Author: Duane Smith

Technician of the Year: “If Something Breaks Down … I’m All Over It.”

As a child, Chase Snyder was fascinated with construction equipment.

He would watch the “There Goes a Truck” series over and over on the VCR, especially the episodes that focused on heavy equipment.

That love of equipment has stuck with Snyder. Now, he’s 26 and each day he’s working on big diesel machines as senior fleet technician for the Manatee County, Florida landfill. The bigger, the dirtier, the more challenging the job – the better.

“I prefer the landfill stuff,” Snyder says, when asked about his favorite equipment to work on. “A lot of people think that’s weird when I say that, because it’s typically the dirtiest, the nastiest. When you’ve got to go and clean them and crawl up in the belly pans, you never know what you’re going to encounter.

“But it doesn’t deter me. I just find it interesting what the machines are able to do.”

That attitude, his professionalism, his ability to save money by handling repairs in-house and his commitment to training have earned Snyder the top honor in his profession – the 2021 Technician of the Year Award by the Association of Equipment Management Professionals’ Education Foundation.

Chase Snyder prefers working on large, yellow iron at the Manatee County landfill.Courtesy of Manatee County 

Growing up, Snyder fed his love of equipment by visiting his grandfather’s construction business. As he got older, he would also spend time with his other grandfather, who was a technician at a Ford dealership, restoring 1950s-era Fords. “I’d always be out there watching him and trying to help him tinker,” Snyder says.

In high school, he decided being a heavy-diesel technician was what he wanted to do. He saved up to buy a diesel pickup truck he could work on to prepare for his future career.

“When you’re younger and don’t have a lot of money, you’ve got to learn how to make stuff run and learn how things work, because you can’t have somebody fix it for you,” he says.

He learned mechanical repair on his truck by trial and error. He also got a job at a farm while in high school and performed basic maintenance on tractors.

When it came time for college, he got his associates degree. After that, he broke with family tradition of getting a four-year college degree and instead went to trade school.

“I wanted to get into heavy diesel just because I found it interesting,” he recalls. “But I had to go to school at night, because I was working full time during the day, and there’s no diesel program within an hour and a half drive of where I was living at the time. So I went at night for general automotive.”

While attending Manatee Technical College, he tried to work as a technician for some construction companies, but he didn’t have the diesel experience. But he was able to land a job with Sarasota County working on transit buses. He learned a lot to help him in his career. One longtime worker there was particularly generous with his knowledge.

“Luckily he took me under his wing and taught me a lot of some of the older-school tricks that still are relevant,” he says.

AEMP technician of the year Chase Snyder Deere wheel loader
Chase Snyder prefers to tackle the challenging jobs.Courtesy of Manatee County 

After graduation, he started working for Manatee County. At last, he was with the yellow iron he loved so much. The county has a 170-piece fleet, including heavy dozers, wheel loaders, excavators and massive landfill compactors.

His supervisor at the county landfill shop, David Alligood, won last year’s AEMP Technician of the Year Award. Snyder did not know Alligood before he came to work for Manatee County, but he had heard of him. When looking for work while in tech school, Snyder met the fleet manager for Sarasota County, who had also worked at Manatee County.

“And I met with him and he laughed, and he goes, ‘You remind me of this guy David that I hired about 10 years ago,’” Snyder recalls.

When he went to the job interview for Manatee County, Alligood was in the room.

“There were four or five of us in that room,” remembers Alligood. “And when he walked out, we all looked at each other. We’re like, ‘That’s probably the best interview we’ve ever had.’”

“I couldn’t believe it,” Alligood adds. “He was a dead ringer.”

AEMP technician of the year Chase Snyder Deere toolbox
Back-to-back winners in Manatee County show their winning custom John Deere toolboxes side-by-side.Courtesy of Manatee County  

Snyder has worked in Manatee County’s landfill shop for about three years and has already made an impact.

He’s a quick learner and willing to tackle the tough jobs, say coworkers.

“I love the big equipment, the nasty equipment,” he says. “If something breaks down in the field or up in the trash, I’m all over it.”

They also appreciate his calm demeanor and willingness to offer new ideas and solutions.

When the landfill’s 19-ton wheel loaders’ center pins began to wear out, he convinced management to do the work in-house rather than farm it out.

“And I think we came in roughly 50% of what the quote was to have the vendor do it,” Snyder says. “Since then we’ve done three, and every time we get a little bit faster at it and save a little bit more money.”

Another accomplishment came when the pin bores on the blades of the landfill’s 40-ton dozers were wearing out. Working with the parts department, they found some replacement bearings that fit. A diagram was made of the parts numbers to keep on file for future repairs.

“It saved us a lot of costs and machine work,” he says. “…And also it’s going to save future downtime.”

Norman Hagel, Manatee County fleet operations chief, recalled another cost-saving project, due to Snyder’s welding and fabrication skills. The county had a 10-ton trailer that Snyder converted for use as a spreader in summer and as a transporter during winter.

