The Silent Partner muffler made by Donaldson Co. has won the 10th annual Truck Writers of North America (TWNA) Technical Achievement Award for calendar-year 1999.

Introduced a year ago, the Silent Partner is a bolt-in replacement for standard mufflers but it has the unique ability to minimize the staccato bark of an engine brake. It reduces that noise sufficiently that Donaldson's very long warranty includes the promise to pay any fines relating to excessive noise if the truck is equipped with their product. They've had no takers so far.
The announcement was made at The Maintenance Council's Awards Luncheon at its annual meeting in Nashville this week.
Rolf Lockwood, editorial director of Today's Trucking and chairman of the TWNA Technical Achievement Award selection committee, presented the winner's trophy to Rod Kunke, director of global transportation at Donaldson.
The award celebrates engineering or design excellence in a new product or service that improves business life for the truck operators of North America. It must be something with the potential to have a broad effect on the industry. Whole trucks are not eligible. Past winners include Grote Industries, which has since sponsored the award, plus Cummins and International (twice each), Goodyear, Caterpillar, Meritor, and Eaton. Last year's winner was the Cummins Signature 600 engine.
All TWNA members are free to nominate candidates, but the winner is ultimately chosen by a committee, comprised this year of trucking journalists Paul Abelson, John Baxter, Tom Berg, Carol Birkland, Bill Hudgins, Jim Mele, Steve Sturgess, Paul Richards, and Drew Ryder.
Tied for second place were the side-by-side cooling system of the Peterbilt 387 tractor and the Eaton Fuller Lightning transmission. Also in the running this year was Air-Weigh's AW5600 on-board scale.