CTEA tackles industry issues

Jan. 1, 2007
EDUCATION sessions that addressed topics that are important for trailer manufacturers, truck body manufacturers, and truck equipment distributors helped

EDUCATION sessions that addressed topics that are important for trailer manufacturers, truck body manufacturers, and truck equipment distributors helped attract a record number of attendees to the annual manufacturers' conference conducted by the Canadian Transportation Equipment Association (CTEA).

The conference drew 221 delegates from across Canada and from Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The event, held October 23-25 at the Delta Lodge in Kananaskis, Alberta, provided nuts-and-bolts discussion on issues such as:

  • Rear underride. A new safety standard (CMVSS 223) takes rear underride guard requirements to a new level, affecting manufacturers in the United States as well as Canada.

  • Upfitter concerns. Tighter emissions regulations are but one factor affecting the installation of truck bodies and equipment.

  • Maintenance and durability concerns. Several sessions provided useful information on the care and feeding of critical components such as trailer suspensions, air brakes, and wheel ends.

“The technical sessions throughout the two-day conference were all well attended and well received,” says Don Moore, CTEA's new executive director. “We had our largest registration ever with over 200 people in attendance.”

Here are some of the highlights from the association's most recent conference:

Chassis certification changing

Government regulations affecting truck certification have been changing in recent years, and more changes are coming this year, according to Eddy Tschirhart, director of technical programs for CTEA.

“The need to educate truck up-fitters and consumers alike with respect to vehicle regulatory compliance and the National Safety Mark (NSM) remains a top priority for CTEA,” Tschirhart said in a session on upfitter concerns. “Transport Canada (TC) requires that upfitters and dealers who do vehicle modifications be registered with TC, that they maintain records, and that they perform analysis, calculations, and testing as necessary, to demonstrate compliance with the Canada motor vehicle safety standards (CMVSS).”

Canadian truck customers can learn if a specific company meets those criteria by checking the Transport Canada Web site.

“Consumers should be aware that some up-fitters and dealers engaged in chassis modification and/or general up-fitting could be confused about their obligations under the law,” Tschirhart said. “Compliance with CMVSS is not voluntary!”

Revised Canadian laws governing the fabrication of vocational trucks from incomplete truck chassis have been in effect since February 14, 2003. The revised regulations carry serious penalties that can be applied to individuals and corporate manufacturers for violations of these compliance requirements. Owners and operators risk denial of insurance in accident claims (where forensic examinations have revealed compliance violations) or cancellation of insurance protection, where uncertified vehicles are being licensed.

Provincial regulations also are changing. Tschirhart expects updated provincial registration forms (New Vehicle Information Statement (NVIS) to come out later this year. These will require final-stage manufacturers registered with Transport Canada to be identified at the time of licensing.

Another recent change affects Section 5 of the National Safety Code (NSC) pertaining to trucks, buses, dollies, and trailers.

“The NSC is where most provinces and territories take their requirements for annual safety inspections,” Tschirhart said. “The change to section 5 of the NSC requires a vehicle to have proper final-stage labeling.”

The labels must be representative of the vehicle, accurately reflecting such variables as tire size and the number of axles. Vehicles produced after September 1, 2006 could fail their annual safety inspections if the label is not properly displayed.

Labels should be applied only if the upfitter is confident about the truck's weight distribution and payload analysis, center of gravity, wheelbase alterations analysis, auxiliary axle installation analysis, and analysis of installation of air-operated equipment, Tschirhart said. “The objective is to make certain that no components on the vehicle are overloaded per the original chassis manufacturer's specifications. Also, these analyses ensure that the vehicle remains within the OEM's brake compliance certification envelope. Vehicle final-stage compliance labels are also a must under the regulations.”

Canadian consumers are encouraged to demand compliance evidence and an NSM statement as part of their bidding process.

Tschirhart said that previously certified vehicles should be altered only after consulting with the chassis manufacturer and/or the final-stage manufacturer.

“In some provinces alterations/conversions must be done by the OEM or, at a minimum, by a federally registered company holding a current valid NSM,” he said.

In other cases, certification will simply be more difficult.

“Future regulatory reforms are showing up on Federal/Provincial radar screens,” Tschirhart said. “Depending on each specific vocational vehicle design, engineering analysis combined with performance testing will be demanded where standards are affected.”

Regulatory round-up

Commercial vehicle regulations are changing frequently in Canada, both at the national and provincial levels. The CTEA town hall meeting provided attendees with a snapshot of what has and will happen.

