Paccar Increase Capacity

Paccar Increase Capacity

A second parts distribution centre sees Paccar increase capacity in its Parts Division. The new PDC in the Brisbane logistics hub of Berrinba, south-west of Brisbane, is a move to reduce delivery times to dealers and boost parts availability to customers in its retail network.

 

Paccar Increase Capacity

 

The purpose-built facility features just over 6,000 m2 of warehouse space, and shipped its first orders in December, servicing locations throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales. By year’s end it will supply locations in the Northern Territory and regional NSW.

 

The Brisbane PDC will enable PACCAR Parts to offer next day delivery to 74 per cent of its dealers, which represents an increase of next day deliveries by 68 per cent.

 

“Paccar Parts’ mission is uptime – moving customers and businesses forward. Ensuring the availability of parts and service to customers is the number one thing we need to do in the parts business,” said Chris Scheel , Paccar Parts General Manager. “For primary dealers we’re now delivering next day versus 3-4 days previously. For VOR’s (vehicle off road) the dealer drops in an order, we pick the part, and it’s received within hours.”

 

The Berrinba warehouse is the first Paccar PDC to use 100 per cent voice pick technology. Staff are fitted with headsets that tell them where to go and what to pick – and also in what order to determine the most efficient pick pattern.

 

“Voice-pick technology allows our distribution associates to have two hands free and keep their eyes where they are picking. This enhances quality, efficiency and safety,” said Scheel.

 

Berrinba is also the first Paccar PDC globally to feature ‘wire guidance’, an electro-mechanical system that controls vehicle steering by tracking an energised guide wire secured in the floor. This system frees operators from steering responsibilities in very narrow aisles, such as those that stock Paccar’s smaller stock items.

 

“Fast-moving parts are stored at the front of the building to really speed up velocity,” said Scheel.

 

Paccar Parts has also been working closely with dealers to improve retail availability. This has resulted in a 45 per cent reduction in emergency orders over the past five years; and 97 per cent retail availability He notes this has been achieved in a period when stock-keeping units have grown by 35 per cent.

 

This growth will be sustained, in part, by big investments both in product as well as the dealer/retail network.

 

Speaking at the PDC opening, Paccar Australia Managing Director Andrew Hadjikakou said the company would invest heavily in new product over the next two years, including two new Kenworth models under development (T410 and T360); and the move to locally manufacturing of DAF, starting with the best-selling CF mid-year.

 

Traction And The Lifting Axle

Traction and the Lifting Axle

When considering a truck like the DAF LF 6×2, it’s all about traction and the lifting axle. The new DAF LF can load up to its 23.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM), but as soon as the mass at the back drops below 6.5 tonnes, it can be retracted.

 

Traction And The Lifting Axle

 

Any operation where the load diminishes during the journey, or where the truck is only fully loaded one way, will have a truck that turns into a 4×2, with all of the fuel use, tyre use and manoeuvrability advantages this will bring. The truck will work at its 23.5 tonnes GVM as long as is necessary and then, as soon as the load gets down to a manageable level for a 4×2, it can be raised and the operator starts saving fuel and tyre wear.

 

For the driver, this truck does its job extremely well. It’s a typical European medium/heavy-duty truck. The truck drivers of Europe who ply their trade around medieval cities, crowded city streets and vast industrial areas demand quite a high standard of comfort and sophistication. In terms of sheer specifications, the Japanese can match the Europeans toe to toe, but there is a quality about this equipment, plus its added design elements, that gives driving these trucks a feeling of quality.

 

Jump into the cabin, up the two well-spaced and well-placed steps, take a seat and start making all of the adjustments. Fire up the engine and get to work. This truck, both inside and out, has a modern feel. The look of the dash confirms the modernity, and the restrained sophistication.

 

This an area where DAF really does excel. The truck has all of the sophisticated equipment we would expect, but does not have to over-egg the pudding. The controls and instruments are simple and straightforward – there’s no need to make things any more complicated than they have to be.

 

Traction And The Lifting Axle

 

This cabin is the latest Euro 6 model, but the truck is fitted with the Euro 5 driveline. This is the latest design to come out of Europe, and it feels like it. The electronics in the truck are new to Australia and, as a result, systems like the electronic braking system had to be put through the Australian Design Rules (ADR) process when it arrived.

