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Even during the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues, trucking suppliers announced a number of innovations in new products in 2021 that we’re recognizing with the 2022 HDT Top 20 Products award.

At the end of each year, Heavy Duty Trucking’s editors look back at all the product announcements we reported on in 2021. Then we ask a panel consisting of HDT Truck Fleet Innovators and our Editorial Advisory Board to weigh in. In both cases, the new products are evaluated in three areas:

  • Innovation
  • Ability to address an industry issue
  • Potential to affect a fleet’s bottom line

We considered products that were published in 2021 in HDT’s print edition from January through December, or on Truckinginfo.com from Dec. 1, 2020, through the first week of December 2021. Entire powered vehicles or concept products were not eligible, and the product must be commercially available, or scheduled to become available in 2022, to be eligible.

Awards will be presented at the American Trucking Association’s Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting in Orlando in March in individual ceremonies at each company’s booth.

The 2022 HDT Top 20 Products appear below in alphabetical order by company.

Alcoa’s forged-aluminum dual-valve wheel allows for a second valve stem. - Photo: Alcoa

Alcoa’s forged-aluminum dual-valve wheel allows for a second valve stem.

Photo: Alcoa

Alcoa — Dual-Valve Wheel

Alcoa’s forged-aluminum dual-valve wheel allows for a second valve stem, meaning a tire pressure monitoring systems sensor can operate on one valve while air pressure is serviced on the other. Typically, when a technician only has one valve stem to inflate the tire, they need to remove the sensor from the valve stem. This is time-consuming, and sensors can get lost in the process.

Bendix AD-HFi Air Dryer with Electronic Air Control software regulates the dryer’s charge and regeneration cycles. - Photo: Bendix

Bendix AD-HFi Air Dryer with Electronic Air Control software regulates the dryer’s charge and regeneration cycles.

Photo: Bendix

Bendix — Bendix AD-HFi Air Dryer with Electronic Air Control (EAC) 

Bendix added electronic pressure control capabilities to its AD-HFi air dryer to provide more dry air for the systems today’s trucks depend on, increase energy efficiency, and improve air system diagnostics. A solenoid-operated valve replaces the traditional mechanical governor. Bendix’s Electronic Air Control software regulates the dryer’s charge and regeneration cycles. This enables the dryer to operate under different parameters in different conditions, increasing its dry air processing capability and saving energy.

The Truck-Lite Heated Super 44 and 60 Series LED Stop/Turn/Tail Lamps feature self-regulating heating technology that automatically. - Photo: Clarience Technologies

The Truck-Lite Heated Super 44 and 60 Series LED Stop/Turn/Tail Lamps feature self-regulating heating technology that automatically.

Photo: Clarience Technologies

Clarience Technologies — Truck-Lite Heated Super 44 and 60 Series LED Stop/Turn/Tail Lamp

While heated LED headlamps have been available for several years, Truck-Lite turned the technology to LED stop/tail/turn lamps as well, so snow can be melted from the lamp for better conspicuity. Available in 4-inch round and 2x6-inch oval versions, the heated stop/turn/tail lamps feature self-regulating heating technology that automatically and consistently warms up as the ambient temperature drops.

An in-wheel electric motor is paired with a ConMet PreSet Plus hub assembly, engineered to capture wasted braking energy and repurpose it as electricity. - Photo: ConMet

An in-wheel electric motor is paired with a ConMet PreSet Plus hub assembly, engineered to capture wasted braking energy and repurpose it as electricity.

Photo: ConMet

ConMet — PreSet Plus eHub

As the race to cut emissions on transport refrigeration units poses a hurdle to commercial fleets, a zero-emission electric trailer is now available from ConMet eMobility that eliminates emissions, decreases noise, and reduces brake wear. The system builds on ConMet’s Preset Plus electric hub, or eHub. The in-wheel electric motor is paired with a ConMet PreSet Plus hub assembly, engineered to capture wasted braking energy and repurpose it as electricity. The electricity is stored in a high-capacity, lightweight battery that sits beneath the trailer, which powers the electric reefer to keep a fully loaded trailer cool.

Cummins announced a 15L natural gas engine with ratings up to 500 hp and 1,850 lbs-ft of torque. - Photo: Cummins

Cummins announced a 15L natural gas engine with ratings up to 500 hp and 1,850 lbs-ft of torque.