“His diverse skillset has saved us money on multiple occasions,” Hagel says.   

AEMP technician of the year Chase Snyder
Chase Snyder doesn’t shy away from the dirty work. “I love the big equipment, the nasty equipment,” he says.Courtesy of Manatee County 

At 26, Snyder is the youngest member of the landfill shop team. He’s grateful for the experienced people he’s worked with who have passed along their knowledge. He tries to return the favor by taking on some of the heavier, dirtier work.

“They’ve done their time of doing all that work, and so if I’m able and willing to take on some of the grunt work from them, they pay it back by educating me,” he says. “So it’s a mutual respect there.”

He also makes a point of keeping up with the rapid technological advancements on the machinery. He recalls some advice he got early on when he was getting frustrated while working on a bus’ diesel exhaust fluid system. He let out a common grumble he had heard from the older techs about the new diesel emission systems. One of the veteran technicians chuckled.

“Look,” he told Snyder. “I’ve learned enough to get by till I retire next year. You’re still pretty new in the industry, and this is your reality. So you either learn to figure this stuff out, or you go find another career path, because it’s not going away.”

“And that stuck with me,” Snyder says.

“This field has changed so much in the last 10 to 15 years. And I’ve kind of been brought into it as this wave of updating and new technology has come out. And it’s only going to continue from here.”

But that change is fine with Snyder.

“The running joke I always say is you’ve got to be smarter than what you’re working on. And with how technical some of this stuff’s getting now, it’s hard to do that some days. But it’s always a challenge, and the challenges are what keep you interested. They’re what keep you up at night and keep you motivated to come in the next day to figure it out.”

AEMP technician of the year Chase Snyder in the field
“His diverse skillset has saved us money on multiple occasions,” says Norman Hagel, Manatee County fleet operations chief, of Chase Snyder.Courtesy of Manatee County 

Snyder believes that one way the diesel tech industry can help put a dent in its labor shortage is to help the younger generations stay trained and headed toward career advancement.

“A big thing that a lot of the younger guys look for, that I know I look for a lot, is what type of training am I going to get,” he says. “That way I can stay current and learn this new stuff.”

Manatee County has done a good job of offering and emphasizing training, as well as providing updated software and access to manufacturers’ information, he says. He has earned about 25 ASE certifications.

He offers this advice for young people starting a career as a diesel technician:

“Keep your head up, and eventually, some of the right doors will open up. I know that’s what happened with me. … If you work hard enough and push hard enough, things have to fall into place eventually.”

As for himself, Snyder definitely has an eye to the future.

“I love what I do right now, but I also know that it’s not what I want to do forever. I definitely know that I want to progress up within our organization here. … And I definitely want to be able to progress as far up as I can.”







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Embark Trucks Intros New Autonomous Trucking Lane in Texas

Autonomous truck tech startup Embark Trucks on Thursday announced its expansion into Texas and the launch of a new autonomous trucking lane between Houston and San Antonio.

Embark plans to hire aggressively in the greater Houston area in 2022 for its new autonomous truck facility in the state.  

Embark noted the Houston area offers the three key advantages as it works to scale its business:

Well-positioned trucking hub

Houston is a trucking hub that is uniquely positioned for commercially viable long-haul autonomous freight. Houston is located at the center of key 600-plus-mile trucking lanes that are ideal for automation, as they cannot be completed in a single day by a human driver due to hours-of-service limitations. For example, a 600-mile run could take approximately 22 hours to complete manually, assuming full compliance with the federal hours of service rules, while that same run would take just 12 hours to complete autonomously.

Industry-leading expertise

The Houston area is home to academics and research institutions dedicated to autonomous vehicle technology, such as those at Texas A&M University, which the company will partner with on the autonomous-lane project. Embark expects to work closely with partners to test, deploy and validate its technology. Houston also has a mature trucking and autonomous vehicle workforce, representing a deep talent pool for Embark to draw from as it expands its headcount in the region.

Embark’s partnership with Texas A&M University is one of the cornerstones of expansion, as the company will use the university’s expertise and test track at the RELLIS Campus to pioneer novel AV capabilities and achieve its remaining technology milestones. These milestones represent the final hurdles to deploying commercially viable autonomous trucks, and include challenges such as emergency vehicle interactions, pulling over to safety in emergency situations, and performing evasive maneuvers, among others.

Public sector engagement 

Texas has forged extensive public-private autonomous partnerships. By engaging with developers to support the safe operation of autonomous trucks, the Texas Departments of Transportation and Texas Department of Public Safety have established the state as a leader well-positioned to reap the safety and efficiency benefits of the technology. Embark will continue to cultivate its relationships with state and local agencies as it prioritizes highway road safety and responsible integration of autonomous trucks into the state transportation system.

Together, these factors enable Embark to execute against its go-to-market timeline as it prepares for commercial launch of the Embark Driver in 2024. Embark expects to begin hauling freight for its partners between San Antonio and Houston as early as 2022. 

