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Bendix celebrates record year for company patents

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Bendix employees post with patent plaques at the company's annual dinner. (Courtesy: BENDIX)

ELYRIA, Ohio — Discovery and curiosity drive inventors to create solutions that have a lasting impact on the world around them.

In 2018, inventors from across Bendix (Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake) made their own lasting impact by earning 52 U.S. patents, the most ever for the company in one year, according to Richard Beyer, vice president of engineering and R&D.

Spurred by their passion for safety technologies, 59 inventors contributed – individually or in groups – to the record patent total.

In all, Bendix received 60 U.S. patents, including eight filed on its behalf by parent company Knorr-Bremse. Among the recipients, 22 inventors received their first patents and several Bendix employees gained personal milestones: six inventors were granted their fifth patents, two reached their 10th, and three attained the 15-patent mark. This year’s honorees also include two prolific innovators, individuals who each hold 42 patents.

Bendix, the North American leader in the development and manufacture of active safety, air management, and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles, honored the inventors at its annual patent dinner.

The dinner celebrated the inventors’ achievements, including 150 new invention disclosures submitted by employees last year. At the end of 2018, Bendix reached a total of 317 active U.S. patents and 171 active foreign patents.

“We are proud to celebrate the inspiring work of our inventors as they strive to advance Bendix safety products and technologies through ingenuity,” Beyer said. “The patents are a testament to their passion for finding solutions to even the most complex problems. Together, these innovators are helping Bendix shape tomorrow’s transportation, and contributing to a safer future on our highways.”

According to Beyer, the engineers and other inventors celebrated at the patent dinner also help define the Bendix culture of stressing training and education – and reflect the company’s emphasis on providing an environment that fosters creativity and knowledge expansion.

Bendix employs more than 325 North American-based engineers performing R&D, design, quality, manufacturing, testing, and technical sales roles. To aid new and experienced professionals as they work on the forefront of technology, the company provides a variety of career development and hands-on activities, Beyer said. In addition, Bendix has in place a long-standing engineering co-op program across many of its North American facilities, along with a selective Engineering Development Program for new graduates.

The Bendix Co-Op program offers engineering students currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs the opportunity to obtain meaningful, hands-on work experience that complements their classroom learning. Working closely alongside seasoned professionals in North America, as well as with Knorr-Bremse colleagues around the globe, the program offers participants a wide range of disciplines and enables Bendix to help develop a pipeline from which to recruit new talent.

The Engineering Development Program (EDP), established in 2011, is a three-year rotational program that allows newly degreed engineers to develop in rotations of one year each in system development, product development, customer application, and/or advanced manufacturing engineering. The range of dynamic engineering challenges, at a variety of Knorr-Bremse global locations and Bendix North American facilities, increases the exposure to key areas within the organization and rounds out the capabilities of participants, providing significant experience, as well as the skill sets required to help deliver the next generation of commercial vehicle safety technology.

“The commercial vehicle industry is evolving like never before. It’s an exciting time to be an engineer with the many emerging requirements of electric vehicles, highly automated driving (HAD), advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and advanced safety systems. But with these new technologies comes the need for new skill mixes and skill sets.  That’s why continuous learning and growth are essential,” Beyer said.

A part of that growth opportunity is the company’s Technical Skills Enhancement (TSE) program. TSE is a robust engineering curriculum that offers diverse technical skills training and features the mechatronics educational curriculum at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), in Rochester, New York. The 18-month certification program, hosted primarily online, is open to practicing engineers at Bendix.

Bendix and New York Air Brake LLC (NYAB) – a North American sister company within the Knorr-Bremse Group – enjoy a long-standing relationship with RIT, and helped develop the Knorr-Bremse North America Mechatronics Laboratory at RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering. Mechatronics – the intersection of electrical and mechanical engineering – is a critical component in advancing many commercial vehicle and rail safety technologies. The laboratory serves both RIT students and engineers from NYAB and Bendix.

