New trailers debut at Mid-America

MANUFACTURERS used this year's Mid-America Trucking Show to introduce a variety of trailers and components.

They were among 1,080 exhibiting companies from 46 states and 11 foreign countries who exhibited at the event. In total, the show encompassed more than one million square feet of exhibit space and attracted 75,650 individuals from all 50 states and 43 foreign countries.

The event was held March 30-April 2 in Louisville, Kentucky. Here are some of the hightlights:

ThermoGuard reefer guards against insulation loss

GREAT DANE TRAILERS has developed a new refrigerated trailer liner that dramatically slows down the loss of insulation performance. Called ThermoGuard, the new liner will substantially extend the useful life and value of a refrigerated trailer, according to Phill Pines, chief operating officer of Great Dane Trailers.

As a refrigerated trailer ages, the effectiveness of its insulation decreases continually because traditional interior wall liners do not completely seal the insulation. This allows “out-gassing” that causes the foam insulation to degrade in insulation effectiveness.

Designed and engineered by Great Dane, ThermoGuard is a glass-reinforced, thermoplastic liner that contains an innovative composite layer to seal the trailer's insulation more effectively. In addition, ThermoGuard offers strength, durability, and extreme puncture resistance in a lightweight package, saving up to 200 pounds, according to Chris Adkins, senior vice-president sales and marketing.

The building block of ThermoGuard is Great Dane's Puncture Guard, available as a scuffband and liner on Great Dane trailers exclusively, Adkins says. ThermoGuard is available as an option on all Great Dane refrigerated trailer models.

ThermoGuard is one of two new products launched by Great Dane Trailers at the Mid-America Trucking Show. The other is i -Van, a new semi-insulated trailer. It combines the traditional sheet-and-post van construction with the press-panel technology of a refrigerated van, which creates a modular wall construction having a flat and smooth interior lining of glass-reinforced plastic with minimal fasteners.

Many classic reefer features are available in the i -Van, including overlaid scuffband, cargo tracks, and side doors. Post cavities are insulated on the press-foamed panels. For freight companies operating in such sub-zero temperatures as in Canada, heater bracings on the front wall are available. In addition to the standard 99" wide interior, the i -Van is available with a 100" interior width.

“We are spending $5 million to retool our refrigerated and specialty dry freight trailer production lines at our Brazil, Indiana, manufacturing plant where the new i -Van semi-insulated vans will be built,” says Pines. “We are adding specialty foam presses to build i -Van as well as refrigerated trailer wall and roof assemblies. This is part of our new modular design assembly, which allows for reduced manufacturing cost while lowering the trailer weight and improving the design integrity.” Great Dane Trailers, Savannah GA.

Meritor WABCO introduces stability control

MERITOR WABCO Vehicle Control Systems announced its new Electronic Stability Control (ESC) for truck/tractor applications.

Founded on the company's existing E-version anti-lock braking system (ABS), the ESC system will be available beginning May 2005 and builds upon the already-established Roll Stability Control (RSC) system currently operating on more than 10,000 commercial vehicles across North America.

ESC combines the proven features of the company's RSC system with added yaw (rotational) sensing. This improves vehicle handling and performance if there is an impending loss of control due to rotational forces.

All-composite platform trailer will scale under 8,000 lb

AN ALL-COMPOSITE platform trailer attracted a lot of interest at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville. The prototype of Martin Marietta Composites' platform has a one-piece Transonite deck and vacuum infused main beams with no crossmembers. The Transonite deck is a pultruded composite panel of glass fiber-reinforced polymer laminate skins and a foam core. The deck is coated with a non-skid surface and includes four nailer boards. The sides of the deck are encapsulated by an extruded aluminum side rail with integral winch track. Aluminum rub rails protect the stake pockets and spool tiedowns.

The company says it will continue to refine the platform trailer with an ultimate weight target of less than 8,000 lb. With 26” deep main beams, the trailer has a weight rating distributed of 100,000 lb or 70,000 lb concentrated in 48”.

