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Report finds costs of truck repairs increasing

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During the fourth quarter of 2018 the average participating truckload carrier ran 10,663 miles between breakdowns, 3 percent less than the same quarter previous year. (Courtesy: VOLVO TRUCKS)

ATLANTA — The average cost of mechanical repairs in the trucking industry increased for the second straight quarter, while miles between unscheduled roadside maintenance remained unchanged, according to the latest benchmarking report from American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council and FleetNet America, an ArcBest company.

The Truckload Vertical Benchmarking Study, released Sunday during TMC’s annual meeting, covers events during the final quarter of 2018.

Among the report’s other findings was one fleet was able to set a new industry best for miles between unscheduled maintenance.

“This is a clear indication that fleets can reduce their roadside repairs, driving down costs and improving customer service,” said Jim Buell, executive vice president of sales and marketing for FleetNet America. “If one fleet can run 75,000 miles between breakdowns, why can’t all fleets in the industry? It’s a matter of using data to direct where you have the best opportunities to improve.”

During the fourth quarter the average participating truckload carrier ran 10,663 miles between breakdowns, 3 percent less than the same quarter previous year. The top performing participating fleet operated with one breakdown every 75,528 miles.

The average cost of a roadside mechanical repair increased to $334 in the fourth quarter, up from $317 in the third quarter and $299 in the second quarter.

“TMC is dedicated to helping members run better, more profitable maintenance operations. When costs are increasing our members need to find ways to control those costs and peer-to-peer benchmarking can help them do just that,” said TMC Executive Director Robert Braswell.

The Vertical Benchmarking Program is a benefit for TMC fleet members and a partnership with FleetNet America. In addition to the executive summary, which is available to TMC fleet members, carriers that participate by sharing their data are provided an analytic tool that allows them to drill into their data, comparing it to the industry average.

The program is a strategic collaboration between TMC/ATA and FleetNet America and is open to TMC fleet executive level members and FleetNet America customers. The analytics provided via the program will be cumulative and non-fleet specific.

For information about the TMC/FleetNet Vertical Benchmarking Program, visit http://benchmarkit.fleetnetamerica.com.

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Truck-Lite integrates PSI tire management solutions into Road Ready system

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Pressure Systems International is a global provider of onboard tire management systems for commercial and recreational vehicles. P.S.I.’s portfolio includes automatic tire inflation systems (ATIS) for commercial trailers, tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) and related products. (Courtesy: TRUCK-LITE)

FALCONER, N.Y. – Truck-Lite Co., LLC, a worldwide leader in LED lighting, telematics, engine protection, safety and visibility systems, has integrated Pressure Systems International (PSI) automatic tire inflation and tire pressure monitoring systems data into the Road Ready system via its SmartBridge Integrator (SBI).

Released in 2018, the SBI bridges OE trailer systems with the Road Ready network, which communicates crucial trailer data to a fleet dispatcher and provides greater insight into a trailer environment. The recent integration with PSI allows any fleet to access critical tire data and avoid downtime by taking preventive action.

“Working with PSI to develop this technology brings us a step closer to a smart-trailer reality,” said Rob Richard, general manager of Truck-Lite’s Road Ready division. “We look forward to continued collaboration with PSI to deliver even more enhanced data to fleets.”

The SBI will transmit data from both the PSI Trailer ATIS and TireView TPMS, which work together to provide critical data regarding tire health. The integration with Road Ready makes this data available to a fleet’s back office through the Road Ready user interface.

“Our ATIS and TPMS solutions allow fleets to improve uptime and lower CSA scores while simultaneously allowing the driver to focus on driving and optimizing their hours of service (HOS),” said Jonathan Gravell, vice president of business development for PSI. “Integrating PSI systems into Road Ready helps fleets to drive down operating costs and diagnose issues before they become real problems.”

The Road Ready system by Truck-Lite is the leading wireless, multi-functional trailer monitoring network and is easily customizable for any fleet requirement. With its suite of wireless sensors and the largest number of OE trailer system and fleet software integrations, Road Ready provides the most comprehensive and inclusive fleet telematics solution available.