Photo: Cummins

Cummins — X15N

As fleets look to natural gas, especially renewable natural gas, to meet sustainability goals, Cummins announced a 15L natural gas engine with ratings up to 500 hp and 1,850 lbs-ft of torque. It is expected to weigh 500 pounds less than comparable 15L diesel engines on the market, Cummins officials said, and doesn’t require selective catalytic reduction to meet 2024 California or Environmental Protection Agency emission standards. The engine can be paired with the Eaton Cummins Endurant HD Transmission and Cummins fuel delivery system for a fully integrated natural gas powertrain.

Detroit added “industry-first” capabilities to its suite of safety systems. - Photo: Daimler Trucks North America

Detroit added “industry-first” capabilities to its suite of safety systems.

Photo: Daimler Trucks North America

Daimler Trucks North America — Detroit Assurance Suite of Safety Systems 2022 New Features

Detroit added “industry-first” capabilities to its suite of safety systems, including Active Speed Intervention, Brake Hold Mode, and Lane Keep Assist with Auto Stop. If the truck exceeds the posted speed limit, active speed intervention alerts the driver. Once the warning is issued and depending on how far above the truck is over the speed limit, ASI will de-throttle the engine for two seconds, adjust adaptive cruise control to the posted speed limit, or cancel ACC. Active Lane Keep Assist with Auto Stop, exclusively available with the Freightliner Cascadia, actively brakes the truck to a safe stop rather than letting the truck roll to a stop in case of an incapacitated driver or if the driver’s hands are off the steering wheel for more than 60 seconds. With brake hold mode, after coming to a stop, the driver further presses the brake pedal to activate the brake hold mode function, reducing the need for the driver to continually press the brake pedal down in prolonged periods of standstill. Available for the Cascadia and the Western Star 49X spec’d with a Detroit powertrain.

The LayerLok XP and AF double-decking systems are engineered for use in dry van and reefer applications. - Photo: Doleco USA

The LayerLok XP and AF double-decking systems are engineered for use in dry van and reefer applications.

Photo: Doleco USA

Doleco USA — LayerLok Double-Decking System

While double-decking systems aren’t new, Doleco contends that existing systems are based on aircraft seating track, which was not designed for repetitive sliding or to carry vertical loads. The LayerLok XP and AF double-decking systems are engineered for use in dry van and reefer applications. The LayerLok SC is designed for installation in shipping containers. The LayerLok XP features a “radically different” machined aluminum track design, with beveled teeth instead of holes or slots, said Doleco officials. The system’s steel head assembly and beam adjustment tool glide seamlessly within recessed slots on either side of the teeth, virtually eliminating snag points. The LayerLok AF is designed as an “intelligent alternative” to the most common aircraft-track-based systems and is modeled on a complementary design so its tracks and decking beams are interchangeable with competing systems.

Gear Head Lube’s new soy-based fifth-wheel grease comes in easy-to-apply “pads.”. - Photo: Gear Head Lube

Gear Head Lube’s new soy-based fifth-wheel grease comes in easy-to-apply “pads.”.

Photo: Gear Head Lube

Gear Head Lube — Gear Head Fifth Wheel Lube Pad

This new soy-based fifth-wheel grease from Gear Head Lube comes in easy-to-apply “pads.” To apply, technicians place the grease pads on the fifth wheel, one on each side, or on bare patches as needed. The action of coupling to a trailer will do the rest. Officials at Gear Head Lube, an Iowa-based company that specializes in soy-based lubricants, said there is no cleanup, waste, or litter.

Hendrickson’s Watchman wheel-end sensor technology will collect trailer tire pressure and wheel-end temperature data. - Photo: Hendrickson Trailer Commercial Vehicle Systems

Hendrickson’s Watchman wheel-end sensor technology will collect trailer tire pressure and wheel-end temperature data.

Photo: Hendrickson Trailer Commercial Vehicle Systems

Hendrickson Trailer Commercial Vehicle Systems — Watchman

Hendrickson is launching its Watchman wheel-end sensor technology for trailers, which operate on the vehicle area network developed by Sensata Technologies. The initial product offering will include trailer tire pressure and wheel-end temperature data that is communicated to the fleet via the trailer telematics system. The Watchman wheel-end sensor technology will be an available option on Tiremaax Pro and Pro-LB tire pressure control systems.

