Which are the best of the best new products and equipment from last year's introductions? We've gone through an extensive process to determine HDT's 2013 Top 20 Products.
The winners were chosen from those that appeared in the magazine's editorial pages between December 2011 and November 2012 and/or appeared in editorial coverage on Truckinginfo.com through Oct. 31 of 2012.
Editor in Chief Deborah Lock-ridge, Senior Editor Tom Berg and Equipment Editor Jim Park went through the hundreds of products and narrowed it down to a list of semifi-nalists. Each product was selected by at least two of the three editors based on its level of innovation, whether it addresses significant industry issues/ concerns, and its potential to improve a trucking operation's bottom line.
A panel of experienced fleet executives and maintenance managers, including HDT Truck Fleet Innovators and a panel of Technology & Maintenance Council members led by past TMC President Darry Stuart, then scored each product on the same attributes. The highest-scoring products are this year's Top 20, presented in alphabetical order by company name.
Products need not be commercially available at the time of the awards, but do need to be a commercial product that will be available in the near future. No “concept” or “prototype” products are allowed. New trucks were not included, because they all are significant and noteworthy.
ATDynamics TrailerTail for roll door trailers
ATDynamics'TrailerTail Roll, or “RollTail,” is the first commercially available aerodynamic tail fairing designed for fleets operating trailers with roll-up doors rather than swing doors. Each RollTail will improve tractor-trailer fuel economy by 4-5% at highway speeds by streamlining the airflow at the tail end of the trailer says the company. The patent-pending design requires zero driver interaction and can be installed by two people in 45 minutes. It retracts automatically along the sides and top of the trailer when a trailer is backed into a loading bay and deploys as the vehicle pulls away.
Bendix eTrac Automated Air Pressure Transfer System
Bendix eTrac Automated Air Pressure Transfer System is designed to address concerns about traction on 6x2 tractors and trucks. The system fully automates air pressure transfer for Bendix ABS-6 braking systems with automatic traction control. When added to Bendix Smart Automatic Traction Control and Bendix ABS-6 Advanced with Electronic Stability Program, eTrac automatically engages and disengages the vehicle's airbag pressure transfer system during low-traction events. Pressure is transferred from the undriven axle to the driven axle without manual input or driver action.
Carrier Transicold EcoForward reefers
EcoForward technologies are the ul tra-efficient transport refrigeration units and generator sets designed by Carrier Transicold for compliance with U.S. diesel-emissions standards for 2013. The belt-driven X4 Series and Vector units with EcoForward technologies will consume significantly less fuel, operate more quietly and deliver improved performance, the company says. For trailer refrigeration, that means a 5% to 20% reduction in fuel consumption compared to previous models. Performance gains mean engine power can be reduced by 18% to 20%.
Continental Tire ContiPressureCheck
Continental Tire's ContiPressureCheck monitors the pressure and temperature of each tire and provides real-time tire status information to warn the driver of tire-related problems. ContiPressureCheck integrates its sensors, communication system and data processor into a single module housed inside a rubber container and glued to the inner surface of the tire. The sensors send data wirelessly to the truck's electronic control unit. Continental says it's the only system on the market that accounts for the tire's temperature at its most optimal point inside the tire.
Cummins Westport ISX12 G natural gas engine
The Cummins Westport ISX12 G, built on the Cummins ISX12, offers a much-anticipated engine size for fleets that want to use natural gas. Previous natural gas engines available were an 8.9-liter and the Westport 15-liter dual-fuel version. The ISX12 G uses the same base en-gine and key components as its diesel counterpart but will operate exclusively on natural gas. It features Cummins Westport's spark-ignited combustion technology with Stoichiometric cooled exhaust gas recirculation.
Detroit D12 automated manual transmission
Daimler Trucks North America's Detroit DT12 Transmission is a 12-speed automated mechanical unit based on a Mercedes-Benz design. It combines a traditional clutch-actuated manual gearbox with high-speed, computer-controlled shift and clutch ac-’ tuators, which automatically and smoothly select the right shift sequence for fuel economy and performance. The automated gearbox will complete an all-Detroit powertrain that will be more efficient for over-the-road trucks. The Detroit AMT has an aluminum case and a single-countershaft design for weight savings.
