Ram Heavy Duty and Chassis Cab Limited with higher towing and more features. Ram Multi Function Tailgate (barn door). Turbo demonstration, unveiling new 2019 HD Tradesman. (https://mrtruck.com/popup.htm)2019
Technicians are turning to new tools and technologies to overcome these challenges and reaping dividends through predictive maintenance and less vehicle downtime.
The growing complexity of modern trucks is driving changes at maintenance shops and for the workers who have to navigate this increasingly digital world.
“Electronics allow vehicles to have a better conversation with technicians than ever before,” said Kristy LaPage, business manager of the commercial vehicle group at Mitchell 1. “In the transition from mechanical to electronic control systems, there has also been a shift from technicians to diagnosticians. Vehicle electronics are the source of information that can become actionable, so shop solutions are evolving with this change.”
“The digital shop is not only changing inspection and maintenance practices,” said Jeff Sweet, solutions engineer at Decisiv, a provider of a service relationship management (SRM) platform. “Advancements in sensors and monitoring continue to improve fault condition filtering and help prioritize work based on fault severity.”
A solution that simultaneously diagnoses all components is now essential as an intake tool for technicians.
Also constantly under development are the tools technicians need to service advanced electronic systems.
“A solution that simultaneously diagnoses all components is now essential as an intake tool,” stated Tim Bigwood, CEO at Noregon Systems, a provider of JPRO commercial vehicle diagnostic and monitoring solutions. “And those tools have evolved because while previously there were limited fault trees to consider based on symptoms, today’s vehicles are more complex, so the aid of a diagnostic and repair solution is a necessity.”
The increase in electronics on vehicles is allowing for real-time access to the equipment’s operating conditions and fault data, noted Renaldo Adler, industrial principal, asset maintenance, at Trimble Transportation Enterprise.
“Fleets now have access to a vast amount of diagnostic data needed to repair assets faster,” he said. “Inspections can also be improved with the use of electronic diagnostic tools, which analyze the equipment’s condition and any active faults, so maintenance departments are able to be proactive.”
All of the original equipment manufacturers offer systems on their new trucks that provide diagnostic data. These sensor-based and telematics-driven solutions can improve maintenance efficiency and vehicle uptime.
Kenworth dealers, for example, use diagnostic data from TruckTech+ Remote Diagnostics.
“We have found it can cut the time a unit is in our shop by 30%,” said Josh Hayes, branch manager at NorCal Kenworth – San Leandro. “We’ve also found that among trucks with TruckTech+ Remote Diagnostics, we’re seeing about a 15% reduction in the number of trucks that must be towed because remote diagnostics allow us to monitor fault codes and diagnose issues to determine if a truck can be driven into the shop.”
Photo: Mack Trucks
For OEMs, part of the value of remote diagnostics systems is that the vehicle is effectively reporting its own status.
Sanjiv Khurana, general manager of digital vehicle solutions at Daimler Trucks North America, said with the Detroit “virtual technician” system, maintenance managers get real-time alerts and a plan for critical faults. When the truck arrives at the service location, the diagnostic information and fault history allow the technician to get a jump-start on the repair process.
At Peterbilt, SmartLinq remote diagnostics have been integrated with reasoning engine technology to enable more precise diagnostic information, fault code collection, and enhanced analysis by linking cascading faults.
Volvo, Mack, and Navistar also offer their own systems, aimed at reducing downtime and allowing for over-the-air software updates.
“With the increase in electronics on commercial vehicles, fleets have a better understanding of vehicle health,” said Brian Mulshine, director of customer experience for Navistar’s OnCommand Connection.
In short, the value in all of these remote diagnostics systems is that the vehicle is effectively reporting its own status to a maintenance operation.
“The key for truck fleets is to apply electronics to enable a proactive system that adds value and not cost,” said Wally Stegall, technical fellow, director at Morey Corp.
Robert Braswell, executive director of the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC), noted that greater vehicle complexity makes preventive maintenance more of a challenge. “Until enough fleet data in the field is gathered, it makes it more difficult to optimize service and inspection schedules for new electronic systems,” he explained. “But increasing complexity can bring with it sensor-based maintenance strategies that can help with self-diagnostics.”
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana. Electric is the future of commercial trucking, said Carlton Rose, but the industry is not there yet. Rose, president of global fleet maintenance and engineering for UPS (NYSE: UPS), told attendees at the Green Truck Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Tuesday morning that UPS is committed to exploring all possible propulsion systems, but that ultimately, he believes electric will become the dominant option, with a caveat.
“I have one big problem with predictions,” he said during his keynote address, “they are wrong more than they are right. … [because] predictions rest on the assumption that the future is like the past.”
Rose oversees more than 340,000 global assets in his division, managing over 8,000 managers and supervisors and 454,000 employees.
“Fleets want solutions that work,” he noted later in his speech. “If the technologies don’t work, it doesn’t matter what they cost or how much in subsidiaries are available.”
