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Jacobs says test of Cylinder Deactivation shows improvement in fuel efficiency

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Jacobs says test of cylinder deactivation shows improvement in fuel efficiency
Cylinder Deactivation allows a six-cylinder diesel engine to operate on just three of its cylinders when it is operating under light load and during cold starts. (Courtesy: JACOBS VEHICLE SYSTEMS)

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. — Jacobs Vehicle Systems, a worldwide manufacturer of heavy-duty diesel engine retarding systems and valve actuation systems, recently released the results of fuel consumption and emission reduction tests with the company’s Cylinder Deactivation (CDA) technology under evaluation with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Super Truck II program.

Jacobs’ CDA was installed on a 13-liter Navistar engine and revealed a 3% improvement in fuel consumption, and a corresponding decrease in NOx emissions from the baseline of 0.107 grams per horsepower-hour to 0.097 grams in a heavy duty FTP (Federal Test Procedure) transient cycle test. The NOx reduction is because of the increased exhaust temperatures during cold operation while in CDA mode, which pushes the SCR (selective catalytic reduction) system to its most efficient range of 250-400°C.

“CDA allows a six-cylinder diesel engine to operate on just three of its cylinders when it is operating under light load and during cold starts,” said Robb Janak, Jacobs’ director of new technology. “The CDA mechanism in the valve-train allows the valves in the deactivated cylinders to simply remain closed. The injectors in those cylinders go to zero fuel at the same time to reduce fuel consumption. The engine switches from six-cylinder operation to three-cylinder operation via CDA whenever the load drops below a predetermined threshold.”

The system has undergone lab testing and optimization for several years now and on a truck for nearly a year. CDA is now ready for additional tests on the road.

“We’re excited to collaborate with Navistar on this important demonstration of the technology,” Janak said. “This is allowing us to show that this is not only ready for the road, but also for the market. It is our hope that we will be able to demonstrate even more fuel savings with CDA in real driving conditions than what we have already demonstrated in the lab.”

Super Truck II is a multi-million dollar program involving the DOE, truck manufacturers and equipment suppliers to, in part, develop and demonstrate cost-effective technologies to improve medium- and heavy-duty truck efficiency.

Jacobs has been actively involved with the Super Truck programs since its inception in 2009, testing and evaluating a variety of new technologies at its locations around the world with a variety of original equipment manufacturers.

Janak said CDA represented a breakthrough because previously its two benefits — lower emissions and improved fuel economy — were mutually exclusive. Alternative technologies for lowering emissions by raising after-treatment temperatures have typically caused fuel consumption to worsen.

“It enables large engines to have the fuel economy of smaller engines because it increases the load on the firing cylinders, increasing their efficiency; it reduces camshaft friction; reduces pumping losses in part-load conditions; and can reduce or eliminate use of the intake throttle,” Janak said. “Any number of cylinders can be deactivated as needed. At the lowest engine loads and with three of six cylinders deactivated, fuel consumption improves by up to 20 percent. During vehicle coasting conditions, CDA can be applied to some or all cylinders to further reduced the air mass flow going through the aftertreatment system to both reduce the cooling, and also reduce engine pumping losses, allowing the vehicle to coast further with less fuel.”

Jacobs’ Cylinder Deactivation hardware has so far been demonstrated on 10 different heavy-duty engine platforms, covering seven to 15-liter engines, as well as six different heavy-duty truck road tests. It has undergone 6,900 hours and 118,000 km of durability testing. There have been more than 1.9 billion test cycles on CDA components and over 470 million cycles of fatigue and overload testing.

“While other solutions from the passcar market exist, they have longevity and durability concerns that do not transfer well to the Heavy Duty market. Jacobs’ results demonstrate that its designs were made for the commercial vehicle market and are proven to perform,” Janak said.

Combining this valvetrain technology with Jacob’s engine braking technologies, developed over nearly 60 years of commercial vehicle experience, can optimize the engine valve train for both positive power and engine retarding making it ready to handle the future requirements of heavy duty operation, Janak said.

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Peterbilt delivers model 579EV to Werner for electric-powered truck pilot program

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Peterbilt has partnered with Werner Enterprises for their electric operations. The 579EV utilizes a TransPower Energy Storage Subsystem. (Courtesy: Peterbilt)

DENTON, Texas ­— Werner Enterprises has selected the Peterbilt Model 579EV for their battery electric-powered truck pilot program.

“Werner Enterprises has long been regarded as an industry pioneer, and Peterbilt is honored to partner with them and have our 579EV lead their electric operations,” said PACCAR Vice President and Peterbilt General Manager, Jason Skoog. “Peterbilt is leading the charge in electric vehicle development, with three applications for zero-emissions performance.”

The 579EV delivered to Werner utilizes a TransPower Energy Storage Subsystem with a total storage capacity of 352 kWh.  It is driven by a Meritor Blue-Horizon Mid-Ship Motor Drive Subsystem with up to 430 HP, features an estimated range of about 150 miles and a charging time as little as 1-hour when a fast-charging system is utilized.

Funding for the tractor was provided through the California Air Resource Board California Climate Investments (CCI) program, along with the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

“Werner is committed to finding alternative ways to keep our trucks environmentally-friendly while staying at the front edge of technology,” said Werner Enterprises President and Chief Executive Officer Derek Leathers. “Now, we’re excited about putting on some real-world miles with a dedicated customer in southern California over the next year.”