Martin Marietta Composites also displayed the production model of its 48-ft monocoque trailer designed as a solid waste tipper transfer trailer. Its sidewalls, front wall, and doors are of 13/16" thick Transonite composite sandwich panels, and the floor is 2½" thick Transonite supported by 4" square tube extruded aluminum crossmembers. The 130-cubic-yard open-top trailer has a tare weight of 11,950 lb. Martin Marietta Composites, Raleigh NC.

Tires help slide container on chassis

ONE OF THE MOST innovative trailers exhibited at the Mid-America Trucking Show was a container chassis that converts to different container sizes in an unusual way. The Cheetah 20'/40' Combo Chassis is capable of hauling one 20-ft heavy container (24 metric tonne or 52,900 lb), or one 40-ft ISO container (75,000 lb), or two empty 20-ft containers.

The chassis has only one front bolster, one rear bolster, and one intermediate bolster. The intermediate and rear bolsters are on a sliding pallet that moves to the rear of a 40-ft or two 20-ft containers. The sliding pallet moves to the midship position for one heavy 20-ft container.

Movement of the 20-ft pallet is accomplished by exhausting the air from the three air suspensions so that the bottom of the pallet rests on the trailer tires. When the driver pulls the trailer forward, the pallet rolls forward on the tires. Reversing the tractor moves the pallet to the rear. Two spring-loaded pins lock the pallet to the main beams.

The sliding pallet is made from ten 4-inch I-beam members. The rear bolster contains two container locks fixed to the bolster. The intermediate bolster has two retractable and two swing-down type container locks. The sliding function is facilitated by polyethylene slide pads secured to the pallet by weld washers.

The chassis rides on a Hendrickson Intraax AAL230 tri-axle air ride suspension with a total spread of 122 inches. Overall length of the chassis is 40 ft 6 inches, and width is 102" at the front bolster. The weight is approximately 10,000 lb. Cheetah Chassis Division (Strick Corp), Berwick PA.

Emerging trend to wide singles, air-disc brakes

UTILITY TRAILER highlighted the growing trend to wide-base single tires and air-disc brakes with this exhibit at the Mid-America Trucking Show. Utility, the third-largest trailer manufacturer, sold more than a thousand trailers with wide-base single tires in 2004 and expects to double that this year. The company is running the wide singles on its fleet for interplant transfers of materials, parts, and subassemblies.

Air-disc trailer brakes are coming back because of their shorter stopping distance and resistance to brake fade, says Craig Bennett, senior vice-president sales and marketing. The federal government had considered proposed new regulations that would have reduced the FMVSS-121 stopping distance of 355 feet to something between 248 and 292 feet. Air-disc brakes can reduce that stopping distance to 215 feet or to 221 feet for air-discs on the trailer only.

The pictured display shows Utility's proposed package for the running gear of the future and now: Michelin X One tires, Alcoa 14" wide-base wheels with zero offset, Con/Met aluminum hubs, Haldex air-disc brakes, and Hendrickson Tire MAAX automatic tire inflation system. Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co, City of Industry CA.

Fontaine redesigns all-aluminum platform

FONTAINE began production March 1 on a new all-aluminum platform that has a novel mainframe beam. Built in the Kent, Ohio plant, the new model is essentially a Ravens trailer with two important changes. It has an all-new rear end and an unusual aluminum frame.

The mainframe is a three-piece I-beam. That is, it has a one-piece bottom half and a two-piece top half. The bottom half is essentially an offset T-section extrusion. The bottom flange is very wide at 12". The web portion is graduated down to quarter-inch thickness at its upper portion.

The top half of the mainframe beam is two pieces. The top flange is a 6" by ½" bar welded to the aluminum decking. The top flange is welded to a web section that fills in to the bottom T-section web.

The all-aluminum designation includes an all-aluminum upper coupler. Two Hendrickson Intraax air suspensions each have a 25,000-lb rating. The 48-ft 102" wide trailer has a 110,000-lb load rating, or 73,000 lb in two feet. Equipped with three nailing strips, two toolboxes, 12 winches, and 16 pairs of tiedowns, it has a tare weight of 8,840 lb. Fontaine Trailer Company, Haleyville AL.

