A look at new trailer products

July 5, 2015
TTMA Associates use 240-second time slots to tout benefits of their products

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 is what they had to say:

Alcoa attacks corrosion

Alcoa has rolled out what Todd Hershberger says is its most durable, easy-to-maintain commercial truck wheel, Dura-Bright EVO, to the North American market.

Alcoa’s Dura-Bright EVO wheel maintains all the benefits of its predecessor, the Dura-Bright wheel with XBR technology, while taking the wheel’s performance to a new level. The Dura-Bright EVO wheel is 10 times more resistant to corrosion primarily caused by road salts and weather elements, and more resistant to chemicals found in the toughest truck-cleaning agents. This durability enables the use of a wider variety of cleaning solutions to simplify maintenance, while preserving the integrity and brightness of the wheel.

Unlike competitive surface coatings that can crack, peel, corrode and dull quickly, the Dura-Bright wheel allows brilliant shine to last even after years of use, without the need for polishing. Dura-Bright is not a coating, but rather a surface treatment that penetrates the aluminum and becomes an integral part of the wheel, ensuring what happens on the road stays on the road.

Regular cleaning with commonly used truck washing products or with just mild soap and water will keep the wheels shiny, even after hundreds of washes and thousands of miles, reducing maintenance costs.

Dura-Bright EVO, the latest generation of Dura-Bright first launched in 2001, now also stays cleaner for longer and washes with less effort. In addition, all Alcoa wheels are made from one piece of forged aluminum, making them lighter and stronger than steel wheels, increasing payload and fuel efficiency.

The Dura-Bright EVO wheel is commercially available in North America for orders shipping in August on Alcoa’s popular LvL ONE 22.5” x 8.25” and 24.5” x 8.25” wheels. All remaining North American fitments will shift to Dura-Bright EVO in January, extending the innovation to fitments from Class 3 through 8.

Hershberger also talked about the Ultra ONE Wheel with MagnaForce alloy, which he says provides unmatched strength and unbeatable weight. By utilizing MagnaForce alloy, Alcoa shed five pounds of overall weight from its 22.5” x 8.25” wheel, so each one weighs only 40 pounds. Add it up to save nearly another 100 pounds per rig.

Alcoa has been innovating wheel technologies since inventing the forged aluminum wheel in 1948. Beyond Dura-Bright wheels, Alcoa has produced products that have opened market applications across industries, from surface treatments that enable adhesive bonding for aerospace structures and structural joining for automotive applications, to anodization and coating technologies for durable, sustainable building and construction materials and aesthetic treatments for consumer electronic devices.

 Dow refines polyurethane tech

Robert York said Dow has more than 60 years’ experience in polyurethane technology, providing materials science expertise with technical and customer service. Polyurethane production contributes over 10% of Dow’s overall annual revenue.

He said Dow has been an industry leader in polyether polyols, isocyanates, Propylene Oxide, and Propylene Glycol, and has a strong presence in all regions with manufacturing facilities, sales, and technical support.

Key markets and applications: industrial (coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers, composites, binders); comfort (furniture, bedding, footwear); energy efficiency (building insulation, appliance insulation, cold-chain).

“Our goal is to provide innovative and customized solutions and products through close collaboration with our customers to help them capitalize on growth opportunities,” York said. “Dedicated teams collaborate with individual manufacturers to develop lightweight, energy-efficient solutions. On behalf of the entire industry we are advocating to the EPA to extend the timeline for the proposed Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) rule. We are here to learn from each of you what new solutions are needed and what else we can do to support the industry. Put low global warming potential solutions in gear. Dow polyurethane solutions are in development to meet EPA-proposed blowing agent regulations and help you get ahead.

York said that to make a smooth and seamless shift to a low global warming potential (GWP) solution in refrigerated trailer applications, get hooked up with Dow’s:

• Game-changing science. New high-performance foam systems based on a decade of low-GWP blowing agent research.

• Expert collaboration. Dedicated teams work closely with customers to develop lightweight, energy-efficient solutions.

