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TTMA Associate members conduct four-minute forums that promote products, services

July 5, 2016
Fourteen TTMA associate members delivered news about their companies’ trailer-related products and services during the TTMA convention.

Fourteen TTMA associate members delivered news about their companies’ trailer-related products and services during the TTMA convention.

This year’s convention had two such sessions on the program during which each of the participants had four minutes to explain their product and its benefits.

Here are the 14 who offered an update:

Jon Stineman, Truck-Lite Company

Jon Stineman said the Light-Out Detection System from Truck-Lite continuously monitors all lights on a trailer, making it easier for drivers to do a pre-trip inspection of the lights and notifying them if one fails at any time.

The new system is a bolt-on replacement for a trailer SAU J560 nose box and seven-pin connector assembly. It is equipped with new microprocessor technology that “learns” a trailer’s electrical parameters and then continuously monitors them for any changes indicating a failure.

Designed to work with LED lights only, the system can be toggled by the driver during the pre-trip inspection to actively cycle all lights on the trailer automatically.  Once underway, a blue fault light will be visible in the driver’s mirror if any lamp fails. A blink code on the fault light identifies the exact problem light.

The Light-Out Detection System is intended to help fleets avoid the most common vehicle fault violations leading to roadside inspections.

Even with all the advances in LED lighting products, more than 25% of all 2014 CSA violations were lighting-related. Getting pulled over for a lighting violation results in a thorough inspection of the vehicle, which can result in more serious violations—even an out-of-service violation.

A number of trailer OEMs are currently evaluating the Light-Out Detection System, which can also be retrofitted by replacing the nose box. Full production began in April.

Ron Alvarez, Phillips Industries

Phillips Industries’ Air-Defense System is a trailer brake in-line filtration system designed to trap debris before entering air lines or brake components.

Ron Alvarez said the Air-Defense System with quick-change cartridge is the solution when debris clogs the air brake line, causing dangerous, expensive, and time-consuming repairs. The quick-change cartridge is intended to be installed between the trailer gladhands and the air lines to the brake valves. Debris gets trapped in the quick-change cartridge, thus reducing debris entering the trailer air lines and brake valves.

The quick-change cartridge features a bypass mode that ensures full air flow at all times, even when the filter is clogged. The red indicator (non-resettable) notifies the mechanic or operator that it’s time to replace the dirty air filter cartridge. The cartridge is replaceable in minutes and en route; simply unscrew the old filter cartridge and replace with a new one. It can be used on both service and emergency lines.

Phillips Industries also has introduced the PERMALOGIC Smart-Charge trailer power management system.  This “smart” charging system for liftgate and auxiliary battery banks recognizes and automatically manages the best power source(s) to charge batteries from all available sources collectively at the same time, unlike other systems on the market that can only draw power from one source.

Phillips Industries also introduced its first auxiliary vertical dual pole plug and socket that meet the new SAE J3082 standards for high current connections between a tractor and a (semi-) trailer to provide power to application specific equipment installed on the trailer.
  SAE J3082 was released in late 2015 and includes standards for vertically aligned pins, typically for loads such as power tarpaulins. Phillips Industries’ vertical dual pole design includes offset pins that allow for ground contact to occur prior to power, preventing the potential for arcing. 

Doug Kosch, Rockford Toolcraft

Doug Kosch said Rockford Toolcraft’s metal stamping plant in Rockford, Illinois, is home to “Brutus,” its largest metal stamping press—a Verson 4400-ton transfer press.

According to the video voiceover, “Brutus is looking for work. Fully automated, labor-saving, cost-efficient. Complicated parts are his specialty. Supported by a state-of-the-art tool and die department.”

There are many other metal stamping presses in the 191,000-square-foot plant on 13½ acres, along with die repair, a robotic welding center, an Arku Flatmaster 50, an AccurPress hydraulic CNC press brake, a Fanuc robot parts loader and three Amada lasers. The plant contains the main warehouse, shipping facility, tool build facility, and an additional quality department, which is also staffed and equipped to handle any customer needs.

The company was established in 1976 by Jerry Busse as a two-man tool and die shop. His son, Tom, joined the family business a few years later, and now leads the company.

