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New products introduced at TTMA

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS of the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association gave trailer manufacturers a preview of products they will introduce by year-end, along with a review of products that have been introduced recently.

Fourteen associate companies gave presentations this year. Here is a summary:

Truck-Lite unveils Model 80 Dome Lite

Truck-Lite Co Inc introduced three new products; Model 80 Series Dome Lite, Model 84 Series Super Strip Lite, and the Amber Model 33 Series Mini Marker.

The new Model 80 requires almost 50% less amperage draw, compared to the traditional fluorescent dome lamp, according to Jay Davenport. The white LEDs tend to generate more pure, clean, and clear light output. In cold temperatures, LEDs have an instant startup time, and a vastly improved performance over time.

In addition the Model 80 Dome Lamp offers the following features: die cast powder-coated aluminum housing and polycarbonate lens to protect against damage from outside corrosives; internal components sealed by a conformal coating to help protect from moisture; and operates on six LEDs with multi-volt technology and uses from 10 to 30 volts.

The Model 84 Super Strip Light uses a patented cost-effective LED design and is available in corner and flush mount styles and in lengths of 2' and 4'.

The Model 33 Mini Marker mounts on a simple ¾" mounting hole. It offers a solid one-piece polycarbonate housing and lens, and it's hard-wired with molded 180 bullets for easy and reliable connection. All electronics are sealed in epoxy and available in a grommet anti-theft mounting flange.

InfoLink manages tractor-trailer data

Meritor WABCO has introduced InfoLink, a way of managing data between the tractor and trailer as part of PLC communications used to meet the mandate of FMVSS 121.

InfoLink allows real-time communications between the tractor and trailer and works as a gateway for Meritor tire inflation systems to send information to the tractor regarding wheel-end events, transmitting information to tele-a-matic systems to inform fleets' equipment and critical events. It's part of the ABS system, which integrates the brake control and has up to seven sensor outputs.

Among the messages that can be managed with InfoLink: low tire pressure, trailer mileage ABS faults, suspension weights, trailer supply pressure, and information that is important to the driver.

Although the industry did not develop a smart dash that would communicate this information to the driver, Meritor WABCO introduced a new PLC display — a small-cost, effective way of displaying data from the trailer in the tractor cab for the drivers' convenience and his information. It's also capable of communicating audio and visual messages both critical and non-critical to the driver. The PLC display will be available in July.

TODCO unveils polycomposite door

For almost 50 years, manufacturers have tried to improve the basic plywood overhead truck door. But performance, aesthetics, and service are commanding a higher profile than in the past, so TODCO has pioneered WeatherTite, a polycomposite door that's perfect for package delivery, truck body, and less-than-heavy freight trailer applications.

The panel is moisture-proof and paint friendly.

It's designed to install like a standard ¾" wood door and is a proven material with over 10,000 units in fleets to date.

For heavy-freight applications, TODCO is introducing ArmorPlate, a proven material that has a hard polyfoam core, steel skin inside and out. The skin and core are mechanically bonded together, providing extra strength and rigidity. It also has a smooth, automotive finish.

For refrigerated applications, TODCO is introducing PolarGuard II, which has an aesthetically appealing, smooth, polycomposite construction.

TODCO has pioneered a new online order tracking system,, a special password-protected Web site for its OEM partners where they can view the status of orders in real time.

Lighter trailer liftgate from WALTCO

With an increase in liftgate sales on trailers, WALTCO has adapted its design, removing 400 pounds of steel and yet strengthening it by adding column wraps at the impact zone to assist with backing damage. By reducing the columns from the traditional 12" to 11", there is additional tolerance to meet the underride compliance issues.

WALTCO also simplified its design by mounting some hydraulic valves on the liftgate, which results in 33% fewer hoses to route at installation and reduces labor. The self-leveling flow divider valve requires no adjustments.

Flush mounted LED lights are standard equipment and come preinstalled in the liftgate to simplify the installation process.

To simplify the hydraulic-system pump, WALTCO reduced the number of hydraulic hoses from 22 points down to three. It also designed a new weather-tight pump cover to reduce corrosion that can impact electrical connections.

Timken's wheel-bearings solution

Timken 454 Series wheel bearings maximize the benefits of wide single tires while enhancing life and performance with traditional duals, providing increased wheel bearing life and less maintenance.

The 454 is specially designed to provide improved bearing life with 2" outset loads. Highly engineered internal race profiles and Timken P900 Enhanced Surface Finishes reduce stress and accommodate changes in bearing loads. This unique configuration allows loads to be distributed more evenly across the surface. For the most severely stressed applications, an additional roller has been added to the outboard and cone.

