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Kenworth’s new W990 combines modern features, driver amenities with retro design

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LAS VEGAS — It was just a coincidence that fighter jets out of Nellis Air Force Base were occasionally buzzing the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the early evening hours of September 27.

But the incidental military flyovers fit right into the sense of fanfare down on the track’s infield, where Kenworth had booked the speedway to hold a grand unveiling event for its latest model, the W990, before an invited crowd of customers, dealers and trucking media.

Before eight of the new W990s made a choreographed, group entrance accompanied by theatrical lighting and rock music and were then parked for the crowd to inspect and admire, Kenworth officials talked about the new tractor and why this debut was special to them.

“The new Kenworth W990 is a reflection of the Kenworth brand, which represents the quality, engineering excellence and both customer and driver focus that goes into every Kenworth we build,” said Mike Dozier, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president. “The Kenworth W990 represents the pride, image and freedom of trucking, and captures the spirit of what trucking is all about.”

It also represents the next evolutionary step in the long-hood conventional W900 series, “The Driver’s Truck” as Kenworth likes to refer to it, which has been a high-profile part of the Kenworth line since 1961.

“We’re celebrating the legacy of the W900 and the introduction of the next generation of the 900, the W990,” Dozier said, but he was quick to clarify that the 990 isn’t so much the successor to the 900 as it is a branching off of the 900’s lineage.

“W900Ls aren’t going anywhere,” Dozier said, “but we’re planning for the future,” the thought being that the market will determine the direction of the 900 series.

The challenge in designing the W990 was to create something that represented a step forward aesthetically and technologically while honoring its predecessors. That challenge fell largely on Kenworth Design Director Jonathan Duncan as his team.

Duncan called the task of combining past and present, form and function a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“For this truck, it was all about the ‘wow factor,’” Duncan said. It was about making a statement that was original but unmistakably Kenworth.

The most prominent visual features on the W990 are the hood and the grille. With a bumper-to-back-of cab measurement of 131.5-inches, the W990 is only 1.5 inches longer than the W900L, but it appears longer. There’s less downward slope on the 990’s hood, and the wind split – the center crease that runs down the length of the hood – not only accentuates the familiar Kenworth “cathedral” shape but combined with a lower windshield also improves driver visibility.

“Behind the wheel, the driver’s view over the hood is a huge part of the appeal of the W990,” Duncan said. “It’s really one of the keys to the success of this design.”

The side air intakes wrap over the top of the hood so that they are visible from the driver’s seat, which has a strong visual impact from behind the wheel, Duncan said. They made it a point, he added, that all the “shiny metal parts” were stainless steel.

That also goes for the grille, the “face of the new W990,” Duncan said

“Incorporating stainless steel was important. The grill is a real statement. It had to be pure Kenworth and it needed to be instantly recognizable as the top-of-the-line. We maintained the traditional cathedral shape to the grille and the inset surfaces at the top to give it a refined, tailored look. That powerful center spear signifies this is part of the new generation of Kenworth trucks and the tapered grille spears are there for a classic touch.”

Despite the “monumental” appearance of the W990’s front end, it is actually 67 percent more aerodynamic than the W900, Duncan said. It wasn’t a consideration as they were designing it, he said, but they’ll take it.

While much attention was paid to the 990’s looks, it’s what’s inside that counts. Components under the hood have been reconfigured for easier serviceability, Duncan said, and the fenders are bolted on for easier replacement.

The W990 comes with the Paccar Powertrain consisting of the Paccar MX-13 engine rated up to 510-hp and 1,850 lb.-feet of torque, a 12-speed Paccar automated transmission and Paccar 40K tandem rear axles.

Kenworth TruckTech+ remote diagnostics system comes standard. Kenworth NAV+HD seven-inch, color in-dash display provides access to valuable features such as truck-specific navigation, roadside assistance, vehicle data, hands-free calling, audio controls, blind-spot camera inputs and the internet. Bendix’ Wingman Fusion system is optional.

The W990 is available in day cab, 40-inch flat top, and 52-inch and 76-inch mid-roof sleeper configurations, and is built on a 2.1-meter cab platform. In keeping with the theme of being ‘the driver’s truck,’ the W990’s cab and sleeper areas have also been designed to be a show of appreciation to those who drive it. In particular, there is a Limited Edition cab option and a W990 Driver’s Studio package of premium options that give the truck a sense of luxury.

