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‘Bespoke’ trucks? Shell and AirFlow Truck Co. have designed and built one

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The body of the Starship Project tractor is a bespoke aerodynamic design made of carbon fiber, including the side skirts, hood, and front end. (SHELL LUBRICANTS)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


HOUSTON – Shell and AirFlow Truck Co. have designed and built a hyper-fuel-efficient Class 8 truck capable of reducing the energy usage associated with the transportation of goods. This next-generation concept truck, called the Starship Project, uses technologies that are currently available today to minimize the amount of energy it takes to transport a load of cargo from one point to another.

“We seek projects such as the Starship initiative to keep Shell at the leading edge of technology development and energy efficiency,” said Bob Mainwaring, technology manager for innovation, Shell Lubricants. “The transportation industry is constantly changing, and our goal is to be at the forefront of innovation by collaborating with companies like AirFlow and others to develop creative solutions that provide benefits for years to come.”

With new fuel economy regulations on the horizon and the need for continuing advances in fuel economy and emissions reductions, Shell Lubricants says recognizes that a holistic approach to making fuel economy gains is important.

This includes advances in engine and drive train technology, the use of low viscosity synthetic lubricants, aerodynamic designs, efficient driving methods and more.

The body of the Starship Project tractor is a bespoke aerodynamic design made of carbon fiber. This includes the side skirts, hood, and front end. A custom U.S. Department of Transportation-approved wrap-around windshield was designed specifically for the truck. The trailer includes energy efficient features such as full side skirts to reduce drag and a 5,000-watt solar array on top of the trailer to power interior accessories and reduce the energy load.

The Starship Project truck is powered by a 2017 Cummins X15 Efficiency 6-cylinder engine with 400 horsepower and 1850-foot pounds of torque. The standard engine has been calibrated with the transmission to run at very low speeds and down to 800 rpm.

Shell provided technical consultation on engine and drivetrain components, as well as recommendations for lubricant needs for use in the Starship Project truck. The engine will run on Shell Rotella T6 Ultra 5W-30, which is a low viscosity API FA-4 engine oil that has been formulated to provide better fuel economy, improved high and low temperature performance and meets the requirements for many low emissions engines.

The Starship initiative provides Shell with an opportunity to test Shell Rotella T6 Ultra 5W-30 in a cutting-edge vehicle prior to its introduction to market. Shell will be able to gain valuable information for creating lower viscosity engine oils without sacrificing performance.

The truck will use a number of full synthetic Shell Lubricants products including Spirax S6 GXME 75W-80 transmission oil, Spirax S5 ADE 75W-80 differential oil and Spirax S6 GME 40 wheel hub oil. In addition, Shell Rotella Extended Life Coolant will provide excellent high-temperature protection and heat transfer. Shell Rotella Diesel Exhaust Fluid, a high purity diesel exhaust fluid, will also be in the truck.

The Starship Project will undertake a cross-country run in May that will begin in California and end in Florida carrying a real load of cargo: clean reef material destined for a new reef installation off the coast of Florida later this summer. AirFlow and Shell will seek to reduce the energy usage associated with the transportation of goods through improved fuel-economy for a Class 8 truck and the measurement of freight ton efficiency.

“For more than 30 years, Shell has employed co-engineering to increase efficiency and reduce emissions,” Mainwaring said. “The relationship with AirFlow Truck Company and other suppliers to build the Starship Project is part of a collaborative process led by Shell that encourages co-engineering and has resulted in a Class 8 truck that will be used to challenge how trucking efficiency is defined.”

Obtaining significant fuel economy improvements in Class 8 trucks and trailers is a challenging process given the size and construction of a tractor and trailer. Shell recognizes that a holistic approach to making advances is important. Advances in engine and drive train technology, the use of low viscosity synthetic lubricants, aerodynamic designs, and efficient driving methods all contribute to increased fuel economy and freight ton efficiency.