Most of his speech was focused on the potential for electric, and he pointed out several predictions that he believes will contribute to an electric future. By 2050, 68 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, creating more congestion and environmental concerns, he said. The continuing rise of e-commerce – online orders have grown 12 percent annually three years in a row - is also driving change.
“We have become accustomed to getting what we want when we want,” Rose said of online ordering, adding that all these factors are leading to a growth in urban freight delivery, which is expected to grow more than 40 percent by 2050. This growth is also fueling greenhouse gas emissions, with heavy-duty and medium-duty trucks contributing 23 percent of those today.
“We can be part of the problem or part of the solution,” Rose said. “UPS wants to be part of the solution.”
UPS’ more than 1,000 electric and hybrid-electric fleet vehicles are just part of the company’s current approach, but Rose expects those numbers to grow.
“We’ve always been an early adopter of innovative technologies,” he said. Six percent of everything shipped globally moves through UPS’ system at some point, giving it the ability to help move markets. UPS was an early backer of the Tesla Semi electric tractor. Rose said that Tesla continues to insist it will start producing the truck “soon,” but it was Tesla’s entry to the market that has helped drive more options.
“Our goal is to get original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) entering the market and when Tesla came in, other OEMs started jumping in and that’s what we want, options,” Rose said.
Electric vehicles are still not the ideal solution, but they are a growing option, he added.
“Commercial electric trucks are still a work in progress,” Rose said, noting range anxiety, even at UPS, is a concern.
“On our electric fleet, range has certainly been an issue,” he said. “If you have a vehicle with a 100-mile range, you can’t send a driver out 51 miles because he won’t get back.”
The success of electric trucks remains the advancement of battery technology, improving charging infrastructure, and the ability to get “everybody to work together.” This includes fleets, manufacturers, utilities and regulators, Rose said.
Electric is not the only option UPS is studying in its Rolling Laboratory, Rose said, leaving the door open to future innovations. In fact, UPS currently operates over 6,000 natural gas vehicles.
“We play in all option and we do that on purpose,” he said. “We know that trying different propulsions, other people will get in and [those solutions] will improve.
“We’re a company that will not let perfect get in the way of good,” Rose added.
While he views electric as the future, he said that widespread adoption remains out of reach until electric vehicles can prove themselves, and even then, they may not be for all fleets.
“I know what works for UPS’ fleet won’t work in all fleets,” Rose said. “But we should try” to get all parties working together and letting OEMs and government know what works and what doesn’t.
Rose encouraged all those in attendance to proactively bring about change.
“Customer expectations are changing faster than ever before,” Rose said. “In today’s business world, it’s not enough to react to change, you must be leading the change, otherwise you won’t be around long. Solutions won’t just appear, we must be stubbornly forcing them.”
This helpful video will explain how your 4WD system works and how to switch between modes using the Electronic Shift on the Fly feature on your truck.
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It seems, on the calendar at least, that spring 2019 will soon be here. And, as often happens, the longer the days become, the more prone we feel to change, to renew habits and to get started with the annual ritual of spring-cleaning.
It might seem to you that this task is just a household tradition with origins in a long forgotten religious custom, but the general idea can still be applied to fleet management. With this post we want you to consider spring cleaning from the fleet manager’s perspective and we’d also like to offer you a few ideas along those lines—this is the perfect opportunity to tackle aspects of your fleet that might require a bit of sprucing-up...
#1 – Spring-cleaning (literally). You probably have a process already in place whereby you have your vehicles washed and cleaned on a regular basis, though in winter they are more likely to suffer from the weather. A clean vehicle runs better, is treated better, and represents your company image better. If you haven’t done so, organize a plan to get all of your vehicles thoroughly cleaned with the help of your team. Have them check also that nothing unnecessary is stored inside the vehicle as it does not just demonstrate untidiness, but can become a hazard when the vehicle is driven.
#2 – Tidying up. Take advantage of the spring-cleaning spirit to tackle any small repair that might be needed. If there is any small thing that needs to be tidied up in the depot or in your workshop or office, then now is the time to address it. You might even find some Marie Kondo-like inspiration is good for your business in general. We don’t want to be too obsessive, but when you have a tidy, clean space, your mind functions better. When we say small repair... we are not actually referring to your vehicles, as you should already have some sort of process for regular checks that shouldn’t ignore a defect, even if minimal, for the purposes of safety and compliance.
#3 – Paperwork and spring-cleaning. This is slightly off the general theme but still related to spring-cleaning. If you are among those who rely on paper-based vehicle checks, we are not about to tell you to throw them away—you should always keep records safe for compliance purposes—but why not have a look at different methods than those which simply attract dust or use up too much physical space? If you are stuck with an ever-growing pile of paperwork, then the time has probably come to consider digital walk-around checks, and you are more than welcome to give our trial program a go.
#4 – The spring-cleaning attitude. There is nothing as dangerous as claiming that just because you have always done things in a certain way, you should continue to do so. If you want to expand your business, you should welcome innovation and outside-the-box thinking. If you are looking into new ways of doing things but have never been brave enough, or told yourself you never had the time to look into alternative methods, why not take this opportunity to tap into the very spirit of spring-cleaning by clearing out some of the stale old practices holding your business back. And if you need any pointers, we are more than happy to help.