The Limited Edition interior comes in midnight black with glossy Ravenwood door and dash trim accents. The interior features rich black leather seats, door pads and steering wheel with royal blue double-stitching. The Driver’s Studio offers a 180-degree swivel passenger seat and rotating table for two people, a swivel TV mount, drawer-style refrigerator and premium audio system.

There’s a full-size wardrobe space for hanging clothes, and ample storage space. The 1800-watt inverter includes a shore power connection and four standard 120-volt sleeper outlets to power a range of electrical devices. LED lighting provides ample interior light throughout the sleeper.

“Finding truckers nowadays is harder than ever,” Dozier said, but he added that being able to offer a truck like this would give fleets an advantage over the competition. Or a carrier could use it as an incentive to their top drivers.

“The Kenworth W990’s excellent performance, classical styling, premium finishes and lifestyle amenities underscore a sense of driver achievement and pride,” Dozier said. “We are passionate about our products, our customers that depend on them, and the drivers that operate them.”

Just before the trucks made their appearance, Kenworth presented a promotional video for the W990. That video is now available for viewing at www.youtube.com/KenworthTruckCo.

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Design Interactive says Augmentor training program now available on Android, iOS

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The new mobile applications for Augmentor include an augmented reality mode that lets technicians visualize procedure steps where they are conducted. (Courtesy: DESIGN INTERACTIVE)

ATLANTA — Design Interactive Inc, providers of augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) training solutions for fleet maintenance personnel, vendors and OEMs, said here at the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition that its Augmentor transportation focused, augmented reality training solution is now available on Android and iOS mobile devices.

“With the new ability to use Augmentor  on mobile devices, fleets can deploy our transportation focused training solutions more quickly and effectively to their technicians,” said Matt Johnston, division head of commercial solutions for Design Interactive. “Now, content like procedures and troubleshooting methods can be accessed from mobile phones across individual shops and multiple maintenance locations. With this mobile application, fleets can use our augmented reality and video- and computer-based technologies to train technicians for a lower cost.”

The new mobile applications for Augmentor include an augmented reality mode that lets technicians visualize procedure steps where they are conducted. For example, if a vehicle requires an inspection of its tires or brakes, the step is placed near or on that component or system. Users can also see 3D virtual representations of parts for reference during inspection or repairs.

The mobile app also includes videos, audio messages and text instruction.

For fleets, Johnston said Augmentor helps lower training, labor and parts costs, and increases vehicle uptime and shop productivity. Especially as new technologies continue increasing the complexity of the repairs, tools and skills needed by technicians, the transportation-focused solution ensures training consistency by enabling access to updated content.

Design Interactive Inc (DII) develops and deploys augmented, virtual and mixed reality training and enterprise solutions for the transportation, medical, aerospace, manufacturing, and energy/oil/gas markets, as well the military. Design Interactive’s extensive research and development expertise in using augmented and virtual reality technologies delivers innovative solutions that keep people safe, improve efficiency, and achieve optimum performance. Founded in 1998 and based in Orlando, Florida, Design Interactive is a woman-owned business.

For more information, visit www.designinteractive.net.

 

 

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Michelin launches aerodynamic trailer solution kit

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Michelin officials said third-party testing of the trailer solutions kit revealed 10 gallons in fuel savings every 1,000 miles, or 8.75 percent fuel savings, and $3,972 in fuel saved annually per vehicle. (Courtesy: MICHELIN)

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Michelin North America recently launched Michelin Energy Guard, a SmartWay-verified aerodynamic trailer solution kit, for use on 53-foot dry-van truckload, refrigerated-truck load and other long-haul and super-regional applications.

Now, after third-party fuel testing by Mesilla Valley Transportation Solutions (MVT Solutions), Michelin officials said the Michelin Energy Guard aerodynamic solution boasts proven results:

  • 10 gallons in fuel savings every 1,000 miles, or 8.75 percent fuel savings
  • $3,972 in fuel saved annually per vehicle

“The Michelin Energy Guard aerodynamic kit has the potential to be a game-changing solution for fleets. Its fuel savings are impressive at 10 gallons per thousand miles, or 8.75 percent. Even more impressive is the solution achieving this with no driver interaction and no moving parts,” said Daryl Bear, lead engineer and chief operating officer of MVT Solutions.

