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Preventive maintenance helps ensure safe braking operation 

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Preventive maintenance helps ensure safe braking operation 
Preventive maintenance practices to keep brakes in good working condition when driving in cold, snow, and ice can have a huge impact on road safety. (Courtesy: BENDIX)

ELYRIA, Ohio – Commercial vehicle braking systems are vital to driver and highway safety year-round, but especially in the winter, when road and weather conditions across North America make it even more imperative to have properly maintained components at the wheel-ends. This installment of the Bendix Tech Tips Series focuses on preventive maintenance practices to keep brakes in good working condition when cold, snow, and ice are the order of the day.

Preventive maintenance practices to keep brakes in good working condition when driving in cold, snow, and ice can have a huge impact on road safety.

“Safety systems like full stability and collision mitigation can be valuable on winter roads, but they perform at their best only when the brakes at the wheel-ends are also in peak condition to deliver stopping power,” said Keith McComsey, director of marketing and customer solutions, Wheel-End, at Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake, a joint venture between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products, LLC. “The right preventive maintenance practices can make all the difference.”

Take a Good Look 

Inspect air brake chamber housings for damage or corrosion and ensure that dust plugs are properly installed and seated. On air-disc-braked wheel-ends, check for cuts or tears on the protective boots.

“What you’re looking for here is anything that could allow corrosive materials to take hold,” McComsey explained. “Not just water, but things like harsh chemicals used to treat winter roads. Excessive corrosion of the chamber can lead to failure of the housing and ripped, or punctured boots can allow contaminants and moisture to get into an air disc brake caliper, causing corrosion and long-term damage.”

Air disc brake guide pins should also be inspected for slidability, and the shear adaptor cover needs to be in place and fully seated. Preparing air disc brakes for winter weather also means checking that the pads move freely in the carrier – if not, remove them and clean the carrier surface with a wire brush – and making sure the brake moves freely on its guidance system, which should be replaced if movement is restricted.

Lessons in Lubrication 

Effective lubrication is key in combating winter corrosion, particularly when it comes to automatic slack adjusters (ASA), according to McComsey.

“When you force new lubricant into an ASA, you’re achieving two goals,” he said. “First, you’re purging the old grease, along with any water or contaminants that found their way in; and second, you’re protecting the adjuster’s internal gear sets, clutches, and other components from wear.”

Lubricating an ASA is simple, requiring a technician to just locate the adjuster’s grease fitting, attach the hose from a grease gun, and inject new grease until old grease is forced through the release opening. (The release location varies depending on the ASA make and model.) The process should take less than a minute per adjuster.

Slack adjusters that don’t receive regular greasing may not maintain the correct brake stroke and provide optimal stopping power, which has a direct impact on safety.

Clevis pin connections, cam tubes, shafts, and bushings should also be lubricated to keep winter moisture at bay and prevent corrosion.

“Truck drivers have a lot to watch out for when they’re out on the roads in winter,” McComsey said. “The right wheel-end practices in the shop can help deliver peace of mind when it comes to their brakes.”

 

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Transflo adds Surfsight video technology to its platform of freight solutions

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Transflo adds surfsight vehicle video technology to its platform of freight solutions
Surfsight provides real-time video visibility and insight into fleet performance and challenging situations on the road, helping fleets reduce risk and insurance claims while improving safety and productivity. (Courtesy: Transflo)

TAMPA, Florida — Transflo, a mobile, telematics and business process automation provider to the transportation industry, has announced the AI-12 Dual Facing Dashcam solution as part of its Mobile+ ecosystem of digital and telematics solutions for truck fleets and drivers.

Surfsight provides real-time video visibility and insight into fleet performance and challenging situations on the road, helping fleets reduce risk and insurance claims while improving safety and productivity.

Integrated with Transflo’s telematics platform, the cloud-connected Surfsight dashcam uses front-facing and cabin-facing cameras. The camera uses built-in artificial intelligence to detect hazards on the road, and infrared to recognize driver distractions in the vehicle. The driver is automatically alerted.

Surfsight streams from vehicles to secure cloud-based servers, providing fleet managers with continuous access to video. Managers can review video of groups or individual vehicles via a customized, secure, online dashboard using a web browser running on any type of device. Surfsight also provides access to on-demand video retrieval and review on the company’s cloud platform.

Surfsight dashcams cost just $200 and monthly subscriptions start at $25 per month as part of Transflo Bundle+, which extends the capabilities of the Transflo Mobile+ platform.

“Increasingly, video is an important tool for improving safety and operational visibility,” said Doug Schrier, vice president of product and innovation for Transflo. “The Transflo Bundle+ platform is the ideal way to incorporate vehicle video and telematics into your digital workflow.”

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U.S. trailer net orders closed 2019 down 51% from full-year 2018

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U.s. trailer net orders closed 2019 down 51% from full-year 2018
ACT Research reports that even though most of the major trailer categories showed month-over-month gains, the drop in dry can orders was enough to put the total industry results in the red.

COLUMBUS, Ind. – New U.S. trailer orders of 18,400 were down 13% month-over-month in December, and after accounting for cancellations, net orders of 17,700 dropped 11%. Longer-term comparisons show net orders down 35% year-over-year and 51% lower compared to full-year 2018, according to this month’s issue of ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailer Report.

ACT Research’s State of the Industry: U.S. Trailers report provides a monthly review of the current US trailer market statistics, as well as trailer OEM build plans and market indicators divided by all major trailer types, including backlogs, build, inventory, new orders, cancellations, net orders and factory shipments. It is accompanied by a database that gives historical information from 1996 to the present.

“While seven of the ten major trailer categories posted month-over-month gains, the sequential 32% drop in dry van orders was significant enough to pull the total industry results into the red,” said Frank Maly, director of CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research. “Continued softness in both freight volumes and rates are generating financial headwinds for fleets, and as a result, their investment plans continue to be extremely cautious.”

Maly continued, “Fleets are aware that, as a result of weaker OEM orderboards, lead times are dramatically shorter than this time last year, so any orders placed now are likely to be delivered in a much more acceptable timeframe. It is also likely that pricing will be more advantageous.”

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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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