Latest Work Truck Products Revealed

The Work Truck Show, produced annually by the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) claims to be North America's largest vocational truck event. Held in Atlanta, GA, the show included 538 exhibitors and covered more than 450,000 sq. ft. of display space.

This venue provided an ample opportunity to witness the latest developments in the industry. Following is a sample of some of the most relevant product introductions.

Innovative solutions from Ford
Ford Motor Co. has introduced technology to make F-Series Super Duty Trucks and E-Series Vans more productive on the jobsite. Ford Work Solutions delivers four innovative features: an in-dash computer that provides full high-speed Internet access and navigation; Tool Link, a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) asset tracking system that enables customers to maintain a detailed real-time inventory of the tools or equipment stored in the pickup box; the Crew Chief fleet telematics and diagnostic system; and a Cable Lock security system to discourage tool theft.

The in-dash computer (below left) was developed with Magneti Marelli and is powered by Microsoft Auto, while Garmin provides the navigation. This system allows customers to link to their home or office computer networks via a cellular broadband connection right on the jobsite. You can even print documents with a Ford-certified, onboard, Bluetooth-enabled, battery-powered ink jet printer. The system provides high-speed Internet access via the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network.

Tool Link was developed with DeWALT and ThingMagic to provide owners with the capability to mark and scan high-value tools using RFID tags. When the vehicle is running a pair of RFID antennas mounted in housings on the inside of the pickup box, scan the box for items on a pre-programmed inventory list. The data is transmitted to a reader inside the cab and displayed on the in-dash computer. The driver is alerted if any inventoried tools are not loaded on the truck. This will ensure that tools are not left behind.

Crew Chief provides real-time vehicle location and maintenance tracking. It monitors many diagnostic functions such as tire pressure or check engine light codes.

Cable Lock, developed with Master Lock, consists of an 8-ft., 10mm steel cable wrapped in a protective plastic sheathing. It is easily woven around toolbox handles or through and around items, then locked to the truck with a cuff-style clasp.

Ford Work Solutions will be available this fall on the 2009 F-150 F-Series Super Duty and E-Series vans.

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Dodge ups the chassis cab ante
For 2009, Dodge is building on its momentum in the chassis cab market. The capability of the Ram 3500 chassis cab will increase with a standard Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 24,000 lbs. The brakes have been upsized, with rotors increased 2% to 360mm in the front and 358mm in the rear. The brake pads are 14% thicker with a 36% larger surface area. In addition, the rotor thickness has increased 10% on the front and 12% on the rear.

The Ram 3500 will be available with a 5.7-liter Hemi gas engine that incorporates a 10.5:1 compression ratio, Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and an active intake manifold. This results in a gain in fuel economy, while producing 404 lb.-ft. of torque and 380 hp. In addition, a 3.42 axle ratio will be available on 3500 Chassis Cabs equipped with the Cummins 6.7-liter diesel.

The power take-off (PTO) capability of all the Ram chassis cabs has been increased by 55%. In addition, the Cummins 6.7-liter diesel engine will now be available with remote start.

Dodge also announced that it will offer a crew cab in addition to its regular and Quad cab offerings for 2009. The Ram Crew 1500 will be available with a 5-ft. 7-in. box.

General Motors showcases new cutaway van
General Motors used the Work Truck Show to announce the 2009 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana 4500 commercial cutaway van. A new, stronger chassis enables a 14,200-lb. GVW with lower mass, giving it a payload rating of 9,100 lbs. It is available with up to a 20,000-lb. GCWR.

The Express/Savana 4500 can be powered with either a Vortec 6.0-liter V8 gasoline engine or a 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel V8. The Vortec is rated at 323 hp, while the Duramax is rated at 250 hp and pumps out 460 lb.-ft. of torque.

A Hydra-Matic HD 4L85E electronically-controlled four-speed automatic transmission features a brazed torque converter turbine, induction-hardened turbine shaft, five-pinion reaction and output gear and improved overrun roller clutch.

Sterling adds engine option to lineup
Sterling Truck Corp. announces the availability of the Cummins ISL 8.9-liter engine for its vocational customers. It is available in the Sterling Set-Forward L-Line 111-in. BBC model and the Set-Back L-Line 113-in. BBC model.

The ISL comes with either 1,150- or 1,250-ft.-lb. torque ratings. Options include a compression brake and an available rear engine PTO.

Auto Crane expands service truck offerings
Auto Crane is introducing a line of 18 articulating cranes to enhance the company's existing line of service cranes. These cranes have a lift capacity ranging from 31,800 to 332,700 ft.-lbs. and they are designed for use where space is at a premium. The geometry of these cranes allows them to be used in more confined environments.

The cranes are constructed of high-tensile-strength steel that is lighter in weight than traditional steel, increasing the payload capacity of the truck carrying the crane.

Auto Crane also introduced a line of four field service lube trucks (shown above). The field service lube trucks are available in single-axle and tandem-axle models. They will not replace the recently introduced Auto Crane lube skid. Rather, the lube truck's larger capacity and fluid reservoirs make it ideal for larger work sites with greater demands.

Doosan displays onboard compressor options
Doosan Portable Power launches the Ingersoll Rand HP60CMH hydraulic and VHP40RMD and VHP40RMG engine-driven compressor modules.

Available with either a diesel- or gasoline-powered, water-cooled, three-cylinder Kubota engine, the VHP40RM compressors are designed to draw fuel from an external fuel tank or tap into a vehicle's fuel supply.

The units rely on an Ingersoll Rand TS-10 cast iron air pump that delivers up to 175 psi of air pressure and 30 to 40 CFM of air flow. It is a fully-enclosed, self-contained unit with no installer/upfitter wiring required. The air receiver tank has a capacity of 20.5 gal., yet it does not increase the footprint.

The HP60CMH is a hydraulic-drive, rotary screw air compressor that delivers up to 150 psi of air pressure and 40 to 60 CFM of air volume. It requires under 20 gpm of hydraulic flow. An integral air/oil separation system cast into the air end allows a compact package of 28"L x 22"W x 19"H. The unit features a simple, four-wire electrical hook-up.

A revolution in wireless charging
Leggett & Platt promises to increase mobile workspace efficiency with eCoupled technology - wireless power that eliminates power cords and battery chargers on the jobsite. The use of eCoupled technology transforms ordinary work and storage surfaces into wireless charging centers.

Leggett & Platt will integrate the technology into its vehicle interior shelving systems, rugged docking stations and vehicle mounts as part of an exclusive partnership with Fulton Innovation, eCoupled's creator.

Wireless power uses inductive coupling to transfer energy from the commercial charging surface to any eCoupled-compatible device. The eCoupled surface communicates with devices to determine not only its power needs, but also battery life and charging life cycles. This two-way communication helps keep devices running at peak efficiency.