TTMA Associates Present Newest Products Developed for Trailers

June 1, 2000
New Products for truck trailer manufacture, some still in the testing stage, were outlined during the May 4 general session at the TTMA annual convention

New Products for truck trailer manufacture, some still in the testing stage, were outlined during the May 4 general session at the TTMA annual convention in Indian Wells, California. Many of the 18 presentations by TTMA Associates were videotaped to pack as much hard-hitting information as possible within the four-minute time limit.

The session was chaired by the chairman for Associates, Joe Gallo of the Holland Binkley Co, and the timekeeper was Joe Harrison of Kentucky Electric Steel, the incoming chairman for Associates. Here in brief is what each speaker presented:

Pictured prior to the Associates' Presentations on Thursday at the TTMA convention are (front row) Joe Gallo, TTMA Associates chairman, who presided at the session; Dan Solto, Leoni Wiring Systems; Robert Voss, Tuthill Transport Technologies; Gary Ciapetta, Hendrickson Intl; Del Seehusen, Associates Commercial Corp; and Joe Harrison, TTMA Associates vice-chairman, timekeeper for the presentations.

In the upper rows from left to right are: Stephen Luc, Meritor Automotive; Gregory Mitsch, Intek Plastics; Darrin Paul, Kinedyne Corp; Woody Weigandt, Holland Binkley Co; Christopher Stevens, Bostik; James Long, Safe Transportation Systems; Jim Hutchison, Huck Intl; Lindsay Meyer, ROM Corp; Victor Grin, Reflexite; Larry Vickers, Hadley Products Corp; John Heffernan, Chicago Rawhide; Tom Musgrave, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems; Paul Jaquith, HAVCO Wood Products; and Mel Court, Newcourt Inc.

HAVCO Composite Floor Combines Oak, FRP The trailer floor of the future is the new HAVCO Wood Products composite floor, said Paul Jaquith. To make this patented floor, thinner conventional oak boards are bonded to a base of fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP). The fibers of this high-strength FRP run in both directions. Glued to the laminated oak boards using a continuous bond, the FRP provides maximum strength by reinforcing each hook joint.

The HAVCO composite floor reduces floor weight up to 325 lb for a 53-ft trailer. The key to the floor is moisture protection. The continuous glue bond between the oak and the FRP means 100% protection of the underside of each floor board. By preventing water wicking, maintenance cost is reduced remarkably.

Both new composite floor boards and laboratory-aged composite floor boards have been tested extensively. The aged floor boards showed a 50% increase in strength over conventional wood floors. Peel tests showed that the oak separates before the adhesive fails. The standard TTMA rolling fork truck test was performed at higher wheel loads and more cycles. The floor consistently outperformed the specifications set by trailer manufacturers.

The HAVCO composite floor has all the benefits of a conventional oak floor, yet outperforms oak flooring in every category, Jaquith said. It's just like oak, only better.

Split Movable Bulkhead by ROM Corp A new insulated compartment bulkhead, the split movable, has been in production for a few months by ROM Corporation, according to Lindsay Meyer. This insulated bulkhead consists of two panels. It can be split and raised to the ceiling of the trailer, or it can be opened up like a door. This versatility offers many advantages for food distribution trailers.

A food distribution fleet asked for a better bulkhead in their center-wall trailers-a bulkhead that would not be left behind once it was opened, and one that would provide full width access to the divided compartments. The fleet also wanted a bulkhead that was easy to move or open.

The Split Movable bulkhead travels back and forth on a track mounted on the wall so that it can't be left behind by accident. Since it moves easily along the track, the compartment size can be adjusted after each stop.

The transverse bulkhead is flexible, and it hangs from a crossbar at the top. If it is damaged, it can be repaired easily with a heat gun and patch. It is counterbalanced so that it can be raised to the ceiling with one finger, Meyer said.

Plastic Designs Save Costs Intek Plastics is a plastics extrusion company with strong engineering support, said Greg Mitsch, VP and general manager of its NEXT Division. Intek supplies custom-engineered extrusions to some of the biggest names in window manufacturing, Andersen Windows and Marvin Windows.

