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WINTER MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST FOR YOUR FLEET VEHICLES

Posted on: February 20th, 2019 by admin No Comments

Winter is a season that requires one to effectively maintain their vehicles to ensure that they do not get stuck when carrying out daily tasks. Fleet vehicles require a lot of maintenance during this season as they are always on the road for extended periods during the day or night. Ensuring that you carry out regular maintenance on your fleet vehicle will ensure that your business is not affected during this cold season.

Maintenance checklist for fleet vehicles during winter

1)    Start with the exterior

Snow and ice can be destructive to the exterior parts of your fleet vehicle. You can ensure that your exterior stays protected by first cleaning your vehicle thoroughly. You can then apply wax on the exterior, which will act as a coat that will protect it from harsh winter conditions. Also when winter kicks in, make sure that you clean the vehicle regularly to ensure that salts do not corrode it.

2)    Using winter season fuels

When you use the common fuels for your fleet vehicle during the cold season, there is a high chance of the vehicle failing to start. This is because some vehicles may not respond to fuel when the temperatures drop to negative degrees. You can, however, purchase fuels that can function well during the cold season. These fuels, which include Premium Diesel Fuel and Cenex, will ensure that your fleet vehicle remains on the road.

3)    Check water separators and filters

One major problem that affects fleet vehicles is a cold engine that may fail to start. This is caused by water that is in the fuel systems, which may freeze up and affect the fuel system. The fuel storage tanks and the filtration systems may also contain frozen water thus affecting the proper functioning of the vehicle. You can avoid this issue by draining the water in the fuel systems and using filters that can absorb water.

4)    Using proper oils

It is not advisable to use the same oil during warm and cold temperatures. This is because oils that are heavy can be vicious due to the low temperatures and hence function poorly. When oils are too viscous, they may not achieve the desired lubrication. There are however oils that can maintain their viscosity even in low temperatures. Some of these oils include Cenex and full synthetic diesel engine oils.

5)    Carry out maintenance before winter

Becoming proactive during winter is ideal. This is because it will spare you from incurring additional repair costs. You should ensure that you check parts of your vehicle such as brakes, seat belts, and battery to ensure they are well functioning. Make sure that you repair the parts that are worn out beforehand.

6)    Keep warm

The driver should also ensure that they keep warm, as they are the ones who can ensure that the fleet gets to the desired destination on time. They should ensure that the vehicle has a warmer that will provide heat and other essentials like blankets, flares, and reflectors.

To conclude, the winter season is one that affects a lot of businesses negatively. However, for those who have fleet vehicles, they should ensure that they carry out proactive maintenance for their vehicles so that they can overcome the harsh weather. These maintenance tactics are easy to follow and will make your vehicle last on the road for more than 10 hours at a time without any issues.

WINTERIZATION TIPS FOR YOUR TRUCKING FLEET

Posted on: February 14th, 2019 by admin No Comments

Winter is one of the harshest seasons in the year. During this season, snow hinders road travel and makes navigating through the roads with a trailer can very difficult. This is because your trucks are usually on the roads for more than ten hours and you have to ensure that you do not get stuck so that your fleet gets to its destination on time. There are precautions that you can make so that you are able to stay on the road longer and keep business consistent.

Winterization tips for the driver

  1.    As a driver, you should ensure that you practice good driving habits. Do not speed but rather drive with caution as the weather may result in you not seeing obstacles on the road.
  2.    Make sure that you stay warm. You can do this by wearing warm clothes and also having a heater in the vehicle. This will help you keep parts of the truck warm that have too much cold airflow or drafts.
  3.    Ensure that you have water and food supply. The water that you carry should be enough to last you in case you get stuck on the road. Also, ensure that the packed food can stay out for extended periods of time without getting spoiled.
  4.    Make sure that you also use your seat belt at all times. The harsh conditions and slippery roads may cause the vehicle to skid unexpectedly. Having a seat belt fastened will make sure you don’t get seriously injured if you are jarred.

Winterization tips for your vehicle

  1.    Make sure that the tires of your vehicle are good. Make sure that the traction is effective as worn out tires may cause fatal accidents due to hazardous roads.
  2.    Ensure that your battery is well charged. You can do this by purchasing a mobile charging unit/jumper box.  This is a great way to get the truck started in a bind. You can also maintain the duration of your battery life by not allowing the engine to run when the truck is not moving but instead get a heater for warmth.
  3.    Make sure that the windows are clean. Thoroughly wipe the windshield before getting on the road and make sure that you have windshield wipers that assist and clean the windshield while driving in winter conditions. This will ensure that you maintain maximum visibility on the road all the time.
  4.    Shift from fuels that you use during warm temperatures and switch to winterized fuels instead. These are fuels that are capable of functioning during low and freezing temperatures as they keep the engine running at the same power as warmer temperature fuels do. You can either purchase fuel that is particularly modified for winter or you can treat the fuel that you have and make it highly resistant to low temperatures.