• Exceptional service. Dow is ready to work through specific requirements to ensure a smooth transition of operations within a manageable timeline and keep customers delivering the performance they expect.

Hennecke deals with hazardous agents

James Shoup said Hennecke has various methods of converting plants and equipment to meet regulations for using hazardous blowing agents: Pentamat, HK topline foam machine, MT mixhead, and bulk storage systems.

Upcoming EPA rule changes take effect January 1, 2017, when it will be unacceptable to use blowing agents such as HFC-134a, HFC-365mfc, HFC 245-fa or blends of these to manufacture foam, and to import products containing foam with these blowing agents.

Alternatives for these blowing agents are Class 1/Div I and Class 1/Div II hazardous chemicals under the National Electrical Code (NEC).

Specific regulations and requirements need to be determined prior to using hazardous blowing agents.

Zones and equipment locations:

• Class I/Div 1: From dispense point three-foot radius floor to ceiling.

• Class I/Div 2: From dispense point eight-foot radius floor to ceiling.

• Class I/Div 2: From dispense point 25-foot radius floor to 3-foot high.

GMAW wire from Lincoln Electric

Joe Cacioppo said 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.


• Superior wetting. Unparalleled bead profile and appearance, which are critical for groove and fillet welds on aluminum trailer beds.

• Enhanced puddle clarity and control. SuperGlaze 5356 TM has an engineered chemical composition developed specifically to outperform standard ER5356 electrodes and gives the operator unprecedented control.

• Maximum arc performance and stability. Proprietary manufacturing processes give SuperGlaze 5356 TM the smoothest surface finish in the industry, making it ideal for automatic applications on formed truck panels.

Typical applications:

• High-speed groove welds on formed truck panels.

• Multi-pass fillet and lap welds on 6XXX series base materials.

• Robotic fillet welds on trailer tanks requiring minimal post-weld cleanup.

Earthwise Plastics reinvents the tree

James Harnesss said Earthwise Plastics of Marion, Indiana, is an innovative company that is devoted to manufacturing high-quality synthetic lumber at affordable prices.

He said Earthwise Plastics has changed the way the consumer looks at plastic lumber. In the past, prices have stopped people from buying products other than wood. EP uses 100% recycled plastic in all of its products, which can be used for outdoor furniture, landscaping, scuff liners, and pallets. Its 100% plastic boards are UV-protected and will not splinter or crack. They will never need to be stained or sanded.

He said EP supplies the top five trailer manufacturers, according to Trailer/Body Builders’ output report.

EP has an in-house engineer who works with OEM engineers for new profile development, and has a track record of working with the engineering departments at Wabash National, Great Dane, Vanguard, and Hyundai to develop new profiles.

It uses MasterCam and SolidWorks for tool/profile design and has a tool and die shop, giving it the ability to manufacture its own dies and sleeves, and in-house maintenance and machinery build.

Some products:

• Scuff: Semi Trailer Scuff Liner Board. Heavy-duty scuff boards provide superior protection against puncture and impact damage to trailer walls. This durability aids in increasing the trailer’s service life and reduces maintenance costs. EP’s scuff liner board is well-suited for the aftermarket and trailer refurbishment industry. HDPE scuff liner is often used in place of wood or aluminum liners.

In addition to standard scuff board shapes, EP offers the option for custom-designed scuff profiles to accommodate specific trailer designs. EP is currently providing scuff boards for multiple OEM trailer manufacturers and aftermarket dealers. The scuff liner is available in black or white.

• Industrial/safety: HDPE for industrial and safety. EP’s 100% recycled HDPE plastic lumber is available in a variety of sizes for use in many industrial applications. Extrusions can be used in the fabrication of specialty pallets and other forms of shipping dunnage. EP makes parking curbs and chock blocks for carts and trucks. In addition, it can develop tooling for any custom industrial or safety related profile that a customer may require. Its extruded plastic has the strength to withstand environmental exposure and heavy public use. These profiles are used by individuals, companies, municipalities, and distributors.

