The Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) marked its 40th anniversary this year with 1,039 exhibitors and nearly 76,200 attendees March 31-April 2 in Louisville, Ky. The show covered 1.2 million square feet at the Kentucky Expo Center with outdoor displays and “Ride-N-Drive” events.
Several educational seminars discussed the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) guidelines that were put into effect last year. The guidelines were designed to reduce truck and bus crashes, encourage drivers and carriers to maintain high safety standards, and remove high-risk drivers and carriers from the industry, says Pamela Rice, Kentucky division administrator for the FMCSA.
The implementation of the CSA guidelines also has increased vehicle inspections as drivers and carriers are now liable for violations, explains Bradley Scalos, Kentucky state program manager for the FMCSA. Scalos says the regulations were designed to create behavior changes in drivers and trucking companies toward safety and guidelines.
Rice highlighted the FMCSA’s new pre-employment screening program (PSP) and encouraged carriers and drivers to visit the website csa.fmcsa.dot.gov. PSP can help both parties be aware of a driver’s safety ratings.
MATS also featured innovations in trucks, tires and technology. The following includes highlights of innovations on display at the show.
Freightliner and Western Trucks, which are both divisions of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, displayed improvements to its respective lineup of trucks. Freightliner showcased three 2010 Cascadia models that were designed with lightweight specifications and fuel efficient options and available in large sleeper, mid-roof sleeper and day cab configurations. Cascadia’s lightweight options include Detroit Diesel DD13 engine with the Detroit Diesel BlueTec 1-Box Configuration.
The company introduced new aerodynamic enhancements for its Cascadia model of truck. The enhancements include Freightliner’s next-generation chassis side fairings and 20-inch side extenders, which when combined with previously introduced roof deflectors, chassis skirts, valence panel and bumper with closures, can offer up to 1.8 percent improvement in fuel economy compared to the current 72-inch raised roof aerodynamic model, Freightliner says.
Freightliner also displayed additional options geared at delivering more fuel efficiency improve-ments, such as the Detroit Diesel DD15 engine, director drive transmission, a variable speed fan and the company’s proprietary RunSmart Predictive Cruise Control System.
Focusing on the interior of its models, Western Star Trucks featured its new enhanced interior options at MATS. Western Star’s new interior features include customizable compartments and shelving and electronic interface options. The company also offers an electronic interface prep package that has factory-installed mounting and power connections that are customizable to include navigation systems and Bluetooth-enabled cell phones.
International Trucks, a company of Navistar Inc., featured its International ProStar+ day cab for short hauls. The day cab is designed with a wide-track front axle for a tighter turning radius and better maneuverability, which is suited for city delivery, the company says. The model also includes MaxxForce Advanced EGR diesel engine and aerodynamic advantages, International says. The ProStar+ day cab also offers an available driver information display with navigation, Bluetooth with integrated microphone, MP3 player connection and tire monitoring system.
Kenworth highlighted its T270 and T370 medium duty hybrid vehicles. The hybrids are powered by the PACCAR PX-6 engine, which offers a high power-to-weight ratio, the company says. Both models offer up to 30 percent fuel savings in pickup and delivery applications, Kenworth says. The company’s advanced powertrain controls monitor driving conditions and automatically select the ideal power mode from diesel-only, electric-only, and combined diesel and electric modes. The hybrid system is monitored through a dash display and electricity generated through braking is stored and used for acceleration., Kenworth says.
Mack Trucks Inc., part of the Volvo Group, introduced an assortment of product enhancements, including optimized roof and chassis fairings for the Mack Pinnacle models, additional fuel-efficient Econodyne ratings for its Mack MP engines and interior enhancements designed to improve driver comfort.
Mack announced the addition of four new Econodyne ratings â€” MP7-405E, MP8-415E, MP8-445E and MP8-505E â€” that build on the fuel-saving performance of its Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2010 certified MP engines. The engines are fully optimized for fuel efficiency and through an enhanced fuel mapping strategy, Mack’s EconoBoost intelligent torque management system offers an extra 200-pound per foot of torque, the company says.
Designed to improve fuel efficiency, Mack rolled out redesigned roof fairings for its Pinnacle 70-inch high-rise, 70-inch mid-rise and 60-inch mid-rise sleeper models. The new fairings are optimized for the lowest possible coefficient of drag and smoother transfer of air from the truck to trailer, said Jerry Warmkessel, Mack’s highway marketing manager, in a statement. When used in combination with Mack’s MP engines with ClearTech SCR, the chassis positions the Mack Pinnacle among the best in highway efficiency, Warmkessel said.