Transcraft increases capacity options

THE TRANSCRAFT Eagle Flatbed is now available in three beam capacity ratings: extreme duty (designed to haul up to 80,000 lb in 10 feet), heavy duty (up to 70,000 lb), and normal duty (up to 60,000 lb). The three new beam capacity ratings are also available on the Eagle II and TL-2000 models.

Transcraft also announced that it will offer a new factory installed forklift kit as an option. Kits are available for the Princeton, Moffett, and Donkey forklifts.

Stemco wirelessly monitors truck and trailer tires

STEMCO introduced the first of what is expected to be a series of products that use radio frequency data transmission to monitor the conditions of trucks and trailers.

Tire pressure and mileage are the two factors tracked by the new Stemco products. AirBAT RF monitors tire pressure. It can be installed in less than 10 minutes on dual-tire wheel ends. TracBAT RF mounts on the wheel end to electronically track mileage.

The radio signals of both products can be read with a handheld receiver Stemco calls HandBAT RF. The data from the signals are processed and shown on the reader's LCD display. Also available from Stemco is DataBAT, proprietary software that allows data from the reader to be downloaded to a personal computer for tracking and reporting.

Trail King shows new smooth-side dump

TRAIL KING INDUSTRIES redesigned its smooth-side dump body and showed the prototype at the Mid-America Trucking Show. The smooth inner walls are of 48" wide panels of alloy 5454H34 and 0.175" thick. The outer wall is of 0.10" mill finish, bright or polished aluminum sheets, completely smooth. Inside width is 92" and outside width is 96". The 39-ft prototype with 60" high sides weighs 10,800 lb. The thin-wall trailer uses a wedge-latch tailgate locking system located in the floor. A double-acting air cylinder activates the horizontal wedge latch with spring override. Trail King Industries Inc, Mitchell SD.

Benson presents inner wall technology dump trailer

BENSON INTERNATIONAL showed the first production model of its new IWT (inner wall technology) dump trailer at the Mid-America Trucking Show. The sidewalls are postless, interconnecting panels of alloy 6063 T6. The interlocking assembly method eliminates all exterior connecting panel welds and most of the usual interior welding required for smooth side panels.

The exclusive inner wall technology design allows the user to select the correct alloy and thickness of the inner wall sheet for the specific application in order to reduce abrasion and improve wear characteristics. In this case, the interior wall sheet is 3/16" 5454 H34, and the floor is of ¼" 5454 H34.

A further development is the addition of color to the exterior panels. Called “Bensonized,” the aluminum panels are colored in a complicated process similar to anodizing. So far, the colors available are limited to black, beige, or gold.

The show trailer was equipped with an Intraax 250 suspension and single 455/55 R22.5 tires on 14" Alcoa aluminum wheels plus a Composilite ST auxiliary self-steering axle from Hendrickson. With a 32-ft by 54" high sides body on a 34-ft aluminum chassis frame, the three-axle trailer scaled 13,600 lb. Benson International, Mineral Wells WV.

MonStar Scrap trailer pushes legal limits

WITH STEEL and scrap prices reaching new heights, scrap-hauling trailers are in — especially BIG scrap-hauling trailers. One of the biggest is the Clement MonStar Scrap. This monster stands 13 ft, 3 inches tall, is 102 inches wide and 40 feet long. At 89 cubic yards, Clement claims it is the largest dump trailer built. It is the latest in Clement's Star series trailers.

The half-round tub with 102" sides and the barn door tailgate are made of quarter-inch AR450 steel, while the headboard is of 3/16" AR450. The top rail is a 4" × 4" of 3/16" steel. The 85-280T hydraulic cylinder is inverted, so there is no doghouse. The 50,000-lb center-point suspension with ¾" wall trunnion tube is fitted with 25,000-lb axles 102" wide and 24.5" wheels. The trailer dumps with wheels on the ground through 41°. Weight of the MonStar Scrap is 20,615 lb. Clement Industries, Minden LA.

Bendix adds trailer stability system

BENDIX COMMERCIAL VEHICLE Systems LLC has enhanced diagnostic capabilities for its new trailer antilock braking system, TABS-6, and has added TRSP trailer roll stability system to its portfolio of advanced electronics technologies designed specifically for trailers.

