April 15, 2016 4:04 PM, EDT

Tech Training, No-Water Batteries, Portable Lift Systems Among New Products

This story appears in the April 11 print edition of  Equipment & Maintenance Update, a supplement to Transport Topics.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The recent annual meeting of the Technology & Maintenance Council included a spacious exhibit hall filled with vendors hoping to lure truck maintenance directors into making purchases for their shops back home.

Several company representatives here spoke to Equipment & Maintenance Update about their services or wares on display in the Music City Center from Feb. 29 through March 2.

• Pro-Mech Learning Systems of Rochester, New York, provides training for technicians, mainly in online tutorials but also with in-person sessions, company Vice President Michael Compisi said.

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The programs are designed for current truck technicians who are seeking to expand their knowledge in specific areas.

Electrical systems, emissions controls, refrigerated units and in-cab heat and air-conditioning are examples of the online courses, Compisi said.

“Some of the lessons are brand specific, but mainly it’s general information,” Compisi said, adding that simulated repairs can run on a laptop.

Pro-Mech sells both to fleet maintenance departments and independent repair shops. Dealership shops tend to take training directly from the truck maker.

For in-person training, Pro-Mech went to 30 U.S. cities last year, either to hotel conference rooms or fleet offices, Compisi said. Personal instruction usually is a follow-up after online training.

Program manager Brian Beathard sends out technicians who diagnose problems and then train fleet personnel on how to fix them. Pro-Mech can help test job applicants to make sure candidates are knowledgeable, he said.

• Trojan Battery Co., a California-based manufacturer of absorbed glass mat batteries for trucks, has a new national distributor and a new vice president for quality, spokeswoman Kari Garcia said.

The company is using Factory Motor Parts Co. as its nationwide distribution partner. FMP’s network of locations hits 48 states, including Alaska. The company’s main truck battery is the OverDrive AGM 31.

Transportation Sales Manager Brian Herrington said the advantage of the 12-volt AGM batteries is that they are sealed and don’t need water. That means they can be mounted on their sides, if need be.

The old-fashioned acid solution that served as an electrolyte is replaced by an electrolyte absorbed into the glass material.

Herrington said the deep-cycle batteries are made to service a constant draw of power and provide 730 cold-cranking amps at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Trojan, based in Santa Fe Springs, started in 1925 making batteries for golf carts and automobiles. It left the car battery business and has been doing trucks since 2009.

The company’s new vice president for quality is Robert Gibson, new to Trojan from Rapiscan Systems, a supplier of security inspection systems, where he also was a vice president.

• Rotary Lift sells portable vehicle-lift systems that can be used anywhere needed in a fleet’s maintenance shop, said Jay Ashworth, the company’s heavy-duty regional manager for the Northeast.

For shops tight on space, a lift can be set up where needed and afterward the equipment can be stored off to a side and recharged overnight with 110-volt current. A system could be used in place of or as a supplement to a permanent lift rack.

A battery-operated, four-post system usually costs about $36,500, Ashworth said, and the posts are linked via radio frequency control.

A fully charged battery produces 18 to 22 round trips of lifts and lowerings, he said. The posts also have safety locks.

Ashworth said the company has contracts with regional transit systems in New York City and around Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and is trying to expand more into the truck fleet market.

Rotary Lift is a product from Vehicle Service Group of Madison, Indiana, a division of Dover Corp.