Product Profiles

May 1, 2008
New blind rivet can benefit builders The mandrel or nail-like portion of a blind rivet generally requires a greater amount of more costly raw material

New blind rivet can benefit builders

The mandrel or nail-like portion of a blind rivet generally requires a greater amount of more costly raw material than the body portion. More than 90% of this material is eventually discarded after the blind rivet is installed. From a purchasing standpoint, this is wasted energy-intensive aluminum, steel, or stainless steel that had to be produced and formed into the nail-like mandrel. In the supply chain, this wasted material is handled and transported, only to be finally collected and discarded or recycled.

Through a new product, setting tool, and setting method approach, OEMs using blind rivets can reduce total installed cost of a company's blind rivet fastening systems. Additionally, since the purchase price of a blind rivet is relatively expensive compared with a common tapping screw, new applications for blind rivets can now be economically developed.

Material in the new blind rivet is reduced by up to about 35% as the material in the mandrel is reduced by up to 60%. Since only the length of the mandrel has been modified, the diameter, tensile strength, and mandrel break-loads are all identical with existing blind rivets, and the physical performance characteristics of the new fastening system are unchanged. As the new blind rivet is shorter, setting tools are less likely to jam. The ability to use a blind rivet with a shorter mandrel is accomplished with a redesigned nosepiece and modified nose housing that can be fitted to conventional, existing blind rivet setting tools. In addition, an even shorter mandrel that can be used with a modified stepped setting process, requiring an automated setting tool, is being developed.

E-mail Harry Taylor at [email protected] for more information.

Johnson drives home RouteMax benefits

Johnson Refrigerated Truck Bodies and Navistar Inc. are putting the pedal to the metal with a debut road show that will take innovative refrigerated transport technology to customers' doorsteps nationwide.

A fleet of Johnson Premier Truck Bodies equipped with RouteMax all-electric clean and green refrigeration mounted on the International DuraStar truck chassis with MaxxForce DT engines has hit the road as of early April 2008. A hands-on test allows customers to validate the equipment for their specific cold transport needs.

“We want to give customers a taste of what the latest in technology can do for their refrigerated distribution operations,” said Mayo Rude, director of sales and marketing at Johnson. “Customers will get to drive the demos and test them for a period of time if need be; evaluating the equipment in person will help them see the benefits firsthand.”

This technology will help the user:

  • Dramatically reduce diesel fuel consumption.

  • Reduce operating costs by 80-90%.

  • Effectively eliminate carbon emissions from refrigeration systems.

Rice Lake WI-based Johnson, a Carlisle company, manufactures molded fiberglass refrigerated truck bodies and specialized trailers that range from 6 to 36 feet in length. Additional information is available at

Hybrid Rebate Program for leased vehicles

GE Capital Solutions Fleet Services announces an industry-first Hybrid Rebate Program for companies that lease hybrid vehicles. The rebate program is designed for customers that make significant investments in new technology aimed at improving their environmental performance.

Since the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005 became law, there has been confusion about how it relates to commercial vehicle fleets. Nearly $875 million of the act's $14.5 billion is reserved for advanced vehicular technology projects such as hybrid tax credits. Despite this, leasing firms have been waiting for more guidance from the Internal Revenue Service.

The program processes a rebate back to hybrid lease customers in a straightforward manner. The IRS sets the vehicle specific credit amounts and OEM specific phase-out requirements. Based on IRS regulations, GE Capital Solutions tracks eligible vehicles for its customers by using PricewaterhouseCoooper's Like Kind Exchange Services group to calculate the hybrid credit based on eligible vehicles as reported by Polk's VIN validation service. GE Capital Solutions provides the allocated rebate to its customers and does not charge an additional administrative fee for the service. Based on this program, GE Capital Solutions approved more than $2.2 million in hybrid rebates for customers in 2007.

FedEx hybrid-electric fleet hits milestone

FedEx Corporation announced a major milestone for its hybrid-electric truck fleet: more than two million miles of revenue service.