Intek helped develop a new composite I-beam firring strip to replace wood under the floor of refrigerated trailers, in partnership with Wabash National Corp. Results have been excellent, Mitsch said, reducing costs and improving durability and performance. The composite I-beams save about 125 pounds in a 53-ft refrigerated trailer.

Plastics are widely used to replace multi-material assemblies with one plastic part, resulting in lower costs. They can resist extremes in temperature and humidity and other harsh conditions. Plastic composites are rugged enough to replace wood in window frames and steel in car bodies.

Mitsch suggested that trailer manufacturers consult Intek's registered design and mechanical engineers at the very beginning of a design project. As the design develops, these engineers can suggest alternatives, test prototypes, and develop the most cost-effective materials and design.

Associates to Sponsor Award A new award for the trailer industry was announced by Del Seehusen, VP-marketing of Associates Commercial Corp, more commonly known as The Associates. Working in conjunction with the National Trailer Dealers Association (NTDA), The Associates will present the National Trailer Dealer of the Year award, similar to the annual award honoring an outstanding truck dealer.

Trailer dealers can be nominated by completing a nominee profile form by July 5. Nomination forms can be obtained by calling the NTDA headquarters at 972-652-3049 or via e-mail at [email protected]. A panel of independent judges will review the profiles and select four finalists, including the national winner.

The selection committee that will judge the nominees includes TTMA President Richard Bowling, Trailer/Body Builders Editor Bruce Sauer, David Kolman of Newport Publications, Tom Moore of Randall Publishing, and Alan Sims of the International Trucking Show.

The National Trailer Dealer of the Year and other finalists will be announced at the NTDA annual convention, which will be held at the Marriott Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida, November 2-4.

U-Spin Lockbolts for Secure Fastening The new HUCK-Spin for small diameter fasteners brings the performance qualities of the original HUCK-Spin to smaller fasteners, in diameters of 1/4", 5/16", and 3/8", said Jim Hutchison of Huck International. The swaged collar bolt needs no torquing and provides a consistent clamp load from operator to operator. It installs in half the time of conventional bolting using a lightweight, ergonomic hydraulic tool. There is no pintail waste. A second new product is the U-Spin, a swaged collar U-bolt from Huck International. All four nuts of the two U-bolts are swaged at the same time for an equalized clamp load on each bolt leg. No torquing is needed, and the bolts won't work loose or need retorquing. Installation time using the manifold hydraulic tool is half the time of conventional bolting, Hutchison said.

Quik-Draw Pulls Slider Pins Quik-Draw is the first fully pneumatic pin-pull mechanism, said Gary Ciapetta, marketing director for Hendrickson International Trailer Suspension Systems. It is an innovative enhancement of the road-proven Vantraax system, making slider repositioning safer and more convenient. Quik-Draw is manufactured from the same material as an air spring. These actuators (air cylinders) are tucked inside the slider frame to protect them from road debris. When activated by the fingertip pull of an air valve, they apply continuous pressure until the pins release. As a safety measure, pins automatically reset when the emergency brake is released. With pins released in seconds, drivers are saved the frustration and possible injury of struggling with stuck slider pins. More often than not, repositioning a slider with mechanical pin release can require two people and jerking or hammering on the pins, Ciapetta said.

The Quik-Draw saves 16 to 29 lb compared to other assisted mechanical devices.

Meritor Has 3-Year No-Lube Running Gear As the next step to increase trailer productivity, Meritor Automotive announces the LX500 and MX500 Reduced Maintenance Brake Packages for RHP air suspension systems, said Stephen Luc.

The LX500 Extended Lubrication Brake Package for trailers is available on 16.5 x 7 and 16.5 x 8 inch Q-Plus brakes. This option mates a specially designed automatic slack adjuster, sealing system and brake, and provides a three year/500k mile extended lubrication interval to the fleet.

The MX500 Long Life Brake Package for Trailers provides a three-year/500k mile "no lining or drum maintenance" service interval. This package combines the LX500 features with Meritor hubs and drums, new friction material, and new dust shields.

Both the LX500 and MX500 Brake Packages will be available exclusively on the Meritor RHP air suspension system, for linehaul van fleets, beginning in July 2000. When the MX500 Brake Package is combined with the Meritor tire inflation system by PSI and TB unitized hub trailer axle, the result is the industry's first three-year/500k mile maintenance-free undercarriage, said Luc.