Bendix TABS-6, a scalable ABS technology for trailers, offers diagnostic capabilities that help technicians pinpoint causes of system faults — including advanced blink codes and the company's trailer remote diagnostic unit (TRDU) that can fit right in the technician's pocket.

The system does not require moving or lifting trailers to clear trouble codes. The TRDU can reset all active diagnostic trouble codes by use of a magnet.

The TRSP trailer roll stability system, designed exclusively for trailers, automatically applies the trailer brakes when it senses impending rollover. It is supplied as a kit designed for North American trailer mounting.

The system utilizes a lateral acceleration sensor to determine if the trailer's lateral force is high enough to cause instability. Based on this information and other factors, the system may automatically intervene to attempt to regain stability.

Bendix also offers a stability system for trucks. The Bendix ABS-6 Advanced with electronic stability system (ESP) is now part of the data books for Class 7 and 8 trucks produced by International, Kenworth, Mack, Peterbilt, and Volvo.

Kenworth, for example, plans to offer the Bendix ABS-6 Advanced system with ESP starting with specific short wheelbase tractors, such as fuel haulers, followed by other tractor applications and on straight trucks, including concrete mixers. Peterbilt began offering the ABS-6 product line as a new option on select Class 8 trucks in April.

Manac trailer hauls 62 cu yd

THE STEEL scrap-hauling trailer that Manac exhibited at the Mid-America Trucking Show was designed with a bathtub body, but at 61.9 cubic yards it is almost big enough to be a swimming pool. It is 38 feet long, 102" wide, and has 72" sides. The quarter-inch thick floor and 3/16" sides are both of AR450 steel. The bathtub shape is formed with a 12" radius. The five-stage custom hoist has an 8" diameter. The Hutch H-900 single-point suspension is fitted with Rockwell 25,000-lb axles and Accuride 22.5 × 8.25 aluminum wheels. Weight is 18,400 lb. This demolition/scrap hauler is built by the CPS Division of Manac Trailers USA Inc, Oran MO.

Western Trailers Combo drop deck

WESTERN TRAILERS' new Elite Combo drop deck trailer (pictured on top of the Elite combo platform) has been redesigned for lighter weight. The 48-ft by 102" wide aluminum deck on a steel mainframe now weighs 9,240 lb, complete with two aluminum toolboxes, winches on 24" centers, chain tiedowns, and two wood nailers. Western Trailers, Boise ID.

New Alcoa wheel now in production

ALCOA WHEEL PRODUCTS has begun production on Alcoa Classis wheels to replace its most popular round hand hole aluminum wheel design for medium and heavy-duty applications.

Alcoa Classic wheels have a concave face that enhances the polished surface. Load rating has been increased to 7,400 lb. Increased valve clearance makes them fully compatible with disc brake packages.

No-holes scuffliner, fast-start lamps for Wabash reefers

WABASH NATIONAL showed two new innovations for refrigerated trailers at the Mid-America Trucking Show. One is the integral scuffliner, which is particularly important for reefers because no fastener holes are required. Fasteners that are driven into the foam insulation are potential leak points that can degrade the efficiency of the insulating foam.

The integral scuffliner uses Kemlite's Armor-Tuf liner panel, doubling the thickness for the bottom 24" of the sidewall. That is, the Armor-Tuf liner is 0.70" thick for the upper portion, while the lower 24" is .125" thick. It is molded as a seamless panel that cannot separate. When the sidewall is foamed in the press, the polyurethane foam bonds to the liner panel, so no fasteners are required.

The second innovation is a new LED dome light. Wabash National engineers have been campaigning for LED interior trailer lamps because of the problems with current fluorescent dome lights. Besides requiring a large hole in the ceiling foam insulation and causing heating problems, the fluorescent lamps are very slow to start in the cold interior of frozen food trailers. The Wabash refrigerated trailer shown at Mid-America was equipped with Grote's new LED dome light. Wabash National Corporation, Lafayette IN.

