Driving tomorrow

From the December 2018 issue.

The 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicles Show, held during September in Hanover, Germany, was a spectacle to behold – fostering industry representation on a global scale. If this epic event continues to grow, the possibilities truly seem endless.

The German Association of Automotive Industry (VDA) organised the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicles Show – a trade fair for transport, logistics and mobility – and it absolutely lived up to the hype. The event covered everything from electric mobility and digitalisation to urban logistics from a manufacturing standpoint, encompassing trucks, trailers, buses and component suppliers.

By the VDA’s reckoning, there were a total of  2,174 exhibitors from 48 countries. The 67th IAA also set a new record for exhibition space, sprawling out at 282,000 square metres. “The number of visitors was also very high, despite the sometimes inclement weather: hot days at the beginning, and rain and storms on the weekend,” the VDA reported. “Yet the response of attendees at the IAA was definitely positive. The mood was excellent everywhere – among the exhibitors and the visitors.”

Autonomous vehicles and electrification
This positive atmosphere was particularly noticeable at ZF Friedrichshafe’s press conference. The German transmission specialist shared its insights on the future of freight forwarding, highlighting  the need for autonomous vehicles to offset positive growth forecasts and increasing transport volumes.

Wolf-Henning Scheider, ZF CEO, is optimistic about the future freight task, and explained that zoned areas would be a lucrative market for autonomous driving. “Driverless transport vehicles and automated functions will play a significant role particularly in zoned areas like company terminal yards, forwarding company depots or air and sea ports,” he said during the press conference. “In the near future, we will be seeing more autonomous vehicles in such zoned areas faster than on public roads. The cost, safety and efficiency benefits for customers will make a difference here.”

The smart logistics approach for ZF, according to Scheider, also covers zero local emission drives for all vehicle classes. Air pollution in city centres should be considerably reduced, and as a response to international requests for quotations for electrically powered buses, ZF received orders for more than 1,000 of its AxTrax AVE electrical portal axles. These will reportedly contribute to 60 million zero-emission passenger kilometres each year in cities like Los Angeles, London and Stuttgart. Similarly, ZF is accelerating the electrification of the drive on other commercial vehicle segments including trucks. The electric axle drive system for light commercial vehicles will commence volume production mid-2019.

The electrification of road transport vehicles and ancillary equipment was one of the most prevalent messages from the show. There were demonstrations of medium-duty distribution trucks on the electric uptake along with axle manufacturers sharing their e-axle visions.

Netherlands-based manufacturer, VALX, first flaunted its E2! energy axle at the 2012 IAA, and his since explored the multifunctional potential of the component where a trailer axle configured with this innovation and a power generator could be used to share the load of connected electrical systems. The following year, the E2! Inspired a full-electric refrigerated trailer concept.

VALX Sales Director, Martin van Willigen, says that this year was all about showcasing the OEM’s e-mobility vision. “We are proud to be industry-first with electrified axles and landing legs and want to retain our leading position. The potential applications for our range of E2! energy axles are enormous. We would like invite everybody to challenge us and explore new opportunities together.”

BPW and Bosch are among the manufacturers joining the energy axle bandwagon, but it was Dana that announced some bold moves. The US-based drivetrain supplier unveiled its Spicer Electrified with TM4 portfolio, including fully integrated electro-mechanical propulsion systems featuring gearboxes, electric motors, inverters and thermal-management technologies.

“Dana is uniquely equipped to provide full e-Propulsion systems across all gross vehicle weight categories, platforms, and architectures,” said Dana President and CEO, Jim Kamsickas. “From fully integrated e-Propulsion systems that include electric motors, inverters, gearboxes, and thermal management, to individual subsystem components designed to meet the individual requirements of a customer’s vehicle, our Spicer Electrified with TM4 solutions are revolutionising power conveyance and positioning Dana as a leader in the evolution of mobility.”

Dana is said to leverage more than 20 years of vehicle electrification experience, and is able to meet region-specific requirements across the globe through its 23 worldwide technology centres and 140 operations in 33 countries. Time will tell how this plan will proliferate.

To mix it up, German start-up, Rytle, has set out to disrupt urban logistics by replacing traditional modes of transportation with a new, electric mobility concept based on the trusted cargo bicycle.

Based out of Bremen in northern Germany, Rytle is planning to free up city centres around the world by replacing rigid trucks and vans with electrically driven cargo bicycles that transport specially designed, prepacked transport boxes the size of a standard pallet.

By designing a new type of electrically driven cargo bike – the Movr – as well as a new, standardised transport box and an app-based IT solution to connect all stakeholders, Rytle’s goal is to fundamentally reinvent metropolitan logistics and courier services, not simply add a new alternative to the industry’s traditional toolbox.

The rise of digitalisation
It was inevitable that modern technology trends would influence how businesses function. For German tanker specialist, FFB Feldbinder, it has embraced the digitalisation of its silo tech to improve vehicle operator efficiency by optimising the process of loading and unloading. At this year’s IAA, FFB Feldbinder in cooperation with agricultural co-operative, Raisa, equipped a seven-chamber feed silo trailer with a touchscreen for controlling air distribution and material conveyance components. With help from a Controller Area Network (CAN-BUS) system, the formerly mechanical, pneumatic and electro-mechanical control elements for air distribution and material conveyance are consolidated into a single control.

The tanker specialist said it will be possible for the driver to control and monitor central operations of the vehicle via a touchscreen at the rear or rear panel at a glance. “The unloading process is graphically presented to the user on the screen in a very comprehensible, visual display of the vehicle. The shut-off flaps, air intake, material conveyor and loosener can be attuned to one another via a simple, intuitive menu.”

While there is capacity for the software to capture precise datasets for everything from pressurisation to the behaviour of shut-off flaps, vehicle operators can also help determine ‘optimised operating profiles’ for saving time when training new employees.

In addition to bolstering equipment efficiency for the sake of the driver, digitalisation has also prompted the likes of BPW to revolutionise the configuration, ordering and production of its running gear.

Ordering online automatically creates a ‘digital DNA’ for BPW running gear: it controls production and streamlines all processes throughout the entire life cycle, from delivery to the vehicle manufacturer up to and including subsequent servicing and spare parts ordering.

“With this simple application, BPW has now made the ordering process for functional groups such as the running gear considerably quicker, less complicated and also less dependent on the know-how of individual members of staff,” according to Dr Dirk Nötzke, Head of Product Data Management at BPW. “We can thereby considerably reduce the risk of incorrect orders, so that new members of staff are also able to configure the running gears more quickly. The system enables a completely new interaction between vehicle manufacturers and forwarding agent and reduces the previous bureaucratic effort to just a few mouse clicks. We will continue to develop the system in close partnership with leading vehicle manufacturers to ensure maximum practicability.”

Seeing the configurator in action at the BPW stand was impressive. Even more impressive is how the end user will eventually have access to all the technical details they require at the press of a button.

Knorr-Bremse showcased its latest generation of braking systems, the SYNACT and NEXTT as well as the Global Scalable Brake Control System (GSBC). All three systems attain a new level of efficiency, where GSBC provides a platform for future-proofing driver assistance as the industry further develops automated driving concepts.

Connectivity was a major focus at IAA, and Knorr-Bremse shared its modular and cross-brand fleet management system: ProFleet Connect; the trailer app iTAP and he event-based video system, SafetyDirect. The remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance scenarios also drew a lot of attention.

Simiarly, SAF-Holland presented its Connect+, an intelligent Fleet Service platform offering all sorts of services for drivers and fleet managers. SAF-Holland remote sensing products transmit important data to the driver via an app as well as fleet manager through a website portal. It can track GPS data, the temperature of wheel bearing, trailer position and tyre pressure.

Innovative suspension systems
SAF-Holland unveiled its innovative Adaptive Air Damping system which does not use hydraulic shock absorbers. The suspension works through two air spring valves and a bypass, and is oil-free, minimising environmental impact. This system is ideal for three-axle semi-trailers as well as container, general cargo and refrigerated vehicles, and can be equipped to standard chassis interfaces, too.

