation of the body on the chassis and faster delivery to the customer. Customers no longer will have to wait for truck body installation while paying finance charges on unutilized truck chassis.

The chassis and body are engineered as a combined package, ensuring the integrity of the body installation. Skilled manufacturing technicians - specially trained on Freight-liner and Sterling chassis and Wabash van bodies - will perform the body upfits.

Wabash's DuraPlate van bodies have high structural integrity, improved impact resistance, and superior durability. DuraPlate van body sidewalls use a composite material composed of a polyethylene plastic core sandwiched between two sheets of prepainted, high-strength galvanized steel. This lightweight, but very strong panel, has advantages over FRP-plywood and traditional aluminum sheet and post sidewall designs.

DuraPlate panels, measuring about a quarter inch thick, are oriented horizontally in the van body rather than vertically as in the trailer. The upper and lower panels are joined by slotted A track for cargo control. Mounted flush on the inside, this horizontal logistics track is backed up on the outside by a rubrail that covers the sidewall seam.

Production of integrated truck chassis and bodies is expected to begin in mid-2000. In the meantime, Freightliner and Sterling will showcase the integrated van body concept to customers and dealers across North America.

Wabash Signature Series Designed for Truckers Who Crave a Little Prestige Believing that the market is ready for a premium-quality and premium-price trailer, Wabash National Corporation showed the first two models of its new Signature Series at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. Carrying a fair-trade price tag, the first 40 Signature Series van trailers are on their way to Wabash dealers. They will be followed by Signature Series platforms, the prototype of which was rushed to Dallas from the Wabash factory in Scott County, Tennessee.

Both of the new trailers are designed with considerable operator appeal for the owner-driver market. They will be carried in stock at the factory branch or dealer lot for quick delivery.

The new platform, for example, has a stainless steel bolt-on rear bumper, vertical legs, and back-lighted Signature Series (or customized message) rear identifier panel, as well as stainless steel landing gear brackets. It has a polished aluminum front bulkhead that is removable, and polished aluminum front and rear corners, side rails, stake pockets, rubrails, rear sill, and wheels.

This is the first platform trailer ever produced using Wabash's proprietary MBS-2 Smart Trailer electronics system. The ABS-sensor is mounted in the trailer axle and hub. Besides preventing wheel lockup, the MBS-2 provides automatic back-up lights and electronic trailer mileage. It reads wheel bearing temperature automatically and triggers an optional back-up alarm.

The Wabash CargoCare air suspension has a fixed rear axle at the California legal position and a sliding forward axle adjustable to load conditions. The lightweight, high strength main beams carry a uniformly distributed load rating of 100,000 lb. The beams and all steel parts are protected by Wabash's ElectroShield E-coating technology.

With 4" aluminum I-beams on 16" centers and nonskid aluminum floor with three wood nailing strips, the 48' by 102" prototype weighed in at 10,600 lb.

Besides the Signature Series bumper-to-bumper five-year warranty, Wabash promises prestige treatment if maintenance is required - preferential scheduling of Signature Series customers and a free loaner trailer if downtime is required.

Logistics Van The Signature Series van shares many of these same prestige specs. This is a logistics van that uses an A-track logistics post between every 49" wide DuraPlate panel. The QA-track post is recessed flush with the wall, and the outside is covered with a strip of .050" aluminum.

The Signature Series van carries its stainless steel on the nose, rear frame, quilted rear doors, back-lighted Signature Series or custom message panel, and landing gear mounting. Polished aluminum wheels, hubcaps, base rails, and radius nose post add to the gleam. The lifetime flush-mounted LED lighting includes special canted rear lamps and dozens of extra marker lamps top and bottom along each side.

When fitted with regular dual tires, the Signature series 53-ft logistics van weighs 14,200 lb.

ABS and More in Wabash MBS Wabash National's new MBS-2 was introduced at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. "It's called MBS because it does much more than just an ABS," says Jerry Ehrlich, president of Wabash National Corporation.

The Modular Brake System has an ABS module separated from the brake valve, which makes it easier to diagnose whether the problem is in the ABS module or the brake valve. It is also less expensive to replace either module without disturbing the other.

One of the biggest advantages is moving the wheel speed sensor and tone ring that are very sensitive to misalignment. The speed sensor is now encased within the axle end, where it is better protected and easier to get to by removing the machine hub.