To further enhance trailer productivity, with new standard TN axles (or optional TP4000 or TB4000 axles) on the RHP system, dry van fleets can save an additional 60 pounds per trailer.

Newcourt Puts Honeycomb in Door Panels Newcourt Inc has two new products for trailers-its New-Cell polymer honeycomb core material for swing doors and its Kwik-Sealor gasket system, said Mel Court, VP-marketing.

At its core, the New-Cell door has a honeycomb polymer structure that is stronger than plywood at half the weight. In AAR M931 testing, a New-Cell door one inch thick outperformed a 11/4" plywood door but weighed only a fraction of the plywood. Also tested in dry freight over-the-road cyclical racking tests, no problems were encountered in over 200,000 cycles. Impervious to moisture penetration, the New-Cell core won't shrink or rot. It is dimensionally stable.

Newcourt has built a 75,000-sq-ft building at its Texarkana facility for New-Cell production.

Complementing the New-Cell panel is the Kwik-Sealor patented gasket system. Kwik-Sealor is designed so that one gasket will fit all door thicknesses. This drastically reduces inventory requirements for the end user. The key is the extrusion design. The base of the extrusion varies to fit all standard door thicknesses from 1/2" to 11/4". The gasket receiver remains constant. Quik-Sealor gaskets are available in three styles: standard, balloon, and balloon with insert. All have Newcourt's proprietary heat-welded corners.

Kaptive Hook Meets New Standard Kinedyne's new Kaptive Hook Tie-Down System is a positive attachment system for securing winch strap and ratchet strap assemblies to flatbeds, said Darrin Paul, western region director of sales for Kinedyne Corp. This system meets the requirements of the North American Cargo Securement Standard (NACSS) that standardizes cargo securement products in Canada, Mexico, and the US. Three of the key points of NACSS are (1) the tie-down must pass inside the rubrail so that external contact does not shear the strap and thus compromise the load; (2) the system must provide a positive tie-down securement attachment; and (3) drivers must have tensioning capabilities.

The Kaptive Hook Tie-Down System has a specially designed hook that engages a pin located between the side frame and the rubrail of the flatbed. The design keeps the hook engaged while tensioning of the strap takes place. The Kaptive Hook attaches inboard of the rubrail.

Draft 4 of the proposed NACSS is available on the Internet at The Department of Transportation will publish a copy of the draft in the Federal Register this summer, Paul said.

Reflexite Integrates Conspicuity Logos A new reflective conspicuity tape that incorporates the company logo or other brand indentification was described by Victor Grin, marketing manager for Reflexite North America. The customized conspicuity material provides the same safety benefits, but also helps build brand awareness and recognition. The OEM or fleet logos can be integrated into the reflective conspicuity material. When installed on the sides and rear of truck trailers, it can be seen by millions of drivers, motorists, and pedestrians 24 hours a day.

Reflexite will work with customers to design the most effective pattern for a given trailer application and to ensure that the trailer will continue to meet all mandated safety requirements of the reflective conspicuity material, said Grin.

CR Offers Scotseal Longlife Wheel Seal Scotseal Longlife is a new extended life wheel seal, said John Heffernan, OEM sales manager for Chicago Rawhide. This unitized seal is made of an HNBR material that has a high tolerance for temperature ranges from -601/4 to 3601/4 F and is compatible with all types of lubricants and additive packages. Scotseal Longlife has a primary sealing lip, and radial dirt lip, a bumper lip, and a new axial dirt excluder lip to avoid contamination by dirt, sand, water, and road salt. It has a three-year, 300,000-mile warranty.

A second new product from Chicago Rawhide is the Zytel-TF (trouble free) oil and grease hubcap for TN and TP axles. The Zytel material is 50 times more impact resistant than aluminum, yet 11/2 lb lighter per axle than aluminum. The Zytel window is flush mounted and fuse molded into the body of the hubcap. It has a side fill plug with internal magnet and CR-patented design center fill plug.

A tamper-proof version of the Zytel-TF for grease applications eliminates the window and two fill plugs. A patented umbrella valve vents at 1.7 psi.