Managing your tire program requires looking for signs of wear or
damage and properly maintaining your vehicle to help avoid issues so you
get the maximum return on your investment. The development of irregular
tire wear is very common on trucks of all types. Some of the common
causes include alignment issues, under-inflation, overloading,
suspension system issues, hub and drum non-uniformity or run out,
anti-lock braking system malfunctions and improper installation.
Visual tire inspections are also very important. Drivers should look
for damage to a tire’s tread and sidewall area. Tires with bulges or
cuts in the sidewall should be carefully inspected and even taken out of
service if necessary. Tires used in delivery or urban settings with
curbs and other potential obstacles should be carefully inspected each
Be certain to look at the inside dual tire and between duals for
rocks and other debris that can cause trouble. It is also important to
inspect tires regularly for signs of uneven wear. Check for cupping or
other uneven wear by running your hand over the tread and look for
uneven wear on the tire edges. Edge wear and lower tread in the center
of the tire can be signs of under- or over-inflation.
recommends that tires are serviced by qualified and properly trained
service personnel who can identify tire issues that indicate the need to
remove them from service. A key resource is TMC Radial Tire Conditions
Analysis Guide, a comprehensive guide which identifies more than 100
wear conditions and out-of-service conditions and indicates the
necessary actions needed. This includes when to remove a tire from
service and when it can be repaired. It also includes photos and causes
of different types of irregular wear, which are categorized by steer,
drive and trailer positions.
Steer tires, especially in long-haul service where the rate of wear
is low, tend to be susceptible to river wear or erosion wear, a wavy
channel along rib edges followed by major tread voids. This wear is
circumferential, meaning that it starts at the edges of ribs and
gradually progresses all the way around the tire on the sides of the
tread ribs. Another common issue on steer tires is accelerated shoulder
wear. This may be the result of too much or too little toe-in setting.
On drive tires, the most common type of irregular wear is
heel/toe wear, which causes the lugs to develop a saw-tooth pattern.
This tends to be most pronounced in high torque applications. In
addition, drive tires in long haul applications may also develop fast
wear on the inboard shoulder which can lead to earlier removal than
might have been necessary otherwise. Rotating tires among the drive
positions can help to minimize the effect. Another issue to be aware of
is fast center wear, which can be a sign that tires are over-inflated
for the load they are carrying.
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The National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) says more than 100 companies plan to introduce new work trucks and equipment at Work Truck Week 2019.
The Work Truck Show, North America’s largest work truck event, runs March 5-8 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis IN. Educational sessions, Green Truck Summit, Fleet Technical Congress, and the Manufacturer and Distributor Innovation Conference begin March 5, and the exhibit hall is open March 6–8.
Chevrolet Commercial Vehicles, Ford Commercial Vehicles, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation, Freightliner Trucks, Hino Trucks, International Truck, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Kenworth Truck Company, Mack Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Nissan Commercial Vehicles, Peterbilt Motors Company, Ram Commercial, Volvo Trucks and Western Star Trucks plan to exhibit at the event, with 15 of them delivering exclusive chassis update sessions.
During each update session, company representatives provide insights into their future plans related to the work truck industry, share technical information on latest chassis specifications and designs, and review body and equipment installation options. Ford, FCCC, Freightliner, International, Mack, Mitsubishi Fuso, Nissan and Ram also scheduled press conferences at the Show.
“There’s no better place to see what’s new and what’s coming from the industry’s leading OEMs,” the association said.
To help attendees plan which booths to visit, 90 exhibitors are showcasing new products online in advance of the event as part of The Work Truck Show’s exclusive New Product Spotlight and Green Product Showcase programs. Offerings range from transmissions and suspensions to trucks and bodies. They include a variety of innovative power solutions, cargo management systems and vocational equipment from snowplows to cranes. To learn more about these products, visit the featured exhibitors section of the online floorplan at worktruckshow.com/floorplan.
“Every year at The Work Truck Show, the industry’s leading manufacturers of vocational vehicles, components and equipment converge on Indianapolis to showcase their newest products and share what’s coming next,” says Steve Carey, NTEA president and CEO. “With all the major players here, The Work Truck Show is the best place to take the pulse of the commercial vehicle community and find the equipment and education you need to continue to improve your operations.”
Show attendees will have the opportunity to check out products from 26 first-time exhibitors in a special New Exhibitor Pavilion that opens an hour before the exhibit hall on Wednesday, March 6 and Thursday, March 7. It’s located across from the Hall I exhibit hall entrance.
The Work Truck Show main exhibit floor covers more than 500,000 square feet. The event includes an educational conference with sessions designed to help attendees improve their operations.
“Anyone who works with commercial vehicles, including public and private truck fleet operators, manufacturers, dealers and equipment distributors, can find solutions to their business challenges at the Show,” NTEA said.
For more information and to register, visit worktruckshow.com or call 800-441-6832.