HDT’s Top 20 products this year clearly illustrate how technology is increasingly being used to help address fleet issues such as maintenance, safety, productivity, and fuel economy.
How do you choose the best new product announcements of the past year? It’s not an easy process. First, HDT’s editors each go back through all the products we reported on, in the magazine or on Truckinginfo.com, and pull out the ones we feel are the most significant. The ones singled out by the most editors are summarized and sent to HDT’s Editorial Advisory Board to evaluate in three areas:
- Addressing industry issues
- Potential to affect a fleet’s bottom line
In order to be considered, a product must be commercially available or reasonably expected to be commercially available this year. We don’t consider full vehicles. And we award only one product per company (joint ventures may be considered a separate company.) The resulting Top 20 products are listed in alphabetical order by company name. (This year, a tie in our fleet scoring resulted in us actually having 22 products.)
The awards were presented during individual ceremonies at the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, and at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.
Allison Regional Haul Series transmission
Allison developed the 3414 Regional Haul Series (RHS) transmission in conjunction with Daimler Trucks North America, the first OE to offer the transmission. This upgrade variant of Allison’s 3000 Series is aimed at mixed-duty fleets that may have trucks doing delivery duty during the day, but longer regional haul runs at night. A drop-in solution for any chassis with a current Allison 3000 Series option, the 3414 RHS will be the lightest transmission in this segment, according to the company, which said it is 11% lighter than the next lightest competitive transmission.
Ancra Cargo AutoDeck
Ancra Cargo’s AutoDeck is an automated integrated decking system, which allows loading dock staff and drivers to automate the height of each beam at the push of a button for customized decking solutions. Manual decking systems have allowed for better utilization of cargo space in trailers without stacking pallets, but the Ancra Cargo AutoDeck system provides higher-efficiency loading with improved safety for the user. The easy-to-use automation features will lead to a higher use of decking systems, predicts the company.
Aperia Technologies Halo Connect
Aperia’s Halo Connect platform combines automatic tire inflation with machine learning to categorize tire maintenance issues by severity, virtually eliminating unplanned tire-related downtime, according to the company. Halo Connect actively measures and adjusts tire pressure in real-time while sharing relevant analytics to the fleet. Using proprietary algorithms trained over more than half a decade and nearly a billion miles of use, Halo Connect gives fleet managers simple and immediate insights into tire condition at both a fleet-wide and vehicle level, so fleets can identify and address issues well before they become problems – a more predictive, need-based approach to tire maintenance.
Bendix pad-wear sensing on ADB22X
Bendix is adding pad-wear sensing to all versions of its ADB22X air disc brake, available for order on new equipment from select truck and trailer manufacturers. The wear-sensing technology determines when a brake pad is nearing its replacement period and provides a signal via telematics that fleets can use to proactively schedule maintenance. Bendix says the system helps lower maintenance costs by reducing the need for technicians to measure friction and by optimizing friction replacement schedules. In addition, since the system provides alerts when pads are reaching the point of replacement, it protects costly air-disc-brake components, such as rotors, from being damaged by worn-out pads.
Chevron Delo 600 ADF HD Engine Oil
Chevron says Delo 600 ADF heavy-duty engine oil drastically reduces the rate of diesel particulate clogging – by 60%. If too much soot and ash builds up in the DPF, the heat produced during regeneration can result in DPF damage. DPF clogging also increases engine backpressure and regeneration cycles, resulting in higher fuel consumption. Even routine DPF maintenance procedures cost fleets downtime and typically cost around $1,000. Chevron says compared to current heavy-duty engine oils formulated up to the API CK-4 limit of 1% sulfated ash, Delo 600 ADF is formulated to 0.4% sulfated ash, which helps drastically reduce DPF clogging. Chevron says it can extend DPF service life by up to 2.5 times and offer a 3% fuel economy advantage over the life of the equipment.
ConMet PreSet Plus SmartHub
ConMet’s PreSet Plus SmartHub is a hub health monitoring system that will inform fleets any time a hub is operating outside of normal parameters, allowing them to better manage wheel-end maintenance. A wireless network of sensors is applied to the barrel of ConMet hubs to monitor indicators such as temperature and vibration. This data is shared securely through a custom cloud platform, where proprietary algorithms determine wheel end health status and relay that status through an open applications program interface (API) for viewing through any fleet telematics service provider. With time and experience, the SmartHub health monitoring algorithms will become smarter, lending to the future potential for condition monitoring and, eventually, predictive analytics.
Detroit Assurance 5.0 with Level 2 autonomous features
The optional Detroit Assurance 5.0 suite of camera- and radar-based safety systems from Daimler Trucks North America provides SAE Level 2 automation, which means it can accelerate, decelerate, and steer the truck independently – an industry first, according to DTNA. Adaptive Cruise Control to 0 mph automatically decelerates and accelerates to maintain a safe following distance, even in congested traffic conditions. When Adaptive Cruise Control is enabled, Lane Keep Assist supports the driver by using micro-steering movements to keep the truck centered in its lane. With Lane Departure Protection, if the truck begins to drift without the turn signal engaged, the system will counter-steer the truck back into its lane and give an auditory and visual warning. Active Brake Assist 5.0 can detect and mitigate a collision with full braking – on moving and stationary vehicles and objects, including moving pedestrians and cyclists. Side Guard Assist warns drivers of objects, including pedestrians and cyclists, in the passenger-side blind spot for the tractor and a 53-foot trailer.
