At the end of each year, Heavy Duty Trucking’s editors look back at all the product announcements we reported on and choose the ones we felt were most significant and innovative. Then we ask a panel of fleet executives from our HDT Truck Fleet Innovators and our Editorial Advisory Board to weigh in and evaluate them in these three areas to help us make the final decisions:
- Ability to address an industry issue
- Potential to affect a fleet’s bottom line
Entire powered vehicles or concept products were not eligible, and the product must be commercially available in the U.S., or scheduled to become available in 2023, to be eligible.
Awards will be presented at the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting in Orlando in March.
The 2023 HDT Top 20 Products appear below in alphabetical order by company.
Alcoa — ULT36x
The Alcoa ULT36x 22.5” x 8.25” wheel is 36 pounds, 3 pounds lighter than its predecessor, and is equipped with proprietary MagnaForce alloy. Alcoa said the patent-pending design offers savings of up to 0.9 gallons of fuel per 1,000 miles when converting from steel to aluminum on all positions. It also has a reduced hub-to-wheel contact area, leaving less surface area for corrosion to form. The system works with traditional automatic tire inflation systems and the Halo Tire Inflator and brings both the inner and outer dual valve into the wheel well for improved access.
Bridgestone — Firestone Classic Line
Bridgestone introduced three long-haul tires into the Firestone Classics tire product line that it says give small and medium fleets access to premium and retreadable products at an affordable price point. The Firestone FS509 steer radial features a shoulder-wear protector, stress-relief sipes, and a continuous shoulder rib for long, even wear and reduced rolling resistance. The Firestone FD609 drive radial features a shoulder rib to distribute weight and torque evenly to fight irregular wear, aggressive center lugs and multiple gripping edges to help improve traction, and tie bars to control movement of center tread blocks. The Firestone FT 409 trailer radial features straight, flow-through grooves to promote smooth rib-wear patterns and evacuate water for wet traction and a fuel-efficient tread design that provides long, even wear on free-rolling axles while achieving low rolling resistance.
Carrier Transicold — Neos 200e
Carrier Transicold’s all-electric Neos 200e refrigeration unit for commercial vans and light-duty trucks is new for the Neos platform in the Americas. The unit supports both battery-operated and engine driven vehicles. On a battery-electric vehicle, the Neos 200e is powered by the vehicle’s battery supply, and on an internal-combustion vehicle, the Neos 200e is powered via the vehicle’s alternator and battery, enabling a constant cooling capacity for fresh and frozen cargoes. The Neos 200e unit can be equipped with an electric-standby option that enables it to be plugged in and operated via a stationary power source when parked.
Dana — Spicer Electrified Zero-8 e-Axles
Dana is adding electric axles for Class 7 and 8 applications, expanding its Spicer Electrified e-Powertrain offerings with new Zero-8 e-axles for over-the-road applications. The e-axles are designed to integrate into most existing chassis. The 4x2, 6x2, and 6x4 configurations are compatible with drum or disc brakes and are available as completely integrated fully dressed assemblies. A modular motor design provides accessibility for servicing and maintenance. A motor interchange capability will allow for increased scalability in the Class 7 and 8 application range.
Note: Although we first reported on this in 2021, it wasn’t eligible for 2022’s Top 20 Products because it wasn’t expected to be commercially available until 2023.
Doleco USA — Level Deck Self-Leveling Decking Beam
A new decking beam product from Doleco USA reduces operator step count by more than half, according to the company. Unlike other captive systems that require users to walk to both sides of the beam and use a system-specific tool to release and adjust it, the Level Deck can be released and adjusted by hand from one side or the other. The beam can be released with a common dock hook or fifth wheel puller. Once released, the Level Deck beam can be moved freely, asymmetrically and up and down its tracks. Once one side is at the desired set height, the opposite side can be slid up or down and automatically self-levels, locking itself into horizontal position.
East Manufacturing — Horizon Round-Bottom Trailer
The Horizon round-bottom trailer was designed with the needs of aggregate, sand, and gravel haulers, as well as haulers of agriculture loads, in mind. The Horizon maximizes payload by incorporating lighter-weight components while still delivering strength and durability, according to East. The round-bottom design provides a lower center of gravity for greater dump stability and better cornering. The round-bottom shape also allows the trailer to empty cleaner and faster than traditional square-bottom trailers. In addition, Horizon offers a greater payload capacity when compared to a traditional half-round trailer.
Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies — Endurant XD Series Automated Transmission
The Endurant XD automated transmission originally was announced in 2020, but the pandemic postponed commercial availability. In 2022, Eaton released specifications for the Endurant XD and Endurant XD Pro models, which were scheduled to become available in the third quarter. The Endurant XD series are high-performance automated transmissions designed for on-highway applications with high gross combined weight ratings, such as double and triple trailer trucks, and severe-duty on/off highway applications like dump and logging trucks.
Grote Industries — 4See Smart Trailer System
Grote’s 4See Smart Trailer System is a combination of hardware and software that makes improvements to the proximity of sensors and smart lamps, trailer tracking and cargo door monitoring, and cargo sensing and tire pressure monitoring. It also provides actionable insights to help reduce CSA violations. 4See technology works by connecting the harness, nose box, and multiple sensors. A smart nose box offers two plug-in connectors on the bottom, one that goes to the digital harness and one that goes to the traditional 7-way connector. It features integrated telematics and a backup battery. An interface displays critical information on trailer health. Grote also designed a digital harness system which connects without grease and has a single connection point to cab inputs through the 4See nose box. In addition, a central wiring harness runs the length of trailer, and all peripheral devices connect to that central trunk, using the J1939 CAN network standard for reliability and interoperability. The harness is designed to be modular and expandable to accommodate additions and new sensor technology in the future.
Hendrickson — EV Suspension Solution
Hendrickson has engineered a total vehicle steer axle and suspension solution optimized for electric last-mile delivery vehicles, using Hendrickson’s Softek and Snake Spring technologies. Softek features Hendrickson’s fabricated Steertek front steer axle, integrated with the front mechanical spring suspension and lightweight clamp group. The company’s exclusive Snake Spring technology has been incorporated into the rear suspension system to deliver additional weight savings and optimized ride and stability characteristics. The offering provides not only weight savings, which allows vehicle manufacturers and fleets to maximize capacity in other areas of the vehicle, but it also provides excellent ride and handling. Specific to the Class 4 and 5 medium-duty delivery van market, these ride characteristics allow for EVs to have a variable rate similar to an air ride suspension, providing a smooth ride, important for driver comfort and contributing to greater equipment and cargo protection.
Hyliion — Hypertruck ERX powertrain
The Hypertruck ERX powertrain will offer up to 1,000 miles of total range, according to the company, enabling freight-hauling capabilities comparable to diesel. The electric powertrain system uses an onboard, natural-gas-powered generator to continually recharge the battery pack while driving, eliminating the range and charging infrastructure challenges that battery-only electric trucks now face. The Hypertruck ERX is also plug-in capable, allowing fleets the operational flexibility to recharge with low-cost renewable electricity from the grid.
McLeod Software — MPact Pro
McLeod Software introduced an extension of its MPact market analysis tool, MPact Pro, which offers insights into truckload lanes and into spot and contract rates. By extracting elements from only the data on loads that have actually moved, McLeod Software’s MPact Pro market analysis tool breaks down nationwide truckload lanes in depth. The tool allows McLeod customers to create a detailed picture of capacity and volume in markets and evaluate the rate landscape. This AI-based analysis is used to create intuitive dashboards, two-dimensional graphs, and maps that can quickly identify the profitability of truck lanes.
Navistar — International S13 Integrated Powertrain
With the International S13 Integrated Powertrain, Navistar promises to address some of the maintenance and reliability headaches fleets have dealt with since the EPA 2007 and 2010 engines came on the scene. The powertrain consists of three components, developed and integrated concurrently: the S13 13L engine, T14 14-speed automated manual transmission, and Dual Stage Aftertreatment. Designed with selective catalytic reduction technology as the primary emissions reduction technology, the S13 engine has no exhaust gas recirculation cooler and flows 100% of the exhaust to the turbocharger in normal engine operating conditions. This delivers more power and improved engine performance and mitigates soot buildup. The International T14 is the first commercial transmission offered by International. It’s a 14-speed automated manual transmission with an electronic clutch actuator to deliver faster, smoother shifting. The T14 delivers efficiencies of a direct drive in an overdrive package.
Netradyne — Driver•iHubX
Netradyne’s Driver•iHubX is the latest generation of the company’s Driveri accessory. Driver•iHubX enables users to add up to four external cameras to their existing installation for a 360-degree view around a vehicle, with additional storage to accommodate the camera views. New features also include a safe driver recognition program for those driving within a company’s speeding policy threshold, ability for authorized users to live stream outward and inward camera views, and a camera obstruction alert.