While moving the speed sensor, Wabash engineers also improved it by adding new functions. It now senses wheel direction, in order to trigger back-up lights and alarm. It counts wheel revolutions; so a separate odometer is not required to record trailer mileage. It also senses temperature to monitor bearing temperature and warn of overheated brakes. The ABS computer likewise is required to do more than protect against wheel lock-up. It records ABS fault information for later retrieval. It carries the trailer ID number and records mileage. It sends the axle and bearing temperature information to the cab, along with tire pressure readings. Future models will include a brake stroke and brake pad wear indication as well as a distance-to-dock measurement to help drivers back to a loading dock.

Using multiplexing technology through the power line carrier (PLC), all this information is transmitted to the cab. The driver can check any function by plugging a hand-held instrument into the cigarette lighter socket.

Fontaine Trims Composite Platform Weight to 9,900 lb Fontaine's new Infinity platform trailer has some features for the image-conscious owners, plus some enhanced design characteristics not so readily noticed. The diagonal front corners, for example, are of stainless steel and carry a lamp mounting. Rear corners are also of stainless steel to anchor the extruded aluminum side rails to the rear sill. Front and rear skirts are of aluminum.

Extruded aluminum crossmembers on 12" centers have a hidden web inside the rectangular tube. This means each crossmember has a third web to help support the load. It can also be described as an I-beam inside the tube. This composite platform has a steel frame rated at 80,000 lb distributed load. Mainframe depth is 25", and the 3/16" web has lightening holes throughout. The side braces are formed and fit into slots in the web to stabilize them. The steel mainframe and aluminum cross sills carry a lifetime warranty.

The platform exhibited at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas had a tare weight of 9,900 lb, equipped with 10-ft spreader, air suspended axles, aluminum wheels, aluminum deck with wood nailing strips, and 10 sliding winches.

Fontaine Trailer Company has trailer plants located in Haleyville and Springville, Alabama, and a new plant in Princeton, Kentucky.

Access Ladder for Reefers The Pro-Step Reefer access ladder has a platform for stacking cartons for delivery. Here it is being demonstrated by Jeff Carmichael of Trailmobile on a 28-ft refrigerated pup trailer exhibited by Trailmobile at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. When not being used, the Pro-Step folds and slides into a belly-mounted storage box. Pro-Step portable stairs are manufactured in the USA by OBPH Manufacturing Co Inc, 177 North Wenzel St, Louisville KY 40206.

Steel Dump Body on Aluminum Trailer The former Schien Trailer plant in Carlinville, Illinois, was purchased in May by Bibeau Enterprise Inc of Quebec, Canada. Daniel St Onge of Carlinville and Daniel Bibeau, sales manager of Bibeau, show a new prototype Schien aluminum trailer chassis mounting a Bibeau BFL-HD 28-ft dump body.

The Bibeau body of AR-500 steel is 96" wide with 54" high sides and 28 ft long. It is dumped by a Mailhot C-series nitrated hydraulic cylinder. The 8" cylinder in five stages has a 235" stroke. The trailer chassis has an aluminum frame, two Intraax axles plus two Watson & Chalin lift axles. Total trailer weight is 16,380 lb.

Sliding Kingpin Shifts Weight Balance The 3,000th trailer manufactured by XL Specialized Trailers Inc of Oelwein, Iowa, was exhibited at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. The "Cheater" XL 110 heavy-duty gooseneck is removable and has a sliding kingpin to adjust the weight balance. Scott Wall, general manager of XL Specialized Trailers, demonstrates how the kingpin can be moved hydraulically to one of seven different positions. This allows the driver to change axle weights and to hook up to a 3-axle or 4-axle tractor.

New Aluminum Body by Strong Industries Strong Industries Inc of Houston, Texas, is now manufacturing aluminum and steel dump bodies for use with its Strong Arm liftable trailing axle system. The shape of the new body design is described as a truncated cone because the elliptical body is 5 11/42" wider at the rear than at the front, in order to discharge large loads without hanging up.

What's more, the body, front-mount hoist, and Strong Arm are assembled at the factory so body mounting can be a one-day installation after the installers are fully trained. The 25-gallon reservoir for the Strong Arm comes mounted on the front of the body, and the manifold and the hydraulic tubing are located between the body frame rails.

A Strong 22-yard body with 66" sides was shown at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas mounted on an International Paystar chassis with a Hendrickson pusher axle and the Strong Arm in the rear. Tare weight of the rig is 23,960 lb, which allows a payload of more than 23 tons.

The Strong aluminum body has a 1/4" plate floor and 3/16" sidewalls. The top rail is a 4" square tube mounted on edge to shed dirt. The fenders are bolted on. A built-in apron at the rear is enclosed by the rear tailgate. An air brake chamber lifts the mudflaps out of the way when the truck backs to a paving machine.