 

The Paccar GR 6.7-litre engine is rated at 285hp (210kW), achieving maximum output between 2,100 and 2,500rpm. Torque comes in at 1,020Nm (750 ft lb) from 1,200 to 1,800rpm, plenty for the kind of work the truck will be doing. This model now uses a ZF nine-speed direct drive transmission, replacing the Eaton used in older models.

 

The rear axle ratio is 1:3.73, this means the engine is going at 1,950rpm when the truck is doing 100km/h – at 80km/h, the tachometer is sitting just on 1,500rpm. DAF reckons this setting maximises the compromise between drivability and fuel economy. On the road test, it becomes clear this set-up works well for both city driving and intrastate tasks.

 

DAF is examining the prospect of the AS Tronic automated manual transmission (AMT) in this model, but this will be part of the process of preparing for ADR 80/04 (Euro 6) and it will only be available for the lower emission driveline. This segment of the market seems to be swiftly moving across from manuals to AMTs compared with only a couple of years ago. Figures suggest further increases in market share for AMT will continue, making the planned arrival of the AS Tronic timely for DAF.

 

Traction And The Lifting Axle

 

Engineering-wise, DAF is working through the process to get the whole range ready for the next stage of exhaust emission controls, due in three or four years. With limited engineering time, only some of the models can be adapted to work in the Euro 5/Euro 6 hybrid space, to which this 6×2 belongs.

 

The model tested is fitted with a 14-pallet body – this is the kind of work DAF expects this truck to ideally suit. There is a chassis insert located where the pusher axle is fitted, plus a stronger cross member. This all serves to beef up the chassis at a point where there is normally less stress and strain.

 

The cab chassis comes into the country with tare weight of just over 6.8 tonnes, before any body is fitted. This means this truck is quite a useful performer, in terms of payload. The truck, as tested here, sits at 9.7 tonnes unladen, giving us a payload of over 13 tonnes and a GVM of 23.5 tonnes.

 

Traction And The Lifting Axle

 

This truck is probably unique for DAF in the Australian market. There are some lifting pusher axles out there, but they are few and far between. Some operators doing very specific tasks have specified and paid extra for this kind of configuration, but no one has offered this kind of set-up directly off the end of the truck production line.

 

The task for DAF is to take this model to the operators, big and small, using 4×2, 6×2 and, probably, 6×4 configurations in their operations and offer this as an option within a fleet that can cover a few more bases and introduce some extra flexibility into the mix.

 

Lifting The Pusher

Lifting The Pusher

The new DAF LF 6×2 is all about lifting the pusher and the new model, previewed at the Brisbane Show gets a Diesel News test drive around Melbourne. Here in Australia, we are unused to the concept of a pusher axle that can lift out of the way when not needed. If any axles have been capable of being lifted in the 6×2/6×4 space, they have normally been lifting tags, which are simpler to engineer. However, their popularity has remained limited by issues around overhang lengths, especially when we have to live with the 6.0 to 6.5-tonne front-axle mass limit.

 

Lifting The Pusher

 

Of course, this kind of configuration is common in Europe due to the fact that, despite the overhang laws being similar, the front-axle weight rules are a lot more liberal, making axle placement less critical. The job of many European truck brand importers to the Australian market is to scour the large number of different configurations on offer in very different truck markets and see if any of them fit the requirements of the Australian truck buyer.

 

This where the DAF LF 28 6×2 comes into the picture, a useful addition to the DAF truck range aimed at a market which is crowded, offering something a bit different. With the configuration on offer, this truck can load up to its 23.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM), but as soon as the mass at the back drops below 6.5 tonnes, it can be retracted.

 

Any operation where the load diminishes during the journey, or where the truck is only fully loaded one way, will have a truck that turns into a 4×2, with all of the fuel use, tyre use and manoeuvrability advantages this will bring. The truck will work at its 23.5 tonnes GVM as long as is necessary and then, as soon as the load gets down to a manageable level for a 4×2, it can be raised and the operator starts saving fuel and tyre wear.