While helping its engineers develop, Bendix also strives to prepare future technology leaders and generate interest in the commercial vehicle industry overall. Following on its strong commitment to education and to help advance Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs, the company supports a growing list of initiatives within the communities in which it operates – including robotics programs and maker spaces – as well as an annual Discover Engineering program, open to children and grandchildren of Bendix employees.

The Discover Engineering program enables middle and high school students to visit company headquarters for a firsthand engineering experience. Bendix professionals provide an overview of engineering fields, plus lead demonstrations, site tours, hands-on activities, and more to show how a career in engineering can make a long-lasting impact on people’s lives.

To further inspire the next generation, Bendix also regularly opens its doors to local schools to learn about engineering, including design, prototype, test, hardware-in-the-loop, and materials engineering. These tours give students an up-close look at the daily lives of engineers to help develop an interest in STEM.

“Bendix engineers strive to reshape the world for the better – through everything from designing safer trucks to pioneering remanufacturing solutions,” Beyer said. “Their passion for engineering and innovation is visible not only through their work, but also in their commitment to inspire up-and-coming engineers. With their continued effort inside and beyond our walls, the future is bright for engineering – and brighter for all of us.”

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ATA For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index surges 7.4% in April

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Compared with April 2018, the SA index increased 7.7%, the largest year-over-year gain since July. (The Trucker file photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. — American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index surged 7.4% in April after decreasing 2% in March. In April, the index equaled 121.8 (2015=100) compared with 113.4 in March.

“The surge in truck tonnage in April is obviously good for trucking, but it is important to examine it in the context of the broader economy,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “February and March were particularly weak months, as evidenced by the 3.5% dip in tonnage due to weather and other factors, so some of the gain was a catch-up effect. In addition, the Easter holiday was later than usual, likely pushing freight that would ordinarily be moved in March into April.

“I do not think the fundamentals underlying truck tonnage are as strong as April’s figure would indicate, but this may signal that any fears of a looming freight recession may have been overblown,” he said.

March’s reading was revised up compared with our April press release.

Compared with April 2018, the SA index increased 7.7%, the largest year-over-year gain since July.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 117.7 in April, 1% above March level (116.6). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.

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ACT says trailer order volume soft in second straight month

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This chart compares trailer order volume for three years. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — ACT Research’s preliminary estimate for April 2019 net trailer orders is 14,500 units.

Final volume will be available later this month. ACT’s methodology allows the company to generate a preliminary estimate of the market that should be within +/- 3% of the final order tally.

“Order volume was soft in April for the second straight month. Several factors appear to be in play. OEMs continue to be reticent to fully open 2020 orderboards. This is evident in our measurement of the extent of the industry’s backlog, which has remained in the November or December timeframe throughout the first four months of 2019,” said Frank Maly, ACT’s director of CV transportation analysis and research. “While we hear comments of some fleets anxiously awaiting the chance to snap up 2020 build slots, some also appear to be evaluating their existing commitments. Cancellations in April were the highest since August 2016 on both a unit and percent of backlog basis, and have remained elevated since December. That resulted in an interesting dichotomy in April orders; while new orders were actually up versus March, cancellations were significant enough to pull the net order number into the red month-over-month.”

Maly said while down slightly from March, production continues at a brisk pace, although material/component availability and staffing continue to challenge OEMs. Seasonal patterns actually called for a slight increase for April production, so that small sequential decline likely confirms the impact of the aforementioned headwinds.

“Additionally, our discussions indicate that red-tagged units continue to challenge OEM production efficiency,” he said.

ACT Research is a publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American and China markets.

ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies.

More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.

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Price of diesel inches up three-tenths of a penny

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Overall, the price for the week ending was down 11.4 cents a gallon lower than last year.

WASHINGTON — The average on-highway price of a gallon of diesel increased three-tenths of one cent to $3.163 for the week ending May 20, according to the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy.

The increase was precipitated by a 1.1-cent increase in the Rocky Mountain states (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana) and a 1-center increase in the Central Atlantic states (New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland).

The largest decrease was five-tenths of a penny in the Lower Atlantic states (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia).

Two regions remained the same as last week.

Overall, the price is down 11.4 cents a gallon lower than last year.

For a complete list of prices by region for the past three weeks, click here.

 

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