What You Need To Know From Day One of the TMC

February 29, 2016 by Seth Sparks, @sethbsparks

Fuel-efficiency was the major theme on the first day of the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Conference in Nashville Sunday.

It is evidence that lower diesel prices haven’t deterred companies from offering fleet owners equipment and services that cut fuel expenses.

Eaton and Cummins Unveil New Features and Technology

Eaton Corp. and Cummins Inc. announced new integrated powertrain features, allowing more options for downspeeding – a fuel-saving gear ratio technology that enables trucks to cruise at highway speeds using the least horsepower necessary.

The two companies also said that they will offer up the fuel efficient Cummins ISX15 400-475 engine with an 1,850 lb.-ft. torque rating. The engine is designed to be mated to Eaton’s 10-speed, 13-speed and 18-speed transmissions. The powertrain package will be available in April.

“This new rating is an ideal solution for performance-minded fleets,” said Ryan Trzybinski, Eaton’s commercial powertrains product strategy manager.

Eaton and Cummins also said they would deepen their partnership by integrating their call centers, sharing and developing new diagnostic tools and cross-training sales and service teams.

Dana Announces Driveshafts

Auto parts supplier Dana Holding Corp. announced a next-generation driveshaft designed to improve truck downspeeding. The new driveshaft is 30 pounds lighter than previous products and tailored to address the specific torque-management strategies of differing commercial vehicle manufacturers.

Dana also said it will offer sell axle ratios compatible with all seven configurations of the newly enhanced SmartAdvantage powertrain line from Eaton and Cummins.

“The benefits of engine downspeeding are undeniable, and we are partnering with industry leaders to advance this efficiency-boosting technology,” said Mark Wallace, Dana’s executive vice president.

Improving Trailer Aerodynamics

Also at the conference, the North American Council for Freight Efficiency encouraged fleet owners to adopt equipment that improves trailer aerodynamics such as trailer skirts and boat tails.

Improved trailer aerodynamics reduces drag and improve fuel economy, said Mike Roeth, the council’s executive director.

Fleets and manufacturers are looking at these products to meet upcoming Phase II federal greenhouse gas emissions standards.

Aperia Notes Increase in Use of Halo Tire Inflator

Aperia Technologies Inc. touted the deployment of their Halo Tire Inflator, a tire pump that monitors and automatically adjusts tire pressure.

The company cited a 12-month fleet test where Halo improved fuel economy by 1.1 percent and extended tire life by 14.4 percent. It claimed that saved the fleet operator $1,676 per tractor over the one-year test.

Truck-Lite’s LED Safety Light Detection System

Truck-Lite introduced its Light-Out Detection System, which integrates into a trailer’s electrical system to monitor LED safety lights. The system will first alert and then locate faulty lights for drivers.

The system will improve safety and protect fleets against so-called CSA violations and downtime, said Bradley Van Riper, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Truck-Lite.

Compliance, Safety, Accountability, or CSA, is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration initiative to improve large truck and bus safety.

Lighting-related CSA infractions made up more than a quarter of the total violations in 2014 and can lead to inspections of other vehicle components, Van Riper said.

Full production of the Light-Out Detection System begins in April.

Vnomics System Will Monitor Driver Behavior For Fuel Efficiency

Vnomics announced True Fuel, a standalone system that aims to improves fuel economy through real-time driver coaching and fuel use analytics for fleet managers.

“We’ve taken our current fuel optimization solution, which has already proven to provide a 3 percent to 10 percent fleet wide fuel savings on several thousand vehicles, and packaged it as a stand-alone product that any fleet can quickly deploy and begin saving fuel immediately,” said Alan Farnsworth, CEO at Vnomics.

Drivers will be alerted by an audible tone when they drive in a way that is wasteful of fuel, including shifting improperly, speeding or idling. The system will also give scorecards on a driver’s fuel loss.

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