Winter is a season that requires truck dependent businesses to carry out extra maintenance for their fleets. The driver must practice cold weather driving tactics that will ensure that he or she does not get into any unwanted situations or accidents when driving. With a good vehicle and a good driver, it is possible to counteract the harsh winter season.

LONESTAR: BEHIND THE LINEMEN

Posted on: February 4th, 2019 by admin No Comments

The powerhouse football program at Kansas State relies on two men—and one truck.

BY: MIKE HAMMER

PHOTOS BY: BRIDGET BARRETT

The Kansas State Wildcats suit up as many as 125 players before each football game. Who makes it happen? At 27, Al Cerbe is one of the youngest equipment managers in major college sports. He is responsible for making sure every player is fully equipped for action and for ensuring the coaches and support staff on the sidelines have the tools they need on game day.

Last season, the ’Cats traveled over 6,500 miles as they fought their way through the NCAA’s tough Big 12 Conference. An International LoneStar® hauled the gear to every game. The good folks at Dodge City International donated the 2008 LoneStar to the program back in 2009, customized with K-State’s purple and silver colors and an imposing ’Cat logo. The truck hauls a 48-foot trailer packed with helmets, pads, shoes, computers, fans, heaters, kitchen equipment, luggage, laundry bins and a charging station to keep it all humming.

Then there’s the preparation for each road trip. “We start loading up about 30 tons of equipment and apparel on Tuesday when we take our show on the road for a Saturday game,” Cerbe says. “I gotta thank the heavens above that we have our LoneStar to make that trip a dream come true for me. It’s amazing what we’re able to put in that truck—and even more amazing how it handles it. It’s a perfect fit for the program.”

Cerbe is a pretty good match for the Wildcats himself. He started working as an assistant equipment manager for the Memphis Xplorers arena football team while he was just a junior at the University of Memphis. He climbed the ladder there, landing an internship with the Baltimore Ravens before he became assistant equipment manager for the ’Cats back in 2007. By 2009, he had taken over the big job—and all the responsibilities that come with it

But Cerbe couldn’t do his job without his right-hand man and driver, Johnny Brown. “We wouldn’t be lining up for kickoffs all over the country without Johnny Brown,” Cerbe says. “He’s in charge of all the heating and cooling at the university, and he times and maps out all of our road trips for us before he gets behind the wheel. The guy is definitely one of our MVPs.”

The pair navigated one of their most adventurous journeys during a New York blizzard at the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl on Christmas 2010. “We left on the 23rd and pulled into New York on Christmas Day,” says Cerbe. “The truck handled the trip fantastically. We got lost in the Bronx and backed it out of a slim one-way road without a problem.”

Then the blizzard hit. “It was unbelievable,” Cerbe says. “We had to move to a training field in New Jersey, then pack up and head back to the Bronx the next day for the game. I gotta tell ya, I climbed into the bed on that LoneStar for the ride back—I’ve never slept better in my life.”

WORKSTAR: RUNWAY MODELS

Posted on: January 28th, 2019 by admin No Comments

At Little Rock’s airport, Garsite Aviation’s International® trucks keep aircraft fueled up and ready to fly.

BY: ROD O’CONNOR

PHOTOS BY: ROARK JOHNSON

It’s an hour before dawn, and the ramps at Little Rock National Airport are buzzing.

Blue lights twinkle like stars along the taxiway as a 737 commercial jet approaches in the distance and slowly rolls to a stop at the gate. The 9,000-pound, barrel-shaped engine lets out one last whoosh, and a small army descends upon the aircraft. Conveyor belts on wheels are quickly moved into position. Tow tractors pulling trails of metal baggage carts putter back and forth. Ground service personnel circle the hull and inspect the tires.

Idling on the periphery of this controlled chaos is a 5,000-gallon WorkStar® 7400 refueling truck, flickering strobe lights announcing its presence. At the wheel is line service technician Danny York. Of all the behind-the-scenes jobs required to keep the commercial airline industry flying smoothly, his may be the most critical. If he doesn’t pump jet fuel into this big bird pronto, those busy travelers pacing around inside the terminal aren’t going anywhere.

“The airlines rely on us to put fuel in their planes when they need it,” says Theron Murray, manager of Airport Services Inc. (ASI), the family-owned company that has handled Little Rock National’s fueling operations since 1972. “If we can’t depend on these trucks to fire up at 3 a.m. when we get here, we’ve got serious issues.”

Thanks to the reliability of his WorkStar, there will be no late departures on York’s watch. The burly 42-year-old emerges from the cab, slings a fireman-size hose over his shoulder and drags it 45 feet until he’s standing directly under the plane’s hulking, four-ton wing. He inserts the nozzle into the tank. After a few trips back and forth to program the pump pressure on the truck’s power take-off, as well as to secure his “dead man” switch—a handheld safety device that closes the valve if York is pulled away from his post or becomes otherwise distracted from the job—the fuel begins to flow.

This morning’s brutally early passenger flight to Atlanta requires roughly 1,600 gallons—but from the airline’s perspective, it’s the weight of that fuel that matters. It’s not like the pilot sticks his head out the window and yells, “Fill her up!”

Actually, a complex matrix of elements including passenger load, cargo weight and trip distance all factor into the amount of fuel that ASI deposits during a typical stop. And even at a small, 12-gate airport like Little Rock’s, the numbers add up. ASI’s four on-site storage tanks hold 160,000 gallons of jet fuel, and its fleet of four trucks cranks out more than 1 million gallons every month.

But for ASI’s 14 employees, dispensing highly flammable liquids into multimillion-dollar jetliners is the easy part. The real challenge is navigating the gauntlet of traffic—not to mention icy roads and never-ending airport construction projects—as their vehicles crisscross the airport operations area to and from gate assignments. In a business where safety is paramount, they require trucks that deliver excellent visibility and can turn on a dime. And that’s exactly what they say they get every day from the WorkStars now included in their fleet.

York, a former bank computer operator who started driving fuel trucks five years ago, says that with previous trucks, it wasn’t unheard of for a driver to back up over an airline’s belt loader and drag it across the ramp. “But these trucks have a really great field of vision,” he says in a no-nonsense Arkansas drawl, citing the expansive windshield’s rounded corners, the adjustable high-riding seats and a body that sits a few feet back from the cab and allows for an almost 180-degree vantage point. “We need to get in and get out without obstructing any airline procedures. Seeing everything around you is everything for this job.”

The nine International® trucks (including five WorkStars and two DuraStars®) that support Little Rock National and the private airfield across the runway that is operated by ASI’s parent company, Central Flying Service Inc., are specially designed for this unique application by International and its body upfitter, Garsite Aviation Refueling Equipment.

Based in Kansas City, Kans., Garsite is the largest company of its kind in the U.S., building aircraft refuelers as well as hydrant dispensers and above-ground storage tanks and fueling systems. Its refueler bodies, built on International chassis, serve airports, airlines, oil companies and other fuel suppliers all over the globe.

Diamond International in nearby Kansas City, Mo., regularly receives truck bids from Garsite for one of its aviation customers. The chassis design is dictated by the size of the tank it needs to support—typically 3,000, 5,000 or 7,000 gallons. But in many cases, a refueler requires custom equipment such as hydraulic lifts or additional apparatus behind the cab. “There are several configs that can add weight and make the spec more complex,” says Shawn O’Connor, sales rep at Diamond International.

Along with the durability, the versatility of the International portfolio is a huge plus for Garsite, which typically utilizes the WorkStar for 5,000-gallon-and-up refuelers and the DuraStar or TerraStar® for smaller applications. But all the trucks Garsite sells share one trait—they operate differently from their on-road counterparts. Refueling vehicles typically run for nearly 24 hours straight with almost zero downtime. And while they rarely exceed 20 mph, the engines regularly reach 1,200–1,500 rpm to muscle up anywhere from 300–600 gallons a minute, depending on design, from their pumping systems. It’s tough work, but the International vehicles that dominate their truck builds are up to the challenge, says Garsite’s technical manager, Fred Stipkovits.

“For our application, hands-down there’s no better chassis,” he says. In fact, he points out that Garsite’s refurbishment facility in Ohio frequently sees many early-’90s model International® trucks that are still running like new. “These trucks don’t have high mileage, but they have thousands and thousands of hours on them. They are all well worth the investment. If a customer calls us for a truck, chances are it’s going to be an International.”

Back in ASI’s fueling office, Murray scrolls down the list of flight times on his computer. This list gives him a gauge on the next refueling rush. Zipping up his bright red Arkansas Razorbacks jacket to shield him from the January cold, the easygoing 46-year-old reminds another line service tech, a white-goateed Air Force veteran named Don Brunette, about the upcoming 8:45 a.m. departure. “Our trucks run pretty much around the clock,” says Murray. “That’s a lot more wear and tear than a truck running up and down the highway. It takes a toll. Especially on the servicing end.”

ASI handles minor maintenance—broken hoses, leaky pumps—from a small garage on the outskirts of the airport. For larger issues, ASI calls on Diamond International’s local outpost in Little Rock. “We’ve worked with International locally for probably 30 years. If I call them, they’re here the same day.”