Meritor introduces MTec6 axle

Building on the strength of a century-long legacy of axle manufacturing, Meritor has introduced the MTec6. Martha Remski said it’s the product of advanced engineering and manufacturing capabilities, and is a 6-inch-diameter axle that offers industry-leading weight savings and structural advantages to maximize fleet productivity.

“We applied Meritor’s advanced product development and manufacturing technologies, combined with a century of experience building axles, to develop the market’s lightest trailer axle,” she said.

“The MTec6 will save fuel, expand payload capacity and increase tire life.”

Meritor’s design experience and manufacturing processes allow for more efficient use of materials, resulting in an axle that is 36 pounds lighter than the industry-standard 5-inch axle. The lighter axle reduces gross trailer weight to enhance fuel economy and available payload. The MTec6’s greater stiffness reduces axle deflection to maintain neutral camber better than smaller-diameter axles, which helps reduce tire wear.

“Our MTec6 is designed to help fleets get the most from their van and refrigerated applications by achieving a higher level of efficiency and reduced maintenance costs,” Remski said. “Using our engineering expertise in axle design, we developed a larger-diameter axle with reduced wall thickness while improving basic physical properties, resulting in a lighter, high-strength product.”

Because the MTec6 utilizes less material, it is a greener, more environmentally friendly product. After completion of extensive lab testing and field validation, the MTec6 will be available later this year.

Meritor is one of the world’s largest independent manufacturers of commercial vehicle axles. Its 65 years of experience designing and manufacturing trailer components puts it at the forefront of axle innovation. Meritor axles incorporate features that maximize quality, extend life and minimize maintenance.

New ULX40 from SAF Holland

Detlef Borghardt said SAF-Holland systems, is now offering the ULX40 mechanical tandem slider spring suspension system fully assembled and ready to install.

Built around high-tech composite springs, the ULX40 offers a ride like no spring system before it, he said. Independent test track research has shown that the variation in road vibration and impact to cargo and trailer between the SAF composite spring and standard air springs is minimal, and both compare significantly better than standard steel spring suspensions.

He said the ULX40 is the lightest weight tandem slider axle suspension system in the industry, offering savings up to 125 pounds per system.

But the real advantage to the ULX40 is cost savings that come through the simple design. Without air springs and shock absorbers to replace, or valve systems to maintain, the cost of ownership over the life of a spring suspension is considerably lower compared to an air ride. Conservative estimates project savings of $650 per trailer over a 10-year period.

Manufactured and assembled out of the Warrenton, Missouri facility, the ULX40 comes with a full 10-year Durasystem warranty, the industry’s first and only 10-year axle and suspension system warranty.

In a video, driver Scott Demorest said, “What I seem to notice with a composite spring is that … the trailer pulls easier … the composite rides nicer and pulls easier.”

And Equity Transport fleet manager Mark Minnie said, “We brought in 50 of the new Hyundai trailers with the SAF mechanical suspensions on them. We haul a lot of furniture. There was some concern at first of taking air bags off the trailers—that they wouldn’t get their furniture in, you know, the same condition as before, but we’ve proved them wrong on that, and they’re very happy with the composites now.”

Published studies indicate that maintenance costs for spring ride suspensions average $650 less than air ride suspensions over a 10-year period. For a fleet of 500 trailers, that could save over $325,000 in 10 years.

Multiple fixes with DuraSeal

Here’s how Goodyear DuraSeal works. When a puncture occurs, a yellow gel-like rubber compound surrounds the object and seals the tread puncture. Goodyear DuraSeal can seal the same tire multiple times without the tire going flat or the sealant needing to be reapplied. When the object is removed during routine maintenance, the yellow gel-like rubber instantly seals the puncture. The tread is the part of the tire where punctures most often occur. Goodyear DuraSeal seals the tread puncture, helping to extend the tread’s surface life.

