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Davco, a unit of Clarience Technologies, announced it is investing $3.5 million in its Saline, Mich., campus to create an advanced electronics manufacturing center.
Davco — known for its heater/water separators and filter systems for diesel-powered medium- and heavy-duty trucks and other applications work which will continue — reported it is extending its manufacturing capabilities into advanced electronics technologies to capitalize on the arrival of electric-powered commercial vehicles.
The Saline location will become the primary manufacturer of its Road Ready telematics products for the trailer industry, Clarience Technologies CEO Brian Kupchella told Transport Topics.
“We have been in telematics for almost four years,” he said. “We just launched the first 5G-ready telematics system for trailer applications, so we are in good shape with that change going forward.”
In related news, Clarience announced it recently acquired Fleetilla, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based telematics provider that addresses vocational segments such as construction and utility, including products designed to monitor work trailers as well as the specific equipment and tools that trailer hauls.
The new Davco facility sits adjacent to its existing manufacturing facility. The site is expected to be fully operational in early 2022 and create 20 new jobs.
The facility is also near the University of Michigan, and the company noted it envisions the site someday strengthening ties to the university and the overall Ann Arbor community.
The manufacturing will include all Road Ready hardware, mobile communications units, smart bridge integrators, Road Ready proprietary sensors and other related items, according to Davco.
Kupchella said the trailer has to get smart in dealing with tires, rolling resistance and battery life, for instance, as the industry transitions into electrification, and eventually autonomous vehicles a little further out.
“We do a lot of electronic design, development and manufacturing today with all of our businesses. Adding that into our Davco business is a perfect fit,” he said.
He suggested the whole supply chain is going to change to some extent over the next 10 to 15 years, as it figures out what to manufacture to support the electrification and autonomous vehicles.
“I think it will open up a lot of doors for us and everybody,” Kupchella said, “to make sure they stay close to the customers, fleets and equipment manufacturers.”
Ensuring that happens prompted Clarience to move its R&D center to Pittsburgh near the campus of Carnegie Mellon University and its headquarters to Southfield, Mich. — both formerly located in New York.
The company also noted it forged strong relationships with several other top-tier universities, including Michigan State University and Lawrence Technological University in Michigan and Penn State Behrend in Pennsylvania, which will serve as key enablers to foster future innovations.
Meanwhile, its low-amp draw lighting products will evolve into smart products, Kupchella added.
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“Those LED lights, even though they are low-amp draw today, have to get smart and have to be able to communicate to adjust amp draw or adjust beam patterns to meet what the electronic control unit or microcontrollers of the vehicle is telling it based on battery life or battery needs to reduce that parasitic load,” he said. “Lamps will get smart, not just headlights, but marker lights, tail lights and trailer lights, whether it’s on a truck, a car, a boat or off-road vehicle will get smart.”
Clarience products also include Truck-Lite, Rigid and Lumitec advanced LED lighting, Ecco and Code-3 safety systems in addition to Road Ready advanced telematics.
Clarience Technologies, renamed from Truck-Lite Holdings in 2020, reported it has 1,600 associates and international operations in Australia, China, Europe and Mexico.
Clarience has 16 facilities across the globe and 10 R & D centers. It supplies products to more than 90 countries on four continents.
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