The Drivers & the Showstoppers

A convoy of truck products and professionals rode into Chicago in early March. Vans, chassis cabs, heavy-duty haulers and OEM systems cavalcaded into the enormous McCormick Place convention center carrying not only the newest products of 2009 and 2010, but the big brains behind the on-road equipment industry. It was the ultimate gathering of both work truck products and the wizards behind these wheeled work beasts.

More than 8,400 work truck industry professionals attended the Work Truck Show 2009 — the 45th annual National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) Convention March 3-6. That number is an increase of 18.5 percent over 2008, the second largest turnout in its 10-year history and a positive note in a year when trade show attendance and exhibiting is declining along with the economy. At the 2009 Work Truck Show, 490 exhibitors filled out the show floor that covered nearly 500,000 sq ft with new vocational trucks, components and equipment.

“The large number of attendees and new products at the show reflect the resilience of our industry and the spirit of our members,” said Jim Carney, NTEA executive director. “Even in challenging economic times, business moves forward. The trucks and equipment exhibited at the Work Truck Show facilitate work across a wide range of industries, and it is most encouraging that more than 8,400 professionals came together to explore the latest developments from nearly 500 suppliers.”

Produced annually by the NTEA, the Work Truck Show is North America’s largest work truck event. The educational conference is a key component of the event. It began with a full day of well-attended Special Sessions on Tuesday, March 3 (The show floor opened March 4). Texas billionaire and alternative energy crusader T. Boone Pickens kicked off the popular special session, “Green Truck Summit,” with a keynote address outlining his plan for breaking America’s dependence on foreign oil.

Attendees were delighted by the “dirty” stories told by Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” and “Deadliest Catch,” as he gave the keynote address at the President’s Breakfast and NTEA annual meeting on Thursday, March 5. Rowe also was applauded for his efforts to promote the value of a hard day’s work.

But what really highlighted the event was the more than 100 products that debuted at the show, including new chassis and bodies from Ford to the Reading Group, the latest hybrid and alternative fuel technologies, the newest truck bed and upfitter systems, the coolest new snowplow and winter work gear and a host of OEM parts and pieces that can enhance power, strength and endurance on the tough roads ahead. Find the best of these products on the next five pages of the Truck Stop department and tackle 2009 armed with the latest truck tools, technologies and services.

Keith Gribbins is managing editor of Compact Equipment, based in Peninsula, Ohio.

Earning the Accolades

Reading Truck Body Swept “Green” and “Editors’ Choice” Awards

One product in particular seemed to catch the crowd’s attention at the Work Truck Show, specifically for its economical approach to contracting. Reading Truck Body (of Reading, Pa.) won two awards at the show, both voted on by industry trade press. The company’s new Aluminum Classic II service body earned the Work Truck Show 2009 Editors’ Choice Award for New Product Innovation and the inaugural Work Truck Show Green Award. With these awards, attending media recognized the Aluminum Classic II as both the most innovative new product at the show and the one that most advances work truck fuel utilization.

“We predicted that our customers and potential buyers were going to be greatly impressed with the new Aluminum Classic II, and we’re gratified that media at the show also recognized the value and advantages of this product,” said Jim Kraschinsky, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Reading Group. “We’ve been manufacturing aluminum service/utility bodies of all sizes for more than 25 years, and we’re particularly excited about these new bodies that offer such huge weight and fuel-saving benefits. The Aluminum Classic II is Reading-rugged, environmentally friendly and will help fleets, utilities, contractors and companies of all types to save money.”

Reading says that its new 8-ft Aluminum Classic II service body weighs 45 percent (500 lbs) less than comparable steel service bodies, providing a fuel savings of up to 12 percent, depending on vehicle application. The Aluminum Classic II also offers improved payload capacity and reduced wear and tear on chassis components. It is fully recyclable. Priced just 15 percent higher than a standard steel body, the new Aluminum Classic II features stainless steel rotary locks, hidden hinges, the Dual Pro door seal system, LED lights and a slam-action tailgate. Reading provides a 10-year, limited warranty on the body, which is available in 8-ft single wheel and 9-ft dual wheel models.

Ford Focuses

Streamlined Vans, High-Tech Options and Medium-Duty Expansion

With the Big 3 automakers juggling so many financial fires these days, you would think that launching new products would be the last thing on their lists. But companies like Ford came to the Work Truck Show ready to prove their staying power by exhibiting the next generation of commercial trucking products. Ford Motor Co. showcased three new commercial vehicle offerings, further bolstering its product portfolio.

“Ford is at NTEA to showcase both our new and existing commercial vehicles, display our innovative technologies and listen to our customers,” said group vice president of Global Product Development Derrick Kuzak. “The message is clear: We’re committed to the commercial vehicle market and to the upfitter industry that serves it. We’re here to stay, over the long haul.”

With 40 percent market share, Ford is focused as staying the commercial truck market leader. Its three main attractions were the Transit Connect, F-59 Super Duty Chassis and a gasoline E-Series Ambulance Prep Package. The North American media was excited to glimpse the Ford Transit Connect, which has already been a global success story for Ford (more than 600,000 Transit Connects have been sold worldwide). It arrives in the United States with a global reputation for durability and toughness dating back to its 2003 launch.