VDL Weweler has also developed its own air damping suspension, in collaboration with trailer builder, D-TEC and Firestone. According to D-TEC Director, Gerrit van Vlastuin, trailers spec’d with air damping suspension handle better on the road and are more stable. “It is clearly noticeable that the trailers respond smoother, less jerky – especially on bumps,” he said – adding that this technology will impact maintenance costs. “Trailer owners no longer need to replace shock absorbers once every six or seven years. The air damper has no parts that are subject to wear and tear, so the shock-absorbing characteristics remain the same throughout the equipment lifecycle.”

Virtual and augmented realities
Schmitz Cargobull is developing a series of training tools for its engineers and dealer network. On show at IAA was a reefer diagnostic tutorial where the subject enters an immersive VR environment to perform basic tasks on a refrigeration unit. The VR program provided a handy checklist and offered tips to assist the user with performing basic instructions from picking up tools to opening doors. Attention to detail was immaculate and by working in a virtual environment, the user is assured of their safety.

Following the VR reefer tutorial, there was also a live demonstration of Augmented Reality (AR) via a mobile phone app for the purposes of helping technicians onsite via a remote technical support team. The app can help point the tech in the right direction, with visual cues and additional information. It is also possible to review manuals and documentation with the assistance of a trained third party to walk a tech through a number of tasks.

As Schmitz Cargobull continues to develop its AR and VR technologies, there is much to look forward to in the coming years. Is this the future of technical training?

Future-proofing the refrigerated transport sector
Ingersoll Rand’s refrigerated transport specialists, Thermo King and Frigoblock, introduced various truck and trailer innovations that harness the power of electricity, data and clean technology at the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicles Show.
“The biggest challenges and opportunities lie in cities particularly with increasing urbanisation and changing regulations,” said Pauli Johannesen, Vice President and General Manager for Truck, Trailer and Bus at Thermo King in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). “The Thermo King and Frigoblock offering is designed to ‘future-proof’ transport companies’ investments by addressing regulatory requirements, optimising fleet operations and ultimately improving the total cost of ownership.”

Thermo King and Frigoblock presented Thermotopia, its vision of a city of the future where the transport refrigeration industry ensures the safety of transported foods and goods for rising populations while eliminating smog, congestion and excessive noise. Thermotopia is where technologies help transport companies stay ahead of the regulations and grow their businesses with increasingly cost effective and environmentally sustainable solutions.

The entire host of solutions on display are proven technologies ranging from hybrid units, CryoTech, electric alternator driven Frigoblock units also working with CNG or LNG engines to fully electric independent units for small and large vans for last mile delivery.

Meanwhile, Carrier Transicold launched its next generation temperature-controlled trailer refrigeration system, which is built around its E-Drive, which works by removing the mechanical transmissions found in conventional belt-driven equipment and converting the unit’s diesel engine power into electricity through a generator in order to drive the refrigeration system – a patented innovation that has brought the highest standards of efficiency, reliability and performance to the transport refrigeration sector.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries also showcased its latest truck and trailer refrigeration systems, including the all-electric TEJ100.

Illuminating the future of lighting
Lighting specialist, Hella, unveiled a suite of innovations at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hanover, including Visiotech projection technologies and intelligent lighting for semi-trailers.

Hella has identified opportunities to use its electronics to improve safety for commercial vehicle operators when loading and unloading. Visiotech projection technology can be used to optically highlight ‘danger zones’.
Visiotech, according to Hella, can project warning signals and symbols on to the ground, and has already been integrated into three products for special vehicles: in the LED projection module and two warning lights SL60 LED and Modul 50 LED Spot. Hella said that both products are approved for applications outside the German road licensing ordinance (StVZO), but for special applications on the road, special permits are required.

The LED Projection Module was reportedly developed for original equipment, where projections make it possible to clearly mark, for instance, the required loading or safety areas for commercial vehicles or emergency vehicles. In addition to projecting exclamation marks as a warning, Hella can develop other projections in collaboration with vehicle manufacturers.