Hyundai Translead introduced a lightweight polymer fiber core composite panel for trailers. - Photo: Hyundai Translead

Hyundai Translead introduced a lightweight polymer fiber core composite panel for trailers.

Photo: Hyundai Translead

Hyundai Translead — Hyundai Composite

Hyundai Translead introduced a lightweight polymer fiber core composite panel for trailers. Company officials said this new composite, along with improved panel designs, will result in lower total cost of ownership. The panel is designed with enhanced insulation, preventing moisture build-up and providing a safe environment for all types of cargo. Engineered to reduce heat transfer, the panel’s fiber core reduces thermal transmittance up to 25%, according to the company.

J.J. Keller’s Universal Placard Holder features a patent-pending flexible design. - Photo: J.J. Keller

J.J. Keller’s Universal Placard Holder features a patent-pending flexible design.

Photo: J.J. Keller

J.J. Keller — Universal Placard Holder

J.J. Keller’s Universal Placard Holder features a patent-pending flexible design developed through customer research. Rigid placard holders kink when placed on curved surfaces, making it difficult to slide placards and shields in and out. This flexible holder can be mounted on flat, curved or uneven surfaces with ease, including tank diameters as small as 5 feet. It’s been more than 20 years since placard holders have had any design changes, according to the company.

The Mack mRide spring-leaf over rubber-block suspension now offers additional weight savings. - Photo: Mack Trucks

The Mack mRide spring-leaf over rubber-block suspension now offers additional weight savings.

Photo: Mack Trucks

Mack Trucks — MRide Suspension Paired with Proprietary Mack Axles

The Mack mRide spring-leaf over rubber-block suspension now offers additional weight savings for increased payload when paired with proprietary Mack axles. The weight savings is possible by casting suspension components into the Mack axle housing. Available at 40,000-pound and 46,000-pound suspension ratings and with standard track axles, customers can save 140 pounds with drum brakes and 146 pounds with air disc brakes.

Meritor’s 14Xe ePowertrain for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles integrates an electric motor and a multi-speed transmission into the differential housing. - Photo: Meritor

Meritor’s 14Xe ePowertrain for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles integrates an electric motor and a multi-speed transmission into the differential housing.

Photo: Meritor

Meritor — 14Xe ePowertrain

Meritor’s Blue Horizon-branded 14Xe ePowertrain for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles integrates an electric motor and a multi-speed transmission into the differential housing, eliminating the need for conventional driveshafts. Meritor officials said advantages include the ability to remotely power each axle as power demands change in a tandem-axle configuration, a wheelbase that could be up to 30 inches shorter than a conventional arrangement, increased room between frame rails for additional battery capacity, and weight savings of up to 800 pounds. The 14Xe is scalable from an 80,000-pound gross vehicle weight 6x4 down to a single-axle Class 5 step van.

The Safex power system allows fleets, distribution centers, and trailer manufacturers to connect hybrid electric transport refrigeration units to 480-volt AC power. - Photo: Mission Critical Electronics

The Safex power system allows fleets, distribution centers, and trailer manufacturers to connect hybrid electric transport refrigeration units to 480-volt AC power.

Photo: Mission Critical Electronics

Mission Critical Electronics — Safex

Mission Critical Electronics says its Safex system is an answer to some of the challenges faced in the cold chain in transitioning to lower-emissions refrigeration units and meeting idling restrictions. The Safex power system allows fleets, distribution centers, and trailer manufacturers to connect hybrid electric transport refrigeration units to 480-volt AC power. A driver pulling a refrigerated trailer equipped with the Safex Auto Eject port can pull up to a facility equipped with the Safex Auto Safe and plug the Auto Safe cable into the Auto Eject port. Once plugged in, the system detects when the cable is connected to the trailer and allows power to flow with the touch of a button.

The Paccar TX-8 Automatic transmission for Kenworth and Peterbilt medium-duty trucks delivers automotive-like shifting with up to 5% better fuel economy. - Photo: Paccar

The Paccar TX-8 Automatic transmission for Kenworth and Peterbilt medium-duty trucks delivers automotive-like shifting with up to 5% better fuel economy.