Drivewyze PreClear is a subscription service offering weigh station bypass. Unlike bypass programs that require dedicated transponders in every truck, the Drivewyze PreClear service works through a hands-free smartphone app or in-cab equipment to deliver an automated bypass solution for all inspection sites. Using this approach, Drivewyze PreClear brings bypass opportunities to temporary mobile inspection sites as well as local, low-volume and remote weigh stations and ports of entry.
Ford-Westport bi-fuel WiNG
Westport LD is partnering with Ford for a bi-fuel system for SuperDuty F-250 and F-350 pickups. WiNG (for Westport Natural Gas), consists of CNG components added to freshly built Fords with specially prepped 6.2-liter V-8s. A WiNG engine will run primarily on CNG and switch to gasoline if the natural gas tank is empty. The CNG tank is in a cabinet behind the cab, and the gasoline tank is below the bed as usual. Westport says the CNG system's weight is 200 pounds with the tank empty.
Mack Super Econodyne low-rpm powertrain
The Super Econodyne powertrain system is designed with all-Mack proprietary components: MP8-445SE engine, mDrive automated manual transmission, C125 drive axles and Mack's custom software. They combine to offer a system designed for improved fuel efficiency. Super Econodyne is engineered to reduce engine speed by more than 200 rpm at a highway speed of 65 mph -cruising at 1,160 rpm versus 1,380 rpm. This, Mack says, will reduce fuel consumption by up to 2% compared with previous engine models. The Mack C125 drive axles deliver an additional 1.5% fuel economy improvement.
Meritor 6x2 technology
Meritor announced two products designed to make fuel-saving 6x2 configurations more appealing. The FueLite tandem axle for line-haul applications is the first member of its SoloDrive Series axles, which feature 6x2 tandem rear axles to maximize weight savings and increase fuel efficiency.
Meritor's new Electronically Controlled Air Suspension also is aimed at 6x2 users. ECAS precisely maintains a set ride height between the axle and chassis as road and vehicle characteristics change, and alters air-bag pressure on auxiliary axles as needed for load support and traction.
Phillips Sta-Dry Tracker swivel nosebox
Phillips Industries’ Sta-Dry Tracker significantly improves the connection between the tractor and trailer. When a truck/trailer combination is required to move into a tight space, creating a severe angle, the chance of damage to air and electrical cables, the nosebox, connectors and gladhands is likely. The Sta-Dry Tracker is a swivel electrical socket that will allow the cable to simply follow the movement of the truck. It will accommodate a turn up to 80 degrees (40 degrees either left or right) and will disconnect if the turn exceeds that angle. The common damages associated with a jack-knife pullout are averted and you can simply reconnect the electrical cable.
Rand McNally HD 100
Rand McNally's HD 100 device turns a mobile device into a DOT-compliant electronic onboard recorder. It offers electronic hours-of-service recording, text- and dispatch-integrated messaging plus driver performance monitoring capabilities. The roughly 3 1/2-inch by 5-inch device can be installed in less than 10 minutes. It plugs into a truck's on-board diagnostics port and records the truck's GPS position along with critical vehicle-specific information such as engine diagnostics and driving behavior. It sends the information via WiFi to the mobile device. Drivers interact with the HD 100's HOS and messaging functions through a mobile app or with Rand McNally's Intel liRoute TND 720 navigation device.
Thermo King Precedent reefers
Thermo King's new trailer temperature control platform claims double-digit fuel savings, high performance and low life cycle costs, while complying with upcoming exhaust-emissions regulations for refrigeration units. Called Precedent, the system was designed to meet federal Tier IV Final limits for engine emissions. The Precedent features a new Diesel Direct Electric and fuel injection system that delivers optimal fuel injection at the right time to control particulate matter emissions within the engine cylinders. This makes the Precedent S-series engine run more cleanly and eliminates the need for an aftertreatment system.
