Tag Archive for 'vocational trucking'

Cat Shows First New Model In Vocational Truck Line At Pre-Conexpo-Con/AGG Press Conference

It’s been years in the making, five to exact; there have been rumors about its appearance; but it hasn’t been publicly seen until today, March 20, 2011 in Las Vegas. It’s been a long time since a completely new truck has been introduced to the market.

Among the most significant new products ever launched by Caterpillar is the Cat® CT660, the first model in a full line of Class 8 vocational trucks designed to work as transit mixers, refuse haulers, dump trucks and in any application requiring a heavy-duty truck with the reliability, durability and low cost of ownership characteristic of Cat products. Adding even more value to the CT660 are the resources of the North American Cat dealer network, which is prepared to sell and service the new vocational truck line.

“This is an exciting historic milestone for Caterpillar,” said Steve Gosselin, vice president of customer services support division. “The CT660 is a natural expansion of the Cat product line and a perfect complement to other Cat equipment on the jobsite. The CT660 is a direct result of Caterpillar’s commitment to continuously develop new products that accelerate the business success of our customers—and its design results from hundreds of hours spent with vocational truck owners, fleet managers and drivers to determine their specific needs.”

Power train and chassis

Engine options for the CT660 include the Cat CT11, CT13 and CT15—with displacements of 11.1, 12.5 and 15.2 liters—provide horsepower ratings from 330 to 550 and peak torque ratings from 1,450 to 1,850 lb-ft. The engines are designed specifically for vocational applications, yielding optimum horsepower/torque combinations, while providing customers the flexibility to match power and performance to specific applications and operating conditions.

The engines combine an advanced exhaust-gas-recirculation system with a high-pressure common-rail fuel system, precision intake-air management system and electronic controls to provide an optimum blend of high performance, low emissions and superior fuel economy. The Compact Graphite engine block, designed to deliver unprecedented durability, reduces weight by as much as 500 pounds compared with conventional all-iron designs. Reduced engine weight enables users to increase payloads for added efficiency and profit.

The combination of dual, sequential turbochargers and a precise fuel injection system allows CT Series engines to develop peak torque at lower speeds, a characteristic that reduces shifting and also allows for shifting at significantly lower speeds. The new engines are also designed for fast routine service by providing easy access to components from the valve cover to filters.

A notable transmission option for the CT660 is the Cat CX31 automatic, a reliable, proven performer since 2004 in global vocational applications. The CX31, with six forward speeds and one reverse, is built to complement the torque output of Cat CT Series engines. The transmission features heavy-duty clutches and gear sets that allow full-power shifts, increasing efficiency and productivity, while reducing drive train shock loads.

An electronic control module, mounted directly on the transmission to simplify wiring and to boost reliability, regulates shift points based on throttle demand and vehicle speed. With adaptive shift-control logic, the CX31 can sense driver-operating style to balance fuel economy and performance, while assuring easy operation for improved productivity and safety. Power-take-off options for the CX31 include two side locations and a high-output rear location, which delivers constant live power under all operating conditions.

An aluminum lock-up torque converter in the CX31 allows the CT660 to make quick starts from a dead stop, even with heavy loads. The payoff is increased operating efficiency, resulting from correct speed and torque combinations for different applications and reduced fuel consumption. In addition, the CT660 can be specified with other transmission options, including the manual and UltraShift Plus vocational transmissions built by Eaton.

The CT660 chassis, fabricated of durable, heat-treated alloy steel, provides the full strength of a Class 8 heavy-duty foundation required for accommodating vocational bodies. Inner rail reinforcements are available for both the one- or two-frame liner options. The chassis features a set-back axle and is available in either 116-inch or 122-inch bumper-to-back-of-cab lengths. Both chassis lengths feature an extra-tight turning radius for enhanced maneuvering and driving performance.

Exterior features

The CT660 aluminum-alloy cab provides longer life than conventional steel cabs and weighs approximately 250 pounds less. Less weight means larger payloads and potentially higher profits. In addition, an aerodynamically sloped hood increases visibility for the driver and decreases wind drag to improve fuel efficiency. The modular hood design allows customers to replace only damaged sections, resulting in lower repair costs and less downtime. An all-metal grille surround also uses modular design, as does the three-piece, stainless steel bumper.

Large power mirrors, heated to handle inclement weather, are cowl mounted for greater stability and fewer adjustments. For safety, turn signals are integrated into the mirrors. Halogen headlight bulbs are easy to access, inexpensive to replace, and are protected with impact resistant covers.

Among a long list of safety features built into the CT660 are one- or optional two-piece windshields that are curved and sloped to offer an uncompromised view of the road. Generous door openings, skid-resistant steps, three-point grab irons and ergonomic non-slip door handles combine to make the CT660 exceptionally accommodating to enter and exit.

Interior comfort and convenience

The spacious cab is thoughtfully designed to help reduce driver fatigue, enhance safety and increase productivity. Premium interior features include an air-suspension driver’s seat, with adjustable lumbar support, that reclines and adjusts to fit any driver comfortably. A premium sound insulation kit, built into the doors, damps outside noise and keeps the interior remarkably quiet. An effective heating/ventilating/air-conditioning system is designed to keep the cab interior comfortable in any climate, using unique round vents that are positioned for optimum air flow and allow quick defrosting of windshield and side windows.