Photo: Paccar

Paccar — TX-8 transmission

The Paccar TX-8 Automatic transmission for Kenworth and Peterbilt medium-duty trucks monitors changes in road grade, vehicle acceleration, torque demand, weight and engine load to keep the truck in the most fuel-efficient gear. The transmission delivers automotive-like shifting with up to 5% better fuel economy, according to company officials. The Paccar TX-8 incorporates an Auto Park Lock safety feature that automatically engages the park lock should a driver forget. A Twin Torsional Damper enables early first gear lock-up for smoother shifts and faster acceleration.

The Smart7 tracks and manages all trailer health sensors using one device and one platform. - Photo: Phillips Connect Technologies

The Smart7 tracks and manages all trailer health sensors using one device and one platform.

Photo: Phillips Connect Technologies

Phillips Connect — Phillips Connect Smart7 with Connect1 Health Monitoring

The Connect Smart7 integrated telematics hub from Phillips Connect can be installed on new-build trailers or retrofitted on existing units. The Smart7 tracks and manages all trailer health sensors using one device and one platform. It delivers a real-time comprehensive view of the status of a trailer using an integrated telematics hub, with all of the data available on a consolidated web or mobile device user interface. The Connect Smart7 is a seven-way nose box with a cellular gateway, GPS tracker, and sensor hub all-in-one that maintains continuous 4G-LTE communication from the trailer.

Ossia and Sensata-Xirgo Technologies partnered to create a trailer-tracking yard management system. - Photo: Sensata Technologies

Ossia and Sensata-Xirgo Technologies partnered to create a trailer-tracking yard management system.

Photo: Sensata Technologies

Sensata — Xirgo OTAC

To solve the problem of misplaced trailers at large distribution centers, Ossia and Sensata-Xirgo Technologies partnered to create a trailer-tracking yard management system. The system uses Ossia’s Cota wireless over-the-air charging technology, which charges a GPS-enabled asset tracker. The tracker’s magnetic legs hold it in place for easy deployment on incoming trailers, and trackers from outgoing trailers are placed back in the charging station for recharging. The battery can last for several weeks while stationary in the yard. Each tracker is equipped with an accelerometer to ‘wake’ the unit when motion occurs.

Thermo King’s E-200 is a fully electric refrigeration unit for small to medium-sized vans and trucks. - Photo: Thermo King

Thermo King’s E-200 is a fully electric refrigeration unit for small to medium-sized vans and trucks.

Photo: Thermo King

Thermo King — E-200

Thermo King’s E-200 is a fully electric refrigeration unit for small to medium-sized vans and trucks. Unlike typical direct-drive solutions designed for diesel engines, Thermo King officials said, the E-200 delivers constant capacity independent from the vehicle’s engine and can work with both electric- and engine-powered vehicles. The E-200’s plug-and-play solution requires no road compressor or drive kit to function. As demand expands for temperature-controlled last-mile delivery, the electric E-200 offers flexibility in spec’ing urban delivery fleets.

The TSE-Sense smart air brake chamber can diagnose brake problems in real time. - Photo: TSE Brakes

The TSE-Sense smart air brake chamber can diagnose brake problems in real time.

Photo: TSE Brakes

TSE Brakes — TSE-Sense Smart Air Brake Chamber

The TSE-Sense smart air brake chamber can diagnose brake problems in real time, such as non-functioning brakes, dragging brakes, overstroke conditions, emergency spring failure, and cross-axle brake imbalance. The system is made up of smart brake actuators and a data integration box and continuously monitors brake stroke at each wheel end. Proprietary software is used to analyze brake data for real-time response as well as for preventive diagnostics. Fleets and drivers can take advantage of telematics to ensure that their brake systems are functioning properly. TSE-Sense is also designed to address the many reasons for trailer fires caused by brakes.

Whiting Systems’ SmartWashout has a self-centering software system to ensure proper cleaning and disinfecting of a refrigerated trailer. - Photo: Whiting Systems

Whiting Systems’ SmartWashout has a self-centering software system to ensure proper cleaning and disinfecting of a refrigerated trailer.

Photo: Whiting Systems

Whiting Systems — SmartWashout

Whiting Systems designed its new SmartWashout internal trailer washout system with refrigerated transporters and produce haulers in mind. Whiting Systems officials said the system offers an innovative self-centering software system to ensure proper cleaning and disinfecting of the refrigerated trailer. A MultiGun option offers the capacity of running four handheld pressure wash guns at the same time.

This list was first published in the Jan/Feb 2022 issue of Heavy Duty Trucking.

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