Hadley Improves Height Control Valve Hadley Products of Grandville MI is the primary supplier of truck chassis and trailer height control valves for air suspensions, as well as for cab air suspensions, said Larry Vickers. Now an improved Hadley "2K" height control/integral dump valve offers more benefits. Based on the current Hadley 500 Series valve and with the same internal components, the new "2K" series has been field-proven since 1995. New are a more robust actuator arm, computer-aided centering to ensure the recommended ride height setting, and more flexible mounting options.

The new "2K" offers extended life, improved ride, reduced system costs, multiple port and fitting configurations, and side-to-side restriction. It has the same patented variable airflow of the currently available 500 series. In the next 12 months, Hadley Products will be introducing three new products: (1) a highly competitive air control system offering trailer manufacturers multiple dump options; (2) a new electronic height control valve; and (3) a proven low-cost trailer height control valve.

Fifthwheel Stop Limits Trailer Swing Safe Transportation Systems (STS) has developed an accident control and anti-jackknifing system that has the potential to prevent over 20% of the trailer-swing, jackknifing, run-off-road, and rollover accidents, said James Long. It can prevent over 100,000 accidents every year, saving $4 billion in insurance claims, preventing over 30,000 injuries, and saving over 1,200 lives, said Long.

The STS allows the driver, by activating a dash-mounted and illuminated switch in the cab, to bring down a high-tensile steel engaging bar that acts as a stop against the fifthwheel ramps. This limits the swing of the trailer in either direction. This device is turned off in city driving situations where the trailer must rotate freely in turning corners. If the device is accidently left on, a signal sounds when a fifthwheel ramp touches the engaging bar. The driver can easily disengage the system by pushing the off switch.

The STS accident control system is attached to the underside of the trailer. Because the high-tensile steel engaging bar limits the swing of the trailer beyond the out-of-control point, the truck always remains under the control of the driver, allowing the driver to steer out of emergency situations or to power out of a skid.

Extensive testing has taken place at the Pacific Track and Education Center near Vancouver and at the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Ohio. In all skid conditions, with and without ABS, the device always held the trailer inplace, Long said. The unit is affordable, even for the single owner-operator.

Bostik Develops VOC-Free SPS Adhesives After Bostik's parent company, Total, acquired Elf, making the world's fourth-largest petroleum company with $90 billion in revenue, Elf's adhesive company, Findley, based in Milwaukee, was merged with Bostik to form the second-largest adhesive company in the world with over $1.2 billion in revenue.

Polyurethane is Bostik's cornerstone compound, said Chris Stevens, industrial product manager. "Since we are basic in urethane technology, we can customize and develop products readily. Having the in-house resources to synthesize urethanes enables us to control cost and consistency better. Bostik is basic also in polyester, polyamide, and ethyl vinyl acetate chemistries," Stevens said.

With more states adopting California's stringent environmental policy, it will be important to have compounds that are VOC-free. Bostik recently introduced silylated urethane technology to offer the best properties of urethane, such as toughness, paintability, and excellent adhesion, with the added benefit of being non-yellowing and free of ozone-depleting compounds. This SPS technology bonds well to plastics, wood, FRP, metal, and other common trailer substrates, Stevens said.

Reyco/Granning Four-Spring Suspension Reyco/Granning suspensions from Tuthill Transport Technologies are now lighter with the introduction of new four-spring sliders for van and flatbed fleets, said Robert Voss. The Model 86 four-spring van slider and the Model 88 flatbed slider have a remarkable family resemblance to Reyco/Granning air-ride sliders and share many of their components. This similarity offers easy integration into trailer manufacturers' assembly lines with little impact on current production methods and equipment.

The Model 86/RS1042 has a 24,000-lb axle capacity, a wide choice of spring types, Reyco-Granning's G-rail design, 48" body rail width, a wide range of mounting heights, 5" round or square axle types with 49" spacing, cast steel torque arm ends that resist pull-out, heavier rubber in torque arms and equalizer bushings for longer life, and replaceable wear pads that put an end to cutting and welding complete hangers.

