Sterling Designs Product for Vocational Market

The big news from Sterling Truck Corp, is the company will bring the tandem Acterra into the marketplace by the end of the summer, according to Jim Crowcroft, manager, Sterling product planning and marketing.

"Plus we've increased our production numbers for both our "A" and "L" products along with the integration of the vocational and advanced technology that we introduced last year at NTEA," he said.

"We know that there has been a demand for the Sterling product in the tandem configuration combined with some of the higher horsepower engines," said Crowcroft. "We believe we can start meeting that demand this year." Crowcroft says much of that demand has originated from the body building community.

The Class 8 tandem product is designed for vocational applications, said Crowcroft. "We are aiming this product at the heavy construction business and line haul applications. The tandem Acterra has a 106" bumper-to-back of cab measurement. That fits well with dump applications and other vocations where the operator wants a roomy cab but doesn't want a large overhang in the front."

Sterling is engineering larger horsepower engines into the tandem product, along with the Sterling TufTrac suspension for on- and off-road applications. Combining the Sterling tandem product with the TufTrac, along with the different frame options and factory-blanked auxiliary axle options, will put this truck out into the vocational arena. "We are also excited about the Equiflow system," Crowcroft said.

The Equiflow system equalizes the fuel flow between two side-mounted tanks, without the need for underslung crossover lines. "Equiflow does help make ground clearance a little less of an issue," said Crowcroft. This system will be important to mixer and dump builders that do not want crossover lines to interfere with ground clearance.

TufTrac comes in a 40,000- through 46,000-lb tandem configuration aimed at the mixer, dump, refuse, and construction vocations. It has a six-rod design combined with taper-leaf springs that are suitable for on/off, or off-highway applications. "The design idea behind TufTrac was to provide a highly articulating suspension with excellent load equalization qualities," said Crowcroft. Sterling also has expanded the nonproprietary rear suspension offerings by incorporating more models of the Hendrickson and Neway suspension products.

"New seating configurations and materials will make the Sterling product more adaptable to the vocational users' needs," said Crowcroft. Configurations such as two-man seating are available for the Acterra product line. Also introduced are new seat coverings that will provide vocational users an industrially oriented material that should outwear many of the past material offerings, Crowcroft said.

Crowcroft described the new seat covering as a bullet-proof fabric that is a much more resistant to punctures from screwdrivers and other items. Engineering for Vocational Needs

For 2000, the body building community will see Custom Application Engineering (CAE) group focusing on the vocational needs. CAE can take build-out requests and integrate them into the vehicle design. "CAE is the group that engineers the chassis with all the specialized equipment that a body builder would like to see on that chassis," Crowcroft said. "Sterling is strengthening its options line to offer the body manufacturers a vocational chassis that is tailored to the end users' needs. We are doing this through the CAE group." Body builders can contact CAE through the Sterling factory field sales manager.

The incorporated items are then run as a line-ticket item at Sterling's truck plant in St Thomas, Ontario, and the truck is then built online. The build-out requests can be integrated in one unit or several units. Sterling believes that more body builders will be requesting special modifications on single or fewer chassis than in past practice, said Crowcroft.

CAE will engineer items such as prepping the frame for a pusher axle, punching extra holes in the frame, building the chassis with a clear frame, bolted construction instead of Huck fasteners, various frame reinforcements, and custom upfitters electrical connector locations. "The list of chassis modifications that Sterling can perform is extensive. However, new for this year is our desire to let body builders understand that we can build a complicated chassis as a line-ticket item in many cases," said Crowcroft

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