 

 

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Diesel Laptops launches virtual diesel technician program

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Clients that utilize this program have full, unlimited access to Diesel Laptops’ certified, in-house diesel technicians who are available via phone and live chat and can both remote access the client’s diagnostic tools, and video stream through the end user’s mobile device. (Courtesy: DIESEL LAPTOPS)

GILBERT, S.C. — Diesel Laptops, a distributor of commercial truck diesel diagnostic software, hardware and services, has launched a Virtual Diesel Technician Program.

This program is a first in the commercial truck and off highway industry and is a real solution to the current diesel technician shortage that exists, according to according to Tyler Robertson, CEO of Diesel Laptops.

Clients that utilize this program have full, unlimited access to Diesel Laptops’ certified, in-house diesel technicians who are available via phone and live chat and can both remote access the client’s diagnostic tools, and video stream through the end user’s mobile device.

The program also grants clients access to the wide array of repair information that Diesel Laptops has created.

This repair information includes VIN decoders, labor time guides, repair information on over 70,000 diagnostic fault codes, wiring diagrams, component locators, torque specifications, parts cross referencing, step-by-step repair information, and much more Robertson said.

These applications are provided through traditional desktop applications, along with websites and mobile applications.

“We all know that it is difficult to find qualified technicians,” Robertson said. “We also know it’s difficult for most shops to acquire the resources they need to properly diagnose and repair commercial trucks. The Virtual Diesel Technician Program gives repair shops access to both live, real world diesel technicians and repair information.”

Diesel Laptops is staffed with certified diesel technicians from a variety of industries, and currently handles more than 50,000 customer repair, software, and diagnostic questions every year, Robertson said.

“These are all documented and organized in the company’s database, allowing Diesel Laptops to build the world’s largest database of solutions for known symptoms and diagnostic codes,” he said.

To learn more about the Virtual Diesel Technician Program, including watching an explainer video, visit www.DieselLaptops.com

Diesel Laptops, founded in 2014, provides specialized diesel diagnostic equipment for the commercial truck, construction, automobile, agriculture, marine, and off-highway markets. Diesel Laptops is the industry leader in diesel diagnostic tools.

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Schneider rolls out tablets to improve driver experience, efficiency

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Since Schneider assigns the driver and not the truck, every Schneider driver has everything needed — from apps to news to delivery information and bonus pay statements — at their fingertips. (Courtesy: SCHNEIDER)

GREEN BAY, Wis.  — Schneider isn’t just one of the largest trucking carriers in North America.

It is a leader in utilizing new technology to improve driver experiences.

Since it became the first company to incorporate two-way satellite communication systems in cabs in 1988, Schneider has been an early adopter of many technology developments.

Most recently, the company began rolling out Samsung Galaxy tablet devices to its drivers to make their lives easier both in and out of the truck, according to Mark Rourke, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Schneider.

Since the tablet is assigned to the driver and not the truck, every Schneider driver has everything he or she needs — from apps to news to delivery information and bonus pay statements — at their fingertips.

“I like that I don’t have to write everything down — like pick up numbers and customer info. It’s all right there for me, so I don’t have to go to a truck stop to do that paperwork,” said Schneider driver Shawn Calloway. “I’ll admit, I was hesitant at first, but it’s been a great portable tool that lets me streamline my work so I can get back on the road.”

Tablets also lay the foundation for future capabilities such as electronic signatures and transfer of documents, Rourke said, adding that as the technology evolves, Schneider is committed to the enhancement of the driver experience and will quickly accommodate additions and changes to the suite of new system tools.

“We have upgraded the in-cab communication system and provided new capabilities outside of the truck for drivers,” Rourke said. “We’ve listened and heard from drivers on how tablets are difference makers in making their lives easier. Putting technology in the palm of a driver’s hand is one of many ways we’re enhancing their experience.”

Testing of tablet-based solutions began in early 2015 with a pilot group of Schneider drivers who trialed the tablets alongside the current in-cab system. The resulting feedback noted their improved experience and elimination of the irritants of the previous processes, namely paperwork.

“It’s like an electronic Swiss army knife,” Rourke said. “All the tools and apps like MyPilot, Weigh My Truck, and Schneider’s Compass are in one easy-to-use place for drivers.”