Speaking at the session were: Dennis Bell, director of vehicle safety, Alberta Infrastructure & Transportation; Dan Bechamp, senior compliance officer, Transport Canada Road Safety Group; Wayne Duff, compliance officer, Transport Canada Road Safety Group; Ron Madill, project leader, Ministry of Transportation Ontario; Ron Covello, vehicle standards engineer, Ministry of Transportation Ontario; Richard (Dick) Radlinski, Link Radlinski; Don Moore, executive director, CTEA; and Eddy Tschirhart, director of technical programs, CTEA.

Nationally, trailer manufacturers and truck body and equipment installers are now required to have National Safety Marks (NSMs) issued by Transport Canada in order to perform a wide range of activities, including manufacturing trailers, installing truck bodies and equipment, and altering wheelbases and gross vehicle weight ratings. These include vehicles built in the United States and shipped to Canada.

Dan Bechamp reported that in the 12 months since the previous CTEA manufacturing conference, Transport Canada issued the following NSMs:

  • 72 for truck body and equipment and/or fifthwheel installations.

  • 11 for truck wheelbase modifications.

  • five for increasing truck GVW ratings.

  • nine for manufacturing trailers equipped with air brakes.

  • 55 for manufacturing trailers that are not equipped with air brakes.

According to CTEA, the number of National Safety Marks issued for truck body and equipment installations outnumber other types because they are much easier to obtain than some of the other categories. For example, to be approved for an NSM for wheelbase modifications or to increase the GVWR of a truck, companies must get written statements from the chassis manufacturer.

Such statements have been difficult to obtain, and CTEA staff members have had to work closely with chassis manufacturers — most of whom are based outside Canada — to even understand the regulations and why they are being asked to do something that is not done in the United States.

Bechamp is one of the compliance officers responsible for conducting field audits of Canadian commercial vehicles. Audits can be positive or negative, but the positives seem to be outweighing the negatives, he said.

Audits involve more than just the vehicle. Bechamp said that in some cases, paperwork outweighs the physical inspection of vehicles in production. Is the record keeping accurate? Current? Complete?

He also talked about what his office has planned in the near future. Upcoming activities include audits of crane manufacturers and chassis OEMs, increased enforcement, website improvements, and updates to the Trailer Information Guide.

Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation has proposed centralizing its equipment regulations. A variety of commercial vehicle safety and maintenance rules are going into one — the new Commercial Vehicle Safety Regulation. All equipment-related provisions would be consolidated in the existing Vehicle Equipment Regulation.

These changes will make the rules easier to use, more coherent and uniform, and will help create a more effective legal framework for the commercial vehicle industry in Alberta, according to Bell. The intent is to consolidate parts or all of nine regulations:

Among the changes being proposed are:

  • Written trip inspection reports for commercial vehicles, including school buses;

  • Allowing guide dogs on school buses for passengers who require them;

  • Updating of the Driveaway and Towaway Regulation;

Cylinders: not so simple products

There is more to air and hydraulic cylinders than meets the eye, according to a panel of experts who spoke at CTEA's seminar on cylinders.

Don't assume that the same air cylinder that does the job inside will succeed outside. As Tom Coffey, Higginson Equipment, pointed out, mobile applications such as air-operated tarp systems, tailgate systems, and belly dump hopper gate or clam applications have their own set of needs.

Cylinders used in the dirtiest manufacturing plant do not get the abuse that air cylinders mounted on dump trailers experience.

Also participating in this session were Jack DeLuca of Amalga Composites Inc and Garry Shedeck of Mailhot Industries.

The session discussed air cylinders used for tarp, tailgate, and accessory operation along with telescopic hydraulic cylinders used for dump type bodies.

When selecting cylinders for these types of applications, these factors should be considered:

  • Because cylinders frequently support opened loads, they may need extended bearings.

  • They need rod wipers to clean the rod during the retraction process. Without effective rod wipers, contamination can enter the inside of the cylinder and cause scoring that eventually will lead to seal failure.

“Spending time with your supplier is a way to ensure that you are getting the product you need for your application or product, Coffey said.

Jack DeLuca from Amalga Composites pointed out that cylinder weight can be reduced by using barrels made of composites. The composite material offered in today's marketplace offers weight savings of up to a quarter that of steel and three-quarters the weight of aluminum, DeLuca said. The composite material can stand a temperature range from -300° F to +275° F.

Gerry Shedeck from Mailhot Industries addressed telescopic hydraulic. The transportation industry has a need for double-acting cylinders for body lifts, Shedeck said. Double-acting cylinders allow the ability to power back down. Applications that could require double acting cylinders are some agricultural, oilfield, and refuse applications.

Double acting cylinders are needed for heavier bodies such as side loader half packs in the refuse industry. These cases tend to have a center of gravity in a raised position which will not allow gravity to start it back down.