Rockford Toolcraft has grown to nearly 400 employees at two plant locations in Rockford. Rockford Toolcraft serves markets in agriculture (40%), heavy truck (30%), appliance (5%), commercial hardware (10%), automotive (5%), heavy electrical (5%), and RV (5%), with metal stampings and assemblies.

Services include converting a cast part to a stamped part, eliminating several weldments into a single stamping, or inserting a nut into the die as it’s running to eliminate a secondary operation.

There are a total of 60 presses in two state-of-the-art plants ranging from 100 tons up to “Brutus” that make quick use of a coil of steel up to 40,000 pounds, 60 inches wide, and a half-inch thick.

Rockford Toolcraft has always designed and built its own stamping dies and supplies other OEM stampers with dies.

Auto Form simulation software lets the company design a tool on the computer, and see the results of any changes virtually. With Auto Form, the company can see what’s happening to the material, like any spring-back, thickening or thinning, and identify weaknesses before it manufactures the tool. A 4000-watt laser with 15 pallets can run in automatically in a “lights out” operation. The 6000-watt laser can cut material up to 1¼ inches thick. A new fiber optic laser cuts material three to five times faster than conventional CO2 lasers. And the five-axis laser can cut 3D profiles on parts. Four robotic weld cells improve quality and increase capacity. The stamping department is TS-certified and the tool room is ISO-certified.

Joe Cacioppo, Lincoln Electric

Joe Cacioppo said Lincoln Electric’s SuperGlaze 5356 TM is an engineered aluminum alloy GMAW wire designed specifically for applications in the trailer manufacturing industry.

The engineered alloy system provides optimal puddle clarity and arc action as well as excellent wetting for both semi-automatic and high productivity automatic applications. It’s an aluminum wire designed to provide superior operating characteristics and improved bead appearance.

He showed a video of Great Dane Trailers’ aluminum welding with SuperGlaze TM.

Alan Whiten said welding is probably one of the toughest procedures or quality items for Great Dane to manage, so it is very important for the quality of the trailer.

“We weld everything from the rear frame, assembly, and a lot welding on the bug operation, which is the tire assembly,” he said. “We weld the full length. In this case of a 53-foot trailer, we do a continuous 53-foot weld. With the SuperGlaze 5356 TM product, we’ve seen pick-ups, better quality weld. In the floors, which are very visible to our customers, the weld appears to be better. It looks better and the weld is a higher quality.”

Kent Bode, Grote Industries

Grote Industries’ newest offering is what Kent Bode said is the world’s first four-in-one stop tail turn light with integrated backup.

“Designed in a six-inch oval and four-inch round style, these seamlessly combine four LED functions into one lamp,” he said. “This design eliminates two holes and two lamps in the rear of straight, vocational, and specialized vehicles, negates potential leaks, improves structural integrity and corrosion resistance, and leaves more room for other controls, such as lift gates and grab rails.

“It also fits existing mounting grommets and flanges, reducing inventory and maintenance costs while saving space for fleets and trucks.”

He also talked about the Radius Light, a 1200-Lumen, proprietary flood light that is tough, durable, and lightweight with cast aluminum housing, 6-200 lumen LEDs using custom designed T-I-R optics for the most efficient, daylight-like, light distribution. Rated to I-P69-K for the highest level of ingress protection of trailer exterior lighting on the market, it can be mounted directly on a surface with the gasket when wiring is internal or extended outward from a trailer rail with the spacer/wire guide when the wiring is external.

“It’s the perfect light to make sure the work environment around your trailers and equipment is safe from hidden objects, injury-inducing dark corners, and falls,” he said. 

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has honored Grote Industries with its “Pillar of the Industry Award,” reflecting Grote’s work to improve the business environment for the equipment manufacturing industry.

Grote was recognized for its efforts in 2015 to advocate for pro-manufacturing solutions to elected leaders and for its participation in AEM’s “I Make America” grassroots program.

Jon Jeffries, Hendrickson

Jon Jeffries said Hendrickson Trailer Commercial Vehicle Systems has expanded its brake offerings with the launch of Hendrickson MAXX22T–“the first and only air disc brake system optimized for North American trailer applications.”

MAXX22T combines exclusive Hendrickson technology with WABCO’s proven air disc brake system to address the industry’s increased demand for trailer air disc brakes.

He said one size does not fit all when it comes to air disc brakes. The forces that dictate a brake system’s design differ between the tractor and trailer. Hendrickson’s extensive expertise in understanding trailer dynamics culminated in the launch of the first air disc brake system that aligns with the braking requirements of North American tractor-trailer combinations.

Available on most INTRAAX and VANTRAAX integrated suspension systems, MAXX22T combines WABCO’s bi-directional single piston design with Hendrickson-designed wheel-end and brake components for higher reliability, reduced weight, and installation efficiency. He said when MAXX22T is paired with the leading lightweight advantages of Hendrickson’s INTRAAX or VANTRAAX systems, fleets experience unparalleled weight savings.

The MAXX22T system features a bolt-on splash guard for easier installation and maintenance that is also e-coated for superior corrosion protection. In addition, this new design allows for simplified rotor inspection.

MAXX22T is available with TIREMAAX PRO and any of Hendrickson’s READY-TO-ROLL wheel-end packages to maximize uptime and provide the convenience and reliability of a single-source supplier. MAXX22T air disc brakes are rated up to 23,000 lbs gross axle weight rating (GAWR) with select tire static-loaded radius (SLR).

Michael Hartman, SKF USA

Michael Hartman said SKF USA, together with General Bearings and P.S.I., is offering a range of extended warranty options of up to seven years for trailer OEMs.

He said SKF has been a leader in wheel end technology for over 100 years, providing bearings for the earliest commercial trucks and pioneering the industry’s first self-contained oil type seal, the Scotseal. SKF is a factory first-fit supplier to many U.S. truck and trailer OEMs.

The new warranty is part of the SKF Trouble-Free Operation, or TFO, program.

“The SKF TFO extended warranty wheel end system package offers several important advantages,” Hartman said. “First, the SKF TFO extended warranty wheel end system package does not require you to purchase additional systems or components, which are often requirements in competitive offers. Second, it does not require trailer OEMs to purchase pre-assembled kits. You can continue to purchase and install products just as you do today.

“By using the package’s components on all trailer applications, sourcing can be simplified and transaction costs reduced. In order to benefit from the SKF TFO extended warranty package, the trailer OEM wheel end must include a Hyatt tapered roller bearing, an SKF Scotseal PlusXL wheel seal, hub-mounted or spindle-mounted, and an SKF TF Hubcap. The SKF SCOTSeal Plus XL wheel seal is the industry’s first seal that can be installed by hand—no special tools required. Its wave seal design dissipates heat and sweeps oil back to the bearings.

“You can also choose to use the new SKF spindle mount Scotseal PlusXL. Engineered on the success of the original Scotseal PlusXL, the spindle mount Scotseal PlusXL provides long, trouble-free operation. A metal ID with patented BoreTite coating provides quick heat dissipation and eliminates the need for additional sealant.

“The SKF TF (or Trouble-Free) Hubcap with Splashguard includes unique features that make it a leading choice among fleets across North America. Its lightweight, super strong Zytel construction resists impact damage, chemicals, road salt, UV radiation and ozone. Aluminum hubcaps can degrade in these everyday yet harsh conditions.

“Under the warranty program, you can choose SKF hubcaps for oil bath or grease applications, as well as hubcaps that are compatible with the Meritor Tire Inflation System by P.S.I.

“In addition to the extended warranty, trailer OEMs receive free wheel end component training and certification by SKF. And free training is also available for qualifying fleet customers.

“The SKF TFO extended warranty wheel end package for trailer manufacturers:

• Proven, high quality components.

• Simplified sourcing and reduced transaction costs.

• Free training and certification.

• Free training for fleets.

• No requirement to purchase pre-assembled kits or other components.

• Industry-leading SKF warranties of three, five, or seven years.”

For more information about the SKF TFO extended warranty wheel end system package, or to learn more about other SKF products for the heavy duty trucking industry, see your wheel end component supplier or your SKF representative.

Mark Moore, Auto Research Center

At its world headquarters in Indianapolis in 1998, Auto Research Center built the first scale-model, rolling-road wind tunnel in the USA, along with complete chassis dyno capabilities with a seven-post rig. ARC now has a fully staffed facility with engineers, designers, and model makers specializing in helping race teams develop their cars to championship caliber.

“Nothing requires pure efficiency like a race car,” said Mark Moore. “Reynard once was the world’s largest race car manufacturer and still holds the lap record at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the closed-course world speed record of over 240 mph. These records are approaching 20 years old.

“We have done development work for all of the auto manufacturers in Detroit and abroad. Most of what we do is strictly confidential for the customer. We have competing manufacturers working separately within our facility, so we run an extremely tight ship to keep our integrity and intellectual property proprietary to those groups.

“One great exception is the new Camaro ZL1. In 2011, Chevrolet acknowledged the success of using its on-track testing alongside Auto Research Center’s rolling-road wind tunnel, helping develop downforce and styling through its years of racing.

“The Freightliner Super Truck Program is one of four super truck programs financed by the Department of Energy. ARC was involved in the design and consultancy and was responsible for aerodynamics and designing the engine cooling. This effort is to bring technology forward and to meet current GHG 1 standards and GHG 2 standards for the future.

“In 2006, the Auto Research Center worked with NASA on a spec tractor and trailer combination to produce aerodynamic numbers for the EPA. The use of ARC’s rolling-road wind tunnel was instrumental in research and data collection.  With that, the Auto Research Center and NASA laid the ground work for what I would describe as a complete overhaul of how we now look at the commercial transportation industry and moving efficiency forward.

“We complement our wind tunnel with complete in-house CFD simulation. This is done with our own developed software called Elements Stream Line Vehicle Design.”

Chris Shadbolt, Genius Solutions

Chris Shadbolt said Genius Solutions has launched the newest version of its ERP solutions software—Genius Manufacturing ERP V8, an enterprise resource planning system that ensures that custom manufacturers receive a complete, fully integrated and quality system.

With the inclusion of the new Genius Accounting module, Genius Manufacturing ERP V8 now seamlessly manages all financial transactions, with accounts payable, accounts receivable, and general ledger modules. Genius Manufacturing ERP V8 has introduced a new Preliminary Purchasing module, allowing project managers to purchase long lead-time items before a bill of materials is completed. Along with these new notable features, Genius Solutions has refined its existing CAD to BOM system—Genius Engineering to Manufacturing (ETM)—as well as the current Customer Relations Module (CRM), allowing managers and employees to efficiently manage sales leads, and the Genius REST API which will allow the integration of third-party products, websites, and custom developments.

Genius Solutions delivers complete solutions, including software, implementation services and field expertise to meet the needs of make-to-order and engineering-to-order manufacturing companies aiming to effectively manage their growth.

Russell Stubbs, Eco Flaps

Russell Stubbs said Eco Flaps are patented aerodynamic splashguards that provide a cost-effective solution for compliance with the EPA/NHTSA Phase 2 GHG regulations.

“The patented vented design is proven to reduce wind resistance and drag,” he said. “Practical road testing consistently shows a 3.5% fuel savings on dry van trailers. We do SAE J1321 track testing, SAE J2263 coast down testing, and wind tunnel testing, and are currently in the process of obtaining SmartWay verification.

“This is the only aero device that is a standard part on all trailers, not aftermarket. OEMs are required to install mud flaps/splashguards. The cost differential between Eco Flaps and traditional flaps is marginal compared to gains achieved in fuel efficiency.”

There is a two-year manufacturer’s warranty offered on all parts sold. Flaps may be cut to fit any bracket, either angled or straight. Eco Flaps’ average weight is 4.5 pounds, compared to 8 pounds for a traditional mudflap. They are available in 18” and 24” widths and several lengths.

“Eco Flaps deliver improved safety and company image. The patented design drastically reduces road spray in wet conditions, making it safer for both the truck driver and the surrounding motorists.

“Less spray around the truck means the driver no longer has to stare into a cloud of road spray when checking his side mirrors, so the driver spends more time looking at what’s ahead of the truck.

“Conventional mud flaps create drag and excess road spray, whereas Eco Flaps move air and water through the flap surface, thus reducing drag and drastically reducing spray. ‘Traditional’ mud flaps have not changed in design since their inception in the 1950s. Added drag equals decreased fuel efficiency and reduced performance. Conventional material composition leads to rampant breakage, causing added maintenance costs, equipment downtime, and driver headaches. Other low-cost aerodynamic flaps bring little actual value. Though they’ve tried to mimic Eco Flaps’ vented design, they are unable to achieve the proven fuel efficiency gains that Eco Flaps has. They are composed of polypropylene—plastic—and crack or break easily in cold weather and rough driving conditions.”

There are nearly a 100,000 tractors and trailers in North America improving aerodynamics and reducing fuel costs with Eco Flaps. Eco Flaps have been proven to save approximately 700 gallons of the 20,000 gallons a truck will use annually. Average savings can amount to $2800 per year for trucks and trailer combinations with Eco Flaps—based on $2 per gallon fuel cost and up to 3.5% mpg improvement with Eco Flaps on both tractor and trailer. Reduced fuel consumption can also reduce truck emissions by 400,000 CO2 tons annually to dramatically reduce the vehicles’ carbon footprint.

Neil McIrvin, KIC

Neil McIrvin said KIC has been providing truck, bus, and trailer parts to the world’s OEM and aftermarket users and is now “one of the fastest-growing wheel end suppliers.”

He showcased KIC’s newest lightweight wheel-end products:

•  Next generation Trident lightweight composite brake drum. “KIC’s Next Generation Trident 80002 series brake drum addresses the need for a lightweight, but technically superior, brake drum that will help North America’s trailer fleets cut costs and maximize payloads. The Trident composite steel shell brake drum saves up to 45 pounds per axle compared to standard cast iron drums.”

•  Lightweight steel wheels. “Driven by customer demand, KIC brand steel wheels have undergone the same design and manufacturing optimization techniques we pioneered. Our lightweight steel wheels offer durability and corrosion resistance while at the same time exceeding all OEM testing standards. KIC steel wheels feature a triple layer corrosion resistant coating, beginning with a zinc phosphate pretreatment, we apply an e-coat primer process, then finish with a powder coat paint.”

•  Lightweight forged aluminum wheel. “Made from 6061 T6 high-strength aluminum, KIC’s one-piece rotary forged aluminum wheels are made on state-of-the-art forging and CNC machining equipment. Our wheels are price-competitive with a machine finish that looks close to polished and they come with the valve stem installed. KIC wheels also feature pre-stressed aluminum for increased durability and a unique patent-pending disc profile.”

•  KICAST optimized cast iron brake drum. “KIC took the industry-standard sixteen and a half by seven cast iron brake drum and reduced its weight by over ten pounds. Even though we reduced the weight to 102-104 pounds, the new design improves stopping ability by increasing radial stiffness. Independent test results show that it takes 25% less brake line pressure to produce the same amount of torque (compared to competitors’ drums). We provide you with weight savings while providing critical safety improvements at the same time.”

KIC, based in Vancouver, WA, is a commercial vehicle wheel end firm that serves the Class 8 truck, trailer, transit/school bus, and suspension OEMs and associated aftermarkets. Formed in 1972, KIC has supplied components and engineering design services to industries ranging from wood products and materials handling, to the international truck parts aftermarket.

KIC has product distribution centers throughout North America. It has done business in 56 countries and today contract manufactures in five different countries.

Ted Saltzman, Optronics Products, LLC

Optronics International’s release of the SuperLamp Technology was the culmination of more than two years of research and development and sets a new standard for strength and durability within the vehicle lighting arena. The engineers for Optronics, America’s largest offshore vehicle lighting manufacturer, designed the new lamp to resist a variety of environmental factors that would severely compromise other lamps or render them completely inoperable.

The new lamp’s unique performance characteristics are the result of rigorous design parameters established by Optronics back in 2012, coupled with equally stringent testing protocols that have followed every step in the process.

Ted Saltzman said the four-inch-round LED SuperLamp stop/tail/turn lamp has been designed to withstand assaults on its internal electrical components, while a specially formulated coating and bonding system protects its exterior lens and housing.