Drivers are also using the tablets to:

  • Track work
  • Get customer information
  • Complete training without a facility stop
  • Look up bonus info
  • Weather and road conditions
  • Turn-by-turn GPS directions
  • Read news, messages, videos and more

Those interested in learning more about Schneider’s easy-to-use tablets and finding jobs with a company focused on improving the driver experience can visit schneiderjobs.com.

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Bendix rolling out new advanced technology training courses for 2019

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ELYRIA, Ohio — To help fleets, technicians and owner-operators keep pace with today’s ever-advancing truck technologies, Bendix (Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake) has doubled its technical training force and enhanced its long-running in-person training programs for 2019.

A new two-day Advanced Technology Training program is now available, in addition to the established three-day Air Brake Training class that has set the industry training standard for decades. Registration is open for the complete schedule of both courses, shown on the last page of this news release.

The 2019 edition of the in-person Air Brake Training class, which will visit more cities and states than last year, is tailored to both new and experienced technicians. It covers the description, operation, and service elements for the total range of components found within dual air brake systems. Topics include:

  • Fundamentals of compressed air
  • Tactics for air system failure mode diagnosis and troubleshooting
  • Air brake system and foundation brake components (air compressors, valves, foundation drum brakes, and air disc brakes)

“The Advanced Technology Training class is an exciting new addition to our training curriculum; it picks up where the Air Brake Training course ends, covering the operation and troubleshooting of higher-level driver assistance and safety systems, as well as diagnostic software,” said Lance Hansen, Bendix North America regional vice president – fleet/trailer sales and service engineering. “As adoption of these complex technologies increases, it’s more important than ever to make sure the teams responsible for keeping North America’s commercial vehicles operating safely are equipped with the knowledge they need. Our new Advanced Technology Training is a real must for the advanced technician.”

Some of the systems addressed in the Advanced Technology Training course are:

  • AutoVue Lane Departure Warning System from Bendix CVS
  • Bendix ACom diagnostic software
  • Bendix ESP Electronic Stability Program
  • Bendix Wingman Advanced and Bendix Wingman Fusion driver assistance systems
  • SafetyDirect by Bendix CVS
  • SmarTire and SmarTire Trailer-Link TPMS by Bendix CVS

Hansen noted that class time in the Advanced Technology Training session includes in-depth, hands-on maintenance for Bendix air disc brakes and electrical diagnostics.

To help address the increasing demand for service training, Bendix has doubled its technical training force.

In addition, 29 Air Brake Training sessions – each conducted by a member of the ASE-certified veteran Bendix Service Engineering Team – are scheduled in 25 locations across the U.S. from February to November.

The nine Advanced Technology Training courses will be held from March to December, split between Sparks, Nevada, and the Bendix headquarters in Elyria, Ohio.

Per-person enrollment costs are $400 USD for Air Brake Training and $350 USD for Advanced Technology Training.

Because of the quantity and complexity of the products covered, Bendix highly recommends that each student completes the Bendix Air Brake Training (three-day) class, or at minimum, the online brake school at brake-school.com, before taking the Advanced Technology Training class.

“Both classes include hands-on exercises as well as classroom training and extensive visual demonstration aids. At most locations, the Bendix team will also be able to utilize operational demonstration boards that essentially put a fully operational air system right at the students’ fingertips,” Hansen said. “This training is another way in which Bendix is working with the industry to shape tomorrow’s transportation together.”

Registration is free for the Bendix On-Line Brake School, which offers an extensive, regularly updated curriculum covering all aspects of electronics and air brake maintenance. Since its launch in March 2013, the training portal (www.brake-school.com) has registered nearly 70,000 users from more than two dozen countries.

Class size for the 2019 in-person Bendix training courses is limited, and enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Registration may be completed online at www.bendix.com or www.foundationbrakes.com; by phone at 1-800-AIR-BRAKE, option 3; by email at BendixTrainingSchool@hkm.dcgcentral.com; or via fax (216-651-3261).

For a full listing of locations and dates, click here.

 

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