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Volvo Trucks celebrates 35 years of innovation and aerodynamic truck design in North America

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2018 marks the 35th anniversary of Volvo’s 1983 introduction of the Integral Sleeper, the first North American truck model to offer a modern, streamlined design and integrated sleeper compartment. With the 1983 introduction, Volvo set a new North American design standard since followed by all heavy-duty manufacturers. (Courtesy: VOLVO TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — This year marks the 35th anniversary of Volvo’s introduction of the Integral Sleeper, the first North American conventional truck model to offer a modern, streamlined design and a fully integrated sleeper compartment.

“Pioneering innovations in design, fuel efficiency, driver productivity and safety have defined Volvo Trucks throughout our 90-year history,” said Magnus Koeck, Volvo Trucks North America vice president, marketing and brand management. “We’re proud of our heritage and celebrate 35 years of aerodynamic design. With the Integral Sleeper model we truly introduced a new standard and all manufacturers quickly followed suit, a trend we continue to see today with automated manual transmissions, greater integration of connectivity services to help maximize uptime, and right-sizing of engines for improved fuel efficiency and weight savings.”

Koeck  said the Integral Sleeper was the first modern conventional model to unite the cab and sleeper compartments for improved aerodynamics with seamless body-in-white construction that also allowed easy pass-through from the driving environment to the living space.

The redefined truck design further defied industry-wide design conventions of the time, introducing a hood that was six inches narrower and six inches lower at the front than at the cowl, to help reduce wind resistance, he said, adding that the Integral Sleeper aerodynamics were further boosted through a full-height roof fairing, cab side extenders, chassis fairings and trim tabs that helped air flow smoothly from the tractor to the trailer.

“Over the past year we’ve introduced the new Volvo VNR regional haul, Volvo VNL long-haul, and Volvo VNL heavy-haul tractors under the theme ‘The Shape of Trucks to Come,’ which also would have been very appropriate during the 1983 introduction of the Integral Sleeper, a model that inspired a design revolution for conventional model trucks,” Koeck said. “Each of our on-highway models, the new VNR, VNL, and VNX, bring efficiency through their streamlined shapes. Even regional haul and heavy-haul trucks spend time at highway speeds when aerodynamics become increasingly important.”

Koeck sais to complement its legendary cabs, made with high strength steel, Volvo, inventors of the three-point safety belt, became the first Class 8 truck brand in North America to designate a steering wheel-mounted driver’s side airbag as standard equipment. As active safety technologies mature Volvo has maintained a leadership role, introducing Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST), an enhanced stability system, as standard equipment for its on-highway lineup in 2007.

“Volvo aspires to zero crashes and zero injuries, helping protect drivers and all road users,” said Johan Agebrand, director of product marketing for Volvo Trucks North America. “Our global Zero Accident Vision is about helping improve safety, and mitigating these events also presents a tremendous cost savings to truck owners.”

Volvo’s July 2017 introduction of the new VNL model also brought Volvo Active Driver Assist featuring Bendix Wingman Fusion as a standard offering, making Volvo Trucks the first heavy-duty truck OEM to offer the active safety system as standard equipment, a designation also applied to the new Volvo VNR series. The system is also integrated with VEST to help drivers avoid rollover, jackknife, and loss-of-control situations on dry, wet, snow- and ice-covered roadways.

Like the conventional model design change sparked by the Integral Sleeper, Volvo also ushered in a shift in transmission preference in North America, Agebrand said. First to market in North America with a proprietary automated manual transmission (AMT), Volvo paved the way for AMTs to receive wide acceptance. In just over a decade since its North American introduction the Volvo I-Shift is now spec’d in more than 90 percent of  all trucks built for the market and is standard across the Volvo VNR, VNL, VNX, VHD and VAH product range.

“While we still offer manual transmissions, it’s increasingly difficult to justify their use, even for the most demanding jobs,” said John Moore, Volvo Trucks North America product marketing manager – powertrain. “We truly have an I-Shift for every application, whether it’s regional, long-haul, or even heavy loads with our 14-speed I-Shift with Crawler Gears supporting gross weights up to 225,000 lbs. Regardless of the application, the I-Shift consistently performs at its best, whether it is two hours or ten hours into a job.”

An industry innovator in factory-installed connectivity, Volvo Trucks today includes its connectivity hardware as standard equipment across its entire North American product range. The connectivity hardware provides access to Remote Diagnostics, which provides proactive diagnostics and monitoring of critical engine, transmission and aftertreatment trouble codes. Volvo also uses the standard onboard connectivity hardware in partnership with best-in-class fleet management providers. Volvo’s standard, factory-installed hardware allows customers to perform software and parameter updates over-the-air with Remote Programming, which helps improve uptime and vehicle efficiency, while reducing downtime costs.