Pricing and option availability for 579EVs will be available on the Peterbilt’s SmartSpec sales tool in the second half of 2020.

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FTR, ACT report significant decline in trailer orders for December

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Ftr, act report significant decline in trailer orders for december
FTR Transportation Intelligence reports that trailer orders for December were the lowest since August at 16,500 units. ACT Research indicates that trailer manufacturers booked 17,200 net orders last month. (Courtesy: Great Dane)

Both FTR Transportation Intelligence and ACT Research report that trailer order saw a decline in December 2019 from both the previous month as well as December of the previous year.

FTR states that preliminary trailer orders for December were the lowest since August at 16,500 units. December trailer orders were -17% month over month and -41% year over year. Trailer orders for 2019 totaled 203,000 units. This decline is likely because fleets are displaying the same caution on trailers as they are showing in their Class 8 order activity.

ACT Research’s preliminary estimates for trailer sales also indicates a significant decline for December 2019 with trailer manufacturers booked 17,200 net orders to their orderboards last month, which is a 13% decline from November volume. Activity was 37% below last December. For the full year, the industry saw a 51% decline versus 2018 volume. That annual volume was the lowest since 2011.

Before accounting for cancellations, ACT found that new orders in December were 17,900 trailers, off 16% month-over-month and 39% below last year. Full-year new orders of just over 244,000 units were down 44% versus 2018. Final volume will be available later this month. This preliminary market estimate should be within +/- 3% of the final order tally.

“The year closed on a disappointing note, as fleets continue to maintain a very conservative stance toward 2020 capital investment,” said Frank Maly, director of CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. “Backlog declined in 11 months of 2019, with October being the only exception to that trend. The year-end orderboard sets a very soft foundation for OEMs for the new year, as OEMs seek to better balance their production volumes to their existing orderboards,”.

The large carriers are being careful with their ordering strategy by placing smaller orders with shorter lead times than is typical at the end of a calendar year, according to FTR.  A great deal of uncertainty exists at the start of 2020 due to a weaker manufacturing segment, the drag of tariffs, and a tumultuous political situation.  Buyer nervousness is expected to increase throughout the year due to the upcoming election and conflict in the Middle East.

Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles, commented, “Freight is forecast to grow only about 1% this year, putting little pressure on fleets to boost trailer capacity as they did the last few years. However, total freight levels remain elevated and trailer production for 2020, although down significantly from 2019’s record year, is forecast to be good from a historical perspective. Fleets are expected to continue to replace old trailers based on their standard trade-in cycles. Van trailers sales, spurred by strong consumer spending, are still doing better than the vocational segments.”

Trailer orders should stay in the 20,000 unit a month range for a while, as fleets continue to carefully match orders with short-term demand. Eventually, the manufacturing sector should recover, generating more orders for flatbed and dump trailers.”

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Equipment

Optronics acquires USA Harness, becomes full-line lighting and harness supplier

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Optronics acquires usa harness, becomes full-line lighting and harness supplier
Optronics has acquired USA Harness to become one of few manufacturers and suppliers of comprehensive power delivery and lighting solutions for commercial vehicles. (courtesy Optronics International)

TULSA, Okla. — Optronics International, a manufacturer and supplier of heavy-duty LED vehicle lighting, announced it has completed its acquisition of Texas-based USA Harness, Inc. A supplier of trailer harnesses and electronic control systems, USA Harness serves the transportation industry with connection systems including the USA-PLUS Sealed Modular Wiring Harness and the patented USA-PLUS Modular Connection System. The USA-PLUS Modular Connection System has been tested and performed at three times the industry standard.

With the acquisition, Optronics is one of few manufacturers serving the light-, medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicle industry with both lighting and harness technologies.

“In less than a decade, Optronics has dramatically changed the competitive landscape in commercial vehicle lighting with its focus on technological innovation, broader options and greater value, and we’re about to do the same with harnesses,” Brett Johnson, president and CEO of Optronics International, said.

Optronics is a harness manufacturer on three continents. Coupled with this international experience, USA Harness will position Optronics to hit the ground running in North America.

“We have watched Optronics’ exponential growth over the years and have engineered more and more harness systems for use exclusively with their lighting,” said Debby Thompson, interim president of USA Harness. “Though we’ll continue to produce harness systems that interface with all major lighting manufacturers, we’re excited to now be able to offer a fully integrated modular power delivery and lighting solution.”

Optronics is committed to global manufacturing, and according to company officials, the acquisition of USA Harness increases the company’s supply-chain capabilities. “Just like the OEMs we serve, we’re going to manufacture harness and lighting systems wherever it makes the most sense,” Johnson said.

With their blended experience, Optronics and USA Harness will focus on selling integrated modular lighting and harness systems on a global basis. Targeted manufacturers include those making heavy-duty dry van, reefer, tank, car haul and flatbed trailers, as well as those making light- to medium-duty trailers. Heavy-duty truck and body manufacturers will also be a focus, as will heavy-duty off-highway vehicles, armored couriers and other specialized vocational equipment manufacturers.

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