New trailer tire from Continental

CONTINENTAL TIRE North America introduced the General ST250 trailer tire designed to minimize tread squirm and irregular wear.

The advanced tread compound provides increased mileage, and its tread pattern and stone ejection system are designed to reduce stone retention and casing penetrations, allowing for multiple retreads.

The General ST250 also includes the patented Visual Alignment Indicators (VAI) on the outside rib of the tread face to alert users to tire tracking problems and a shoulder protection rib to protect the tire against rapid shoulder wear while the sidewall includes a scuff rib feature to protect the tire from curbing and cutting.

Although the General ST250 is engineered for use in trailer position, it can also be used in the steer position under specific applications. The new General ST250 is available in load range G and H in four sizes: 11R22.5, 11R24.5, 285/75R24.5, and 295/75R22.5.

Carrier expands refrigeration control system

CARRIER TRANSICOLD'S Advance microprocessor now offers 30 preset commodity profiles — twice as many as before — through its improved IntelliSet control option.

Designed especially for use in the transport of temperature sensitive commodities with Carrier's X-Series single-temperature trailer units, the IntelliSet control solves the problem of configuring optimum controller settings for the specific cargo being hauled. With select-and-set simplicity, the IntelliSet control is the only profiling option that allows a driver to set multiple reefer control parameters simply by choosing the name of the commodity being hauled — for example, “strawberries,” “romaine lettuce,” “frozen fish,” or “ice cream.”

The IntelliSet control works in concert with Carrier's patented Product Shield technology, which monitors conditions inside and outside the trailer to efficiently manage temperature and air flow inside the trailer.

The IntelliSet control offers a wide range of variables for each profile setting. Settings include temperature, air flow, start/stop or continuous operation, off times, restart times, temperature overrides, return/supply control probe, and defrost intervals.

Before a trip, the driver uses three simple, familiar keystrokes to choose the type of product being hauled from the list of profiles. With a backlit 30-character display, Advance system profiles can be very specific — even including the name of the food brand, wholesaler, or retailer. The microprocessor automatically adjusts the Advance controller to provide the best environment for the product and the best fuel efficiency possible.

Using a desktop computer, the fleet manager can pre-program settings for various commodities, save them to a memory card, and load them into each Advance control unit in the fleet so all reefers have the same settings for the same commodities.

Haldex system addresses roll stability

HALDEX recently launched the new Haldex EB+ TRS Roll Stability System to reduce the possibilities of combination vehicle rollovers by monitoring the trailer's center of gravity. Equipped with information regarding the trailer's lateral acceleration, pressure from the air suspension and wheel speed, the EB+ TRS determines when a trailer is approaching its rollover threshold. If it is approaching the threshold, the trailer brakes are applied as required to slow the vehicle and improve its stability.

The EB+ TRS system reacts to pneumatic or digital signals from the towing vehicle, including signals from an air suspension equipped trailer. The system electronically processes the signals and regulates pressure to the brake chambers in response to those signals.

Sensor monitors drum brake linings

THE NEW ELECTRONIC Lining Wear Sensor from Haldex continuously monitors wear on vehicle drum brake linings.

With a sensor on every wheel, wear monitoring helps to determine the optimum time to replace the vehicle's brake linings.

The Electronic Lining Wear Sensor smoothly integrates with the electronic braking system and most on-board diagnostic systems, effectively replacing current visual wear indicators. It installs onto most existing spline-types S-cam shafts by mounting to the Haldex S-ABA, then connecting the signal cable.

The system works by measuring the S-cam shaft angle. As lining wears, the angle changes. A microprocessor collects data from the sensors. This data is translated into a digital signal, corresponding to the angle of the S-Cam shaft. In turn, the digital signal is converted into an analog signal before transmitting data to the vehicle. The accuracy of the sensor is better than +/-3%.

Disc brakes coming from Haldex

HALDEX introduced its ModulX line of air disc brakes engineered specifically for heavy duty applications.

ModulX offers 19.5" and 22.5" sizes to meet brake torque, wheel size, disc diameter, and other specific vehicle requirements, in addition to a 17.5" size coming later in 2005 for medium-duty applications.

