Truck Management: Truck News

|  June 12, 2007 |

Mack celebrates 100 years
in Lehigh Valley

In 1900, John Mack and his brothers hammered together their first commercial vehicle – a sight-seeing bus. That bus went on to log more than 1 million miles before retiring. And 100 years ago, in June 1905, the success of the Mack brothers’ commercial trucks led them to found their main manufacturing plant Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Today the Mack brand is known worldwide as a leading manufacturer of construction and vocational trucks. Last month, Mack acknowledged the role Allentown and the Lehigh Valley area of eastern Pennsylvania has played in the company’s global success by hosting a 100th anniversary party at the Mack Assembly Operations facility in Macungie, Pennsylvania.
About 5,000 attendees toured the plant, which produces all Mack construction and refuse trucks. Antique and current Mack truck models were on display.

“This is our way of saying thanks to the local community for allowing to make our home for the past 100 years,” said Paul Vikner, Mack president and CEO.

Volvo invests in fuel cell technology
If you turn to the last page of this issue of Equipment World, you’ll note I’ve been fretting about fuel prices and supplies lately. In my Last Word column I note several manufacturers are taking a leading role in developing alternate fuel systems for construction trucks and equipment.

Volvo Trucks is one of those companies. It has co-founded a company called Powercell to improve fuel cell technology for on-highway trucks. Currently, Powercell holds a patent on an improved fuel cell system that can be used in power units small enough to mount in trucks and other vehicles. The fuel cell is powered by hydrogen gas produced from the diesel onboard the truck and could potentially reduce diesel particulate emissions by a staggering amount.

Powercell is focusing on using fuel cell technology as an alternative to idling, providing power for air-conditioning and other equipment in sleeper cab trucks. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a single truck with fuel cell technology aboard could reduce carbon dioxide emissions 20 to 30 tons per year. The emission of nitrogen oxides would also be reduced significantly.

Kenworth to offer Primaxx
suspension option on vocational trucks

Kenworth vocational trucks can now be fitted with Hendrickson Primaxx air suspensions. These heavy-duty suspensions are available as optional equipment on 46,000-pound tandem and 69,000-pound tri-axle configurations on Kenworth T800, W900 and C500 models and are designed for construction, logging and heavy-haul applications.

In the 46,000-pound tandem rating, Primaxx is available for use with multiple lift axles and gross cargo weight ratings up to 180,000 pounds. The suspension offers up to 8 inches of axle travel for improved suspension articulation and greater mobility on jobsites. The 69,000-pound rating is available with a gross cargo weight rating of up to 240,000 pounds.

Both versions feature a non-torque reactive suspension, designed especially for high-engine-torque applications. Large volume air springs and heavy-duty shock absorbers offer improved ride quality and help reduce noise, vibration and harsh rides while increasing the life of truck components and body equipment.

Hendrickson’s Primaxx heavy-duty suspension is now available on Kenworth T800, W900 and C500 models.

International’s Aware vehicle intelligence system thwarts thieves while improving
fleet operations

International Truck and Engine is billing its new Aware vehicle intelligence system as a comprehensive telematics tracking tool. Its main goal is improving overall fleet productivity and profitability, but it is also a powerful theft deterrent tool.

The Aware system allows authorized individuals to monitor trucks in real time through a password-protected Internet connection. The system tracks a truck’s exact location, direction of travel and speed. Fleet managers can set up a “geo fence,” a virtual electronic boundary on a map that trucks should not cross. If the truck leaves its authorized area of operations, an alarm will sound and alert designated persons of the deviation.

Using its theft-deterrent features, the Aware system requires an access code to be entered within 7 seconds of engine start-up, or the engine will automatically shut down. If the code is entered incorrectly too many times, the system can be programmed to send an alert to the cell phone of a fleet manager or other official. The system can also track an errant truck if is taking an unauthorized or suspicious course.

Tracking and theft deterrent capabilities aside, International insists Aware’s true value lies in its power as a business tool for improving truck fleet management. “Truck owners want to know everything about the performance and productivity of these vehicles,” says Jeff Bannister, director, truck electronics, International Truck and Engine. “This lets them track location, monitor performance, diagnose maintenance issues and ensure driver and vehicle safety and security at all times.” Other bottom line benefits, according to the company: reduced fuel and inventory costs, maximized revenue opportunities and overall return on investment.

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