Aluminum Bottom Dump Trailer Under 10,000 lb Number two prototype of an aluminum bottom dump trailer was shown at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas by Travis Body & Trailer of Houston. Tare weight was 9,760 lb, two tons lighter than the standard steel bottom dump, according to Bob Hughes, president.

To get the tare weight of the 39-ft, 24-yard bottom dump under 10,000 lb, Travis used all aluminum construction including an aluminum extruded subframe, .160" aluminum hopper sides and slope plates, and .250" aluminum chute. The two 8" air cylinders operating the gate are composite material, saving 70 lb. The 60-gallon air reservoir is aluminum. The window deflector is also of composite material. Aluminum hubs and wheels, super single tires, centrifuge drums, pull tarp, PSI tire inflation system, and rocking upper coupler are included.

All-Steel Bottom Dump from Mexico The Gallegos all-steel bottom dump trailer manufactured in Durango, Mexico, offers a heavy-duty design capable of withstanding the harsher operating conditions south of the border, according to Heriberto Esparza, sales manager. For example, the upper and lower rails of the body are 4" x 6" x 3/16" rectangular tubes of high tensile steel. The hopper walls are 10 gauge, and the hopper throat is 3/16" high tensile steel. Weight of the 40-ft bottom dump is 14,000 lb.

Gallegos also offers considerable flexibility of design to meet special operating conditions, he says, and the prices are very competitive. The trailers are in stock in both Texas and Mexico. Carrocerias Gallegos, Carretera Periferico Torreon-Gomez KM 3.9, Gomez Palacio, Durango, Mexico.

New Car Hauler Builder StarTrans is a new manufacturer of car-hauling trailers and headramps that started in the business 1 11/42 years ago. The location is ideal - in the automotive capital of North America, the Detroit/Windsor area. StarTrans has a large factory of 180,000 sq ft on the Canadian side of the border. Claiming a successful melding of the best ideas incorporated in other car carriers, the StarTrans design makes use of such proven equipment as aluminum valves, aluminum cylinders, and aluminum wheel tracking. StarTrans Equipment Manufacturing Inc, 111 St Arnaud St, Amherstburg, Ontario N9V 2Y6.

Cottrell 9-Car EZ Loader The Cottrell EZ Loader has only 10 hydraulic cylinders and can carry nine cars - six on the trailer and three on the head rack mounted on the Freightliner FLD-12064T Classic. It has a tare weight of 42,500 lb including fuel. When displayed at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, it was loaded with nine Petty stock cars.

Viking Logistics Trailer On display in the Volvo Truck booth was this Viking Trailer for the logging industry. The four-bolster logger is 40 ft long and the bunks are 102" wide. The main frame uses mill-rolled beams, and the trailer is built heavy to hold up in the woods. At the rear are push bar and a drag bar for loading over the rear. The Watson & Chalin single-point suspension is equipped to lift the rear axle.

Viking Trailers in Nacogdoches, Texas, also builds lowboys, hydraulic tail-low loaders, platforms, step-decks, and poultry trailers.

ReycoGranning Reduces Weight ReycoGranning introduced the new model 19AR/RS 1062 air ride van slider suspension. Rated at 19,000-lb capacity per axle, the 19AR was developed with weight savings as an engineered focal point.

"The 19AR weighs 854 lb without axles," said Tim Gilbert, Tuthill Transport Technologies (ReycoGranning) director of trailer suspensions.

According to Gilbert, research and development has found that by using narrow beams and hangers and only two main crossmembers and eliminating u-bolts in the axle attachments, weight can be removed without sacrificing strength.

Options include a bolt-on load block mechanism, bolt-on mud flap brackets, a full complement of axle choices, multiple pin spacing, quick-pin release, and several other customizing options.

AirTek Ride from Hendrickson Hendrickson, a manufacturer of suspension systems for the transportation industry, announced the release of the AirTek, an integrated front air suspension and steer axle. According to Keith Stephenson, president of Hendrickson International's Truck Suspension group, the company has conquered the front air ride suspension dilemma by utilizing Hendrickson's patented front axle design with a specially-engineered Hendrickson suspension system.

"We've created an integrated and advanced module option for OEMs to utilize that addresses the industry's desire to have a comfortable ride and steering stability," said Stephenson. "The AirTek suspension in combination with the SteerTek axle provides the engineering solution to this desire."