Donaldson Filter Minder
Donaldson is bringing connectivity to filtration service reminders. The company’s Filter Minder uses the vehicle’s own telematics system to upload performance data to the cloud, where predictive analytics inform fleet managers when individual trucks are approaching optimal filter life. With no upfront hardware costs, easy installation and a low monthly subscription fee, Filter Minder connected technology can produce a substantial return on investment by prompting filter changes based on filter condition, rather than on scheduled maintenance intervals, according to Donaldson.
Hendrickson Tiremaax Pro-LB
Hendrickson’s next-generation tire pressure control system, the Tiremaax Pro-LB, builds on the technology of its Tiremaax Pro system, which can inflate, relieve and equalize tire pressures across all wheel positions. Tiremaax Pro-LB adds the ability to adjust tire pressure based on load. The company notes that the consensus in the market is that most trailer tires are inflated to a pressure greater than necessary for the typical load. The cold tire target pressure setting is often selected based on a maximum expected load, which may only occur occasionally. A load-based tire pressure control system allows for an optimal tire pressure, providing the opportunity to reduce tire wear without negatively affecting fuel economy.
Link Manufacturing ROI CabMate
Link’s ROI Cabmate Semi-Active Cab Suspension uses multiple sensors to constantly assess environmental circumstances and respond simultaneously. An accelerometer monitors the motion of the cab, while a position sensor measures the position and velocity of the cab relative to the frame. Using Link’s proprietary algorithms, the system’s electronic control unit interprets the stream of information from all sensors in real time, and responds by continuously adjusting the stiffness of shock absorbers and by filling or exhausting air from the system’s air springs to optimize ride stability and comfort. The entire ROI system operates on less than 10 watts of power.
Meritor EX+ LS Air Disc Brake
Meritor’s new lightweight, single-piston EX+ LS air disc brake, designed specifically for line-haul and trailer operations, aims to narrow the price gap between disc and drum brakes. The new brake resulted from years of development, more than 300 lab tests and over 1 million miles of validation on the road. The EX+ LS is designed and validated to the same taper wear criteria as a twin-piston brake. Its large-diameter, integrated piston and pusher plate reduce taper wear by increasing stability to deliver evenly distributed braking forces across the brake surface. And it’s the lightest brake Meritor has, at 71 pounds.
Optronics International Purilite Light-Shield
Optronics International has developed a new LED technology that it claims can sanitize the air and material surfaces in vehicle interiors wherever the light shines. Purilite Light-Shield lamps use a proprietary coating on the surface of the LEDs to generate a constant stream of negative ions, which the company says can cleanse the air of fine inhalable particles, including many types of mold and bacteria. The company says it gives fleets another tool to adhere to the Food Safety Modernization Act. It also says sleeper cabs and areas where drivers come into close contact with work surfaces would also benefit from the cleansing capabilities. The lights produce optimal light quality for human vision, approaching the color temperature of natural sunlight.
Phillips Connect Technologies EZTrac and EZTrac Plus
Phillips Connect Technologies’ new EZTrac and EZTrac Plus asset-tracking solutions offer visibility for a trailer or chassis fleet with minimal install time. EZTrac is a rugged, real-time asset tracker and concealed theft-recovery device that plugs into an industry-standard ABS harness. It can be powered by the AUX (ABS) or brake circuit and activates in two steps. For more capability, the EZTrac Plus can transmit the location of a trailer or chassis with or without power due to its six-month rechargeable internal battery. EZTrac Plus also offers multiple-sensor connectivity through Bluetooth or a PCT-branded “smart harness,” sold separately.
PSI TireView and TireView Live
Pressure Systems International, a longtime provider of automatic tire inflation systems, has added tire pressure monitoring and has leveraged the data gained to help fleets manage their tires better. TireView TPMS provides tire inflation pressure with 0.5% accuracy as well as wheel-end temperature alerts. It can be run in a closed on-board system or connected to telematics solutions for enhanced fleet management. Building on that, TireView Live is a data analytics platform that allows fleets to not only see tire health online and in real-time, but also to view and analyze tire history. This can be critical in evaluating whether immediate action must be taken, or if a repair can be scheduled at the end of the run. PSI is offering the data through telematics partners that customers may already be using, allowing customers to access the TireView Live data through the same dashboard that’s feeding them data on things such as trailer temperature and whether doors are open.
Roush Clean Tech Near Zero Emissions Engine
Roush CleanTech revealed that its 0.02 grams per brake horsepower-hour engine can operate on renewable propane. The company says it is the first available engine for renewable propane that brings emission levels to “near-zero” as defined by the California Air Resources Board. Commercial vehicles equipped with the ultra-low NOx engines and fueled by renewable propane achieve near-zero emissions while still being financially viable for fleets, according to Todd Mouw, president of Roush CleanTech. “These clean-operating, medium-duty trucks, vans and buses enable fleets to take a giant leap toward meeting their state’s clean air standards, especially in California.”
