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.