The CT660 dash and center stack feature easy-to-read gauges that aredesigned for easy viewing through the steering wheel, and the speedometer and tachometer are combined in one gauge, allowing space for optional gauges required for specific vocational applications. The cab-interior materials and surfaces, including the integrated floor mat and one-piece rubber seat skirt, are designed for easy cleanup and long life. And drivers will never want for adequate storage space.

The center stack also houses an interface for Product Link, a proprietary Cat telematics system that collects data from on-board systems and transmits the information via satellite and cellular networks to a secure Internet site. The system allows owners and fleet managers to remotely track critical information for more efficient asset management. Product Link is a standard factory installed feature with a complimentary three-year service subscription.

“Our goal was to design and manufacture the ideal truck—the truck that customers have always wished they had for specific vocational applications,” says George Taylor, director and general manager of the Caterpillar Global On-Highway Group. “Our design team paid extremely close attention to all of the customer input we gathered, and we focused on turning that information into practical reality, drawing on Caterpillar’s proven power train experience with on-highway trucks and decades of cab design experience for other Cat equipment.”

The result is evident in the exceptionally capable CT660, reflecting a reliable, durable, fuel-efficient design that couples driver comfort and safety with optimum return on investment for the owner. The order board for the CT660 will open on April 1, 2011 with factory shipments beginning in July 2011.

Truck Fuel Consumption And GHG Regulations Proposed

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a joint notice of proposed rulemaking calling for both fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction standards applicable to medium- and heavy-duty trucks. This rulemaking was mandated by a 2007 law passed by Congress and an Executive Order issued by President Obama earlier this year. Public comments on the proposal are due to the agencies January 31, 2011.

The NTEA has been very active throughout the development of this proposal, and the unique concerns of final-stage manufacturers of work trucks have been significantly addressed.

The NTEA worked continuously to educate those writing the proposed regulations about the work truck industry. In doing so, the Association:

  • Stressed the vital nature of the work these trucks need to do and the process by which they are produced and sold.
  • Demonstrated how one chassis could be used to build numerous different trucks that may be used in very different ways.
  • Explained how body and equipment manufacturers interact with their distributors and the role of the chassis manufacturers in the production process.
  • Emphasized that vocational/work trucks need to be regulated very differently than long-haul tractors and that it would be unnecessarily complex and counterproductive to involve final-stage manufacturers and body/equipment manufacturers in the compliance process.

In their explanation of the just-published proposal, the EPA and NHTSA agree with the NTEA’s concerns and point out that involving body manufacturers and distributors in the compliance framework of this proposed rule would be too complex and that the widely divergent body styles and differing end uses of these trucks would make generalized body improvements of little value.

The proposed rule would create three categories with separate fuel consumption and GHG reduction regulations for each category. The categories are:

1. Combination Tractors 
2. Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks and Vans 
3. Vocational Vehicles

Class 7 and 8 Combination Tractors Generally, these vehicles are meant for long-haul use and are manufactured in such a way that the engine and chassis manufacturers can control compliance with new fuel efficiency and emissions regulations. The EPA and NHTSA have concluded that achieving reductions in GHG emissions and fuel consumption from combination tractors requires addressing both the cab and the engine, and the EPA and NHTSA are each proposing standards that reflect this conclusion.

Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks and Vans This category includes 8,501-14,000-lb. pickups and vans (excluding medium-duty passenger vehicles already regulated under corporate average fuel economy, known as CAFE). These vehicles will be subject to more of a CAFE-type regulation – a whole vehicle regulation expressed as grams/mile for GHGs and gallons per 100 miles for fuel consumption based on weight based measures such as payload and towing capacity and the presence of 4wd. The chassis manufacturers will be responsible for meeting an annual fleet average.

The EPA and NHTSA recognize that some of these vehicles will be used in the work truck industry and will be completed or altered by companies like NTEA members. As such, they propose to move any incomplete vehicles in this weight category to the vocational truck category and leave in this category cab-chassis that would also be completed by final-stage manufacturers in a manner similar to strip chassis.

In recognition of the NTEA’s concerns, the EPA and NHTSA propose that for those cab-chassis still subject to these CAFE-like regulations, the chassis manufacturers can treat these vehicles as equivalent to the complete van or truck product from which they are derived. The second-stage manufacturers would not be subject to any new requirements under this provision.

Vocational Vehicles The EPA and NHTSA point out that the diversity of body configurations and work uses of the trucks produced by companies such as NTEA members require regulations separate from standard pickup trucks or long-haul tractors.

The EPA and NHTSA propose that in this vocational vehicle category, the chassis manufacturers be the focus of the proposed GHG and fuel consumption standards. As they point out, a focus on the body manufacturers would be much less practical, since they represent a more diverse set of manufacturers and the part of the vehicle that they add has a very limited impact on opportunities to reduce GHG emissions and fuel consumption (given the limited role that aerodynamics plays in the types of lower-speed operation typically found with vocational vehicles.)

Summary Combination tractors would be subject to engine and full vehicle standards that begin in the 2014 model year. The proposed rules would require up to a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fuel consumption by the 2018 model year.

Heavy-duty pickups and vans would be subject to separate gasoline and diesel standards affecting the engine and full vehicle. The proposed rules would phase in starting in the 2014 model year and require up to a 10% reduction for gasoline vehicles and 15% reduction for diesel vehicles by the 2018 model year. Second-stage manufacturers would not be subject to any new requirements.

Vocational vehicles would be subject to engine and tire standards starting in the 2014 model year that aim to achieve up to a 10% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by the 2018 model year. Second-stage manufacturers would not be subject to any new requirements.

Source: National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA)