Materials and Design Changes Shed Weight From Class 8 Tractors
This story appears in the Jan. 23 print edition of Equipment & Maintenance Update, a supplement to Transport Topics.
Equipment and component manufacturers are using new designs and materials such as aluminum to remove weight from Class 8 tractors, which helps fleets increase payload and maximize fuel efficiency. This movement toward lighter materials also helps original equipment manufacturers offset the additional weight from emission-reduction systems and aerodynamic devices that help them meet federal greenhouse-gas regulations.
“As more weight is added to the vehicle, we’re looking for ways to neutralize that weight by reducing the weight of our products,” said Craig Kessler, vice president of engineering for wheels at Accuride Corp., a component manufacturer.
C.R. England, a refrigerated carrier based in Salt Lake City, has calculated the fuel economy impact of a pound on its total cost of ownership. It estimates it at 98 cents for a three-year trade cycle for a tractor.
“You need to know what that number is when you’re spec’ing a piece of equipment so you know the value of that weight savings,” said Ron Hall, vice president of equipment and fuel at C.R. England, which ranks No. 23 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in the United States and Canada.
Andrew Halonen, president of Mayflower Consulting and co-author of a lightweighting study published by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency, said the amount carriers are willing to pay is dictated by what they haul.
“You have 100 out of 100 people who want weight reduction but only one out of 100 who will pay for it,” he said.
Halonen said the tank truck market will pay up to $12 a pound for weight savings, reefer carriers are willing pay $2 to $4 per pound, but dry van operations will pay only $2 per pound or less.
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|By Mindy Long|
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