Paccar Powertrain — Paccar TX-18 transmission
The TX-18 automated transmission is a new vocational design for on- and off-highway applications. The TX-18 is optimized for on-highway, high-performance and mild vocational applications, and the TX-18 Pro is engineered for on- and off-highway work in mild to severe applications. Peterbilt called the TX-18 “the perfect workhorse for a variety of vocational applications including heavy haul, dump truck, and cranes.” The TX-18’s “optimal” clutch engagement for hill-starts automatically holds the truck still when the brake is released, and then selects the best gear possible to start and gain speed going uphill. The TX-18 design features a 47% reduction in parasitic losses and is 225 pounds lighter than competitive automated transmissions on the market, according to the company. The transmissions are available for certain Kenworth and Peterbilt models with Paccar MX-11 and MX-13 engines.
Ridge Corp. — Trailer Helmet
Ridge Corp.’s new Trailer Helmet helps prevent front end corner damage to trailers that often occurs due to limb strikes and impacts from other trailers being moved around in the terminal lot. The impact can cause costly repairs, downtime, and wet freight claims due to water leaks. The damage often goes unreported, leading to wet claims days or months later. The Trailer Helmet is made up of a high-impact reinforced polymer that absorbs the impact and rebounds to the original position.
SkyBitz — Kuantum trailer telematics
SkyBitz released Kuantum as its next-generation trailer telematics platform. Kuantum replaces SkyBitz’s GXT5002C trailer telematics solution. Kuantum devices have an integrated ultrasonic cargo sensor, harness solar energy to recharge an internal battery, and use a power management system to deliver high frequency, event-driven reporting of trailer locations and empty/loaded status. According to SkyBitz officials, Kuantum allows fleets to optimize their dry vans and intermodal containers by detecting misuse of assets by customers and other third parties, decreasing reliance on customer notifications to schedule pickups, automating yard checks and other manual tasks, and verifying detention events.
Thermo King — Precedent S-750i
Thermo King introduced the Precedent S-750i trailer refrigeration unit for long-haul and local food distribution. Using the S-Series engine, the S-750i meets current and proposed California Air Resources Board Ultra-Low Emission Transport Refrigeration Unit emissions without using a diesel particulate filter. It delivers electrification, integrated shore power, embedded telematics, and a lower-global warming potential refrigerant. The enhanced operational efficiencies of the S-750i leverage Thermo King’s Precedent platform and introduce several new features, including a three-speed engine, next-generation control system for precise temperature control, and a diesel electric architecture optimized for shore power integration.
Trimble — Trimble Video Intelligence + AI
Trimble announced several enhanced features for its Video Intelligence platform to improve visibility and safety for commercial vehicle fleets. The improvements include a four-channel advanced driver assistance system that warns of road lane departures and forward collisions, and a cabin monitor to track driver fatigue, distraction, seat belt usage, smoking, cell phone usage, and camera obstruction. The platform includes an in-cab notification device to provide real-time audio alerts and visual warnings for following distance, lane departure, distraction in the cab and more. Trimble Video Intelligence offers other camera options, including a rear-facing camera and a side-mounted pod camera to capture events that take place alongside a vehicle, in adjacent lanes of traffic or in a driver’s blind spots.
Volvo Trucks North America — I-Torque powertrain option
Volvo Trucks North America said its new Volvo I-Torque option for the latest D13 Turbo Compound engine enables the truck to operate optimally with up to a 31% increase in fuel efficient speed range, achieving up to an 8.5 mpg at 85 mph. I-Torque is made up of the D13 Turbo Compound engine, the I-Shift transmission with overdrive features, adaptive gear shift strategy, a new map-based version of the predictive cruise control Volvo I-See, load-sensing software, and low rear axle ratios as low as 2.15.
ZF — OnGuardMax
The OnGuardMax autonomous emergency braking system is a culmination of a Wabco safety control system merged with ZF’s autonomous vehicle control technologies. It uses complementary camera and radar sensors that are sophisticated enough to detect and react to pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycles. OnGuardMax is also designed to help drivers manage complex driving situations with advanced object detection and classification. It can be paired with OnGuard Active, which offers forward-collision avoidance with braking as well as adaptive cruise control. ZF’s blind spot detection system, dubbed OnSide, can also be integrated with OnGuardMax and OnGuardActive.