The strategy adopted by Ken Pitt, All Size Equipment Transport (ASET) Managing Director, has been to adapt prime movers and trailers to minimise size and weight to get as many loads inside prescriptive or periodical permit restrictions and as few as possible requiring special permits or pilot vehicles.
As farm machinery has grown in size and mass, it has become harder and harder for the operation to keep within these rules without customising its equipment to get a few millimetres of height here, an axle there, or a few kilograms shaved off the gross combined mass (GCM).
The trailers are tri-axle as standard, but Ken has designed a special module, which can be fitted to the rear of the trailer to turn it into a quad-axle float. When the trailers run as a quad the axle spacing is typical. Again, higher utilisation is possible.
Unfortunately, due to the design of the module, when it is running as a tri-axle, the spacing is uneven. The rules in South Australia (SA) had specified even spacing in the past, but were changed in 2012. On many occasions, roadside enforcement would forget the rules had changed and breached trailers during checks. This forced the ASET to appeal each breach.
This video from the US shows us Eaton and Cummins getting closer as they offer a more integrated driveline to US truck buyers. This particular AMT has just gone on sale in the US and is not destined to appear here for some time.
The gearbox is part of a comprehensive program where Eaton and Cummins are working very closely together to come up with a fully integrated package. The engine and transmission communicate seamlessly with each other and with whichever truck they are fitted into.
Both Eaton and Cummins have seen a series of developments in the US truck market making it more and more obvious the future for many truck buyers is to look at buying trucks with a proprietary driveline.
Volvo, Mack, Freightliner and Western Star are all available as a truck with a chassis, engine and gearbox all supplied by the same company. For Daimler Trucks the elements are branded as Detroit but are clearly from the same entity, Some elements on the Mack driveline are branded Mack, but come from the same source as the Volvo elements.
The odd ones out are International and the Paccar brands, Kenworth and Peterbilt. Paccar and International do have their own engines but no history with gearboxes. They also sell a lot of their trucks with someone else’s engine, Cummins. Transmissions come from either Eaton or Allison, but predominantly Eaton.
To protect their position in the US market, the two component suppliers, Eaton and Cummins have started to work more and more closely together top create a kind of ‘proprietary’ driveline for Paccar and International.
International have become more and more reliant on Cummins as their own engine program has been in some disarray following its failed 15 litre engine program which got into regulatory strife a few years back. At the time, Cummins stepped into the breach and supplied the engines to enable the Chicago-based truck maker to continue in the heavy duty truck business.
Paccar are in the engine business, but have not been willing to invest the kind of vast funds needed to develop a 15 litre engine to go in their heavy duty offering. Instead, the company has worked closely with both Eaton and Cummins to get a virtual proprietary driveline.
Not only is there an Electric Inter, Volvo and LNG, Iveco and Suttons, plus a New Auto from Eaton/Cummins in Diesel News, but also Daimler Platooning and an Electric Van.
Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies has introduced the new Endurant TM 12- speed automated transmission at the North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) show in Atlanta, in the US. Claimed to be the lightest, most efficient 1,850 ft lb–capable heavy-duty transmission on the US market, it has been designed for line-haul applications where weight savings and efficiency can add to a fleet’s bottom line, Endurant weighs nearly 50kg less than competitive automated manual transmissions (AMTs).
“We are excited to introduce our customers to this game-changing transmission,” said Scott Davis, General Manager, Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies. “Fleets will find that Endurant has been intelligently engineered from the ground up with features that protect your investment and make it easy to maintain. With a sophisticated communication system between the engine and transmission software, Endurant promises to deliver industry-best performance and reliability, fuel efficiency, reduced maintenance, and driver comfort features.”
International Electric Truck
Also at the NACV, International was talking about a new electric truck in the pipeline, coming through the US truck maker’s increasingly close relationship with Volkswagen.
“Our alliance with VW is allowing us to move much more quickly into electric propulsion thanks to our ability to leverage their technology investments and components in segments of the market where we’re already a leader,” said Troy A. Clarke, Chairman, President and CEO, Navistar. “We believe the Class 6/7 vehicle is ideal for electric powertrain solutions in the near term, given its abundance of packaging space, and that these vehicles typically run short distances and can depot to recharge at the end of the day.”
Suttons Takes On Iveco
New South Wales dealership group, Suttons Motors, has taken over the operations of Iveco Sydney. Suttons assumed ownership of Iveco’s largest NSW-based dealership and is already well progressed in consolidating its operations.
“Suttons Motors saw enormous potential in the Iveco product range,” said Daniel Glynn, new Sydney Iveco General Manager. “With a model range spanning everything from passenger car licence vans and light trucks through to road train prime movers, we can offer a transport solution to anybody who walks through the dealership doors.”
LNG For Volvo
According to Volvo Trucks, liquefied natural gas (LNG) is the best available climate alternative on the market for heavy regional and long-haul transport operations. By replacing diesel with liquefied natural gas or biogas, CO emissions from heavy trucks can be drastically reduced. Liquefied gas is today used primarily in industrial operations but, according to Volvo experts, it has excellent prerequisites for being a competitive vehicle fuel with considerable environmental benefits. Volvo is now intensifying its development of gas-powered trucks for heavy regional and long-haul operations.
“Many of our customers and their customers already work hard to reduce their environmental footprint,” said Lars Mårtensson, Director Environment and Innovation at Volvo Trucks. “This regulation will drive the development of lower emissions, where we see a clear possibility for increasing LNG market shares as a vital part of the solution. Our vision is that trucks from Volvo will eventually have zero emissions, although the way of achieving that is not by one single solution but rather through several solutions in parallel.”
Daimler Platooning Trial
Daimler is testing connected trucks in platooning operations on public roads in the US. This was announced during the NACV. In truck platooning connectivity and automated driving improve safety within the vehicle convoys, support drivers and enhance efficiency through closer distances between the connected trucks.
Having started with successful trials on Daimler Trucks North America’s proving ground in Madras, Oregon, Daimler has received the appropriate permission from the regional regulatory body Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). In a first step called ‘pairing’, Daimler is to test its platooning technology in two connected Freightliner New Cascadia truck trailer combinations.
Electric Van from Renault
Renault Australia will begin direct sales of the Kangoo Z.E. (Zero Emissions) compact van in November 2017.
“Bringing the Renault Kangoo Z.E. to Australia has been a long-held goal for us,” said Elena Woods, Senior Model Line Manager for Electric Vehicles at Renault Australia. “We are really excited to offer our customers the opportunity to make a giant step forward in terms of innovative transportation.”
To date, more than 25,000 examples have been sold in Europe to a wide range of users, making it the most popular battery-powered van, with 34.5 per cent of Europe’s EV (electric vehicle) commercial market. It has been the best seller in its segment in the six years since its European launch.
A post shared by Jack Duff (@jackduffphotography) on
Here we have one of the many brands on Chinese truck. This is a SinoAuto truck which seems to have elements of both Mercedes Benz and Scania design included, pretty much par for the course in Chinese truck design.
Last week was Brisbane Truck Show, here are the Diesel News’ Truck Show Snapshots, if you couldn’t make to the event.There were unveilings by Scania, UD Trucks, Mercedes Benz, International and Hino. Crowds surged around the new Kenworth T610 and the old school limited edition T900 on the Paccar stand. Freightliner harked back over the 75 years since the founding of the company with a rare 1950 A64-800 ‘Bubblenose’ truck.
HVIA CEO, Brett Wright, announced the Brisbane Truck Show will return to the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) from Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 May 2019.
“We are delighted to confirm the next show, on the back of a very successful four days,” said Wright. “33,763 came through the door this year, tipping past attendance figures for 2015. More importantly, anecdotal evidence tells us that the audience included a tremendous calibre of business customer.
“Exhibitors really need to be commended for the presentation of their displays. They really went all out to create a special visitor experience, so it is gratifying to see so much business being done on the stands.”
The 2017 Brisbane Truck Show covered 35,000 sqm over three levels of the venue, filling every space with an array of trucks, trailers, technology, components and equipment.