Sustainable innovations
Equipment specialist, JOST, presented a comprehensive suite of innovations at this year’s IAA, including JSK 34 fifth wheels, the Modul landing leg family with its latest addition, the OPTIMA, as well as the Easy Lift force-assisted locking kit. The complete product line-up from JOST, Rockinger, Tridec and Edbro was also on-show.

JOST has also developed a completely biodegradable high-performance lubricant for its fifth wheel couplings.

Under normal operating conditions, a fifth wheel coupling requires about 10 kilo-grams of lubricating grease per year, according to Marketing Communications Expert, Vera Terporten. A substantial portion of this amount reportedly ends up on the road and not only contaminates the environment, but also endangers road safety.

With the development of minimal lubrication with LubeTronic, JOST already succeeded in reducing the amount of grease needed to about 1.6 kilograms per year.

JOST is taking the next step by introducing a grease that is biodegradable in accordance with the OECD 301 B biodegradation test. Terporten said that the lubricant exceeded the demands of the test and was rated  ‘readily biodegradable’.
”The lubricant is ideally formulated for use in combination with LubeTronic and is impressive from more than just an eco-friendly perspective,” she said. “JOST will offer its organic grease at the same price as its commonly used grease. Thus, all JOST customers will be able to switch to the organic grease without incurring additional costs, thereby contributing to preserving the environment.”
Lars Brorsen, Chairman of the Executive Board of JOST, is excited by the new biodegradable, high-performance lubricant. “As our corporate group expands with sites around the world, so does our responsibility for the envi-ronment. Our products play an important part in reducing the ecological footprint left in the areas we specialise in and by the commercial vehicle industry in general. The development of the fully biodegradable organic grease means that JOST has taken an important step in the right direction.”

Trailer building excellence
Kässbohrer Board Member, İffet Türken, used a press conference opportunity to celebrate the OEM’s 125th anniversary, sharing recent developments. “Kässbohrer is an engineering company and our heritage is full of innovation such as the production of the first 4x2 axle trailers and the development of semi-trailer coupling system that changed the course of heavy commercial vehicle industry,” she said. “We are determined to work through our motto ‘Enginuity’ – the perfect balance of engineering and ingenuity to develop new technologies and to address the changing industry dynamics. Towards the next 125 years, we will invest further into our R&D and production capabilities to take our customers’ business to the next level.”

During the press conference, Türken introduced the award winning container chassis, K.SHG AVMH.  In recognition of Kässbohrer’s multifunctional container chassis K.SHG AVMH with first of its kind novel octagonal central frame design, Kässbohrer has won the Trailer Innovation Award 2019 in “Chassis” category, which solves all torsional issues that lead to permanent damage of semi-trailers. 

Meanwhile, German OEM, Kögel, presented its portfolio for the freight forwarding and construction industry as well as its expanded range of services while sister company, Humbaur, displayed various new CEP trailer bodies and trailers from its FlexBox program for distribution transport.

Kögel aims to make the freight transport of tomorrow safer, simpler and more environmentally friendly with its selection of trailers and innovations. Also, the OEM showcased its other service offerings such as financing and telematics.

“Our ultimate goal, as well as that of our customers, is trailers and solutions with added value,” said Kögel Managing Director, Petra Adrianowytsch. “With the highlights on display at IAA Commercial Vehicles, such as the NOVUM generation trailers and the innovative new individual equipment, we will achieve that goal and more.”

Schmitz Cargobull reigned supreme for this year’s Trailer Innovation accolade.

Krone has been striving to connect the transport world while creating first-class added value with its motto, ‘Clever Connections’.

“We are making the trailer ready for the future with artificial intelligence and networking our products with suitable services for more mobility and more efficient logistics. This ensures safe transport of goods and prompt provision of all important transport data. We place the highest demands on our portfolio and constantly renew our quality promise so that our customers are on the road even more economically,” explains Managing Partner, Bernard Krone.