Mack also offered further enhancements to the interior of the Mack Pinnacle series, such as optional one-piece windshield and updated Grand Touring trim package. The Grand Touring trim package is available at no extra charge compared to previous trim options and features button-tuck vinyl and ultra leather seats for driver comfort.
Peterbilt Motors Co., a division of PACCAR Co., announced several new developments at MATS. The company announced a lightweight option package that includes a variety of weight saving components and provides day cab weights as low as 14,200 pounds and sleeper configurations as low as 15,800 pounds. The complete lightweight package includes the following features: PACCAR MX engine, composite springs, aluminum components and rear drive train designed with Peterbilt’s proprietary FlexAir suspension.
The PACCAR MX engine is the center point of Peterbilt’s speed control management capabilities that allow customers to optimize operation parameters to increase fuel efficiency and performance, the company says. The company offers two speed control management options, Progressive Shift Control and Gear Down Protection, that can be specified independently or jointly.
The company also expanded its liquefied natural gas platforms to offer customers more alternative fuel powered systems. Peterbilt’s lineup includes Models 367 LNG and 386 LNG with the Westport HD engine that provides equal horsepower, torque and efficiency for a diesel-fueled engine, the company says.
Peterbilt also offers SmartNav, a PACCAR proprietary navigation and business technology system, on its Class 5-8 commercial vehicles. SmartNav includes a navigation application that provides truck-specific routing with an in-dash 7-inch touch panel display. The system also includes Bluetooth connectivity, back-up camera options, vehicle diagnostic data and audio controls.
Peterbilt launched its new Premium Seats that are designed for improved ergonomics and include added comfort features. The Premium Seats feature an optional climate control system, automatic height modification and several improved ergonomic features, such as Peterbilt’s proprietary upper backrest recliner. The seats will be standard on the company’s Model 587 and will be available in December, Peterbilt says.
Additional add-ons include Peterbilt’s option for customers to expand the length of their day cab by an additional 10 inches and receive nearly 6 inches of added headroom. The Extended Day Cab also offers additional space between the steering wheel and the seat, double the area provided for seat reclining and 4 cubic feet of built-in rear wall storage compartments.
Volvo Trucks introduced a series of aerodynamic and powertrain enhancements to further boost fuel efficiency in VN models at MATS. The advancements, including a new 455 horsepower and 1,550/1,750 pound per foot torque rating for the Volvo D13 engine, are aimed at delivering 8 percent improvement in fuel efficiency compared with Environmental Protection Agency 2007 engines.
The company also launched new exterior components, such as redesigned mirror heads, hood mirrors, new bumper and side fairings, and newly designed bug deflector to increase fuel efficiency. The components are offered as part of the Fuel Enhancement package on 2011 Volvo VN model trucks. Customers also can achieve fuel savings through Volvo Trucks’ new Mass Based Variable Torque software that senses the gross combination weight of the truck and adjusts the engine’s torque when the truck is lightly loaded. It also developed a new fuel management tool through Volvo Link that provides weekly reports with driver and vehicle data.
Tire and wheel launches
Alcoa Wheels highlighted its industry recognized Alcoa LvL One wide base wheels that combine the advantages of the lightest weight, brightest appearance and strongest payload capacity in their class as well as a wide base wheel application. The 14-inch LvL One wide base wheel weighs 62 pounds, which saves 1,350 pounds compared to single wheels on an 18-wheel truck, the company says. The company also offers LvL One wide base wheels in 22.5- and 24.5-inches.
Continental Tire the Americas LLC invited MATS attendees to provide feedback for the next element of its product lineup â€” Continental’s first super single drive tire for highway use, the HDL2 Eco Plus. The company tested two competing designs of the HDL2 Eco Plus tire at its Untamed Innovation Tour 2 mobile exhibit. The tire is in its final stages of testing and is expected to launch later this year, Continental says.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. featured its G661 HSA tires for high-scrub applications at MATS. The tires are designed for frequent starting, stopping, turning and backing for local route driving with occasional highway applications, the company says. G661 HSA tires are designed to resist sidewall damage and provide long tread life, according to Goodyear. In addition, Goodyear offers the G662 RSA tires for regional highway and local driving. The G662 RSA tires feature Fuel Max Technology, which is a multi-compound construction designed to help reduce the amount of energy generated within the tread for lower rolling resistance, Goodyear says.