For more information, visit www.roadreadysystem.com.

 

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Volvo Trucks brings Volvo Dynamic Steering to North American market

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Volvo Dynamic Steering is an ultra-responsive steering system designed to help reduce driver fatigue and increase road safety. (Courtesy: VOLVO TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Volvo Dynamic Steering (VDS), what the company describes as a world-class technical innovation, is an ultra-responsive steering system designed to lessen steering force up to 85%, helping reduce driver fatigue and increase road safety.

VDS will be available as an option in the Volvo VNL and VNR models in early 2020.

“Drivers are the trucking industry’s biggest assets, and opportunities to increase driver recruitment and retention are top-of-mind for our customers,” said Chris Stadler, product marketing manager, Volvo Trucks North America. “Providing state-of-the-art features that improve drivers’ physical working conditions and comfort is an important aspect of driver satisfaction, as well as increasing overall productivity and road safety.”

VDS is an active steering system that features an electric motor mounted on top of the hydraulic steering gear. Input from multiple vehicle sensors, at over 2,000 times per second, determine the appropriate steering wheel response. The system continuously monitors drivers’ actions, environmental factors and road conditions faster than the blink of an eye. The motor provides additional torque when needed to keep the truck safely on the road. This supports driver reactions with greater control and less abrupt maneuvering, Stadler said.

First launched by Volvo Trucks in Europe, VDS is ideal for diverse and changing terrains and automatically adjusts to handle any roadway condition. From rough roads to tight maneuvers in urban environments, VDS can help drivers navigate unexpected situations such as pot holes and rapid tire deflations, providing up to nine ft.-lb. of torque in the steering column.

Stadler said key VDS features include:

  • Vehicle Stability Control leads to increased directional stability on the highway, which offers a more relaxed and safe driving experience with full control at all speeds.
  • Return-to-Center, or Zero Return enables the steering wheel to return to the center position when the vehicle is in motion, making it easier to reverse the vehicle and maneuver in tight areas.
  • Dampening allows the steering system to filter inputs from the road surface and, based on feedback from multiple sensors, helps improve handling and vehicle stability.
  • Lead/Pull Compensation provides a torque offset within the steering system to compensate for crowned roads, steady crosswinds and other short-term conditions that can affect handling.

With more controlled steering, VDS helps reduce operational fatigue by filtering road vibration and noise through the steering wheel, Stadler said, adding that repetitive motions because of varying roadway conditions and maneuvering actions could cause physical discomfort, which can be lessened when using this system. In fact, testing has shown that VDS has the potential to cut muscular strain by up to 30% and for some specific motions, strain can be reduced up to 70%.

“Volvo Trucks’ new feature brings value and support to our customers and professional drivers,” Stadler said. “With the VDS system, we see increased productivity for our customers and decreased fatigue for drivers. In addition, it contributes to improved stability and control of the vehicle, thereby increasing road safety.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Production starts on Freightliner Cascadia with advanced safety solutions

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A Daimler Trucks North America official said the new Freightliner Cascadia with advanced safety solutions and aerodynamic enhancements provides customers with a vehicle that is safer, more fuel efficient and offers a better driver experience than ever before. (Courtesy: DAIMLER TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA )

PORTLAND, Ore. — Production of the Freightliner Cascadia with enhanced safety and aerodynamic solutions has begun.

A Daimler Trucks North America official said the new truck provides customers with a vehicle that is safer, more fuel efficient and offers a better driver experience than ever before.

Kelly Gedert, director of product marketing for Freightliner Trucks and Detroit Components, said Detroit Assurance 5.0 is now standard with Freightliner Cascadias powered by Detroit engines.