Diesel News’ US Correspondent, Steve Sturgess, driving New Cascadia from Freightliner in the US, took the truck on a 125-mile route heading out into the Mojave Desert to the south of Las Vegas, then looping back around to join the main artery into Las Vegas from the south (Interstate-15). This loop encountered Interstate and two-lane driving and a significant climb over the mountains at Crescent Peak. The Cascadia is scheduled for introduction into the Australian market, in the next couple of years.
This requires a stiff pull up from the desert floor at around 2,000 ft (600 m) to close to 5,000 ft (1,500 m) and a long and relatively steep downgrade which was a good test for the three-position engine brake on the 400-hp/1,750-lb-ft (300 kW/2,372 Nm) DD 15 engine.
The fuel economy was not rigorously tested but we did take readings from the dash which showed a remarkable 9.6 mpg (24.5 l/100km) at the turn in Searchlight. This had deteriorated to 7.2 mpg (32.7 l/100km) when we did a driver change after scaling the mountain, still very creditable. We did a driver change with the second truck going from a 6 x 2 to a 6 x 4 yet despite this managed to roll back into the Resort hotel with a 10.2 mpg (23 l/100 km) on the dash.
Most impressive is the low noise level at cruising speeds of 65 mph (105 km/h). At full bore, the noise rises only about 2db(A) on my test meter to a 62 db(A) reading. The new door seal and quiet package really do the job. Also the softer ride for the front suspension contributes to the comfortable driver environment.
The really cool thing about the revised control layout with the controls on the steering wheel and the adaptive cruise control, it’s possible to drive without using other hand or foot-operated controls, maybe with exception of the retarder. But even this is located on the manual override shift on the steering column. Being able to dial in the three levels of retardation made negotiating the steep downgrade from Crescent Peak a safe, fade-free experience despite being at the States’ rather silly 36-tonne gross combination weight.
The two interior trim levels , Elite and Professional, provide driver-friendly comfort with either easy clean-out or car-like levels of luxury accommodation. The automated DT 12 transmission makes progress down the road both easy and safe, allowing you to concentrate on the size of the truck and its position on the road without the complication of shift decisions and the practice of shifting.
The removal of the windshield splitter and the side-glass channel may seem trivial, but on the road count for much improved visibility. And the repositioning of the new mirrors also gives a comprehensive view to the rear, complemented by available bonnet-mounted safety mirrors.
The new Cascadia features a new layout of gauges and switches in the driver compartment to a more convenient configuration in the sleeper area, including a new Driver’s Loft configuration.
The wraparound dashboard includes switches and more steering wheel controls to allow drivers to work without leaning and stretching. In the instrument cluster, digital smart gauges and driver selectable information displays keep drivers involved as they drive.
Improving on the Classic Cascadia Evolution, one of the quietest trucks on the road in the US, the new Cascadia is even quieter, thanks to new noise abatement technology in door sealing and sound deadening materials. To further improve the truck’s interior sound level, Freightliner engineers have developed an optional insulation package using 3M Thinsulate technology.
Additionally, a new engine mount design provides better vibration isolation and the engine tunnel cover is now constructed using Quiet Steel technology.
Available in a variety of cab configurations, the new Cascadia is all about customisable living-space options to address the realities of drivers while they’re on the road. The sleeper area has been redesigned to include more cabinets, as well as larger spaces to accommodate standard appliances.
For entertainment, a television swivel bracket can hold up to a 26-inch flat panel TV. Double-bunk and dinette options are also available. A new cargo shelf option allows drivers to store containers or duffle bags easily. If an upper bunk is spec’d, it will come standard with an easily released telescoping ladder, making getting into the upper bunk much easier than the step built into the cabinets.
A new sleeper design, the Driver‘s Loft, features a dinette table/work table and opposing seating set at an angle so that legs won’t tangle under the table. Table and cushions can easily be folded down flat to allow for a murphy-style bed to swing down in as little as six seconds in the launch demonstration. The Driver’s Loft also comes standard with aircraft-inspired LED ambient lighting on a dimmer switch so drivers can set their own light levels.
Cascadia’s all-LED lighting includes the low beam, high beam, daytime running lamp, park lamp and turn signal lamp. All LED provides an impressive field of view in nighttime and bad weather conditions, says Freightliner.