ModulX uses a two-piece caliper that can accommodate different rotor thicknesses by changing one piece. Caliper slides on four stainless steel slide pins, providing a stable design. Slide pins can be replaced without opening the caliper housing.

Both a pad wear indicator (warning of a worn out pad) and a pad wear sensor (minimizing pad inspection time and costs) are options.

ModulX brakes are fully-interchangeable from left to right. The modular design, combined with the common parts between different ModulX model sizes, requires fewer part numbers, which reduces inventory costs and simplifies maintenance.

Pete shows new conventional, upgrades entire line

PETERBILT Motors Company introduced the new Model 386. The company announced enhancements to its entire line of conventional-cab trucks and tractors.

The new chassis also repositions the front axle, allowing a shorter wheelbase that, combined with a 50-degree wheel cut, reduces the turning radius by one foot.

Peterbilt has upgraded its entire line of conventional cab vehicles with a new multiplex electrical system that improves instrument performance and diagnostic capability while reducing the amount of wiring required to build the truck.

Bendix ABS-6 antilock brakes are available as an option throughout the conventional line. Antilock brakes are standard on all Peterbilt trucks; the Bendix system can be ordered at no additional cost. New heavy-duty Paccar commercial batteries are available for all Peterbilt vehicles. The dual purpose battery will be standard on all Peterbilt trucks. It has 700 amps of cold cranking power. The Paccar starting battery has 1,000 amps of cold cranking power for use in extreme weather conditions.

Peterbilt has added the Caterpillar C9 engine rated at 335 or 350 hp to the engine options for the Model 357. Specifying the C9 compared to the C11 reduces chassis weight by 780 pounds, the company says. The Model 357-111 can be powered by the Cat C11 or C13 or the Cummins ISL or ISM engine in addition to the C9.

At the other end of the power scale, Peterbilt has added the Cat C15 rated at 625 to the engine options for the Model 357. With the high horsepower engine, radiator area has been increased to 1,440 square inches.

Haldex simplifies ABS control

A NEW electronic control module (ECM) for antilock brake systems has fewer components and connections for improved reliability.

The Haldex PLC Select 2M can be used on 4S/2M or 2S/2M applications. The sensor, second valve cable, and power connector plug directly into the ECU, eliminating harnesses and additional wiring.

The PLC Select 2M operates using multiplexing technology for communications and diagnostics without a second connector. With its standard notebook expanded memory capability, the PLC Select 2M electronically stores vehicle, maintenance, and other data right in the ECU.

Eaton VORAD debuts Backspotter system

EATON CORPORATION is introducing the Eaton VORAD BackSpotter, a new rear object detection system designed to warn drivers that they are approaching an object behind the vehicle while in reverse.

BackSpotter features radar-based technology that is effective in detecting objects under poor visibility conditions such as rain, sun glare, and darkness.

The Eaton VORAD BackSpotter engages when the vehicle is in reverse gear. It detects stationary and moving objects in an area up to 15 feet wide by 15 feet long behind a vehicle. When BackSpotter detects an object in the coverage area, the display unit illuminates the proper range indicator and sounds an audible alert to give the driver warning that an object has been detected. As the object closes in, the next range indicator is illuminated. BackSpotter also provides audible tones that coincide with one of the five range indicators.

In addition to the BackSpotter, Eaton markets a complete Eaton VORAD Collision Warning System that includes forward and side radar sensors to detect objects and vehicles in the vehicle's intended path that may pose a hazard.

Refrigeration unit needs no diesel

HYDRACOOL INC, a start-up company based in Eugene OR, introduced a totally new refrigeration system for the commercial truck market.

The HydraCool refrigeration unit replaces the conventional diesel engine with a hydraulic motor powered by a PTO. As such, the refrigeration system does not need a variety of other components, including fan clutch assembly, muffler piping, by-pass oil filter and fuel filters, and trailer fuel tank. In addition, the system's frame is constructed of high-strength aluminum. This results in a weight savings estimated at 1,000 lb.