 

Lifting The Pusher

 

The Traction Question

 

There is another reason for some scepticism in the trucking industry about 6×2 configurations, namely the potential to lose traction on the single drive axle if and when the pusher takes enough weigh to reduce grip on the drive. Variations in road surface, driving through gutters or even a speed bump can be responsible for causing the drive to spin.

 

DAF has a solution to hand and it is an effective one. In the event of a loss of traction, the driver simply presses a large, prominent button on the dash and the suspension on the pusher axle lifts, and will stay lifted for five minutes unless the truck gets up over 30km/h, in which case the axle will drop back down and into action.

 

The lifting system is all part of the truck’s electronically controlled air suspension’s electronic control unit (ECAS ECU), rather than being separately controlled, as it can be in aftermarket systems which are fitted later. The axle can be controlled from within the cabin, or from the outside. There is a key-operated switch actually mounted on the axle itself, the one that is to be used when the driver wants the axle to remain lifted. It can only be lifted if the mass on the axle is weighs under 6.5 tonnes.

 

Lifting The Pusher

 

DAF recommends that the operator should always load the truck with the pusher axle down, to ensure there is no chance of overloading the drive axle unnecessarily. Once loaded, the driver can switch the axle to lift and, if it does not rise up, they will know that the load is too heavy for the truck to run as a 4×2.

 

Although on this test around the city of Melbourne, Diesel News didn’t try to get the truck into a sticky (or should that be non-sticky?) situation, our experience in the past has shown that dumping air in a suspension for just a matter of seconds is usually enough to get the truck out of any situation caused by a lack of grip for the drive. Normally, as soon as the rubber hits the road properly, the situation is resolved.

 

Out of the Horsepower Race

Out of the Horsepower Race

Over the years, DAF, has stayed out of the horsepower race, resolutely refusing to follow the crowd and turn up the wick on its biggest displacement, 13 litre, diesels, observes Diesel News’ European Correspondent, Brian Weatherley. However, before the recent launch of its new XF and CF models the press worked itself up into a right-old tizzy (again), convinced the cloggies were about to give their 12.9 litre six-pot a major boost in power, having previously limited it to 510hp and 2500Nm.

 

Out of the Horsepower Race

 

What happened? Maximum power on MX13 rose by 20hp to 530hp, while maximum torque went up by 100Nm to 2600Nm. Hold the back page. However, thanks to major drivetrain and aerodynamic improvements new CF and XF are capable of returning up-to seven per cent better fuel economy. Now that IS a story worth writing about. Having chided DAF for not participating in the European power race, I’ve ended-up admiring Eindhoven’s engineers, and especially marketing men, for sticking to their guns. They were right I was wrong.

 

Today, only the two Swedish manufacturers are still willing to battle it out above 700hp with Volvo’s latest D16K 16 litre holding the crown with 750hp and 3,550Nm of torque. Only seeing that Scania and Volvo are from a country where the normal maximum gross weight is 60-tonnes (on certain logging operations it can be much higher) it’s hardly surprising they’ve both developed 700hp plus engines.

 

Out of the Horsepower Race

 

As for the rest of Europe, and especially Blighty, apart from power-mad owner-drivers (and there are increasingly fewer of them around today) and those small fleets who buy 600hp plus flagship prime movers to lock-in their drivers and use them as a prestigious form of advertising, the number of UK hauliers who can possibly justify a 600hp plus truck can be counted on the fingers of both hands…alright, possibly the toes of both feet too. Moreover, most of those who CAN justify that level of power will be heavy-hauliers shifting loads well in excess of the UK semi domestic weight limit of 44 tonnes, four tonnes more than the EU’s harmonised semi top-weight limit.

 

If by now you’re thinking: ‘Yer self-obsessed pommie, in Australia we run trucks on general freight with much higher gross weights than Europe, often more than 100 tonnes. WE need that level of horsepower. So stick that in yer pipe and smoke it!’ you’d be perfectly right.

 

Out of the Horsepower Race

 

But as this column is called EuroBureau, right now I’m just telling you how things stand ‘up here’. Equally, that’s not to say that someone down-under might be thinking that a Cursor 16 could be just the thing to put in an Iveco PowerStar…you never know.

 

So where does that leave the European horsepower race? ‘Stalled’ is probably the best word to describe it. If nothing else it shows that despite all the hundreds of words written by people like me about high-powered prime movers all the countries in Europe suddenly start allowing heavier trucks on their roads, and by heavy I mean 60-tonnes plus, I can’t see that situation changing.

 

Until it does I think I’ll go easy on the old superlatives and hyperbole. After all, what really matters to operators isn’t how much power a truck has got, it’s how much money they can make with it. Don’t you think?

 

Improved DAF Cabin

Improved DAF Cabin

Diesel News’ Europe Correspondent Brian Weatherley reports on the improved DAF Cabin on the latest Euro 6 XF and CF, launched in the European market. For DAFs engineers at Eindhoven in The Netherlands, the watchword is with evolution, not revolution and their latest CF and XF proves it.

Improved DAF Cabin 

New CF and XF gain a face-lifted interior along with an updated night control panel by the bed plus an upgraded instrument and dashboard layout. But what are they like on the road? The answer, to use the pommie habit of emphasis through understatement, is rather good.

 

We tried out the new models in Holland and while it’s not a country famed for its contours we did manage to find the odd hill on our test route which included motorways and local roads. With the new 450hp rating on the MX-11 likely to appeal to European fleet operators, we first tried a CF 450FT ‘lightweight’ 4×2 prime mover hitched to a tri-axle tank trailer running at around 32-tonnes, somewhat below the normal 40 tonne EU limit, but enough to get a feel for it working.

 

We’ve always considered CF and XF to be ‘friendly’ trucks and the new models are no exception.  And when we finally found a decent hill we were knocked-out by the torque back-up on the CF’s 450hp MX-11 six-pot. Its staying-power is very impressive indeed. Climbing at a steady 50km/h at around 1,050 and 1,000rpm it just kept going and going…and going.

 

And while other trucks with similar displacement diesels would be starting to shudder and shake, signalling it was time for a down-shift the MX-11 450 kept pulling without a murmur of complaint. Indeed, with the engine working hard interior noise levels were astonishingly low. And when we did want to TraXon swap cogs, it did so ultra-quick and very smoothly.

Improved DAF Cabin 

You can play a variety of different tunes on the auto box, switching from ‘Eco’ to ‘Power’ mode —or from auto to semi-auto or even full manual—and back again, at the touch of a button on the steering column stalk. The downhill speed control function also allows you to set your desired downhill speed and stick to it as the system automatically dials-in varying levels of engine braking (and from a gearbox retarder if one is specced) as required.  

 

We next hopped into a 6×2 XF 530 FTG Super Space Cab with a tri-axle powder tanker in tow. With a lot more horses the ‘most powerful’ XF was inevitably quicker off the mark at lights and junctions and more adept at keeping up with the general traffic flows. Yet, while the lowest axle-ratio offered with the top-rated MX-13 engine is 2.53:1 the decent gear spread on TraXon and the extra 2600Nm of torque delivered between 1,000 and 1,460rpm meant our FTG still pulled down happily to a fuel-efficient 1,000rpm on motorway inclines holding a steady 80km/h.

 

On a nasty steep slip road leading up to the motorway we were again impressed by up-shift speeds from TraXon. Inside XF Super Space Cab it’s all tranquillity, and the ‘Exclusive’ trim option will certainly help retain its popularity with discerning long-haul wheelmen. Likewise, the interior changes in CF will keep fleet drivers more than happy.

 

Summing-up DAF’s new heavies we’d simply say they answer what a hell of a lot of top-weight truck operators are asking for in Europe―more fuel savings. And while the new 2017 CF and XF may take a while to appear down-under (production of the new models starts in the summer with RHD production coming out of Paccar’s Leyland assembly plant in the UK) if you’re the kind of operator that prefers evolution to revolution they’ll be worth waiting for. 

Flat Floor Thoughts

Flat Floor Thoughts

The long-awaited arrival of the right-hand-drive Renault ‘T High’ tractor in the UK has given Diesel News’ European Correspondent, Brian Weatherley, some flat floor thoughts – thinking about the benefits of flat-floor cab-overs to overnighters.

Flat Floor Thoughts

Frankly, I’m surprised more manufacturers don’t do it. ‘Do what?’ I hear you ask Down Under. Build more flat-floor cab-over models, that’s what. Given the fact that every night hundreds of thousands of European long-haul drivers are bedding down for the night in a truck (and I reckon 99.99 per cent of them will be doing it in a cab-over prime mover) you’d think that all of Europe’s truck makers would be keen to make their cabs as easy to move around in as possible.

 

And what better way to ensure effortless cross-cab access and boost the size of your bedroom than by removing the engine hump and replacing it with a perfectly flat cab floor? Yet so far, only three of the major players – Mercedes, Renault and Scania – actually offer one. DAF, Iveco, MAN and Volvo heavies have all still got the ‘hump’, albeit of modest height on their flagship models.

 

What’s got me writing about flat floors? The recent (and long-awaited) arrival in the UK of the right-hand-drive version of Renault’s towering ‘Range T High’ prime mover complete with a flat-floor cab. While it’s been around ever since the French manufacturer unveiled its Range T long-distance heavy-truck range back in 2013, up until now T Highs have only been available in left-hand drive. So if you were a UK haulier who wanted one, it had to be a left-hooker.

 

While a couple have gone to Pommie hauliers (primarily international operators running onto the continent where a left-hooker makes more sense), calls for a right-hand-drive T High have been slowly mounting, not least from Renault Trucks UK, who clearly sees its sales potential amongst those small fleets and owner-drivers looking for a prestige overnighter.

 

Of course, some of us in the press have been more than ready to add our own ten cents worth, usually along the lines of, “why should the continentals have all the pleasures of a T High flat-floor cab in left-hand drive and not us in right-hand drive?”

 

However, given that the UK and Ireland still insist on having the steering wheel on the other side of the cab, it’s not unusual for right-hand-drive chassis to be at the back of the production queue whenever a new model is launched, as the priority will inevitably be towards the volume left-hand-drive markets. And just as important, if you’re going to engineer a truck for right-hand drive you’d better be sure the cost of doing it will be more than covered by the number you’ll sell. But even so…

 

Fortunately the folks in Lyon have finally relented with the result that Renault Trucks UK recently proclaimed, “In response to the changing UK and Irish markets, and a clear demand from customers, we are delighted to announce the introduction of a newly engineered right-hand-drive Range T High, available from early 2018.” Better late than never I say.

Flat Floor Thoughts

Three Models to Choose From

 

British hauliers keen to get their hands on a T High right-hooker have three models to choose from, all based on the current Range T driveline consisting of the 13-litre ‘DTI 13’ in-line six- and 12-speed Optidriver two-pedal auto.

 

The first, the ‘International’, features fabric seats with a rotating passenger seat, standard bunk and steel wheels, and is available at 440hp and 480hp in a 6×2 configuration only, 6x2s being the industry-standard prime mover for six-axle, top-weight, 44-tonne GCM semi operations in Blighty. The International’s sensible power ratings will doubtless also appeal to those fleet buyers under pressure to retain drivers with a decent flagship cab, but who don’t want a stampede of horses underneath it.

 

Next comes the ‘Driver’, with 440hp, 480hp and 520hp 13-litre ratings, plus a little more comfort including full-leather seats, again with the rotating passenger chair, ‘performance’ lower and ‘ultimate’ upper bunks, a big fridge, compact dashboard, Alcoa alloy wheels, aluminium suzie support and additional catwalk.

 

Finally, there’s the top-of-the-range ‘Driver Lux’. Offered with either the 480hp or 520hp DTI 13, it boasts even more goodies including a tilting backrest on the bunk, big lockers, luxury curtains, laminated side windows and aluminium air tanks. But in all three cases they have that all-important flat floor.

2018 International Truck of the Year Announcement

2018 International Truck of the Year Announcement

In Europe, the 2018 International Truck of the Year Announcement has been made today. DAF’s new XF/CF truck range has been elected International Truck of the Year for 2018 by a jury of 23 commercial vehicle editors and senior journalists, representing 23 major trucking magazines from throughout Europe.