The one-piece windshield design increases wiper coverage by 12 per cent over the current Cascadia, and is specially constructed to provide increased resistance to breakage. Both the one-piece windshield and one-piece door glass provide an unobstructed view to the mirror and road.
What is the most significant feature of the new Cascadia? My response was, who are you asking? Maintenance staff will respond to one feature; drivers to another. New owners will like the operational opportunities from the new connectivity. And everyone will love the eight per cent jump in fuel economy. The real success of the new model is not the new, sharper styling but all the fleet-wide deliverables under that sharper look.
Freightliner in the US have launched the new Cascadia in camo, mixing metaphors about camouflaged trucks on test and also emphasising the importance of the military to the US. Here is a run through on all of the electronic safety systems to be fitted on the next generation of the Freightliner Cascadia, as it was launched last week.
This is the official launch video for the Cascadia running through the new truck’s specifications and featuring some nifty animation showing its design:
The question is often asked of Daimler, especially here in Australia, as to why the two main brands sold by the manufacturer seem to take a different approach to safety. One, Mercedes Benz is a leader in introducing countless safety features, both electronic and innovate airbags. On the other hand, Freightliner does not include all of the latest developments. This is a difficult difference to adequately explain. Often customer preference is highlighted as the reason.
The video showing the safety systems will be very familiar to anyone who has test driven the new Actros from Mercedes Benz, due for launch later this year. The steering wheel on the new Cascadia, including its many control switches, as well as the interface on the LCD screen in the dashboard are exactly the same as those Australians will start to see when the Actros is unveiled.
We may have to wait quite a bit longer to see the Cascadia, in any form on our roads. After choosing not to bring in the first generation Cascadia, and introducing the new Coronado, Daimler have stated the Cascadia will be coming to our shores. However, it is not likely until the run-up to the next level of emission controls begins.
This divergence of safety specification within one manufacturer is not confined to Freightliner. Volvo trucks are also leaders in driver safety, but not all of the options available from the Swedish brand also migrate across to the Mack Truck.
This week has seen the announcement of a Daimler Dealership ownership change in the Melbourne area. Automotive Holdings Group, fast becoming a major player in both truck sales and the trucking industry, announced it has agreed to acquire the Mercedes‐Benz Commercial Vehicles dealership in Laverton, Victoria from Mercedes‐Benz Australia/Pacific.
The existing Marwen Drive dealership will be rebranded Daimler Trucks Laverton and relocated over the next twelve months to a new facility to be developed on a Greenfield site on Boundary Road by the Group’s property partner Charter Hall. According to AHG, the transaction is in line with the Group’s ongoing automotive aggregation strategy and is reckoned to represent a valuable addition to the Company’s presence in the Melbourne region. AHG already operates Daimler Trucks dealerships in Perth, Brisbane and Newcastle.
“This is a significant acquisition for AHG,” said Bronte Howson, AHG Managing Director. “It will give us a strategic presence with the Mercedes‐Benz and Freightliner brands in one of Australia’s most important truck and van markets.
“This is a further strategic addition to our truck network, and it will strengthen our existing truck operations and our offering to major fleet customers.”
Daimler Truck and Bus Australia/New Zealand also greeted the news with a new dealership being created in a growing road transport hub.
“Daimler Truck and Bus customers stand to benefit from a state-of-the-art dealership in the centre of Victoria’s freight hub that will be new from the ground up,” said Daniel Whitehead, Daimler Trucks Managing Director. “We have some really exciting new model offerings on the way from our brands and this acquisition puts us in the perfect position to maximise their potential, to attract new customers and better serve our existing customers.”
Stolen trucks on the streets of Las Vegas, followed by TV News helicopters. Of course, it has to be a truck launch. This one is for the new International HX range for the US market which Diesel News reported a couple of weeks ago. This is part of the new trend to the spectacular which is happening within the truck manufacturing industry, it’s not just a launch event, it has to look good on YouTube.
Daimler did it, also in Las Vegas, in a multimillion dollar extravaganza including a record breaking projection on the Hoover Dam, just to show the world an autonomous truck:
Volvo created similar mayhem on a building site, last year, with a four year old driving: