Taking the world by storm

Marked by a noteworthy climate of newfound optimism and conviviality, the 2021 edition of Solutrans has closed its doors on an extremely positive note, once again proving its ability to go from strength to strength.

The French Bodywork Federation (FFC) has celebrated success for what is now considered one of the leading global hubs for heavy and light commercial vehicles.

Over the space of five days (from 16 to 20 November 2021), the exhibition welcomed more than 1,000 exhibitors and brands and recorded nearly 50,000 visits. This attendance was stable compared with an already historic 2019 edition, and in fact exceptional given the circumstances. Indeed, nearly all the events currently held in Europe post declines of around 20 per cent in their visitor numbers.

As one of the only large-scale European events in 2021, the exhibition mobilised the stakeholders from the entire sector around an even more abundant offering and content tying in with the energy transition, responsible transport and the reduction of the carbon footprint.

The French Minister Delegate for Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, who came to visit the show on Friday 19 November, reiterated his support for the industry and announced the launch of two schemes to develop electric Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs).

Universally acclaimed by the exhibitors, the organisation by the FFC and its Chairman, Patrick Cholton, enables each edition to propose a revisited exhibition attaining ever higher quality standards with even better qualified contacts. The two evening events functions featuring the I-nnovation Awards and the Gala dinner were the culmination that propelled the tradeshow to the status of must-attend events for innovation and conviviality for the industry.

Event attendees got hands-on with truck simulation software.

With 1,000 exhibitors and represented brands, the 2021 edition of Solutrans proved to be an all-out success, the result of substantive work undertaken over the past several years by the FFC. Its new organisation, helping exhibitors to stand out and offering professionals a smoother visiting experience, was acclaimed by all. Thus, the new Hall (Hall 1), rechristened Solutrans 4.0 ‘The future starts here’, presented disruptive innovation and new players in the sector in all fields, from engineering to training via industry.

The test track, extended and redesigned in response to demand from visitors and HGV and LCV manufacturers, enabled exhibitors to present their new energy vehicles (gas, hybrid, electric, fuel cell, etc.) in real life conditions to a great many professionals.

Finally, the Tyre area, created in association with the French Association of Tyre Professionals (SPP), brought together all the players in the sector. A dedicated talks and round table program (available in catch-up mode) offered visitors better insight into this key sector of transport. Also available in catch-up mode are the 25 programs produced by Autoroute Info – 107.7 in the temporary radio studio on the FFC’s stand over the five days.

An edition in line with the strategic challenges of the sector and the themes defined in association with the Ministry of Transport
As the guiding theme of the 2021 edition, the energy transition and the reduction of the carbon footprint could be found in a varied range of highlights: The presentation of the findings of the VIsion’Air survey (conducted by Le BiPE and BDO Advisory, on behalf of the
FFC), at the exhibition’s opening plenary conference; and a content-rich and comprehensive talks program with nearly 30 talks and round tables focusing on connectivity, identification, employment, CSR commitments and cyber security, with an opening plenary on the theme ‘Hydrogen, what does the future hold for the HGV sector?’ organised in partnership with France Hydrogène.

To illustrate the business climate and its stature as appreciated by governmental bodies, it is also worth highlighting the announcement made at the show by Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, Minister Delegate for Transport. Hauliers are set to receive €65 million of additional aid as part of a call for projects for ‘electric heavy vehicles’. This call for projects aims to increase the amount of subsidy per vehicle and finance up to 60 per cent of the installation of charging terminals suited to the needs of hauliers. This aid will be made available at the beginning of 2022 to all the market players contributing to the deployment of electric transport and mobility, in particular logistics professionals. The conversion of combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles (retrofit) is also eligible.

Finally, the FFC also held a large round table debate on the introduction of Low Emission Zones (LEZs) with industry stakeholders. Vehicle manufacturers, PSA, Greater Lyon Authority, CSIAM and hauliers were all invited to express their vision of LEZs which might respect the constraints of each of them, while also helping to reduce the carbon footprint. This event set the tone in the run-up to the debates which will be held in the 2022 as part of the Industry Meetings (Rencontres de la Filière) organised by FFC.

Innovators awarded for excellence
As a major calendar event in the commercial vehicle industry, the Innovation Awards pay tribute to innovations from Solutrans exhibitors that improve the performance of vehicles and companies.
Since 2019, the I-nnovation Awards have been taken over and organised by FFC in a revised format and with a new visual identity, remodelled award criteria and a broader judging panel comprising technical executives from heavy commercial vehicle manufacturers, acknowledged industry professionals and specialist journalists.

In 2021, more than 80 entries were submitted by exhibitors. The judges designated the winners from among 21 shortlisted entries: Seven in the Body Builders category, seven in the Equipment Suppliers category, and seven in the new Digital Award category.
It should be noted that henceforth, a ‘Joseph Libner special Award’ in homage to the former chairman of the FFC, is presented to a company for an innovation presenting a specific environmental benefit, in the Body Builders and Equipment Suppliers categories.
The winners were announced at the official Awards ceremony on Tuesday 16 November at 7pm at the Lyon Groupama Stadium. The winners were:

The 2021 Winners – Equipment Suppliers category
Gold Award: DYN’ACCESS
DYN’ACCES is a system with a telescopic platform that positions the wheelchair flush with the driver’s seat and allows the driver to transfer manually from one to the other. An additional lift of the platform helps the driver to fold the wheelchair and bring it into the cabin. The radio-controlled automatic system then collapses the platform, tilts it and stows it behind the cab within the vehicle’s clearance gauge. It is made up of over 95 per cent recyclable materials. DYN’ACCES allows haulage to develop and provides employment for people with reduced mobility.

Silver Award: Allison Transmission
The eGen Power 100D electric axle allows for greater range or a reduction in the size of the battery pack, thus optimising the total cost of ownership of the vehicle. Vehicles equipped with this axle reduce local greenhouse gases and noise emissions. These urban delivery vehicles make city deliveries easier to accept if they are electrically powered.

Bronze Award: Sofrigram
Coldway is a new technology for refrigeration units, insensitive to external climatic conditions from -10°C to +43°C for an autonomy of 12- to 24-hour per cycle. It offers extreme temperature accuracy and consistency even in the hottest weather, compliance with new CO2 emission and noise regulations, reduced maintenance and lower operating costs.

Joseph Libner Special Award: Bosch
FresH2 is a hydrogen fuel cell technology that replaces the diesel engine generally used in controlled temperature transport and provides the energy needed to operate the chilling units. The hydrogen fuel cell emits no air pollution or noise.

The 2021 Winners – Body Builders category
Gold Award: CVIM
The TEPEMATIC machine carrier is equipped with a side extension platform to widen the vehicle and provide a walkway for the driver when loading and unloading machines. The system is fully automatic. The objective is to make the driver’s work safer when working on the flatbed, and to avoid falls from height.

Silver Award: Forez-Bennes
SYSTEM GEEC 7 is an instrumented control and monitoring solution, consisting of a screen installed in the cab and a network multiplexed throughout the vehicle, allowing the driver to be informed in real time. In use, the driver can be notified of a risk by a light or sound alarm.

Bronze Award: Chereau
SafeLoading-C is a patented system that locks the vehicle’s brakes at the loading dock when the dock door is opened. The vehicle and the dock are equipped with a communicating device; when the dock door is opened, the information is shared with the vehicle via a wireless system and the vehicle’s brakes are automatically locked. This allows the loading dock operators to work in complete safety.

Joseph Libner Special Award: Le Capitaine
URBAN by Lecapitaine is a refrigerated bodywork dedicated to LCVs that saves up to 12 per cent energy and offers a payload of up to 1,200 kg depending on the vehicle configuration. URBAN is designed to adapt to the chassis of tomorrow (alternative energies).

The 2021 Winners – Digital Award
Digital AWARD ‘Connectivity solutions’: Lamberet
Based on the Lamberet multiplexed platform and its Smartphone application, LCV reinforces the safety and comfort of use of the truck body (tailgate, curtain opening, lighting, etc.) during deliveries by adding a voice command. LCV allows you to operate all the controls without any access constraints, to position yourself in safety (better peripheral vision) and to always have two hands free to hold the pallet truck or the cage trolley during any at-risk handling phases.

Digital AWARD ‘Software publishing’: Ekolis
Infinity by Ekolis is a universal, innovative and easy-to-use data aggregation platform. It collects all data from any information system, from manufacturers’ on-board systems to the aftermarket. It improves the quality of work of the operating and workshop teams and reduces the costs of telematics solutions.
Judges’ Special Award: IDrive
Idrive Al Cam is an artificial intelligence (AI) onboard camera system with live GPS tracking, live search, facial recognition, distracted and drowsy driving detection.

Exhibitors reflect on Solutrans 2021
SAF-Holland France Managing Director, Jean Baghdad, told Global Trailer about his experience at the event.

SAF-Holland France Managing Director, Jean Baghdad.


“We are pleased that we were able to personally exchange ideas with our customers on site at Solutrans 2021 and are very satisfied with the trade fair progress,” he said. “Especially on the second and third day of the trade fair, our stand in Lyon was very well attended, with fleet managers, spare parts dealers and trailer manufacturers showing particular interest in our products and systems. The trade fair highlights were clearly our SAF TRAKr recuperation axle, spare parts from SAF-Holland and from our second brand Sauer Quality Parts, fifth wheels, rims and our tried and tested SAF Intra air suspension system.”

SAF TRAKr uses regenerative braking to minimise fuel consumption as well as carbon dioxide and particulate emissions from trailers. This, according to the manufacturer, protects the environment and extends the service life of components.

The generators on the electric axle are also constructed without rare earth metals and copper.

“Our electrically driven axles make heavy goods transport more sustainable and also more efficient,” said Baghdad.

Reefers are the preferred spec for SAF TRAKr where refrigeration units and heaters can be run completely with electricity on a temporary basis.

The Trailermaster telematics system which networks components and supplies digital data in real-time was also on display. This system is reported to modernise transport processes simplify fleet management.

More kilometres together with dealers and customers: Lecitrailer
Under the motto ‘more kilometres with you’, Spain-based trailer builder, Lecitrailer, has attended one more year as an exhibitor at Solutrans, the most important fair for freight transport held in Europe in 2021.

“Once again, the assessment of the fair has been very positive, both due to the high number of visitors who have come to the Lecitrailer stand, which was reminiscent of Solutrans editions prior to the pandemic, as well as the turnover generated,” Lecitrailer told Global Trailer.

Lecitrailer presented a selection of vehicles at its stand of more than 450-square-metres that covered various product categories: Refrigerated transport, parcel transport, machinery transport and container transport. In addition, an area with 3D holograms was set up with a selection of the 4,000 spare parts that Lecitrailer also has in its aftersales service bases and an exhibition of panels and trucks from Ega Lecitrailer.

A skeletal trailer and low loader on show.

A version of the Evolution Distribution reefer designed specifically for the French market was on show. This variant is suited for instances where international transport or long distances are not carried out, but the refrigerated semi-trailers go several times a day to the loading docks of warehouses and distributors, so the frame and rear of the Evolution Distribution fridge have been further strengthened, further increasing its resistance to continuous impacts.

The OEM has also expanded its body truck range with tarpaulins and vans. Essentially, all of the company’s know-how in bodywork has been applied to the rigid design.

A 45-tonne gondola was also exhibited, standing out for its robustness and capability to be adapted for a range of special transport applications.

The vehicle exhibition at the stand was completed by a container ship with pneumatic extension that allows configuring up to eight combinations of container transport.