TireStamp Inc. introduced tire pressure monitoring systems for tractor and trailer that meet the new TPMS 2.0 standard for commercial tire monitoring products, which focuses on telematics and reduced installation time. TireVigil TPMS provides diagnostics for tires so fleets and drivers are aware of developing tire problems and can react appropriately. Cloud-based software analyzes all tire and vehicle data, which can be integrated with fleet back-end FMS systems. TireVigil TPMS Trailer wirelessly connects with TireVigil TPMS on the tractor when the trailer is hooked so trailer tires are recognized and monitored automatically.
TMD Friction air disc brake pad
A new air-disc brake pad friction material from TMD Friction of North America, Textar T3070, is the first TMC-approved replacement option for newer tractor designs with air disc brakes on steer axles and drum brakes on drive axles. TMD says its premium aftermarket lining material meets FMVSS121 dynamometer requirements of theTMC's Recommended Practice 628, “Aftermarket Brake Lining Qualification,” as verified by SAE's Performance Review Institute. Compatibility issues facing operators of vehicles with different brake designs on front and rear axles were a major reason TMD developed and certified to aftermarket standards a disc brake pad formulated to replicate the performance of drum lining material.
Truck-Lite 5x7-inch LED headlamp
Truck Lite released a new 5-inch-by-7-inch LED headlamp. The new headlamps use LED arrays and complex reflectors to create smooth, even light output. The LED headlamps feature a solid-state, bulb-free system that is impervious to damage caused by shock and vibration. The military grade, die-cast aluminum housing and non-yellowing polycarbonate lens offer protection against damage from impact, roadside debris and other hazards, according to the company. The system meets FMVSS-108 and CMVSS-108 DOT requirements for both low- and high-beam performance, and the lamps’ multi-volt design works with both 12v and 24v systems.
Volvo Remote Diagnostics
Volvo's Remote Diagnostics provides proactive diagnostic and repair planning assistance with detailed analysis of critical diagnostic trouble codes. The remote communication platform facilitates live dealer and customer communication through Volvo Action Service, Volvo's support team. Proactive diagnostics streamlines service procedures with confirmation of parts on-hand before a truck arrives at a service location. Remote Diagnostics also provides service case communication and documentation among Volvo Action Service, dealers and customers through ASIST, Volvo's Web-based service management tool, which comes free of charge for two years with the purchase of all new Volvo trucks.
Wabash DuraPlate XD-35
Wabash National introduced the industry's first dry freight van with a 35,000-pound floor rating. A versatile solution for extremely heavy freight, DuraPlate XD-35 allows cargo typically hauled on a flatbed trailer to be transported in a dry van. With DuraPlate XD-35, metal coils and other extreme duty freight can be loaded and unloaded at the dock door. This enhances efficiency and safety on the dock and eliminates delays due to crane availability and inclement weather. DuraPlate XD-35 also removes the need to tarp and untarp.
XL Hybrids conversions for GM Vans
XL Hybrids is offering a hybrid drive system that can be installed on new or existing vehicles. The XL electric hybrid is designed for General Motors’ 2500 series G van, sold as the Chevrolet Express and the GMC Savana, with the 4.8-liter Vortec 4800 gasoline V-8. The gearing is 4 to 1, with the motor-generator spinning that much faster than the driveline. This allows the 43-horse-power motor to make as much as 240 pounds-feet of torque during launching. During deceleration and braking, the belt transfers kinetic energy from the driveshaft to the motor, which now acts as an electric generator. An XL system weighs less than 400 pounds.
Zonar 2020 tablet
A tablet device from Zonar Systems combines vehicle inspection, hours of service, two-way messaging and advanced navigation in an open platform. Called 2020, the device records driver inspections and notifies fleet managers they've been done. Drivers use the 2020's built-in RFID reader to scan tags placed at each vehicle inspection point. Drivers identify component conditions using the onscreen keyboard and can send pictures of defects with the completed report. All inspection information is available to fleet and maintenance managers through Zonar's Web-based Ground Traffic Control application.