The module solution improves roll stability by more than 20% compared to other systems under laboratory testing conditions, according to Stephenson. "SteerTek's patented box-shaped axle beam resists vertical and longitudinal loads more effectively than traditional axle beams, reducing the variations and changes in dynamic camber and toe angles," said Stephenson. "We also believe that by improving the suspension kinematics and steering geometry, we are able to reduce bump steer, wheel kick, vibration, and other undesirable steering reactions.

"AirTek incorporates a patented leaf spring design that shares the loads equally with the specially designed air springs," said Stephenson. "The springs are designed to share 50% of the vertical load, while providing a very low spring rate."

The steering and tie-rod arms have been integrated for increased strength and reduced weight. The specially designed knuckle can deliver a 50-degree wheel cut.

The 12,000-lb rated AirTek suspension module will be available on Freightliner products beginning in April 2001.

Grote Unveils High Intensity Lights Grote Industries shed light on the company's new composite forward lighting system. The new system combines high-intensity discharge (HID) and halogen infrared (HIR) bulb to offer truck manufacturers and fleets a frontal lighting system that will illuminate a greater distance, last longer, and offer a more natural, whiter light.

"Currently, only select light-duty vehicles in the United States are using HID lighting," said Dominic Grote, director of product development for Grote Industries. "Now Grote is bringing this new technology to the commercial truck building industry."

Most headlamps on Class 5-8 vehicles in the US today use a sealed-beam system consisting of a halogen bulb sealed inside a glass covering with a reflector and lens. Grote said the HID system will provide better illumination, last longer, and deliver several benefits to the driver.

Drivers using the HID system will have increased forward lighting ability, plus an enhanced side lighting capacity. HID technology can produce a lamp with three times the luminous power of a standard halogen lamp.

Light discharged from the HID system will be closer to the color of sunlight, a natural light source to the human eye. With the HID system, drivers see truer colors and have less eye fatigue than with today's standard halogen bulb-system. HID also provides additional illumination in front of the truck.

Grote's new composite forward lighting system uses a replaceable HIR bulb for high-beam applications and a replaceable HID bulb for low-beam applications.

HIR bulbs are halogen bulbs with a special coating that increases white-light output in excess of 20%.

HID bulbs do not use such filaments as halogen or other incandescent bulbs. HID bulbs are filled with xenon gas that is excited by using a high-voltage electric arc to produce light. Many filament lights fail without warning. HID lights fade slowly over a longer period of time, thus warning the operator that the lamp is in need of replacement.

New 10-Speed from ZF Meritor ZF Meritor introduced new transmissions, an automatic adjustment clutch, and a new six-paddle clutch disc design during the GATS show in Dallas.

ZF Meritor's new 10-speed transmission is now available in an 1,850 lb-ft torque rating with a "C" ratio. The 1,850 lb-ft "C" ratio 10-speed transmission offers vehicle operators the same enhanced performance, drivability, and torque performance that variable power-band multi-speed transmissions have offered.

"The new torque capacity of 1,850 lb-ft will provide the same type of torque capacity that traditional multi-speed transmissions have," said Charles Allen, director of sales and marketing for ZF Meritor. "This new transmission packs plenty of torque and is lighter in weight than some traditional multi-speed transmissions of similar torque capacity."

The 1,850 lb-ft 10-speed transmission is well matched with today's electronically-controlled high torque engines. With ZF Meritor's Torq-2 option, which allows the top two gears to handle 2,050 lb-ft of torque, the transmission can better manage upgraded engine torque, thus reducing shifting efforts.

Dirona Offers Axles for US Market Dirona Industries has introduced a complete line of steer, drive, and trailer axles into the US market. The company, based in Mexico, is looking for new business opportunities in the US, said Eduardo Alvarez, sales coordinator for Dirona.

Along with the axle line displayed during GATS, Alvarez said that Dirona can custom manufacture axles to fit almost any manufacturer's specifications. (52-8) 369-12-00 or [email protected]

New Chassis for Vocational Severe-Duty Applications Freightliner displayed the rugged Unimog vehicle to all terrain vehicle enthusiasts attending the Great American Trucking Show. The multi-purpose vehicle built by Mercedes-Benz for 50 years will be available under the Freightliner badge to North American customers this year.

"The Unimog adds a new dimension to the North American 4x4 truck market," said Jim Hebe, Freightliner's president and chief executive officer.

The Unimog is targeted at a variety of vocational markets, from utility and municipal services to fire and rescue services.