At the communication level, the audiovisual media stood out, with a large videowall, a four-metre diameter circular screen, 3D holograms of Lecitrailer spare parts and a 12-metre visual with the advantages of the Lecitrailer KTL installation.

Climate-efficient cooling system from Thermo King with energy-gaining BPW running gear
At the Solutrans trade fair in Lyon, the BPW Group confirmed its claim to being a European technology leader for axles, running gear systems and the digital networking of driver, freight and vehicle. For the first time, BPW and Thermo King presented a climate-efficient cooling system for trailers together that recovers energy through an innovative, intelligent running gear.

Both parties were on-trend with climate efficiency and e-mobility. With the BPW Group and Thermo King, two industry leaders presented the first details of a system solution together that should revolutionise refrigerated transport: A modular component kit, with which vehicle manufacturers can realise a climate-friendly and quiet cooling solution for every application – from city transport to long-distance. The core is an innovative energy-recovering trailer axle from BPW, which generates electricity during driving and braking. Intelligent energy management ensures that the refrigerating system always has enough energy reserves available. Typical for BPW is the modularity and easy integration of the solution into existing vehicle architectures.

OEM-readiness also characterises the axle-integrated, battery-powered drive system eTransport, which BPW is presenting in Lyon for trucks of 5.5-7.5 and 18-26 tonnes. It integrates seamlessly into existing truck chassis and is suitable as much for retrofitting as for new vehicles. At the same time, it is the basis of the truck launched in Germany under the brand BPW just a few weeks ago, which can shoulder an enormous three tonnes of load with a permitted total weight of 7.5 tonnes (without superstructure: four tonnes) – with a range of 200 kilometres. The BAX 7.5 is also characterised by its versatility; it does not need any design changes from vehicle and superstructure manufacturers, thereby allowing a quick and cost-effective market launch, even of special vehicles. The European market launch is planned for mid-2022.

Another special feature of the BAX 7.5 is a telematics system that informs the driver, scheduler and fleet manager about all the vehicle states in real time and even displays the load. It comes from the BPW subsidiary idem telematics.
Going forward, load securing will also be a component of a networked transport process: For the first time, in France BPW exhibited the multi-award winning and smart load securing system iGurt, a sensed strap, which displays the tension forces during the tightening process and sends a warning to the driver or scheduler during the journey if a critical value is reached. As a result, the safety of sensitive goods is increased and damage due to the tight lashing or the tipping of cargo, is prevented, as are dangerous accidents.

For BPW, transport efficiency and climate-efficiency are inseparable. This is why BPW claims to have made the world’s lightest trailer running gear even lighter and also expanded the digitalisation: Thanks to digital DNA, laser technology and intelligent modules, the ‘Airlight 2’ running gear kit now covers an even wider range of applications – both on the motorway and off the beaten track. The weight saving of up to 96 kilograms with corresponding lightweight technology components is sensational. Through an online-based configurator, BPW enables vehicle manufacturers to identify and order the optimal configuration as a digital twin from trillions of possibilities. The online configuration also simplifies the design process so that an engineering degree is no longer needed in order to create a perfect trailer running gear.

Takler, specialising in trailer accessories since 2005
At Solutrans, Takler unveiled new accessories for trucks and trailers including suspended pullout and folding ladders, lateral protection device, fixed wheel carrier for single tyres, new homologated rear aluminium bumper with new homologation and lashing track samplings.
The ‘Klever’ is also being introduced to the market, in three distinct designs – these are aluminium locks for trailer and light commercial vehicle sideboards.

Meanwhile, ‘Knock’ is a rear aluminium door for trailers and semi-trailers. The manufacturer said it is a high performance kit which is ready to assemble and is DEKRA certified UNI EN 12642 XL, 32 tonnes.

Lastly, Takler introduced a new aluminium extrusion line for industrial and commercial vehicles.

The electrification of heavy vehicles is gaining in popularity.
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