Advantages include: a simplified maintenance procedure; a system controller that constantly records and verifies all temperatures; built-in fail safe mode gives drivers the ability to operate the system manually in the event of controller failure; and eco-friendly design that meets and exceeds the recently enacted California environmental rulings through the year 2009.

The company has filed patents on its technology and will soon begin manufacturing, distributing, and servicing the product.

Truck-Lite introduces new trailer lighting

TRUCK-LITE announced two new ways to light the inside of van trailers — a ceiling mounted LED and strip lighting that can be mounted at the roof bows or trailer corners.

Model 80 LED lamps are direct replacements for interior trailer lights.

“LEDs have many advantages over both incandescent and fluorescent lights,” said Bob Ives, Truck-Lite Vice President of Marketing. “In trailers, they provide a brighter, whiter light that allows a more realistic view of trailer contents. Perhaps more importantly, LEDs are more effective in the cold experienced in refrigerated trailers and van trailers in cold weather. They don't flicker like fluorescent lighting.”

Current draw for the Truck-Lite Model 80 is minimal — as low as 10 volts to as high as 30 volts, with no loss of brightness or lamp life. They come in low-profile housings — in standard shapes and sizes to make retrofit easy.

The company also introduced LED Super Strip-Lite, a new form of lighting using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) evenly spaced on a fabricated aluminum channel.

Four-foot strips use 12 diodes, while two foot strips have six diodes. Both have diodes spaced every four inches. The strips are available in two styles of extrusions, shaped either for mounting flat or into corners. They can be mounted almost anywhere, but are most effective in corners, evenly spaced on roof interiors or, in vocational trucks, along horizontal or vertical shelf and cabinet surfaces.

Lamps draw only 0.7 amps for each 6-diode, 2-foot strip. A 12-diode, 4-foot strip draws 1.4 amps. Because the strip of LEDs spreads light over a distance, lighting is even with minimal shadows. The white LED lighting is brighter and whiter than other forms of interior trailer lighting, so colors are truer and freight is easier to read.

Caterpillar to meet 2007 regs with ACERT

CATERPILLAR officials said during a press conference at the Mid-America Trucking Show that it will be able to comply with the 2007 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions regulations using ACERT technology.

“We developed ACERT technology to meet all current and future emissions regulations, while continuing to provide the overall value on-highway vehicle owners' need to operate profitably,” said Greg Gauger, director, On-Highway Power Systems.

The 2007 EPA emissions requirements impact on-highway engine design in five areas, including a tenfold reduction in particulate matter. To meet this requirement, engine manufacturers will need to employ a diesel particulate filter.

The Cat diesel particulate filter uses a wall-flow filter technology. Regeneration is necessary to activate a process of oxidation that eliminates the soot that collects along the inlet walls of the filter. To aid the regeneration process, the exhaust gas is heated by auxiliary means. Regeneration only takes place when needed, which optimizes fuel economy.

Engines with 500 horsepower or less will require one diesel particulate filter; engines with 550 or more horsepower will require dual filters. The filter system also provides sound attenuation and will be serviced by the Caterpillar dealer network and authorized truck dealers.

International unveils big-bore engine

INTERNATIONAL TRUCK and Engine Corporation offered the first look at its new big bore diesel engine (11- to 13-liter range) projected to debut in International Class 8 vehicles in fall 2007.

It will be built in the United States and will have cooled exhaust gas recirculation to control emissions.

The new International big bore engines will be offered exclusively in International brand severe service trucks, regional haul tractors, and long haul tractors. The company also will continue to offer Cummins and Caterpillar big bore engines in International Class 8 vehicles.

Ancra reveals ratchet-cap winch

FLATBED TRAILER LOADING should become significantly safer and faster with the introduction of the “SilverCap” ratchet-cap winch by Ancra International.

SilverCap works like a ratchet wrench to eliminate the need to insert repeatedly and remove a winch bar or other handle to winch down and tighten straps that secure a load to a trailer. The winch bar of the SilverCap winch remains engaged in the ratchet cap of the winch as the ratchet mechanism helps maintain the tension on the strap assembly.

The ratchet cap has a silver coating to alert drivers and loaders that the vehicle is fitted with the new technology.