Michelin Energy Guard is an easy-to-use, fuel-efficient, aerodynamic solution. Consisting of a resilient trailer skirt, trailer-end fairings, aerodynamic mud flaps and a wake reducer, the integrated kit eliminates the need for “boat tails” or combining elements from various vendors. With the biggest drag on fuel efficiency occurring at 65 miles per hour, fleets and owner-operators look for aerodynamic solutions that cut fuel costs but do not increase maintenance costs nor require driver attention and costly repairs.

“Michelin looked to MVT Solutions to provide accurate, 21st-century fuel testing of our Michelin Energy Guard aerodynamic kit to prove the fuel savings achieved by this offer,” said Calvin Bradley, technical lead of services and solutions, Michelin North America. “Coupled with the fact that the kit requires no maintenance costs or driver hassles like some other systems, it can still save up to 60 gallons of fuel for fleets running coast to coast and back.”

The patent-pending, fully integrated Energy Guard kit’s components are designed to complement one another, helping fleets reduce fuel consumption without increasing maintenance expenses. The kit consists of a resilient trailer skirt, designed to bend if it strikes an obstacle or debris, while the trailer-end fairings direct airflow around the back of the trailer. The wake reducer minimizes the effect of the recirculation zone behind the trailer. The trailer-end fairings and wake reducer are constantly functioning, requiring no moving parts or driver actions. The aerodynamic mud flaps reduce vehicle drag and road spray.

 

 

 

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Mack displays second generation hybrid-electric drayage truck

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Mack Trucks recently displayed its second-generation zero-emission capable Class 8 drayage truck at the California Air Resources Board Low Carbon Transportation Heavy-Duty Showcase in Sacramento, California. (Courtesy: MACK TRUCKS)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Mack Trucks displayed its second-generation zero-emission capable Class 8 drayage truck at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Low Carbon Transportation Heavy-Duty Showcase in Sacramento, California, recently.

The plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) truck, which is based on a Mack Pinnacle axle back daycab, has been operating in revenue service with a customer drayage fleet for more than 12 months.

The CARB showcase features projects funded under the California Climate Investments program. Grant awardees presented key project findings, lessons learned and next steps to advance clean technology in heavy-duty applications on one of three technology panels. The morning began with a legislative press event and also included a poster session to facilitate dialogue and networking.

“Mack Trucks has been a powertrain innovator for more than a century, and we’re proud to showcase our current and developmental technologies to help reduce emissions,” said Jonathan Randall, Mack Trucks senior vice president, North American sales and marketing. “Testing of this truck has allowed us to validate the emission reduction potential of the PHEV technology in combination with self-learning algorithms to control electric operation. We look forward to continuing real-world testing, as well as collaborating with CARB, SCAQMD and others.”

The truck is being tested as part of a $23.6 million project led by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). The goals of the project include reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions at locations with heavy freight volumes, including ports, rail yards and the freight corridors connecting them.

The truck is an evolution of the first Mack PHEV drayage truck, which was built as part of an earlier SCAQMD-sponsored project and displayed during Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo 2016. That truck underwent more than six months of successful testing in a customer drayage fleet at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

Similar to the first-generation truck, the second-generation PHEV drayage truck is capable of zero-emission operation as a result of the integration of a Mack MP7 diesel engine with a parallel hybrid system and lithium-ion battery pack. Unlike the first-generation truck, which utilized geo-fencing capabilities similar to those enabled by Mack’s GuardDog Connect telematics platform to switch between zero-emission and hybrid operating modes, the second generation truck relies on an adaptive self-learning algorithm to identify and create zero-emission zones in order to maximize all-electric operation.

During normal operation, the truck records the load, speed, and power and torque demand, analyzes that data and combines it with GPS location information to identify, create and store in its memory zones where the electric driveline is capable of operating in zero-emission mode. The truck learns from its operating patterns and, on subsequent trips through these zones, the truck automatically switches from hybrid operation to zero-emission operation. The driver can also use a button in the dash to manually override the mode selection if needed.

This innovative, self-learning approach has enabled the second-generation truck to operate in zero-emission mode more than twice as much as the first-generation truck, which relied solely on preset geo-fences. The dramatic increase in all-electric range was achieved with no changes to battery pack size or capacity, or truck performance, Randall said.

 

 

 

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