He said this proprietary radar and camera fused system features standard active safety and advanced driver assistance technologies designed to keep drivers, other motorists and pedestrians safe, including:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control to 0 MPH: Automatically decelerates and accelerates to maintain a safe following distance. In stop-and-go-traffic, if the vehicle in front stops, the truck will also come to a stop and hold indefinitely. If the vehicle ahead moves in less than two seconds, the truck will resume moving at a safe following distance.
  • Active Brake Assist 5.0 – Full Braking on Moving Pedestrian: When a moving pedestrian enters the truck’s path, Detroit Assurance 5.0 applies input from the radar and camera sensors to warn the driver using visual and audible warnings simultaneously with partial emergency braking. If the driver doesn’t act, full emergency braking brings the truck to a complete stop.

Additionally, new standard features with Detroit Assurance 5.0 include automatic wipers/headlamps, Intelligent High Beam, and traffic sign display.

Gedert said Side Guard Assist is an optional feature available with Detroit Assurance 5.0 that detects objects, including pedestrians and cyclists, in the passenger-side blind spot along the full length of the tractor and trailer.

“Helping keep motorists and pedestrians safe is our top priority, and the advanced technologies and groundbreaking innovations of Detroit Assurance 5.0 can help mitigate collisions and reduce unplanned expenses and downtime for our customers,” Gedert said. “Detroit Assurance 5.0 illustrates our commitment to increasing safety for everyone on the road.”

Active Lane Assist, an optional feature available in early 2020, consists of Lane Departure Protection and Lane Keep Assist. With Lane Departure Protection, if the truck begins to drift from its lane without the turn signal activated, a rumble sound, along with a visual warning, will alert the driver. The system will then counter steer the truck back into its lane. When Adaptive Cruise Control is enabled, Lane Keep Assist uses micro-steering movements to keep the new Cascadia centered in its detected lane. With the addition of lateral steering assist offered by the optional Active Lane Assist feature, in combination with Adaptive Cruise Control, Freightliner and Detroit will begin delivering the first production SAE Level 2 automated truck in North America.

Gedert  said enhancements to all three aerodynamic packages for the Cascadia further improve the Cascadia’s industry-leading fuel performance. The Standard package now includes A-pillar deflectors, tow hook covers and side extender seals. The Aero package adds enhanced chassis fairing skirts and the AeroX package features an optimized low ground clearance bumper, optimized roof deflector, optimized drive wheel fairings and front wheel well closeouts.

Additional aerodynamic options available include the industry first Aerodynamic Height Control, which electronically lowers the suspension height one inch at 55 miles per hour to optimize airflow over and under the front of the truck and reduce drag. Michelin X Line D+ Energy tires, developed in collaboration with Michelin and exclusive to the Cascadia, are also available and reduce rolling resistance in 6×4 applications. All of the new aerodynamic features available on Cascadia provide up to a five percent increase in fuel efficiency over the current model.

“Our new aerodynamic options demonstrate our dedication to helping our customers achieve the best possible performance from their trucks,” Gedert said. “Freightliner continues to set the bar higher when it comes to designing features that provide better performance and enhanced efficiency.”

Critical to the Cascadia’s performance is the Integrated Detroit Powertrain. The powerful combination of either Detroit DD15 or DD13 engines, the Detroit DT12 automated manual transmission, and Detroit axles seamlessly works together to maximize performance.

A key update for the Cascadia from Detroit is Intelligent Powertrain Management 6 (IPM6), which comes standard with the DT12. Like earlier IPM technology, IPM6 integrates pre-loaded terrain maps and GPS into engine and transmission functions to know the route ahead and uses the truck’s kinetic energy to automatically adjust to its surroundings by reducing braking power and making transmission and engine adjustments. With the introduction of IPM6, map coverage of existing major highways and interstates has increased by 35%.

Gedert  said another benefit of the powerful combination of Cascadia and Detroit designed to improve uptime is the Cascadia Maintenance System. This onboard monitoring system computes optimal maintenance intervals based on actual operating conditions of the vehicle. The system utilizes oil temperature data and other inputs to more accurately determine oil change intervals, and it improves additional service recommendations based on engine and transmission load data.

 

 

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