The electronic circuitry within today’s LED lamps is vulnerable, and a variety of circumstances can cause irreversible damage. Optronics’ new LED SuperLamps have been redesigned to be immune from the crippling effects of transient voltage, electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electrostatic discharge (ESD). The lamps also feature solid-state, surface-mount device (SMD) technology that will allow the LEDs to continue to function even if the unprotected circuit board is completely submerged in water.
Regular LED lenses and lamp housings can also degrade and fail when exposed to the array of caustic chemicals that are common in today’s commercial vehicle environment. To battle chemical-related degradation, Optronics engineered a revolutionary coating that it applies to the entire lamp, which has been specially designed to accept and bond with the coating. The coating is engineered to be highly resistant to petroleum distillates such as coolant ethylene and coolant propylene, as well as diesel fuel, battery fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, organic solvents, methanol, detergents, cleaners, and urea.

The new LED SuperLamp has also been demonstrated to be highly resilient in tests involving UV exposure, flammability, vibration, temperature cycling, accelerated aging, high-velocity water spray, free-fall drops, humidity, salt fog corrosion, dust, thermal shock, and gravel bombardment.
Testing of the new LED SuperLamp was conducted, in part, by Intertek, a global leader in auditing, inspection, testing, training, advisory, quality assurance, and certification.

The LED SuperLamp meets all FMVSS 108 photometric requirements for visibility and safety, and each lamp will come with a lifetime warranty. Four-inch-round grommet-mount red and amber lamps and six-inch oval red and amber lamps were introduced first, followed by flange-mount versions.

Optronics also has expanded its Opti-Brite LED work lamp line with the introduction of five new Opti-Brite Wide-Angle LED Work Lamps. Unlike conventional LED work lights, each of the new lamps features a slim profile and a noticeably convex lens that produces a 40% wider area of illumination.

The selection of five models offers a wide range of effective lumen outputs capable of meeting the needs of a broad variety of situations. All five wide-angle LED work lights feature ultra-smooth polycarbonate lens surfaces that resist dust adhesion, and each lamp is constructed with a durable, die-cast aluminum housing and comes with a tough, stainless steel mounting bracket. The lamps are designed to accommodate both 12- and 24-volt electrical systems.
Like all other work lamps in the Opti-Brite line, the new wide-angle LED work lights are covered by the company’s no-hassle, one-diode lifetime warranty, which replaces the entire lamp if even one diode fails. Opti-Brite Wide-Angle LED Work Lamps also feature reverse polarity protection and are EMC R10 approved.

Opti-Brite Wide-Angle LED Work Lamps part numbers include: TLL55FB, TLL70FB, TLL71FB, TLL72FB and TLL73FB. The new lamps became available in June.

Bill Walker, Kloeckner Metals

Bill Walker of Kloeckner Metals’ Temtco Steel Division said, “We make steel sexy and then we send it to lot of you in this room and you turn it into money.”

Temtco is a division of Kloeckner Metals and its parent company, Kloeckner & Co SE Group, the largest independent metals distributor in Europe and North America. Kloeckner Metals, including its Temtco Division, is transforming distribution and bringing more to over 25,000 metalworking businesses throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Kloeckner’s success with these customers is achieved by using its “technological, commercial, operational, and financial strengths to meet and exceed the challenging requirements of today’s business environment.”

Klöckner & Co SE Group has been publicly traded in Europe since 2006 and generated sales of around $10 billion in 2011. Klöckner & Co SE is represented in 20 countries worldwide at more than 290 distribution and service locations, and employs more than 11,000 people.

Mark Slawikowski, PPG Industries

Mark Slawikowski said PPG Industries has released a new, acrylic coating specifically engineered to improve corrosion and acid resistance.

“It’s something we’ve been working on for a number of years to address problems we have seen with some of the trailers as far as the corrosion standpoint,” he said.

Founded in 1883 as Pittsburgh Plate Glass by Captain John B Ford and John Pitcairn in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. PPG is now a global supplier of paints, coatings, optical products, specialty materials, glass, and fiberglass.
PPG helps customers in industrial, transportation, consumer products, and construction markets and aftermarkets to enhance surfaces.

PPG had total net sales in 2015 of $15.3 billion and is ranked 190th on the Fortune 500. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange. ♦

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.