The 454 has more than double the fatigued life expectancy of a standard bearing. It is now possible to achieve peak trailer performance with an end trailer. Although designed specifically for the wide single tire, the 454 can be retrofitted into existing equipment. The bearings are dimensionally interchangeable to fit onto the same spindle and hubs as standard bearings. That means the 454 is compatible with popular hub and axle designs, provides flexibility of wheel arrangement, and allows consistency within a fleet.

Trailer ABS system from Bendix CVS

Bendix CVS has released a trailer ABS system called TABS-6 with ADL features. It features a pressure-equalized seal that allows the system to breathe safely without drawing in contaminants. It has integral nylon control screen, which blocks physical contaminants from entering the valve, which can cause damage.

It has the least amount of electrical connections of any system, according to Paul Waszkowski, and a locking ECU cover that prevents splash on the water connections. TABS-6 can also be integrated with the Dana TIMS Tire Inflation and Monitoring System.

There are two ECU models offered, both providing auxiliary functions. The TABS-6 standard unit has integrated the industry standard 5-pin connector to the ECU and provides a single auxiliary function. The premium model is equipped with an integral 18-pin connection and can support six I/O for auxiliary functions.

Bendix achieves a flexible auxiliary feature base with ADL (Auxiliary Design Language), a proprietary customized language that allows the Bendix TABS-6 to be easily used for customer specific features. All unused ECU Input/Output (I/Os) can be programmed to add intelligence to otherwise passive trailer functions.

Long-life flooring from Indalex

Indalex Aluminum Solutions has developed a longer-life knurled flooring with a groove depth of 40-60 thousandths, which is 33-100% deeper than the normal knurled pattern. In addition, Indalex can produce multiple and unique patterns to customize to a specific application.

The V-pattern floor provides friction and wear characteristics similar to Diamond Plate, allowing for ease of material handling while providing a sure-grip surface for employees and secured loads. In addition, the beveled edge reduces wear on carts and loading equipment. When used in lieu of traditional Diamond Plate, this one-piece flooring equals significant cost savings.

The ribbed pattern, combined with a “people-mover”-style ridge pattern is ideal for applications requiring the ability to slide portions of the load, while still affording enough gripping power for employees and secured loads. This pattern also comes with a beveled edge.

“The reason we've spent the time, effort, and money developing this product is simple: The trailer fleet is aging,” Tom Click said. “Trailers are on the road longer than they have been for the last 10 years. In fact, almost 30% of all trailers on the road today are over 10 years old. Longer service life equals greater wear on the floor, which leads to reduced traction, a greater possibility for workplace accidents, and potentially dissatisfied customers.”

Buffers USA a ‘partner, not just supplier’

For over 15 years, Buffers USA has met demanding supply schedules and protected the world's major shipping lines and ship operators, intermodal equipment OEMs, truck parts dealers, and distributors and shippers of dry and moist cargo.

“We provide industries the most comprehensive of intermodal hardware moisture control technologies and anti-theft solutions,” Ken Petsch said. “We maintain a ready inventory of over 35,000 line items. Our high stocking levels insure a high fill rate. We're known for our responsive customer service when you need fast action on processing an order, or expert recommendations for the product that will work best for your specific needs. More and more customers now consider us a partner, not just a supplier. They rely on our engineering expertise for new or redesigned products that can improve performance and shipping efficiency.”

Buffers USA designs, manufactures, and tests its own line of intermodal hardware to ensure a steady supply of quality parts. It can provide Lashing gear for container ships. For intermodal OEMs, it can ensure a reliable supply of chassis twistlocks and pinlocks, chassis steel parts, and door hardware for production lines. For truck parts distributors, Buffers is a one-stop shopping warehouse for chassis and container parts and cargo control tiedowns for flatbed trucks.

Accuride introduces GOLD Series

Accuride Corp, which in 2005 purchased the TTI Gunite wheel-end components and assemblies, has unveiled the Gunite Optimum Lightweight Brake Drum, or GOLD Series.

The GOLD Series Brake Drum is a full-cast product weighing only 94 pounds versus standard full-cast at 112 pounds. It is called Optimum Design because it is a full-cast construction with an excellent balance between durability and thermal capability. Our test fleets have reported a 20% to 40% increase in trailer-axle life, with no increase in lining wear. It meets all the performance-tested FMVSS 121 performance criteria.

Mike Brown said it lasts twice as long as steel composite drums at high-speed dynamometer applications of 70 mph, and field tests support these findings.

“There is an added bonus: The tests fleets have reported a significant reduction in brake squeal sometimes associated with use of lightweight components. The GOLD Drum has undergone two years of extensive fleet testing in various environments. And the results fully support the longer life and durability performance benefits.”