Ford Transit Connect is built on a dedicated front-wheel drive commercial platform to exceed the unique needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs (everything from pet supply companies to utility and landscape contractors). To prepare Transit Connect for commercial use in North America, the powertrain was upgraded to include the proven Duratec 2.0-liter I-4 engine and a four-speed automatic overdrive transaxle. These components combine to provide EPA fuel economy of 22 city and 25 highway miles per gallon. Ford Transit Connect goes on sale this summer, starting at $21,475 including destination fees.

Ford also showed the new 2011 Ford F-59 Super Duty commercial stripped chassis, available on a variety of wheelbase lengths and GVWR capabilities, ideal for walk-in bodies tailored to specific applications. Parcel/courier services, food distributors, laundry specialists, construction trades and government fleets — among other various end users — all will have a new commercial chassis choice for 2010. The F-59 Super Duty stripped chassis will be available in January of next year and is produced in a dedicated facility in Detroit. Final pricing will be announced closer to market introduction.

Ford Commercial Truck also confirmed it will continue to offer dealers and customers F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks produced by the Blue Diamond Truck and Parts joint venture between Ford Motor Co. and Navistar International Corp.

“We’re committed to the medium-duty truck market, and our F-650 and F-750 vehicles will continue to haul the goods for a wide variety of commercial applications,” said Len Deluca, director of Ford Commercial Trucks. “The availability of extended cab and crew cab versions has increased the appeal of these work vehicles.”

Dodge Expands Heavy-Duty Offerings

A New Crew of Ram Pickups and Chassis Cabs Are Unveiled and Explained

After only a few fledgling years in the commercial vehicle market, Dodge is already redefining its presence in the truck business. At this year’s Work Truck Show, the new 2010 Dodge Ram Heavy-Duty lineup was released, offering first-time innovations and features which made truck specialists at Chrysler proud.

“Over the past five years, Dodge has gained market share in the heavy-duty pickup segment, and to stay on that track, Dodge keeps innovating,” said Mike Accavitti, director of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep Brands. “Our new 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups will continue to build on our momentum.”

Dodge continues its strong heritage in the heavy-duty truck market by building on its past. Since 2003, Dodge has launched new models or made improvements to its Heavy-Duty lineup:

2003 – Launched all-new version of Ram Heavy-Duty

2004 – Introduced diesel engine improvements

2005 – Introduced Dodge Ram Power Wagon

2006 – Introduced Dodge Ram Mega Cab

2008 – Introduced (2007.5) New 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel engine

2009 – Introduced new 5.7L HEMI engine and new brake system for added brake life and improved fuel economy and new 3.42 axle ratio on diesel automatic transmission

And new for 2010, the Crew Cab with 6-ft ,4-in. box replaces the Quad Cab to meet heavy-duty customer needs and focus on overall vehicle refinement and ride comfort. Now buyers can choose from a Cummins or HEMI engine, a choice of legendary diesel- and gasoline-fueled power plants. The new vehicles boast improved driving dynamics, improved ride with re-tuned suspension components and better handling for a fully loaded vehicle with new suspension tuning.

The Ram 3500’s design with dual-rear wheels, diesel engine, automatic transmission and 4.10 rear axle has an increased Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 25,400 lbs. The Ram Heavy-Duty 2500 Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) increases to 9,600 lbs from 9,000 lbs, a 600-lb increase on Crew Cab and Mega Cab 4×4 models equipped with the Cummins turbo diesel engine.

There are a zillion other cool additions to the new lineup, including increased front Gross Axle Weight Rating, re-engineered creature comforts, numerous storage options, more than 25 safety and security features and B20 biofuel packages available to fleet customers. These new and improved Dodge trucks will arrive in fall of 2009.

“Our new 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups continue to build on Dodge Ram’s leadership in the heavy-duty pickup segment,” said Scott Kunselman, vice president for Jeep and Truck Product Team, Chrysler LLC. “Our Ram Heavy-Duty pickups reinforce Dodge Ram’s bold and powerful reputation and provide improved capability in critical areas of the segment.”

Navistar Chooses EGR

The North American Engine Maker Reinforces Its Unique Technology Choice

The great debate rages among truck and equipment manufacturers with regards to meeting emissions regulations and deadlines. In the trucking industry, the engine makers are turning to a number of solutions to create cleaner burning engines, but notably one technology has reigned supreme — selective catalytic reduction (SCR).

SCR is a technology that uses a urea-based solution to reduce NOx. The urea solution is mixed with engine exhaust gases in the catalytic converter turning the NOx to oxygen, nitrogen and water, thus meeting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2010 emissions requirements for on-highway diesel engines. But Navistar, one of the biggest OEMs for diesel truck engines in the world, is focused on an alternative solution — advanced EGR (cooled exhaust gas recirculation). This technology (popular in the equipment industry, but not in on-highway applications) involves refining current engine technology to provide an in-cylinder solution to meet tier standards.

At the Work Truck Show, Navistar reinforced that it was one of the only truck manufacturers planning to use EGR to meet 2010 EPA emissions regulations.