The Model 88/RS1072 four-spring flatbed slider shares a heritage and parts interchangeability with proven Reyco/Granning air suspensions, such as severe service hangers from the 88AR suspensions and pin mechanisms from the Model 44AR air-ride slider. It is mounted on a rugged new platform style slider frame. Both the 1042 and 1072 premium four-spring sliders have a five-year, 500,000-mile warranty and are ready for shipment now, Voss said.

Bendix Offers Five New Brake Products Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems presented five new products designed to improve brake system performance and lower life-cycle costs. Tom Musgrave, group director, said Bendix's next-generation ABS, the MC-30T, provides improved performance including split-coefficient and 500-ft radius performance. It offers more available configurations, including 2S/1M, 2S/2M, and 4S/2M, and also side-by-side control. Its advanced features include Power Line Carrier For Trucks (PLC4TRUCKS) and the most diagnostic options available, including PC, hand-held, and built-in. It has lower operating voltage for doubles and triples operations.

The second new product is a basic 2S/1M ABS for trailers that provides easier and lower cost installation. The ECU and modulator are separate from the standard relay valve, and it utilizes internal wiring for fewer connections. The Bendix Basic ABS has onboard blink-code diagnostics, requires no special tools, and enables one-person activation at the ABS line.

The third product is the trailer system air dryer that provides increased trailer air system protection for trailers that are uncoupled for extended periods, trailers with ABS or other sensitive air system components, tank trailers, and trailers moved into the yard with non-air-guard tractors.

The fourth product is the reintroduction of the Bendix ASA-5 automatic slack adjuster, offering a lower cost, higher performance solution that carries a five-year, 500,000-mile warranty.

The fifth product is the Bendix spring brake. It has a chrome-silicon steel main spring that is epoxy coated, chrome-plated internal pushrod, dual O-ring seal, a friction lug pushrod, and a heavy-duty diaphragm.

Holland Binkley Redesigns UltraLite The UltraLite2 is a new mechanical slider-suspension package from Holland Binkley Co, said Woody Weigandt. This redesign of the UltraLite suspension removes the cross-pipes and modifies the suspension connection to reduce weight. The crossmembers are redesigned to reduce weight without sacrificing strength. The camshaft and lockpins are relocated to provide an open area for the air tank and to accommodate both 4" and 6" lockpin spacing. A new quick-release pull arm reduces pulling effort 33%.

The UltraLite2 incorporates the Holland Binkley proven slider components, such as high-strength (80 ksi) roll-formed upper body rails that help to eliminate elongated lockpin holes, an open G-rail design, flat top plate, cast torque arms, 20% thicker torque arm bushings, and hardened wear pads in the spring hangers.

The UltraLite2 Plus is available by adding Holland axles, brakes, and wheel-end components to the slider-suspension, and it can be configured to custom specifications. It can be spec'd with any Holland ProPar square or round axle in tapered or parallel spindle configuration, XEM brakes, and Anchorlok spring brakes. These integrated systems lower overall OEM installation costs by reducing manufacturing time, purchasing, inventory, and warranty administration costs. The slider suspension, axles, brakes, and wheel-end components arrive as a complete system ready for installation. Holland Binkley stands behind these systems with five years on parts and labor with no mileage restriction, Weigandt said.

Leoni Wiring Systems Expanding Leoni Wiring Systems Inc is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Leoni Group of Nuremburg, Germany. This worldwide organization has 16,000 employees in three divisions producing wire, cable, and wiring systems for many of the automotive markets around the globe. Besides conventional wiring harnesses, the range of products extends to connectors, cable assemblies, and power distribution systems. Leoni is fully QS 9000 certified throughout the world.

Leoni Wiring Systems is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, and has about 900 employees, said Dan Solto, business unit director. Besides the Tucson facilities, it has a design center in Columbus, Indiana, the result of acquiring the wiring harness division of Cummins Engine about three years ago. The main manufacturing plant is in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, about a four-hour drive south of Tucson.

The Hermosillo plant was opened in August 1999 and has about 160,000 sq ft of manufacturing space. This is now being expanded to 210,000 sq ft a year earlier because of faster growth than anticipated.

Leoni Wiring Systems is affiliated with USA Harness, an industry leader in design and manufacture of trailer harness systems, to provide industry experience, expertise, quick-turn special requirements, and high-volume at low cost through manufacturing in Mexico, said Solto.