Across the runway, Central Flying Services has a private fixed-base airfield that’s among the biggest and busiest in the nation. Two 5,000-gallon WorkStars, as well as a 3,000-gallon model, support the jet engine- and turboprop-powered charter and corporate jets that buzz in and out. A DuraStar chassis carries a low-bed, 1,200-gallon aviation gas-fuel truck that services smaller aircraft like the single-engine Cessnas that dot the west end of the sprawling, 40-acre grounds equipped with multiple hangars, two terminals and a popular restaurant. Twenty-five employees serve the 50 to 150 total small aircraft that take off and land each day—all of which need fuel.

Safety concerns are just as vital on a private airfield as at a commercial airport. But because the fuel trucks serve the actual owners of the aircraft (several Fortune 500 CEOs and former president Bill Clinton are among the luminaries who pass through), the image the trucks project takes on added importance. Marty Hyde, quality control and training supervisor for Central Flying Services, says the sparkling chrome grill and “badass look” of the International trucks speak volumes.

Looks are important, according to Hyde, but the real mandate is ensuring the trucks are humming and operating at their full potential to service these planes. Especially when an entire airport is relying on them.

PROSTAR: EFFICIENCY EXPERTS

Posted on: January 24th, 2019 by admin No Comments

Navistar engineers have designed the most fuel-efficient truck spec on the market: ProStar® ES.

BY: SETH PUTNAM

PHOTOS BY: BRIDGET BARRETT

It’s official: International has been hard at work designing, testing and tweaking an Efficiency Spec of its acclaimed ProStar® model, and it’s now on the market.

“Every customer is interested in making a dollar or saving one,” says Aaron Peterson, head of Performance Engineering, heavy duty platform. “And we wanted to see exactly how much efficiency we could squeeze out of this ProStar.”

Capable of over 9 mpg with an improvement in fuel economy of up to 11% compared with the previous generation, ProStar ES delivers.

Because fuel is often a freight company’s No. 1 cost of operation, the race toward efficiency now drives the entire competitive landscape. Peterson, who has 18 years of experience as an engineer doing everything from drawing parts to launching products, helped assemble a team of expert designers who dived headlong into optimizing the truck’s aerodynamics, drivetrain and onboard diagnostics system.

The result? “We have the highest-quality truck on the road, no doubt about it,” Peterson says. “This product is capable of setting records. We’re delivering some of the best fuel efficiency many fleets have ever seen.”

Engineered by Experts

A few years ago, Peterson headed up something new for Navistar: the Performance Engineering Team. Working on the theory that listening to consumers is the key to delivering an elite product, International took its best engineers and put them in a room with their customers.

The team, made up of 15 specialists, is structured in two unique halves. One is the engineering arm, which works to develop designs and select technology. The other arm is platform-focused, which gives engineers the opportunity to interact frequently and directly with customers. “Most times engineers are isolated,” Peterson says. “They don’t get to see their product in the field.” For Navistar, this was a commitment to hear and implement customer desires.

Peterson flies around the country several times a week, meeting with buyers. “The biggest kick I get is working with customers who haven’t been educated on our new technology,” he says. “When you’re talking about fuel economy improvements in the range of 3%, 4%, even 5%, that’s a lot of money to customers every year. Getting to see the look on their faces when those first fuel bills start showing up: That’s what keeps me moving.”

In testing, engineers found that the ProStar could reach those gains while operating within a range of 62 to 65 mph. That kind of attentive research, combined with the team’s improvements through aerodynamic, drivetrain and software developments, resulted in a sum that transcended its parts.

“This is the truck where we put it all together,” says Caetano Calviti, chief engineer, Fuel Economy, Performance and Aerodynamics. “We don’t stop at good enough.”

Advanced Aerodynamics

The ProStar ES boasts industry-leading aerodynamics. “At Navistar, we take very seriously not only our simulations but also what happens in the real world,” Calviti says. That means designing for what’s known as wind average drag, which takes into account not just head-on air resistance but crosswinds as well.

Such a factor actually goes beyond the EPA’s regulations, which require only straight-ahead testing. “We take pride in looking at the full yaw curve of the vehicle,” says Patrick Yerkes, the team leader for Product Development. “By rotating at an angle around the vehicle, we can take a full measure of all the points where the wind is approaching and optimize for those conditions.”

The ES’s aerodynamic gains begin the moment the truck sticks its nose into the wind. The curved windshield, with its swept A-pillars, shoots the air up and around the body. Lower valance panels direct wind around and under the cab. Square edges are a real drag, so the cab and fenders feature smooth, parabolic shapes to help direct airflow both when it’s coming head-on and when the vehicle is hit with gusts from the side.

“Aerodynamics on a tractor-trailer is all about energy management from the very beginning of the cab to the very end of the trailer,” explains aerodynamics engineer Greg Harding. “We design and test primarily with scale wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics models. We study pressure contours and streamlines. If we see any streamlines that are being disrupted, we’ll work to smooth them out.”

Optimized Drivetrain

Beneath the hood, the ProStar ES boasts advanced friction reduction, air management systems and control strategy developments that regulate the amount of torque being delivered. With this spec, engineers paid specific attention to downspeeding, the systematic process of decreasing the engine’s revolutions per minute.

For the past several years, International has shaved off about 25 rpm annually across its engine portfolio; but the ProStar ES represents a major leap, promising to shed 200 rpm. This reduces the parasitic losses that occur within the engine itself, and it spreads those gains throughout the vehicle to devices like water pumps, fans and even the alternator. “All of those are spinning slower,” Peterson says. “When they spin slower, they take less power. I’m comfortable in saying that this technology offers at least a 3% improvement over a conventionally geared vehicle.”

The ProStar’s axles are improved, as well. By offering a Meritor FUELite setup in a 6×2 configuration, the team has seen gains of 1.5% to 2%. “The less power you’re losing through the axles, the more power delivered to the road,” Yerkes says.

Software, too, plays a role. “Say you’re on cruise control, and you come up to a small hill. The ES has controls optimally tuning the power available to the task at hand,” Yerkes explains. “It allows us to gain fractions of fuel economy every time they crest a hill like that.”

Those fractions—a tenth here, a sixth there—are the products of millions of simulations, cycles and iterations the team has run in hopes of discovering where best to optimize. It’s this attention to detail that has resulted in the win. “The low-hanging fruit is gone,” Yerkes says. “You’re looking for a nickel here, a dime there. It’s the race that doesn’t end.” And Navistar engineers have sharp, fraction-catching eyes.

OnCommand™ Connection

Now that Navistar has delivered a hardware setup with the potential to break fuel economy records, what about the software that supports it? Meet OnCommand™ Connection, a data system designed to provide predictive diagnostics once the truck has left the lot.

Remotely accessible, it allows fleet managers to monitor the drivetrain and engine to make sure they’re working together at their full potential. The system is also programmed to send alerts for everything from component failure to routine maintenance. “At the end of the day, we make a huge effort to improve overall uptime,” Calviti says. “And OnCommand™ is a part of that.”

Perhaps that reveals something about International’s real goal with the Efficiency Spec: All of this research, precision and fat trimming has resulted in a truck that doesn’t just improve the efficiency of its fuel consumption; it improves the efficiency of the entire freight transportation process.

SPEC’ING FOR FUEL ECONOMY: AERODYNAMICS

Posted on: January 21st, 2019 by admin No Comments

When you’re pushing 50 tons down an open road doing the legal limit, you’re bound to meet some resistance. Wind, most likely. And if your rig isn’t designed and spec’d to minimize aerodynamic drag, you’re certainly paying for it in increased fuel costs over your long haul and in the long run.

THE BASICS OF AERODYNAMICS
In on-highway applications, aerodynamics contributes 50% to overall fuel economy, so it’s critical that the vehicle is designed and spec’d to minimize aerodynamic drag. One of the basic principles of aerodynamics is to keep airflow “attached” to the vehicle. This attachment results in smooth airflow around the vehicle instead of allowing the air to become detached, creating highly turbulent airflow. These turbulent areas cause the air to behave as if the vehicle were larger than it really is, resulting in increased drag and decreased fuel economy.
AERODYNAMIC DESIGN FEATURES​

The ProStar is designed to properly manage the airflow to the sides of the trailer. Smooth radius edges are a signature styling element that increases fuel economy. The windshield radius and A–pillar design were developed in a wind tunnel to ensure optimum performance. Transition areas such as the cab-to-sleeper or the cab extenders are all designed to guide the air to a smooth, non-turbulent flow that attaches to the sides of the trailer.

The sloped hood design is carefully crafted to guide airflow both around the sides of the cab as well as onto the windshield. From the windshield, the air continues either over the vehicle along our patented roof shape or around the doors. Details like the air cleaners, mirrors and sunshade are designed to minimize aerodynamic drag.

Front axle position can also affect aerodynamics. Set-back front axles not only improve loading characteristics, but also incorporate some distinct aerodynamic advantages. As shown in the illustration, a highly separated airflow region is created alongside the front wheels because of the bumper design. This creates a localized low-pressure region that allows engine compartment air to blast through from the front grille.

CHASSIS SKIRTS
Chassis skirts improve air movement along the sides of the tractor by reducing air turbulence around the front fender extensions, fuel tanks, battery box, frame access steps and quarter fenders. Cab length chassis skirts extend to the back of the day cab or sleeper cab. Full-length chassis skirts extend to the rear wheel.
SIDE EXTENDERS
Side extenders are helpful in directing airflow past the tractor and trailer gap. It is important to remember that with large trailer gaps, even on vehicles with side extenders, turbulence begins to form as the air passes over and around the tractor and hits the nose of the trailer. The side extenders reduce airflow between the tractor and trailer and are effective even with trailers that are not full height. Trailer gaps should be kept to the minimum that provides adequate swing clearance.
ROOF FAIRINGS
An extended roof fairing or air deflector further improves aerodynamic efficiency when full height trailers are used. If a long haul sleeper pulling a dedicated trailer is not a typical tall van body, it is highly recommended to match the tractor height to the trailer height for maximum fuel economy. The Hi-Rise Sleeper, with or without a roof air deflector, helps customers match flatbed and bulk haul trailers with appropriate height tractors. In some refrigerated van trailer applications, it may also be desirable to operate a Hi-Rise Sleeper without the roof fairing to allow significant frontal air to the front of the refrigerated cooling unit.
FIFTH WHEEL PLACEMENT
To reduce aerodynamic drag, the trailer gap should be kept to a minimum, generally 36″ or less. Whether fixed or sliding, make sure that the fifth wheel is installed with just enough clearance to allow the trailer to swing to either side without coming in contact with the cab, side extenders or trailer landing legs.
WHEEL COVERS
Vehicle and trailer wheels are also culprits of creating detached airflow and increasing aerodynamic drag. By leveraging wheel covers on both the vehicle and trailer wheels, you can expect to see around a 1% increase in fuel economy.
OPTIMIZING AERODYNAMICS THROUGH TESTING

To become the industry leader in aerodynamics, International leverages different types of testing to understand the true effect of aerodynamic drag in various types of conditions.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD): With a computer model, engineers get insight into airflow under, around and through the vehicle.

1/8 Scale Wind Tunnel: This test is used to help refine the basic shapes of the vehicle such as the curvature of the fenders and hood. Much of this work is done in clay where designers can literally re-sculpt these surfaces over and over until the desired combination of appearance and performance is achieved.

Full Scale Wind Tunnel: This includes testing a complete tractor and trailer and allows the engineers to turn the vehicle 360 degrees to account for any impacts in crosswinds. Why is this important? The average wind in North America at any given time is 7 mph and the direction is random. Therefore, it is unlikely that a truck will ever be headed directly into the wind for very long.

Coast Down: This test accurately depicts conditions out on the open road.

Over the Road Testing: The true test of a vehicle’s performance is in real world conditions, not a lab. However, just as much scrutiny goes into how International conducts over the road testing to ensure our vehicles and our competitors’ are measured based on the same type of conditions and remove as many variables as possible. This process is governed by either SAE Type II or TMC Type IV which regulate everything from test vehicle mileage, drivers, trailers, routes and much more.

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DURASTAR: SERVE AND DELIVER

Posted on: January 17th, 2019 by admin No Comments

From the Bronx to Midtown, two men and a DuraStar® help quench the thirst of New York City.

BY: ROD O’CONNOR

PHOTOS BY: MEL MANDAHL

It’s a brisk late-autumn morning in New York City, and the traffic is stifling. We’re less than a mile from Manhattan Beer Distributors’ buzzing, five-acre South Bronx facility—where the 10 service bays on our bright-green DuraStar® delivery truck have been carefully loaded with 200 cases of imported and American beers and enough craft brews to satisfy the savviest of beer snobs—when we slam into a wall of gridlock. Five lanes of rush-hour congestion crawl across the Third Avenue Bridge. An estimated 58,000 commuters traverse the Harlem River here every day, and right now it feels like that many vehicles and more are fighting their way southbound on a one-way mission into Manhattan.

“This isn’t so bad,” says driver Raymond Adames, cracking a smile as he turns the volume up on the salsa station blasting from his radio. “Sometimes the traffic is so terrible, it takes us over an hour to get to our first delivery.”

Adames and his sidekick—driver-in-training Angel Felix—don’t have time to spare. It’s a few days before Thanksgiving, one of the beer industry’s top-selling holidays of the year, and thirsty New Yorkers are waiting to stock up on suds for the long weekend. Fighting traffic to get the product on the shelf is all in a day’s work for these inner-city warriors.

The largest single-market beer distributor in the U.S., Manhattan Beer supplies cases and kegs to bars, restaurants, hotels and retail locations across 17 counties, including all five New York City boroughs and the upstate suburbs. Founded in 1978 by entrepreneur Sandy Bergson, the company began as a specialty beer importer with a single 4,000-square-foot warehouse. Today the company sells more than 85 brands—mostly beer, but also wine and spirits—and boasts a total of 1.5 million square feet of warehousing space spread across its territories.

 

Nearly 300 trucks—more than 70% of which are Internationals—service 25,000 separate accounts across 6,000 square miles. The rigs that travel as far as the outer reaches of Long Island regularly clock 200 miles every day. The routes for city delivery trucks rarely exceed 15 miles, but they are demanding miles, to say the least, marked by constant stop-and-go traffic and a myriad of other hazards that come with the territory when you’re transporting precious golden-hued cargo into the heart of North America’s most densely populated urban center.

Adames and Felix have only 14 stops on their route sheet today, but they’ll have to hustle to hit them all before nightfall. As we bounce down Second Avenue through the gritty Upper East Side, our vehicle is immediately surrounded by a sea of yellow taxicabs that are taking turns darting recklessly in and out of our lane. From my perch high in the cab, the view out the DuraStar’s expansive front windshield looks like a real-life video game as Adames skillfully dodges bike messengers, pedestrians and never-ending construction zones.

“People will walk right in front of you,” he says. “You have to be alert all the time. This is how I drive every day: slow and steady.”

While the traffic is a constant grind, even tougher than that is the endless search for parking in this bustling metropolis. There are no loading docks at the pharmacies and small groceries that make up the majority of Manhattan Beer’s midtown stops, so delivery truck drivers must fight for highly coveted street parking like the rest of us. The biggest difference: You try parallel parking a 35-foot-long beast of a machine without scratching any bumpers.

We circle Third Avenue and eventually toss on the hazard lights in front of our first stop of the day, an outpost of a local specialty supermarket chain. Adames and Felix hop out of the cab, load up two hand trucks with cases of beer and hustle across the sidewalk to the store’s small side receiving entrance. The quicker they can get in and out, the less chance a traffic cop will slap them with a parking ticket or—the worst of all situations—tow the truck away.

According to Juan Corcino, Manhattan Beer’s fleet manager, run-ins with the law are inevitable when making city deliveries. The company factors a sizable amount into its annual budget for parking infringements. “We instruct our drivers not to block bike lanes and not to park near fire hydrants, but sometimes that’s just about impossible,” Corcino explains. “Everywhere you park you get a traffic guy or police officer coming after you.”

Maneuvering a truck around the streets of Manhattan is no walk in Central Park. Adames demonstrates the difficulty as he threads the needle turning onto an industrial stretch of 59th Street in the shadow of the double-decker Queensboro Bridge. Corcino says it’s precisely this ability to navigate the narrow and congested streets of midtown that gives the DuraStar an edge as an urban delivery truck.

“The International trucks have the best turning radius out there,” he says. “Our drivers are really happy to have them. We used to have problems with our other trucks, where they’d have to back up against traffic to make a turn. When you’re driving the streets of Manhattan, you don’t have much space to work with.”

The bulk of Manhattan Beer’s midtown customers don’t have much room for long-term storage either, so trucks have to make frequent stops to fill store inventories, in many cases with daily deliveries. To keep their customers happy, reliability is key. If one of these trucks breaks down, the party’s over for everybody.

“We guarantee next-day delivery. It’s my job to make sure that happens,” says Corcino. “International has been a reliable truck for us. We’ve been with them for 30 years and haven’t had any major issues.”

Even amid the constant horn blasts that accompany his work, Adames, 37, remains upbeat during his deliveries. A stocky guy with a buzz cut and an easy laugh, the 13-year veteran behind the wheel knows these congested streets better than anyone. Manhattan Beer utilizes sophisticated “dynamic routing” software to modify truck routes and load capacity based on changing traffic patterns and road closings owing to parades or other special events, but it’s skilled drivers like Adames who keep the deliveries running smoothly and efficiently.

Adames takes great pride in his work and the image Manhattan Beer presents to customers and the greater community. He greets store managers with a smile and waits patiently as each case of beer is scanned for inventory. Halfway through his shift, he pulls out a bottle of glass cleaner and sprays down the platter-size mirrors that serve as his extra sets of eyes out on the road. “Now I can see everything,” he says. “Visibility is very important when you have people crossing the street. It’s all about safety.”

“I keep my truck very clean. A lot of [my co-workers] will tell me, why don’t you just take it home with you?” he says with a laugh.

There’s a reason Adames is entrusted to operate this green machine. The regenerative braking technology on the hybrid-electric is ideal for the never-ending stops and starts of inner-city driving, which require the skills of a careful and competent driver. Plus, he’s the ideal employee to steward the truck that is the flagship in Manhattan Beer’s alternative-fuel fleet, which also includes a high percentage powered by CNG (compressed natural gas).

“Along with the fuel savings, the hybrid presents a great message to the community. Plus, it’s so quiet you can barely hear it on the street,” says Corcino. “People always ask about the truck, and we tell them: We’re delivering beer, but we’re also delivering clean air.

Stadium 1

 

SUPERIOR DEALERSHIP SUPPORT

Posted on: January 15th, 2019 by admin No Comments
International Dealer Network keeps Cowan Systems’ ProStars® on the road.

COWAN SYSTEMS has long treaded its own path when it comes to servicing its vehicles. Unlike most carriers its size, Cowan Systems chooses to outsource the majority of the work for its 1,000-plus truck fleet.

For the Baltimore-based company, which provides customized transportation packages as well as logistics and intermodal services for regional and national shippers, the choice of a trucking partner comes down to two non-negotiable factors: the reliability of the OEM’s vehicles and the capability of its service network.

“For us, the service aspect is huge,” says Dennis Morgan, chief operating officer of Cowan Systems. And that’s an area where International, which currently represents more than 65% of the Cowan fleet, has an advantage other truck makers can’t touch.

Cowan recently took delivery of the latest version of International’s flagship Class 8 product, a pilot version of the International ProStar® with N13 engine. Based on the initial reaction from drivers, Morgan expects a smooth transition. “We feel this new vehicle is going to be a really good truck,” says Morgan. “We’re still testing it, but we think it will stack up very favorably against trucks from other OEMs when it comes to fuel economy.”

According to Cowan’s director of maintenance, Mike Sizemore, the truck’s excellent visibility (both on the open road and when maneuvering around tight loading docks) and overall cab comfort are the features that drivers rave about most. “Without a doubt, our drivers really like these trucks,” he says.

For Morgan, his trust in International’s service network gives him the confidence to try new products. “Having a network as rich as theirs is a big benefit to us,” he says. “They probably have twice the number of facilities than any of their competitors.”

Much of that confidence is a result of Cowan’s relationship with its local dealership, Maryland-based Beltway International, and its dealer principal, Jack Saum Jr. “We’ve worked together for so many years—we have total trust in him,” says Morgan. “They have nine facilities in Maryland, and we drive all throughout Maryland every single day. But if something happens when our trucks are out of state, they have the whole International network behind them.

“The International dealerships work together as a team, and that works incredibly well for us,” Morgan adds. “Their trucks have performed. But if we run into an issue with our equipment, the folks at Beltway stop what they’re doing and rectify the situation as fast as possible. That’s what it’s all about.”

Cowan’s enrollment in Navistar’s OnCommand program, a dedicated package of services offered only by Navistar, has helped streamline Cowan and Beltway’s repair process. The system provides one source for a fleet’s service programs, making diagnostics and repair more efficient. “I love how OnCommand has virtually eliminated communication issues between parts and service,” says Morgan. “The concept is tremendous. No other OEM has anything like it.”

Saum attributes the success of the longtime relationship with Cowan to the collaboration that exists among International dealers throughout North America. “The relationships that we dealers have with each other, that’s been the biggest asset we bring to the table,” he says. “Those relationships have brought productivity and efficiency to Cowan’s business. Plus, our footprint of dealers matches up well with their routes—especially in a lot of areas where other OEMs don’t have a presence.”

For Cowan Systems, a proven fuel-efficient truck, backed by the attentiveness of a trusted local dealer, keeps their drivers confident while on the road.

FOUR TOUGH MODELS ENGINEERED TO OUTWORK AND OUTLAST, HOUR AFTER DEMANDING HOUR

Posted on: January 10th, 2019 by admin No Comments

When we set out to build the next great International® severe-duty truck, we knew we had to start from the beginning. To look beyond what was needed, to deliver beyond what was expected.

From the ground up, the HX™ Series was designed and engineered to endure the most punishing of jobsites. Built to take on whatever challenges you could throw at it, and to look great while doing it.

Every consideration – from its huck-bolted frame and three-piece Metton hood, to the spacious DriverFirst™ inspired cab and exceptional power options – has been made, tested and proven to perform well past class-leading standards. Bringing unmatched uptime, durability and driver comfort to any work site.

Now our commitment to building the best severe-duty truck on the market has been recognized by equipment owners and end users as one of Equipment Today Contractor’s Top 50 products for 2016.

Air Disc Brake Training – June 26th

Posted on: June 11th, 2018 by admin No Comments

We will be hosting an Air Disc Brake Training on June 26th at 9:00am and 11:00am in Liverpool, NY.

This event is open to all customers, please call us and RSVP to reserve your spot!

See our flyer for more information:

EVENT FLYER

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Air disc pads

Truck Rotors Air Disc Brakes Parts

Truck rotors for air disc brakes

FROM OUR BLOG

TOP 6 HABITS FOR SUCCESSFUL FLEET MANAGEMENT

Fleet management is a practice that must be constantly practiced if all the benefits of a functioning fleet are to be enjoyed. Running a fleet management business, therefore, calls for consistency, discipline, and keenness to detail so that no area in terms of vehicle maintenance is left unattended and weak. Habits for successful fleet management […]

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