“We’re in an exciting period when it comes to truck technology, and the speed of change is only accelerating,” said Agebrand. “It’s easy to get caught up in the technology revolution, but we must keep in mind the industry’s journey and the transformative designs and innovations that will continue to sculpt the shape of trucks to come.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 ex-Pilot Flying J workers get probation in fraud plot

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Headquartered in Knoxville, Pilot Flying J has more than 750 retail locations in 44 states, Roadside assistance available at over 135 locations nationwide and growing as part of its Truck Care program, 44 Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers, and 34 Boss Shops.(Courtesy: PILOT FLYING J)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.  — Four former account representatives from nation’s largest fuel retailer will serve probation for their roles in a plot to cheat trucking companies.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports ex-Pilot Flying J employees Holly Radford, Lexie Holden, Janet Welch and Ashley Judd were sentenced Wednesday. They admitted to skewing the books to cover up the fraud prosecutors say was committed by their male bosses. Nearly 20 former workers were accused in the $56.5 million scheme.

The judge also ordered Radford, Welch and Judd to do community service. He exempted Holden because she works full-time and runs a business.

Prosecutors say the company lured trucking companies with discounts on fuel, then shortchanged them.

The Knoxville-based company is controlled by the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

Jimmy Haslam has long contended he knew nothing about the fraud scheme. Gov. Bill Haslam said he was not active in company affairs.

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ACT Research For-Hire Trucking Index: volumes up, but supply-demand balance loosens

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The January fleet purchase intentions reading indicated an uptick in equipment demand, with 53.7 percent of respondents planning to buy trucks in the next three months, up from 52.3 percent, seasonally adjusted, in December. (The Trucker file photo)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index showed an improvement in freight volumes and truck productivity in January, after a soft finish to 2018. The Volume Index rose to 52.0 in January from 49.0 in December.

“The recovery in the Volume Index was offset by an increase in the Capacity Index in January, keeping the balance signal to the loose side,” said Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s vice president and senior analyst. “The past three readings have shown the loosest industry supply-demand balance in almost three years, since April 2016.”

The Driver Index was in negative territory, below the neutral 50 mark, at 47.2 in January 2019. “Based on fleet feedback, we added a question about the driver market in January 2018, and after a year, we are now able to start reporting on this metric,” Denoyer said. “The January 2019 reading, as well as the December 2018 reading of 47.0 were up significantly from the 38.6 recorded in January of 2018. The index has been below the neutral 50 level since we started asking the question last year. However, the rise in the index over the past year signals modest easing of ongoing driver constraints.”

The January fleet purchase intentions reading indicated an uptick in equipment demand, with 53.7 percent of respondents planning to buy trucks in the next three months, up from 52.3 percent, seasonally adjusted, in December.

“After record orders last year, this series should remain elevated as long lead-time truck orders are built and hit the highways,” Denover said. “Over the past 12 months, the Buying Index has averaged a strong 57.6% reading.”

ACT is a publisher of new and used commercial vehicle (CV) industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American market, as well as the U.S. tractor-trailer market and the China CV market.

For more information, visits www.actresearch.net.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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dexFreight initiates early adopters program

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By joining the Early Adopters Program, companies will have exclusive access to early release versions of the dexFreight platform. (Courtesy: DEXFREIGHT)

SUNRISE, Fla. — dexFreight, providers of a decentralized, blockchain-based logistics platform, has launched the dexFreight Early Adopters Program for U.S. shippers, carriers, brokers, and forwarders.

“The dexFreight platform built on blockchain technology allows supply chain stakeholders to transact and collaborate more efficiently, transparently and securely,” said Rajat Rajbhandari, CEO and co-founder of dexFreight. “Through our Early Adopters Program, we will be using the real-world expertise of logistics stakeholders to evaluate new and advanced features of our platform that will be launched in the near future. We don’t want to develop in a vacuum, and we believe the dialogue with and feedback from early adopters is vital in creating a platform that helps the entire logistics community.”

The dexFreight Early Adopters Program is open to U.S.-based companies. By joining the Early Adopters Program, companies will have exclusive access to early release versions of the dexFreight platform. As members of the Early Adopters community, they will have the opportunity to interact with dexFreight’s development and product teams.

Early Adopters Program participants will have free access to the platform’s basic features for three months and to advanced features at no charge when they first become available, and then at a discounted rate, Rajbhandari said. They will receive early notifications about new features before they are offered to all platform users.

Basic features of the dexFreight platform include TMS/FMS integration, load and capacity matching, safety data, rate negotiation, accessorial selection, P&D scheduling, shipment tracking, navigation and communication, and payments built on blockchain technology from the ground up.

Plans for the platform include escrow services, tokenized invoices, rate forecasting, on demand warehouse, load chaining, fleet optimization, bid preparation and risk prediction features, as well as third party apps.

In October 2018, dexFreight completed its first blockchain-based shipment using smart contracts. The platform, an ecosystem of open source protocols, blockchain and machine learning technologies, allowed the shipper and carrier to directly connect, negotiate rates, and schedule pickup and delivery.

For more information, visit www.dexfreight.io.

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