Safety and security. In today's economy, theft is an increasing problem for all fleets. Some of the highest value targets are wheel and tire assemblies and catalytic converters with their precious metal cores. And when prices rise, fuel seems to disappear from unprotected tanks. TruckProtect Ltd.'s NECK-IT! securely fits into most fuel tanks. It has multiple holes that allow 25 gallons/minute fuel flow. No hole is larger than ¼-inch diameter so siphon hoses can't be used.
Plus, the company's WheelStop-It! makes cylindrical lug nuts. Wrenches can't turn them. They're driven by a hex pattern tool with up to seven randomly spaced drive pins.
Jam-JC Innovative Products' Cat-Clamp protects catalytic converters with a cage around the converter. Its alloy assemblies clamp around inlet and outlet pipes, holding multiple cables surrounding the converter. The cables are highly resistant to reciprocating saws or bolt cutters.
Safety is increased if others see you better. Koneta Inc. introduced the Spray-down System mud flap that reduces splash and spray dramatically, improving other drivers' ability to see your vehicle and for you to see behind your vehicle in bad weather.
Material handling. Ford has taken advantage of every show this year to promote the Transit Connect, a European small van now developed for the American market. Only 180.6 inches long but almost 80 inches tall, the Transit Connect carries 1,600 pounds or up to 135 cubic feet of cargo. It comes as a two-person cargo van or a five-person wagon. The load floor is less than 2 feet off the ground.
Lighting. At the Mid-America Trucking Show, Truck-Lite Co. Inc. introduced a 12 V version of the light-emitting diode (LED) 7-inch round headlights, used on Army and Marine combat vehicles. The polycarbonate housing and lens is 30 times more impact-resistant than glass, and the beam pattern is greatly improved. LED headlights are rated for 10,000 hours, compared to less than 500 hours for normal lamps.
Grote Industries introduced Light-Form technology, an innovative approach to LED safety lighting. Tiny, bright LEDs are embedded in a thin, transparent film that can be cut and trimmed to shape and applied using automotive trim adhesive. Clearance and marker lamps meet Federal Motor Carrier Safety Standard 108 governing lighting, while using only 2% of the material of ordinary markers.
The technology can flash or strobe, with full intensity observable over a 180-degree arc. Emergency lighting for oversized loads, snow plows, and emergency vehicles can be achieved without the use of external light bars and strobe lamps. Police vehicles can be stealthy, with no lamp assemblies showing until LightForm is activated. The lighting, placed on windshields and front and side windows does not interfere with drivers' vision but flashes at full intensity when activated. Grote plans to launch Light-From later this year.
— Paul Abelson (email@example.com) is a former director of the Technology and Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Association, a board member of Truck Writers of North America, and active in the Society of Automotive Engineers.