The hybrid trucks improve fuel economy by 42 percent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 30 percent, and cut particulate pollution by 96 percent.

FedEx is also expanding its commitment to clean-vehicle technology by placing an additional 75 hybrid vehicles into service in the United States and Europe.

The firm will now operate more than 170 hybrid vehicles around the world, including the largest fleet of commercial hybrid trucks in North America, which comprise nearly one-third of the deployed North American hybrid market.

First in its industry to introduce hybrid vans into its fleet, FedEx now works with a diverse group of manufacturers, including Eaton Corp., Isuzu, and Iveco. FedEx will also purchase 20 vehicles that use an Azure Dynamics hybrid system and Ford gasoline engine and chassis, representing one of the first gasoline hybrid-electric delivery trucks in commercial use.

Bendix, Utility partner for safety

A mutual commitment to advance highway safety for the tractor trailer industry has resulted in a new multi-year relationship between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company.

Effective April 2008, Bendix SB-4 combination spring brakes will be standard position on all Utility Trailer models. The Bendix SB-4 combination spring brake — featuring a patent-pending center seal — contains a guided spring-pressure plate that reduces diaphragm and seal wear.

Beginning July 2008, Utility Trailer will offer as standard position on base model dual axle reefers and dry vans, the Bendix SR-5 spring brake relay valve, in combination with the Bendix TABS-6 antilock braking system.

The Bendix TABS-6 ABS for trailers was chosen to allow Utility Trailer an easy upgrade into the next-generation trailer stability system, Bendix TABS-6 Advanced. Both are built on a single-channel, 2S/1M configuration.

Utility will also offer the Bendix ADB22X air disc brake as a databook option. This lightweight air disc brake package reduces total wheel-end weight while providing easy pad replacement, reduced maintenance, and longer brake life.

TBEI hoist designed for dump trailers

Truck Bodies and Equipment Inc. manufactures a trailer hoist designed and tested specifically for dump trailer applications. The hoist is engineered to generate maximum lifting capacity and features double-acting cylinders with chrome-plated shafts.

Eight models are available with 3.2- to 16.7-ton lifting capacity for bodies from eight to 24 feet long. The powder-coated hoist frame provides a durable, rust-resistant finish. The push-button control is pre-wired into the pump. This hoist also features fully greaseable pivot points and a trailer safety prop.

The rugged construction of TBEI's trailer hoists provides reliability that is backed by a three-year warranty.

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Tuthill steers new course for mobility

Tuthill Drive Systems is introducing steerable, hydraulic drive axle for trucks that require both on- and off-highway capabilities. EZ Trac, in development since June 2007, can be retrofitted as well as installed on new equipment.

EZ Trac's installation does not alter the truck's ride height, maintaining the existing steering angles and suspension. Installation takes approximately one-third of the time required for mechanical axles to be installed. Its weight advantage allows trucks to carry heavier payloads. EZ Trac offers superior handling by controlling the amount of power brought to the front wheels, compared with mechanical axles that control power to the whole truck.

Unlike mechanical systems that require stopping the vehicle before engaging or disengaging, EZ Trac can be engaged and disengaged “on the go” with the use of a cab-mounted switch. It enables on-highway vehicles to go off-road with confidence and control.

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Warren adds FW-45 elevating fifthwheel

Warren Truck & Trailer LLC has introduced its model FW-45 elevating fifthwheel to the market. This wheel, along with the company's other model FW-30, offer an alternative to more expensive trucks designed and dedicated specifically to move and spot trailers.

The model FW-45 has a 90,000-lb lifting capacity using twin hydraulic cylinders. Both the FW-30 and FW-45 are approved for highway use as well as off-road service at unloading yards, ports, warehouses, and other facilities. Manufactured completely by Warren in Talco TX, this wheel underwent extensive Finite Element Analysis (FEA) engineering studies along with testing in the company's facilities.

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