Wheel-end system from Hendrickson

Hendrickson's HNP hub and wheel-end system provides the advantage of outstanding versatility to accommodate today's growing complexity of tire technology and, according to Baine Adams, “represents the first new hub spindle design in over 40 years.”

Specifically designed for weight-conscious haulers, the HNP targets flatbed, tanker, and other vocational trailers seeking the advantages of wide- based tires. The HNP hub features ADI (DURA-LIGHT) material for strength durability and weight savings. The hub will be coupled with Hendrickson's P90 spindle, which promotes even lubrication, added strength, and is lighter than conventional “P” spindles.

The HNP system features a patent-pending bolt-on hubcap with a radial o-ring seal enabling concentric alignment between the hubcap and the hub. In addition, a tapped hole in the hubcap accepts a threaded alignment tool to eliminate hubcap removal during trailer alignment.

The hub design uses standard “N” inner bearings, eliminating the need for two bearing sizes, and the “R” drive seals enables the stocking of one seal for both tractor and trailer. The hub design uses twin or inter bearings and commonly used “R” drive seals to reduce parts docking requirements.

Ridewell releases Extreme Air Valve

Ridewell Corp has released Extreme Air Valve, a height-control, immediate-response valve designed to hold vehicle ride height consistent with the requirements set forth by the vehicle manufacturer.

The pressure dump version normally has an additional air pilot valve to evacuate the air system, but Extreme Air Valve incorporates the dump feature right on the valve at a fraction of the cost of an additionally mounted dump valve. The zero-pressure version is designed to dump when the glad-hands are disconnected.

The Extreme Air Valve is extremely flexible when it comes time to mount the valve. It can easily be mounted horizontally or vertically and is also very flexible. Ridewell can provide dump ports that are horizontal versus the standard vertically oriented dump.

The Extreme Air Valve can be mounted directly to a Ridewell suspension that eliminates the need for additional brackets. It also can be mounted directly to most other suspensions through the use of common spacing of the mounting studs and by offset linkage usages, or to a cross member or other remote location.

Quality Tools offers solutions

Quality Tools and Stamping, housed in a 178,000-square-foot facility in Muskegon Heights, Michigan, offers prototypes, the latest technology in laser cutting, short and medium productions stamping runs, welding, and CNC machinery, in addition to being ISO 9001: 2000 certified.

Once the initial prototype is approved, short runs can be produced in the laser department, utilizing one of four Majak Lasers. Because Laser cutting doesn't require hard tooling, smaller volumes can be produced utilizing the company's 2D or 3D capabilities. Certain operations may require specialized equipment such as the company's Whitney Plasma Punch or Finn Power RS 800 Press.

“When volumes grow, the next evolution is to provide hard tooling and stamped parts, thus achieving the lowest price per part,” Roy Cowdery said. “Quality Tools and Stamping has over 20 Minster presses, ranging from 60 tons to 600 tons. Our engineers and die designers work very closely with our customers and key internal personnel to refine the design. Many of these collaborative efforts result in unique and cost-effective methods of producing a part.

“Once the tool design is finalized, we are able to use our own tooling department to create the necessary production dyes. This strength allows us to react quickly, economically, and with flexibility should there be last minute changes. Controlling our tooling activity internally also allows us to economically alter tooling during production.”

Suspension/axle system from The Holland Group

The Holland Group has introduced the CB2300 Trailer Air Suspension/Axle System, a 23,000-pound capacity offering for the fixed-frame specialty trailer market.

The CB2300 features SwingAlign, which Darrell Thompson says is “the industry's fastest and most convenient axle-alignment system,” high-strength cast equalizing beams that provide exceptional strength, as well as significant weight savings and cost value.

The CB2300 will significantly advance specialty offerings, The Holland Group says. The product has new technologies, reduced weight, and will be a unitized system with value-added features such as SwingAlign and extended-life brake linings positioned as standard features.

Speed Crank improves landing gears

AustinWestran LLC's Speed Crank dramatically improves the safety and performance of all landing gears, using automatic engagement and instant shifting that produce no wobble.

To engage Speed Crank, lift to crank position and it locks automatically to the input shaft. To disengage Speed Crank, just pull the release. When unlocked, the Speed Crank features automatic crank retention for storing. The mechanism automatically holds Speed Crank in the vertical position, preventing it from swinging in or out. When locked, it is securely mated with the input shaft and will not come off under any operating condition.

Instant Shifting is another benefit — when pushing in or pulling out for gear selection, Speed Crank is always engaged, unlike ordinary cranks that become disengaged from the input shaft when shifting outward.

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