At MATS, Goodyear also demon-strated the benefits of its DuraSeal Technology, a commercial tire sealant that automatically can seal punctures up to a quarter-inch deep. DuraSeal Technology, which is a yellow, gel-like rubber compound, instantly surrounds punctures, such as from nails, and seals the tread puncture. The technology is built into the crown of the tire and is designed to protect the portion of the tire where punctures occur most frequently.
Hankook Tire unveiled two new regional haul commercial tires, the AH24 and DH06, at MATS. The AH24 is designed as a premium regional haul, all-position tire that includes solid wide ribs and an improved kerf design for performance in adverse weather conditions, the company says. A premium deep drive tire, Hankook also featured the DH06 that is designed as an open shoulder regional haul tire developed for exceptional grip and control, the company says. The DH06 also incorporates an improved, deeper tread block design to have extraordinary traction in rain, mud and snow conditions, Hankook says.
Michelin featured its SmartWay verified, low-rolling resistance tires for Class 8, line-haul trucks. Designed to be fuel efficient, Michelin’s SmartWay Verified tires include a range of options under all-position/steer tire, drive tire and trailer tire tiers. The company also displayed its X One range of tires that were engineered specifically for unprecedented levels of fuel efficiency and weight savings, Michelin says.
Yokohama Tire Corp. spotlighted two new tires at MATS. The new tires are its RY407 single trailer wide base trailer tire and the prototype 702 drive tire. The company previewed the RY407 model last year at MATS, which offers fuel efficiency and weight savings potential for fleets, it says. The RY407 also has been named a SmartWay tire by the EPA. In addition, Yokohama featured the prototype 702 drive tire that includes the company’s Zenvironment technology, which offers low-rolling resistance and superior fuel economy, the company says. Yokohama anticipates the model will be one of the most fuel efficient drive tires on the market when it’s available in early 2012.
Carrier Transicold, a unit of United Technologies’ Corp.’s Carrier Corp., developed the APX control system to improve transport refrigeration unit operation. The control system is designed with distributed electronics, a bigger, brighter display with simplified user interface, greater memory and an expanded range of customizable applications. The APX’s new display module is easy to read from a distance, offers push-button simplicity and displays five-times the information of competitive equipment, according to Carrier Transicold. The display module also includes a USB dock to facilitate data downloads and software uploads, such as Carrier’s selection of apps. The company’s apps range from IntelliSet for ease of use, Range Protect for added fuel optimization, DataTrack for wireless monitoring, control and data transfers, and its newest Virtual Tech app. Virtual Tech is comprehensive diagnostic software that monitors the transport refrigeration unit.
Daimler Trucks North America also launched a new app, TruckerNet. The new mobile application for smartphones allows drivers with GPS-enabled smartphones to access service locations, parts information and connect to on-call breakdown assistance services. The company also acknowledged the one-year service mark for its Virtual Technician reporting system, which offers real-time vehicle system insights through remote telematic diagnostics. Virtual Technician formulates insights based on engine diagnostic codes from sensors and components. It enables remote diagnosis and determination of failure and repair procedure requirements.
Hino Trucks featured its Hino Insight solution, a web-based location and telemetric solution for the medium-duty commercial truck market developed in partnership with WebTech Wireless. Hino Insight provides innovative GPS-based, remote fleet management capabilities to fleet operations, including driving efficiencies, safety, security, customer satisfaction and green initiatives. The solution contains a mix of premium and Hino-exclusive services that range from route tracking, geofencing, advanced vehicle administration and planned maintenance management to Hino’s proprietary diagnostic alerts, custom fleet performance dashboard reporting and remote door unlock telemetry.
In addition to its tire advances, Goodyear also showcased its FleetHQ, which is a free service for fleets of every size available at 2,000 Goodyear dealers. FleetHQ can keep track of tire brands, dealer preferences, service specifications and information requirements to provide a comprehensive, customizable solution to fleets. One of the features of the program is that it locks in the tire choice and service price at a local FleetHQ dealer, which is honored across the entire FleetHQ network, the company says. The pricing remains the same regardless of time of day or emergency service, which can be accessed through the FleetHQ Solution Center’s phone line and website, the company says. The service also features TVTrack, which is an online tire management analytics tool that tracks tire condition and performance.