​DuraSeal tires are also retreadable throughout the casing life, helping a fleet get more miles out of its tires. And DuraSeal doesn’t require messy removal before retreading, making it less costly and safer to retread. DuraSeal Technology instantly seals punctures to help keep long-haul fleets rolling.

Fuel is also an important factor that affects a fleet’s bottom line. That’s why Goodyear offers DuraSeal in a complete line of G316 LHT Fuel Max tires featuring Fuel Max Technology. Goodyear G316 LHT Fuel Max tires feature a special fuel-saving compound that offers low rolling resistance that helps improve fuel economy while maintaining long tread life. Fleets can increase uptime while also helping to reduce operating costs.

Coming in the fall: the new Goodyear Fuel Max LHT tires with DuraSeal technology. These new trailer tires will help fleets save fuel, as well as reduce down time. Goodyear Commercial truck tires feature innovative technology accumulated through almost a century of experience in commercial trucking.

STEMCO moves into aerodynamics

Bob Montgomery said STEMCO’s recent acquisition of ATDynamics and the Trailer Tail product family provides the platform for its new Innovative Tire and Mileage Solutions group and a comprehensive suite of fuel-saving, aerodynamic technologies.

With over nine years and three billion miles of proven, real-world performance, Trailer Tail technology has revolutionized the category of aerodynamic rear-drag reduction, he said.

Rear-drag accounts for a full quarter of the aerodynamic resistance affecting a truck and trailer. Trailer Tail technology provides an effective and immediate way to reduce fuel consumption by 5% per tractor-trailer. Extremely tough, easy-to-install and requiring minimal maintenance, the Trailer Tail typically pays for itself within the first year of operation, he said.

The environmental benefits are equally impressive. Every Trailer Tail on the highway offsets the carbon emissions equivalent to one passenger vehicle per year, for an estimated reduction of 50 million tons of carbon dioxide over the next 10 years.

Increased safety is another significant benefit of Trailer Tail technology. By streamlining the air coming off the back of the trailer, a Trailer Tail lessens the turbulence and drag, resulting in improved stability and reduced operator fatigue. Trailer Tail also reduces road spray in wet conditions, improving visibility for vehicles behind and beside the trailer.

PreSet hub technology from ConMet

Kevin Ward said that with state-of-the-art design, superior components and low-maintenance features, PreSet Plus is the complete package.

​ConMet took its PreSet hub technology and improved it. PreSet Plus hub assemblies have all the great features of PreSet plus the company has incorporated its fully integrated spindle nut. ConMet’s patented integrated nut system significantly improves wheel end clamp load, makes installation easier, aids in removal of the hub for servicing, and provides improved safety features.

PreSet Plus hubs have an optimized bearing spacer. For PreSet Plus hub assemblies, ConMet has added an enhanced bearing spacer which optimizes clamp load and maximizes performance and durability.

It added features the industry asked for. PreSet Plus hubs incorporate their own spindle nut system, an optimized bearing spacer, and available ConMet Premium Bearings. They come standard with a magnetic fill plug and a premium “Best in Class” seal and is available with ConMet Premium Bearings. They are completely pre-assembled and ready to install, eliminating the need for bearing adjustment.

Save money on maintenance with PreSet Plus. All components of PreSet Plus hubs are field serviceable, and the specially designed spindle nuts make for easier removal of the complete assembly for servicing. The outboard bearing cone has been retained to prevent damage during removal, and ensures the seal is protected during installation.

Fleet Engineers trims fuel efficiency

Wes Eklund said that for 50 years, Fleet Engineers has built a solid reputation for producing quality truck and trailer products, and by continually investing in better technology and attracting highly skilled professionals, it is focused on maintaining a leadership position designing and developing products to transform the transportation industry.

Fleet Engineers produces more than 1300 truck and trailer products, including everything from hinges to customized mud flaps. The current focus is on improving fuel efficiency through the development of aerodynamic and lighter weight products such as AeroFlap aerodynamic mudflaps, Air Slipper trailer side skirts, and PolyTrak polyethylene roll-up doors.