SAF-Holland Smar-te Tire Pilot
SAF-Holland’s new, “intelligent” tire pressure management system, Smar-te Tire Pilot, uses the trailer’s own air suspension system data to inflate, deflate, and equalize all tires. The company combined its Tire Pilot Plus wheel ends with electro-pneumatic controls provider AKTV8’s iAir control module, with integrated solenoid valves and sensors to dynamically measure and adjust tire pressure based on trailer axle load. This helps tires wear evenly, maximizes tire sidewall and tread life, avoids nuisance alerts, improves cushioning of vehicle and cargo (especially when lightly loaded), and enhances fuel economy. There are no regulators to wear out or recalibrate.
Stoneridge MirrorEye rear-view camera system
Stoneridge received an exemption to federal law allowing its MirrorEye Camera Monitor System to be installed as an alternative to the conventional rear-view mirrors currently required on commercial motor vehicles in the United States. According to Stoneridge, its MirrorEye CMS meets or exceeds the visibility requirements of conventional mirrors by providing enhanced vision benefits. These include: greater field of view for elimination of common blind spots; color night vision; low-light sensitivity, and glare reduction. Trailer panning automatically tracks the end of the trailer to keep it in view while the vehicle is moving forward. This feature could eliminate right-hand turn collisions with motorists and pedestrians. MirrorEye CMS also offers aerodynamic benefits.
Thermo King SLXi Local refrigeration unit
Thermo King’s SLXi Local transport refrigeration is aimed at the growing demand for lighter, thinner, quieter refrigeration units and meets a broad spectrum of transport needs for single-temperature distribution fleets. It’s designed to be up to 200 pounds lighter than comparable TRUs to increase payload capacity. The slim profile reduces the tractor-trailer gap by 7 inches to decrease air drag and enhance tractor fuel efficiency. It also lowers the risk of damaging the tractor or TRU when turning corners on tight city streets. The Thermo King Whisper kit operates at three decibels lower than similar units to comply with growing trends in municipal noise restrictions.
Utility Trailer Manufacturing Aerodynamic Tail
The Utility Aerodynamic Tail, designed to improve fuel efficiency, weighs 25 pounds and is compatible with dry vans and refrigerated trailers with rear swing doors. Made of a UV-protected thermoplastic composite, the system consists of two full-height side fairings and one full-width roof fairing. The side fairings are connected to the rear swing doors. Using standard opening procedures for the rear swing doors, the UAT automatically deploys when the doors are closed and folds back when the doors are open with no additional driver involvement necessary. The roof fairing does not interfere with lock rods or rear light areas and meets all DOT Photometric requirements.
Volvo D13TC engine with enhanced turbo compounding
Volvo Trucks North America introduced the next generation of its turbo compound technology on its 13L engine, the D13TC, providing up to an additional 3% improvement in fuel efficiency over the current 13L turbo-compound engine. This new engine delivers up to 11% fuel savings overall compared to model-year 2015 trucks, Volvo said. Volvo announced other improvements for the next-generation D13 as well, including enhanced efficiency over a wider range of applications, more engine ratings, and a new EE Extra Efficiency drive mode. The D13TC offers three individual drive modes, Dynamic Torque, an additional 405-hp rating, and the next evolution of Volvo’s patented wave piston design. These updates enable further-increased fuel efficiency over a wider range of loads, vehicle speeds and engine rpm. This offers a broader use of applications compared to the first generation of the engine, which was designed specifically for over-the-road, long-haul applications for trucks loaded at 80,000 pounds.
Wabco’s TailGuard for commercial trailers is a rear blind spot detection system with active braking designed to help mitigate rear collisions. TailGuard monitors stationary and moving objects behind the trailer, looking for pedestrians, vehicles, cargo and infrastructure, and will activate the brakes as needed to slow or stop the vehicle to prevent impending collisions. Sensors mounted to the trailer monitor an approximately 6-foot radius and activate if the brakes are not applied within 2 or more feet of the object. Active braking is enabled when paired with the Wabco Roll Stability Support on trailers.
Reax from ZF not only makes it easier to steer a truck at lower speeds, but it also can be a key component in automated driver assist features and may someday enable fully autonomous driving. Reax is an electric motor integrated into the hydraulic steering gear that provides a boost to the input torque supplied by the driver. It can be controlled to modulate steering force when maneuvering at low speeds and stiffened for highway driving. ZF will soon offer a lane departure prevention function enabled by Reax technology, along with a haptic warning to help avoid blind-spot collisions. OnTrax Lane Keeping Assist uses a forward-facing camera to determine the truck’s lane position. If the truck drifts toward the lane markers without using the turn signal, the system will gently counter-steer the truck back into the lane. With the addition of a few radar sensors, LKA is turned into a blind spot detection system called Lane Change Assist, providing a haptic warning if he or she is about to turn into an already occupied lane.