2018 International Truck of the Year Announcement
DAF pulled a surprise by unveiling its new XF and CF heavies at the recent UK Birmingham CV Show.

 

The prestigious award was handed over to Preston Feight, President of DAF Trucks, during the press day of the Solutrans Commercial Vehicle Show in Lyon, France.

 

With a winning score of 104 votes in a neck-to-neck competition, the new Dutch heavy-duty truck range fought off the strong challenge posed by Iveco’s Stralis NP long-haul 460hp natural-gas engine model, which was second, and Scania’s XT construction range, which finished in third place.

 

In accordance with the International Truck of the Year (ITOY) rules, the annual award is presented to the individual vehicle or model range introduced into the market in the previous 12 months which has made the greatest contribution to road transport efficiency, based on several important criteria including technological innovation, driver comfort, road safety, drivability, fuel economy, environmental ‘footprint’, and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

 

The new XF/CF innovative drivelines, based on optimised MX-11 and MX-13 in-line six engines, well integrated with the latest ZF Traxon 12-speed automated gearbox and new DAF rear-axles, deliver improved drivability, greater fuel efficiency and seamless gear-changing characteristics.

 

The Truck of the Year jury members appreciated the new XF/CF’s energy efficiency features, which include improved combustion, a reduction in internal engine friction losses, engine down-speeding, intelligent auxiliaries, driveline component integration, different gear-shifting strategies, enhanced predictive features running on a new electronic architecture as well as weight reductions in selected components such as the compact after treatment system.

2018 International Truck of the Year Announcement 

In particular, during a recent extended test drive in Belgium and the Netherlands, the ITOY jury members praised the advanced characteristics of the latest XF/CF drivelines, which allow for longer fuel-saving ‘Eco-roll’ periods, due to the increased integration of the engine and automated-gearbox equipped with the latest GPS-based Predictive Cruise Control function.

 

Summing-up the jury vote, International Truck of the Year Chairman Gianenrico Griffini commented: “With the introduction of XF/CF series DAF has delivered a heavy-duty truck range that sets a new standard in terms of driveline energy-efficiency and overall performance.”

 

Earlier this year Diesel’s European Correspondent, Brian Weatherley, reported on the new DAF release in Diesel Magazine:

 

“The one thing you won’t find the Dutch truck-maker doing is rushing to be first in the market with new technology or clever widgets. That’s just not their style. For DAF’s engineers at Eindhoven, the watchword is with evolution, not revolution and their latest CF and XF, said to deliver average fuel-savings of up to seven per cent, are a perfect case in point.

 

“DAF’s new heavies are all about steady, incremental changes rather than show-stopping leaps into the future. That aforementioned seven per cent average fuel gain comes from across-the-board improvements, not just on engines and gearboxes, but also aerodynamics, axles, emission control systems and power-train control software. Drivers get a look-in too with new interiors and dash layouts.  But if you’re a hard-pressed haulier desperate to improve your bottom-line (is there any other kind?) the important news is better fuel economy.”

DAF Looks Good on Saving Fuel

DAF Looks Good on Saving Fuel

Following the latest release in Europe, Diesel News Europe Correspondent, Brian Weatherley, reckons DAFs look good on saving fuel. He has seen them, and driven them. DAF says its latest CF and XF represent ‘pure excellence’.

DAF Looks Good on Saving Fuel 

According to Ron Borsboom, DAF’s chief engineer, director of product development and board member: “One of the things where we feel we do a pretty good job is we are close to our customers, and we understand what the requirements and needs of our customers are.”

 

It also has to be said that DAF does a pretty good job too of building reliable trucks that earn its customers money. The one thing you won’t find the Dutch truck-maker doing is rushing to be first in the market with new technology or clever widgets. That’s just not its style. For DAF’s engineers at Eindhoven, the watchword is evolution, not revolution, and the latest CF and XF, said to deliver average fuel savings of up to seven per cent, are a perfect case in point.

 

DAF’s new heavies are all about steady, incremental changes rather than show-stopping leaps into the future. That aforementioned seven per cent average fuel gain comes from across-the-board improvements, not just on engines and gearboxes, but also aerodynamics, axles, emission control systems and powertrain control software. Drivers get a look in too, with new interiors and dash layouts. But if you’re a hard-pressed haulier desperate to improve your bottom line (is there any other kind?) the important news is better fuel economy.