In the summer of 2012, Fleet Engineers opened a 42,000-square-foot plant to house the new injection-molding operations and assembly of the PolyTrak and ToughTrak roll-up doors. The company has also emphasized the development of products made from recycled materials and the use of materials that are recyclable at the end of their service life. These products are available throughout North and South America, and Europe by distributors, dealers and original equipment manufacturers who are supported by warehousing services.

The Muskegon, Michigan, campus currently has four manufacturing and warehouse buildings. If a part needs to be created or altered to meet individual specifications, Fleet has the ability and capabilities to deliver quality components in a timely manner. Value-added services such as testing, fabrication, and finishing ensure quality. The company has been awarded the highest quality ratings by Ford’s Q1, Navistar’s QA-70, PACCAR and AM General, and is ISO9001 compliant.

The new products:

• The aerodynamic and lightweight AeroSaver reduces fuel consumption by up to 7%. AeroSaver is the only trailer side skirt that gives the option of mounting in either straight or angled orientations with the same hardware. It ships and stores in three equal lengths, which reduces shipping charges and frees up inventory space. Easier installation can be completed by just one person in less time than it takes to install other brands of trailer side skirts with two people. The lightweight AeroSaver is made from recycled products.

•  AeroFlap’s unique pattern channels airflow in different, complimentary directions which saves fuel by reducing drag. Studies confirm a pair of non-aerodynamic mudflaps increase fuel consumption by .5% to 1%. AeroFlap reduces spray by not atomizing or “smashing” water droplets, creating a safer environment for everyone on the road. It eliminates the need for anti-sail brackets due to the way air is channeled and breaks up the trailing air vortex. It reduces maintenance costs by venting excess heat around tires and brakes. AeroFlap’s polypropylene material is uniquely designed to withstand colder temperatures—successfully tested to -30°F.

AeroFlap is the only aerodynamic mudflap designed for use with angled shortie brackets. Traditional flaps must be cut in places not intended for new mounting holes, which causes their flaps to tear away.

It’s available in 24”, 30”, and 36” heights for vehicles sitting at different heights. It stacks neatly and nests on shipping skids, ensuring that the product stacks, stores, and ships without headache. The AeroFlap works in synergy with the EPA’s Smartway Program for truck/trailer aerodynamics.

• The PolyTrak roll-up door is completely interchangeable with wood panels. It has a smooth appearance, with no visible rivets. Galvanized metal reinforcement channels increase strength. Vinyl lettering and graphics adhere well to panel material.

Hinge hardware and related maintenance is greatly reduced. The door can easily be cut to any height and width. It never needs painting and cleans easily. Individual panels are replaceable if accidently damaged. Lightweight material saves fuel costs. Cables are not hidden for maintenance needs.

Accuride extends Gunite warranty

Dick Unrath said Accuride has improved the standard warranty coverage for its Gunite standard and Gunite 2000 range of automatic slack adjusters (ASA), extending mileage and warranty length on these models to industry-leading levels. Accuride based the improvements on the exacting quality standards of its automated slack adjuster assembly operation in Rockford, Ill.

The new extended warranties for the Gunite standard ASA and Gunite 2000 ASA are among the industry’s best coverage across the application classifications of: over-the-road/line haul truck and trailers; school bus/city delivery vehicles; and severe service waste/refuse vehicles.

Limited warranty revisions: over-the-road/line-haul trucks and trailers: increased to 6 years/1 million miles, from 5 years/500,000 miles; school bus/city delivery vehicles: increased to 4 years/400,000 miles, from 3 years/300,000 miles; severe service, waste/refuse: increased to 3 years/300,000 miles, from 2 years/200,000 miles.

These six-, four- and three-year warranties are industry-leading for these application segments. The extended warranty is applicable for Gunite ASAs manufactured on or after April 6, 2015. Gunite ASAs manufactured prior to the April 6, 2015, date will remain warranted at previous warranty terms and conditions.