SilverCap exceeds the recommended industry standard and carries a 6,000-lb working load limit rating.

Cat shows transmissions

CATERPILLAR is developing a line of automatic, planetary transmissions designed specifically for vocational trucking applications.

Caterpillar plans to begin production of these transmissions later this year, with availability in 2006. Caterpillar hasn't yet decided where the transmissions will be built, but they will be sold globally.

The new vocational on-highway transmissions are based on existing transmissions that have proven themselves in Caterpillar articulated trucks used in the construction industry. The new truck transmissions will be available for use behind competitive engines.

The six-speed CX31 transmission will be compatible with Caterpillar C11, C13, and C15 engines. The eight-speed super-heavy-duty CX35 transmission will match up with higher horsepower C15 ratings for on-highway vocational trucks. They will have three PTO locations and an optional hydraulic retarder.

Warranty and extended service coverage for the transmissions will be matched to the engine.

Karmak expands parts, service software

SOFTWARE that enables dealers and distributors to receive parts orders over the Internet is one of several new releases from by Karmak, Carlinville IL.

Karmak's ProfitMaster Internet Parts Sales, which integrates into the Karmak business system, can expand market share beyond the dealer or distributor's physical location. With it, customers can search for parts, check price and availability, create and maintain a shopping cart, and checkout.

When the customer enters selection criteria, parts information will be retrieved on demand from the Karmak business system. Parts pricing for a customer, along with availability, is controlled by the business system. Once a customer completes the checkout process, the business system processes and fulfills the orders, emailing an acknowledgement back to the customer.

Karmak announced the release of Remote Parts Sales software, which allows dealers and distributors to place parts' orders at customer locations and any other location.

To speed up the parts ordering process, Remote Parts Sales uses bar code scanners to take the worry out of data collection. The bar code technology provides precise data, which eliminates data entry errors and errors in deciphering handwriting.

Other software advances include:

  • Remote Parts Sales, which enables dealer and distributor sales personnel to keep track of orders as they visit customers. Orders are entered and saved into the handheld PC, either by scanning a barcode or manually entering the information. The order can be sent to the Karmak business system and created as a parts sales order from a Bluetooth cell phone, wireless network, or USB dock.

  • ProfitMaster Service Management is designed for the service operations of one facility or hundreds of locations. The Windows-based module integrates with the user's existing Karmak parts inventory, lease/rental, and accounting systems. It tracks repair orders, work-in-process, costs, dates, and labor hours. In addition, attachments, such as documents or pictures, can be added to a unit, repair order, or warranty claim. Billing criteria can be easily set up for labor pricing, shop supplies, environmental charges, warranties, and more.

  • Service Management incorporates bar code technology. With a hand-held bar code scanner, Service Management allows parts to be scanned and tied to a specific commonly used repair. Technician time can be entered or scanned in as a flat or hourly rate.

  • The Director Series service shop and inventory management software is designed for fleets, warehouse parts distributors, and service shops. It is made up of two main applications. ServiceDirector tracks preventive maintenance needs, analyzes repair orders, and tracks service time and parts. ServiceDirector allows each repair job to be analyzed for profitability. It generates and tracks repair orders, work-in-process, costs, dates, and even employee hours. With ServiceDirector's bar code scanning, tracking mechanics' time to repair orders is fast and easy, and it allows parts to be attached to repair orders quickly.

The second application is PartsDirector. It allows users to quickly find, maintain, and track part and warranty information. It can cross-reference and substitute to reduce back orders. It allows tailored product pricing, performs on-demand cycle counting, and reconciles the general ledger to actual inventory.

MacLean clamps down

FASTENERS designed to clamp tight and stay in place are now available from MacLean Vehicle Systems, Mundelein IL. The company's Sta-Tite fastening system uses a Lock Tread bolt coupled with a proprietary self-tensioning nut to achieve high clamp load retention values.

“Tests have shown the Sta-Tite fastening system provides exceptional vibration resistance and consistent torque tension control, making it ideal for common use on frame fastener applications and highly stressed joints,” said Terry Mennen.

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