 

Before getting stuck into the changes under the hood, it’s worth noting what’s different on the outside. Aerodynamic improvements to the front of both CF and XF include better grille closures and radiator flow guides that ensure the most efficient air flow around the vehicle and, equally important, through the engine compartment.

 

In short, it’s all about providing maximum cooling but with minimum drag – any air that doesn’t have to go through the engine compartment for cooling goes around the cab. That optimised air-stream is further aided by a tighter ‘cab-split closure’ (i.e. the gap between the bottom of the cab and chassis) and a more wind-efficient sun visor and front wheel-arch extensions.  Together, those aero tweaks deliver a 0.5 per cent fuel gain. ‘What…only 0.5 per cent?’ Just be patient and enter that figure into your calculator, because there’s more to come.

DAF Looks Good on Saving Fuel 

The biggest fuel gains undoubtedly come from the latest 10.8-litre MX-11 and 12.9-litre MX-13 Euro-6 diesels. Both share improved combustion systems with reworked injector-nozzles and piston crowns, along with new piston rings and liners that reduce internal friction, and compression ratios have gone up from 17.5:1 to 18.5:1, further improving engine efficiency.

 

On MX-11 and MX-13 engines up to 480hp, there are new turbochargers and compressors too, while MX-13 gets a revised camshaft and new oil module. Together with those big-ticket changes, Borsboom confirms it’s “now about smaller areas.” That means a new generation of fully controllable variable pumps for air con, cooling, oil and steering that cut down on parasitic losses. Add-up all those engine improvements and you get a further three per cent saving on fuel.

 

That alone would be impressive were it not for the fact that the power and torque ratings on both MX-11 ‘Haulage’ and MX-13 engines have also been raised. What’s more, the MX-11 top rating is now 450hp, with 2,300Nm of torque (up from 435hp/2,100), while the most powerful MX-13 pushes out an increased 530hp and 2,600Nm (up from 510hp/2,500Nm).

 

Despite rumours from some quarters (i.e. the truck press) that MX-13 would get a more substantial power boost DAF steadfastly continues to resist calls to follow Mercedes, Scania and Volvo into 600hp territory. Given the relatively small sales volumes of prime movers in Europe with more than 550hp, it’s hard to fault their logic.

New Scania, Trucking Optimism, a Major Fine and Electric Axles

New Scania, Trucking Optimism, a Major Fine and Electric Axles

The news from Diesel this week shows evidence of a new Scania, trucking optimism, a major fine and electric axles, with stories from around the world.

 

Images of the next generation Scania driving on Australian roads have started to appear on social media, as the Swedish truck maker run the new models in a, far from secret, evaluation program. 

New Scania, Trucking Optimism, a Major Fine and Electric Axles

 

New Scania, Trucking Optimism, a Major Fine and Electric Axles

Truck Sales Up

 

The latest monthly truck sales figures released by the Truck Industry Council (TIC) this week demonstrate optimism from truck buyers and show a strong truck market, when compared to the figures from last September. National sales figures are showing a rise in sales over the year when compared to 2016. Overall sales sit at 26,294 so far this year, they were just 23,951 at the same point last year.

 

While just about every truck brand is showing an increase in sales, some have made major gains over 2016. The two German brands MAN and Mercedes Benz, now selling new models and with MAN supplying the Defence Forces, have increased sales with numbers up 198 per cent and 48 per cent respectively.

 

Major Fine for Scania

 

Scania has been hit with an 880 million ($1,316 million) after being found to be part of a trucks cartel by the European Commission. The charges reckon the Swedish truck maker colluded for 14 years with five other European truck manufacturers on the pricing of trucks. There were also irregularities in passing on the costs of new technologies to meet exhaust emission regulations.

 

This follows the fining of MAN, DAF, Daimler, Iveco and Volvo/Renault last year after they also admitted to have acted in a cartel-like fashion. Scania had elected not to settle early and underwent a full investigation.