Gunite standard and Gunite 2000 automatic slack adjusters support safe, efficient, Reduced Stopping Distance (RSD)-compliant braking system operation due to their design and performance characteristics:

• Flexible. Un-handed design means it can be mounted on either side of the axle, resulting in fewer part numbers to order and lower inventory levels. External brackets are unnecessary.

• Compact. Its compact housing clears the axle and adjacent chassis components and fits applications other slacks may not.

• Consistent. Its unique combination of clearance-sensing technology and apply-stroke adjustment capability creates one of the most consistent and dependable brake applications in the industry.

• Refined. Delivers finer braking adjustments than other standard slack adjusters in the marketplace for improved stopping distance performance.

TRAMEC Sloan expands

TRAMEC Sloan was created in May 2013 when TRAMEC, LLC of Iola, Kansas, acquired Sloan Transportation Products, headquartered in Holland, Michigan. In November 2013, the group was expanded with the acquisition of Crawford Machine of Galion, Ohio.

Sloan Transportation Products is an ISO-certified company serving the heavy-duty tractor and trailer industry as a single-source provider of original equipment quality air and electrical components. Sloan is a leading supplier of heavy-duty truck and trailer products to original equipment manufacturers and the aftermarket.

The company has one of the industry’s broadest product offerings for the tractor and trailer replacement market, including air and electrical delivery components, lift gate cylinders, hose clamps, gladhands, brass fittings, water pumps, oil filler caps, dipsticks, and air compressor discharge hoses.

Sloan is the exclusive distributor of Michelin heavy-duty wiper blades. Sloan Transportation Products is best known for MAXX Duty performance parts and brass manufacturing capabilities in Bucyrus, Ohio. Sloan maintains stocking warehouses in Bucyrus, Ohio; Holland, Michigan; and Portland, Oregon.

Crawford Machine (CMI) is a producer of brass components and related air assemblies used throughout the tractor and trailer markets in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. CMI, located in Galion, Ohio, employs 135 people, and was founded in 2001 by Hank Hessey and his family. CMI’s customers include the top North American tractor/trailer manufacturers, chassis manufacturers, and industrial distribution companies servicing various industrial markets.

Mark Holm said those strategic acquisitions have “significantly improved our capabilities in material technologies, US-based manufacturing, and product-design development.”

New LED products from Maxxima

Peter Flynn presented a number of new Maxxima LED lighting products, including the Low Profile 0.5” Surface Mount STT.

The new series of 4” Round 9 LED 0.5” deep lamps provide easy surface mounting with foam gasket included. They are hard-wired with a PL-3 connector. Polycarbonate LightningS lens & housing, mounting screws, and cover caps included. It can be hard-wired with PL-3 or dry fit connector.

Features and benefits: polycarbonate lens and housing; high-quality SMD board technology; lens and housing are sealed together using Spin Weld Technology; surface mount design; no need for traditional 4” mounting grommet or hole; only need 1 3/16” mounting hole for hardwired pigtail.

Other products presented: Low Profile 0.5” Surface Mount BU; Low Profile 0.5” Surface Mount PRT; Low Profile 14 LED 6” Oval STT; Low Profile 14 LED 6” Oval PRT; optional 3M mounting tape; and optional recessed grommet.

Maxxima is one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of LED lighting in the commercial vehicle industry, consumer, and industrial markets. With its own staff of engineers and exclusive manufacturing facilities, Maxxima has been at the forefront of innovative and revolutionary lighting products. From Stop, Tail and Turn (STT), Emergency, Interior Cargo, Clearance and Side Marker LED Lamps, add-on accessories, to off-road lighting, to a complete wire-harness system for trucks, buses, trailers, medium- and heavy-duty trucks, Maxxima offers a comprehensive range of lighting products for a wide variety of applications.

LED lighting emits a very intense glow that is brighter than incandescent. The lights consume 10% of the energy required for incandescent, they are more resistant to shock and vibration, and last 100,000 hours, or about a decade of regular use.