The innovative family business from Emsland presents numerous vehicle highlights as well as its 360° service for commercial vehicles. These comprehensive services, such as flexible full service offers, fast spare parts logistics and intelligent telematics solutions are a particular focus. These optimise the operating times and total cost of ownership (TCO) of freight forwarders. This creates first-class added value for the tough daily transport routine in logistics. Krone makes the trailer ready for the future. The Smart Trailer Check ensures optimum transport conditions even before the journey starts. A convenient overview of free capacities in the trailer is provided by the Smart Scan load space detection system and further networking with freight exchanges in Smart Capacity Management ensures optimum use of the free space. All this is linked in the Krone Telematics Portal and makes transports even more efficient in a clever way.

Advanced trucking solutions
Technology company, Wabco, shared some of the latest functionalities to be added to its OnGuard collision mitigation systems (CMS) at this year’s IAA.

It also announed that it has furthered its market leadership while innovating advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) technology with Italian commercial vehicle manufacturer, Iveco.

Iveco is collaborating with Wabco to enhance the safety, efficiency and market competitiveness of its Stralis and Eurocargo trucks having applied its most advanced OnGuardACTIVE and OnGuardMAX solutions, as well as a wide portfolio of additional Wabco safety technologies including ESCsmartTM electronic stability control (ESC) and braking systems. Iveco and Wabco are also partners of the ENSEMBLE innovation consortium, co-funded by the European Union, which will contribute to further multi-brand truck platooning in real-world environments.

Wabco has sold more than 450,000 OnGuard safety systems worldwide. The scalable and modular architecture of OnGuard solutions offer a number of powerful differentiating benefits for OEMs. Featuring a new radar sensor which reportedly offers the commercial vehicle industry’s longest radar detection range, as well as the widest near-range field of view, WABCO’s OnGuardACTIVE can now provide up to full autonomous emergency braking on moving and stationery vehicles from a highway speed up to 80 km per hour – even in poor visibility conditions. Wabco’s OnGuardMAX utilises the radar sensor integrated with a new jointly developed Mobileye camera powered by its industry-leading EyeQ4 chip. This system further differentiates itself by enabling autonomous collision avoidance with pedestrians intruding in front of the vehicle at speeds up to 20km/h.

“Powerfully demonstrating Wabco’s pioneering global ADAS leadership, we are delighted that Iveco has chosen to collaborate with us to support their leading truck brands,” said Jorge Solis, Wabco President, Truck, Bus and Car OEM Division. “We look forward to bringing the power of our technology and our advanced systems engineering expertise to support Iveco in their mission to enable safer transportation systems.”

What’s next?
It will be interesting to see what the commercial road transport landscape will look like two years from now.

VDA President, Bernhard Mattes, shares his highlights of IAA. On the subject of trade sanctions and protectionism in today’s politics, he thinks commercial vehicle markets are on track for continued growth in all key regions.

“The Chinese market for heavy goods vehicles has grown by 8 per cent so far this year, and in the US by as much as 18 per cent. The positive trend also applies to Western Europe, with Italy, France and Spain performing particularly briskly. The domestic market has also grown.

Apart from that, it is pleasing to see that the Brazilian market is well on the way to recovery with a plus of over 50 per cent in the first seven months of the current year, even though the initial level is still low. India is also making good progress. But of course there are downsides, too. We are keeping a close eye on the increasing trade restrictions in key regions. The discernible trend towards protectionism is a cause for concern. The success of the commercial vehicle industry and the mobility sector as a whole depends on our ability to trade freely and fairly. The more trade barriers that are put in place, the more difficult it becomes to successfully form a global value chain.”

When quizzed about the message behind ‘driving tomorrow’ Mattes, says that the message is clear: “We are making the future of transportation, logistics and mobility the key focus of this, the world’s most important trade fair.
“The focus is on innovation topics such as digitalisation, connectivity, automation, electric mobility and urban supply concepts. The entire industry is prepared for this and is getting to grips with it, and there’s a sense of optimism, as the press day at the IAA with its many world premieres has already shown.”

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