 

“The decision marks the end of our investigation into a very long lasting cartel, 14 years,” Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, is quoted as saying in reports from Europe. “This cartel affected very substantial numbers of road hauliers in Europe, since Scania and the other truck manufacturers in the cartel produce more than 9 out of every 10 medium and heavy trucks sold in Europe. These trucks account for around three quarters of inland transport of goods in Europe and play a vital role in the European economy. Instead of colluding on pricing, the truck manufacturers should have been competing against each other, also on environmental improvements.”

 

Electric Axles

 

Meritor has announced it is developing a platform of electric drive axles and suspensions as well as supporting systems with the intention to position the company as a leader in electric solutions for the commercial vehicle market.

 

“Essentially, we’re focusing on integrating an electric motor into the differential carrier,” said Jay Craig, CEO and president for Meritor. “As we look to future emissions regulations and our customers’ desire for more efficiency, we’re developing new and innovative solutions to expand our product portfolio.”

 

Meritor designed the e-carrier as a drop-in replacement of a conventional mechanical carrier that does not disrupt axle or suspension packaging. Because the electric motor is integrated into the axle, space is freed up for batteries and other electrical components, offering easier packaging and installation and a safer, more protected location inside the frame rails to mount the batteries.

Most Successful DAF

Most Successful DAF

The DAF CF85 has been the most successful DAF model brought into Australia in the past twenty years by Paccar. It is also successful for the company in Europe. The size and shape of the truck fit neatly into a lot of intrastate or around-town type applications. The truck is simplicity itself to drive, climb in and out of and get into tight corners – and it doesn’t look bad at all.

 

Most Successful DAF

 

The driver position is just right – far enough forward to make every area around the truck visible, with all of the controls are close at hand and easily accessible. The driver sits low in the cabin surrounded by the instruments and controls, with a complete view around them. There’s even a small under-bunk fridge accessible to the left hand from the driver’s seat.

 

The ride itself is as one would expect from a truck that succeeds well in Europe and is brought into Australia by an organisation that has engineered a good ride into the Kenworth range. This truck sits down well on the road and gives the rider just enough feedback and plenty of comfort.

 

Of course, the sheer size of this cabin does come with some restrictions. The high engine cover makes getting out of the seat and accessing the rear bunk a bit of an exercise. The roof feels low when trying to move about in the cabin – there is storage space under the bunk and overhead, but not a lot.

 

This cabin design does give the truck some advantages, mainly a tare mass 480kg below that of the bigger, bulkier XF 105 at the top of DAF’s range. There you have it, a truck with a big enough heart to pull a B-double, but capable of an increase in payload closing in on half a tonne.

 

It is possible to see this truck as a tipper and dog with a four- or five-axle trailer, also a fuel tanker with a 19-metre B-double in the local servo, or perhaps delivering full loads of steel around sites in regional areas. The flexibility of its size, tare and power make it one of those trucks that will fit the bill in a large number of applications.

Most Successful DAF

Playing with the buttons

 

Heading out onto the highway in a modern truck gives this driver an opportunity to just play with the buttons – it’s often the only way to find out what they do. One button activates the hill-start aid, to stop the truck trolling back at the countless traffic lights in the Sunshine/Altona area.

 

Next we have the array of six buttons on the steering wheel, two on the left control the Bluetooth-connected phone and the other sets descent speed using the engine brake. The three on the right are for the cruise control and prove to be simple to use. On the top of the drivers door we have five buttons controlling windows, mirrors and central locking.

 

One of DAF’s great ideas, at an early stage, was the controller for the data screen and system. It has remained unchanged in the DAF product for over fifteen years and has now migrated across to the latest Kenworths here in Australia. It is simply a round knob on the dash near the left hand. Just turn the knob to scroll up and down and then press to select.

 

This controls what drivers can see on the small LCD screen right in front of them. What we see here is also simple and straightforward; no complex menus, just clear concise lettering in a large font. The transmission controller is similarly unfussy, simply a dial twisted around to move from neutral to drive, reverse, etc.

 

This is not a glamorous truck, and if you want pizazz, go elsewhere – that is not what a DAF CF85 is all about. However, if you want something to do the job with a certain amount of ease and comfort, then it is certainly worth a look.