This year's products were selected from hundreds of products and services introduced in the pages of HDT or on
Truckinginfo.com between December 2010 and November 2011.
The winners are featured in the February issue of HDT. They were chosen by HDT's editors, the 2011 HDT Truck Fleet Innovators, and a panel of five veteran fleet maintenance professionals from ATA's Technology & Maintenance Council, led by Darry Stuart, president of DWS Fleet Management and former TMC general chairman.
The Top 20 selections were judged on their innovation, their ability to address top industry issues, and their potential to improve a fleet's bottom line in areas such as maintenance savings or improvements in safety or efficiency.
Entire vehicles and engines were not considered, and only one product per company was allowed in the Top 20. Because products often are announced months or even a year before they actually hit the market, products were not required to be commercially available at the time of judging. "Concept" products, however, were not considered.
The following products are listed alphabetically by company.
Aerofficient Fixed Side Fairings
More fleets are turning to trailer skirts to save money on fuel, but there are concerns about durability. Aerofficient has worked with fleets such as U.S. Xpress to address those concerns. It designed a trailer skirt made from an injected-molded, automotive-grade material said to resist extreme swings in temperature. A unique, patent-pending, hinged three-panel construction features a bottom panel that can bend 90 degrees inward and outward. This kind of flexibility permits real-world use in drop-down docks and allows the fairing to clear obstructions without damage. It's EPA-SmartWay-designated as an Advanced Trailer Skirt, estimated to generate at least 5% in fuel savings.
Air-Weigh QuickLoad scales
Air-Weigh's new QuickLoad series of on-board scales offer a lower up-front cost and install quickly, according to the company. The stand-alone trailer version can be installed in about 20 minutes. The display, electronics and software unit are attached to a trailer's mainframe with fasteners or adhesive and plumbed to the air-ride suspension. A touch-screen display gives drivers over- or under-weight warnings when payload should be reduced to avoid costly citations or added to boost revenue. QuickLoad for tractors has a digital dash display that can replace the suspension air-bag gauge or be mounted independently. Wires connect to sensors that attach to the suspension.
Allison, recognizing that over-the-road tractors are not the best application for its fully automatic transmissions, introduced the TC10 TS. It combines a torque converter with a sophisticated 10-speed mechanical gearbox to achieve easy starts and smooth, fast shifting. The company says it will provide performance and fuel economy superior to that of competitors' products. The TC10 will be aimed primarily at short-haul and regional tractors that run on-highway but see a lot of gear shifting, as well as some vocational tractors that don't go off road.
Ancra Lift-A-Deck II
A second-generation load decking system from Ancra International is adding 10% to 30% to payloads while reducing damage claims by as much as 50% for Con-way Freight. Lift-A-Deck II uses a system of vertical tracks mounted to walls or wall posts and horizontal shoring beams that match the trailer's interior width, which can be adjusted to sit above lower-level cargo. Securement straps are attached to the vertical side tracks to belt cargo into place on the beam-supported shelving. This makes use of space in the upper 30% of a van that often goes unused. When not in use, the beams are raised to the trailer's ceiling and locked there.
Bendix Wingman Advanced
Using a radar sensor on the front of the vehicle, Bendix Wingman Advanced gives following distance and stationary object alerts that are always available, whether or not cruise control is engaged. When drivers use the adaptive cruise control with braking feature, the system will actively intervene to help them maintain a safe following distance behind a forward vehicle by reducing throttle, engaging the engine retarder, or if necessary, applying the foundation brakes. If a collision is imminent, whether or not the cruise control is on, the collision mitigation feature applies about two-thirds of the available braking power of the vehicle (compared to about one-third through adaptive cruise control with braking). Also unique to the system, Bendix says, are warnings of stationary metallic objects, such as a car or a steel drum, blocking the lane of travel.
Carrier Transicold FuelCheck
Carrier Transicold's FuelCheck ultrasonic monitoring option for Vector and X2 Series trailer refrigeration units alerts drivers when low-fuel situations could lead to a system shutdown. It also enables fuel-consumption tracking. The Advance microprocessor continuously monitors the level of diesel in the refrigeration unit's fuel tank, as sensed by the FuelCheck ultrasonic transducer mounted at the top of the tank. Unlike capacitance sensors, ultrasound measurement provides accuracy regardless of the fuel type. If the fuel level drops below 15% for more than 30 seconds, the refrigeration unit's LED light bar glows yellow to warn the driver, and the control unit's message center displays a low fuel warning. If the fuel level drops below 10% for more than 60 seconds, the refrigeration system automatically shuts down to prevent loss of prime in the fuel lines.
Spicer Pro-40 lightweight drive axles
Dana introduced the first of a new family of heavy-duty 40,000-pound tandem drive axles, the new Spicer Pro-40, designed to offer fleets a reliable, lightweight and competitively priced alternative to currently available axles for linehaul, bulk, regional and city delivery vehicles. The Spicer Pro-40 offers a dramatic weight reduction and improved power density, according to the company, which enables customers to increase payload, improve fuel economy and ultimately improve their bottom line. The axle is more than 120 pounds lighter than the nearest competitive axle, the company says, and 100 pounds lighter than the current Dana Spicer DS404.
DTNA's Virtual Technician
Daimler Trucks North America's Virtual Technician is a real-time remote diagnostic system. When the check-engine light comes on, it sends a technical snapshot of the truck's engine status to the Detroit Customer Support Center. The support center then communicates with fleets and vehicle owners regarding potential performance issues and service scheduling. The support center also supplies the closest Detroit service location, and the location is alerted in advance of the vehicle's arrival. Virtual Technician is also available with Detroit Visibility, which provides data on stops, idle time, speed, location, path and fuel con-sumption.
Federal-Mogul Brushless fuel pump
Federal-Mogul says its electrical brushless fuel pump addresses the shortcomings of a conventional fuel pump. With electronic commutation to drive the DC motor, the company's non-contact technology is more durable than a conventional pump even when mounted directly on the engine, says the company. According to Federal-Mogul, durability field tests showed that the product lasts approximately 20 times longer than a conventional pump. The pump's efficient electrically driven design also reduces the load placed on the engine when compared to conventional belt- or gear-driven pumps, improving fuel economy an