“Our strategy of 2010 emissions compliance through the use of an EGR-only solution is on track,” said Steve Guillaume, Navistar general manager, vocational trucks. “With our lineup of MaxxForce Advanced EGR engines, we’re delivering a simple and straightforward solution that places the burden of emissions compliance on the manufacturer, not the customer.”

MaxxForce Advanced EGR engines will use technologies such as advanced fuel injection, air management, electronic controls and proprietary combustion technology.

“We’ve been conducting rigorous testing and analysis in our engine labs and currently have 2010 prototype engines installed in medium- and heavy-duty test trucks,” said Ramin Younessi, Navistar group vice president, truck and engine product development. “These test vehicles are on the road in real-world conditions and will log millions of miles of real-world experience before the launch of these engines.”

Other major truck and engine manufacturers are choosing a 2010 emissions path through SCR, which requires the use of an additional operating fluid called urea, as well as significant after treatment equipment which will add hundreds of pounds to each vehicle. Navistar’s EGR approach will not require the use of urea or the addition of heavy on-vehicle urea storage tanks, converters, heaters and the additional electronics required by SCR systems. SCR proponents are quick to note that SCR is the only proven technology in European vehicles and also in a wide number of other applications, including coal-burning energy plants in the United States. They argue that urea availability issues are not so difficult and that SCR is the only way to meet emissions standards without sacrificing fuel economy.

“Many of the OEMs adopting the SCR strategy point to its use in Europe where emissions standards are not as stringent as the U.S.,” added Younessi. “However, at least two European engine manufacturers are adding a non-SCR solution to meet Europe’s next emissions hurdle. Also, three major U.S. companies have recently announced production plans for non-urea SCR systems, helping raise some serious doubts about the long-term viability of urea-based SCR.”

Snowing the Competition

Meyer Announces Multi-Position Wing

The EZ-Wing MP sounds like some Star Wars attack fighter, and you might actually feel like you’re in an icy Hoth snow battle when you use these industry-first multi-position wings, designed for snowplow professionals. Introduced by Meyer Products LLC, the EZ-Wing MP provides nine different plow configurations while adding nearly 2.5 ft of overall length to an existing Meyer Lot Pro commercial straight blade, giving you Jedi-like plow powers.

“The EZ-Wing MP is an easy and affordable way for professionals to greatly improve performance and efficiency, while utilizing the blade they already have,” said Andy Outcalt, president of Meyer Products. The patent-pending, multi-position wing can easily be added to any Meyer Lot Pro without modification. Changing the wing angle is quick and easy by pulling a single quick disconnect pin, adjusting the wing to the desired angle and inserting the pin back into the adjustable ram. Each wing can be positioned independently to create a box, scoop or straight blade configuration, providing users the flexibility needed during changing conditions.

Parker Chelsea Announces New Options for SEMS Snowplow System

Parker Chelsea is a leader in power transfer solutions for the work truck market. The company harnesses power with small, smart solutions. The Parker Chelsea SEMS snowplow system won the Design News Golden Mousetrap in September 2008, as the most innovative and unique new solution for Hydraulic Systems and Controls.

At the Work Truck Show, the company announced three new options for the SEMS snowplow system. The first new option is the release of a new controller to handle the requirements for the “V” plow snow blade. In addition, the SEMS system can also handle the requirements for side dump bodies, and with its down side relief port option, it can handle the requirements for double acting cylinders. The system provides an industry first PTO solution that completely eliminates the need for clutch pumps and all the hassles associated with them.

Three Degrees of Power Generation

Miller Introduces Truck-Integrated Air Compressor, Hydraulic Pump and Generator

Miller has engineered power supply into a nice and portable total solutions package. The company announced its do-it-all EnPak Mechanic Series units at the Work Truck Show, combining its expertise with compressors, welding and power gen into a singular machine. The EnPak eliminates the need for the PTO commonly found in mechanic’s trucks and provides mechanics with the power needed to run air tools, hydraulic cranes and electrical equipment — all with the truck turned off.

“EnPak allows mechanics to work more efficiently while reducing many of the high-cost elements of a mechanic’s truck — fuel use and engine wear,” said Rick Beeson, director of business development, Power Products Group for Miller Electric Mfg. Co. “Eliminating the PTO and integrating EnPak directly into the truck’s electrical and fuel systems reduces fuel use by as much as 30 percent and truck engine hours by as much as 60 percent. The reduced sound levels and exhaust also create a more operator-friendly environment for the mechanic who spends all day working behind the truck.”

EnPak’s variable speed rotary screw air compressor, Miller’s Air Pak 40, offers a rated 40 cfm at 100 psi with a 175 psi maximum that allows mechanics to use air tools without having to stop working to wait for pressure to build. Its Eaton variable displacement piston hydraulic pump powers a rated 3,000 psi at 8.5 gpm (up to 20 gpm maximum) and offers smooth, fast and accurate crane operation. And 6,000 watts of generator power at 100 percent duty cycle plus an additional 2,400 watts of pure sine wave EnVerter power at idle is available to run electrical tools including welders, lights and laptops used for equipment diagnostics.

Comments are closed here.