Moving forward with a technical society

From the March 2019 issue.

The American Trucking Associations’ Technology and Maintenance Conference recently showcased the latest in trailer and truck equipment.

The American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council announced it had opened registration for its 2019 Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition, to be held March 18-21 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Beyond the Frontier of Maintenance is the theme for this year’s Annual Meeting, which includes a strong slate of educational sessions, and a complete technology tradeshow featuring experts from the trucking industry’s top manufacturers and suppliers.

“The trucking industry is literally the backbone of the US economy – delivering 70 per cent of the nation’s freight,” said ATA President and CEO, Chris Spear.

“That work is only possible thanks to the efforts of our industry’s technicians and maintenance personnel who keep our nation’s wheels turning. The TMC Annual Meeting is a critical part of that effort, setting standards and demonstrating the latest technology and trends for our industry,” he said.

For TMC Executive Director, Robert Braswell, TMC will focus on fleet challenges that lie beyond the frontier of maintenance. “The Council’s 2019 Annual Meeting carries on its tradition of providing thought leadership with a special focus on developing, implementing and maintaining innovative technologies pertaining to automated and electric vehicles, smart trailers and advanced fuel saving strategies.

During the week, more than 100 industry task forces will meet to resolve issues critical to trucking fleets, as well as a broad offering of technically oriented educational sessions, addressing fleet experience with the latest generation of active safety systems, proven strategies for fleet tire testing, spec’ing cabs and sleepers for driver safety and comfort, and preparing for next generation multi-voltage electrical systems.

With more than 5,000 people in attendance every year, TMC’s Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition remains the premier event for fleet management, offering a comprehensive array of information vital to the growth and success of the trucking industry.

Wabash National VP of Engineering – Commercial Trailer Products, Robert Lane, elaborates on what TMC attendees should expect to see from the prominent US-based manufacturer.

“At TMC, we will be presenting a 53’ refrigerated van trailer with our proprietary Moulded Structural Composite (MSC) technology,” he says. “Wabash is also re-introducing the Transcraft Eagle flatbed trailer and a Benson flatbed trailer with design changes to address user safety and convenience. With the flatbeds, we are focused more on the user interface like ergonomics for example.”

Lane explains that one of the challenges that Wabash is trying to solve is temperature control. “With the MSC van trailer we’re improving thermal efficiency while optimising weight and durability, leading to an increased asset life.” He adds that Wabash’s MSC technology is new to the market and unlike any composite technology available for trailers. “MSC improves thermal efficiency by up to 28 per cent and reduces weight by up to 20 per cent. Its structural strength eliminates the need for metal or wood, and it demonstrates twice the puncture resistance over traditional materials.  The gel coat protects against water intrusion and slows foam degradation.”

Since the last TMC event, Lane confirms that Wabash continues to adapt its manufacturing expertise in line with new developments. “We’re continuing on the development path of MSC based on what we’re learning from our launch partners,” he says. “We’re integrating real-world feedback to make design improvements.”

In terms of industry trends currently affecting Wabash, Lane suggests that e-commerce is the biggest one at the moment. “We’re seeing a boom in the final mile space, which has a ripple effect on our trailer business. Wabash National has equipment solutions for the entire transportation journey: first mile, middle mile and last mile.” He adds that the smart trailer is really starting to make an impact along with telematics. “We will continue to see gain prominence as carriers and shippers begin to understand how to use data to increase efficiency. Everyone is learning how to capture and leverage data for asset utilisation.”

Fast Fact
American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight.

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