Freightliner will offer a medium-duty configuration with gross vehicle weight (GVW) ratings up to 27,500 pounds with short and long wheelbases. Powering options will be the Mercedes MBE 904 four-cylinder and MBE 906 six-cylinder engines. The cab can accommodate up to three people.

Standard Equipment for Severe-Duty The Unimog's standard equipment includes all-wheel-drive, portal axles front and rear, plus a progressive-rate spring suspension. This progressive-rate suspension provides mobility, ground clearance, and articulation. The vehicle can be equipped with optional front differential locks that can be engaged while in motion.

The Unimog will be available in a wheelbase up to 141 inches. The vehicle is capable of handling very steep grades with its high angle-of-approach factor. The angle-of-departure will be determined by the type of body attached to the vehicle. Freightliner will offer various tire options for the vehicle, which will also affect the tractability of the truck. A central tire inflation system will be optional that will assist in mud, snow, or sand-like terrain.

The vehicle comes standard with an automated-mechanical transmission (Electronic Programmable Shift with Telligent Shift Control System).

The shift quadrant, park brake, power-take-off (PTO) joystick, PTO monitor, and cab switches are located on a console immediately to the right of the driver's position.

The Unimog can be equipped with the unique VarioPilot option. This feature allows the driver to move the steering wheel, the pedals, and the necessary switch controls from one side of the cab to the other side in a few minutes. In severe off-road locations, the driver can always be on the side of the ridge where he or she has the best visibility.

The chassis and frame allow for multiple PTO devices on the front, side, and rear of the vehicle. Devices can be run from the front of the engine and the transmission at the same time.

The Unimog is designed to operate in the vehicle speed control mode for both low speed or normal vehicle speed control applications. The vehicle will also operate at an engine speed control mode to accommodate engine-driven implements and devices.

A mounting adapter plate on the front of the Unimog provides numerous options for quickly adapting to various attachments. A scraper blade or other devices can be plugged into the PTO hydraulic port or electrical outlets.

Freightliner will start production of the Unimog in late third quarter 2001 in applications such as fire and rescue, forest fire fighting, utilities, municipalities, railroader, as well as in the Sport Chassis version for the sport/recreation market.

Freightliner Unveils the Retro-Styled Truck Freightliner Trucks took full advantage of the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) to introduce the new retro designed Coronado, a truck aimed squarely at the independent trucker. Freightliner introduced the long hood Coronado to the more than 45,000 attendees filling the Dallas Convention Center.

"The Coronado will offer superb value to the independent trucker who desires both styling and weight savings," said Jim Hebe, president and chief executive officer of Freightliner Trucks.

According to Hebe, independent truckers seeking a distinctively-styled Class 8 truck often are forced to choose from older designs that lack the latest vehicle innovations. Coronado delivers the sought-after styling while incorporating advancements in comfort, style, handling, fuel efficiency, productivity, uptime, and safety.

Powertrain Combinations Coronado offers a range of power choices from Detroit Diesel, Caterpillar, and Cummins, up to 600 hp. A 500-hp DDC Series 60 is standard. Coronado's 1,500-square-inch radiator can cool the majority of large Class 8 engines.

The truck is available with SmartShift, Freightliner's proprietary steering-column-mounted shift device. SmartShift allows hands-on-the-wheel shifting of Eaton and ArvinMeritor automated transmissions.

SmartShift's gear position is displayed on the standard Driver Message Center, an in-dash, 40-character, LED display. The Driver Message Center lets the driver monitor trip mileage, fuel economy, and vehicle status, among other information.

Another standard feature contributing to intelligent operation is the Equiflow fuel system. Equiflow ensures an equal level of fuel in both tanks and provides better mixing of fuel between the outboard tanks. The Equiflow system improves ground clearance by eliminating cross-over lines and bottom fittings.

Owner-Operator Safety The Coronado is designed for highway and operator safety, says Hebe. A large windshield gives greater visibility of the road and other vehicles. The truck also features slip-resistant grab handles for safer entry and exit, as well as a first aid kit and fire extinguisher for on-road emergencies.

In the event of an accident, an optional driver-side airbag provides added protection. The Coronado SleeperCab also meets or exceeds the stringent European ECE R-29 and Swedish crashworthiness test standards.

The new Coronado will be available with Freightliner's spacious 70-Inch Raised Roof SleeperCab, the 70-Inch Mid-Roof XT (Extra Tall) SleeperCab, and a Day Cab. Freightliner will begin taking orders for Coronado immediately. Production is scheduled to begin in January.