Embark’s expansion into Texas builds on several years of engagement with state officials to share information on the development of autonomous trucks. Embark is a longstanding participant in the TxDOT Connected and Automated Vehicle Task Force.

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Doosan Launches New Lineup of Compact Excavators for U.S.

Doosan Infracore North America is breaking the final ties with former sister company Doosan Bobcat with a new line of compact excavators for the U.S. in 2022.

Four models, ranging from 2.7 to 5.5 tons, will arrive in the first quarter after being produced in South Korea, where Doosan is based. The models will replace Bobcat-made compact excavators, as well as break new ground in the U.S. for Doosan Infracore. (Videos of the new compact models in action are posted at the end of this story.)

More sizes are planned, including a 4-ton model next fall and 1.7- and 1.9-ton models in 2023. The company’s 6- and 8-ton excavators will be upgraded next year as well. And an electric compact excavator shown last year as a prototype at ConExpo will be hitting the market in mid-2023, according to Aaron Kleingartner, Doosan product and dealer market manager.

Within two years, the entire Doosan-built excavator lineup in the U.S. will extend from 1.7 to 100 tons, Kleingartner said.

Compact excavators unveiled

Doosan rolled out three of its new -7 compact excavators – the DX27Z-7, DX35Z-7 and DX50Z-7 – at a recent media event at the company’s testing grounds in Tucson, Arizona.

The displayed machines were all zero tail swing. A DX55R-7 model is also due out next year that will be reduced tail swing. Conventional tail swing versions will be available as well, the company says.

Features include full glass door and metal frame on the cab exterior for operator visibility, a powerful heating and air system, and Bluetooth radio, Kleingartner said. The excavators are also available with an open, instead of enclosed, cab.

For the first time, DoosanConnect telematics will come standard on the machines. Steve Americano, product manager for mini excavators, said the system includes geofencing that will send an alert if the machine moves outside of the geofence’s radius, which can be set by the owner.

The compact excavators have a new operator platform that insulates the cab from engine heat, Americano said. An auto-shift function automatically shifts engine speed depending on the terrain. All engines are Doosan.

The standard arm for the excavators is 43 inches. An optional 51-inch arm is available.

Hydraulic flow can be adjusted from the cab to handle various attachments. The machines come equipped with connectors needed for a hydraulic quick coupler.

Options include a rearview camera, LED lights and additional counterweight for handling heavier attachments.

These machines come with a one-year, 1,500-hour warranty. There is also a three-year, 5,000-hour powertrain warranty that “covers pumps, motors, all the high dollar components,” Americano said.

Phasing in Doosan-built excavators

Doosan Infracore was sold by parent company Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction to fellow South Korean company Hyundai Construction Equipment earlier this year. Doosan Infracore and Doosan Bobcat have supplied excavators to each other through a dual-brand agreement.

Bobcat provided 3-, 4- and 5-ton excavators that were branded Doosan, and Doosan provided Bobcat with 14- and 17-ton excavators that were branded Bobcat, according to Doosan CEO Edward Song.

Bobcat was not part of the Hyundai purchase and remains under the Doosan Heavy umbrella. Doosan Infracore is now part of the newly created Hyundai Genuine subsidiary along with Hyundai Construction Equipment.

After the new Doosan compact excavators come out, only a 4-ton model will be a Bobcat machine. Song said that the 4-ton model will also be replaced in the third quarter of 2022 with a Doosan-built excavator. Song noted that Doosan has the capability and experience with excavators under 5 tons in Korea and in European markets.

The move toward Doosan-branded compact excavators for the U.S. began in 2018 when Doosan Infracore North America and Doosan Bobcat separated their businesses, Song said. Doosan Infracore plans to capture some of the growing compact excavator market, as well as give its dealers a broader range of equipment.

“We will be bringing those machines in from our design teams in our factories in Korea next year,” said Kleingartner. “They are completely Doosan designed and manufactured.”

closer look

Here are some highlights and specs of each of the three models shown recently at Doosan Infracore North America’s testing grounds and expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2022:


Doosan DX27Z-7 compact excavatorDoosan Infracore North AmericaHighlights: At 6,000 pounds, it represents a new size class for Doosan’s North American lineup. A new rearview camera provides a 360-degree view. Other features include a 3-foot 7-inch standard thumb-ready arm and an 11.8-inch rubber track undercarriage. The excavator is 60 inches wide. Standard attachments include a bucket, quick coupler and thumb. Second auxiliary hydraulics are an option.

Horsepower: 24.7Operating weight: 6,168 lbs. Maximum digging depth: 8 ft. 8 in. Maximum digging reach (ground): 14 ft. 10 in. Maximum loading height: 10 ft. 1 in.


Doosan unveils DX35Z-7 compact excavator
Doosan DX35Z-7 compact excavatorDoosan Infracore North AmericaHighlights: Zero tail swing design with a rounded shape for tight jobsites. Also includes auxiliary hydraulic flow, wider cabin, LED lamp, enclosed cab with HVAC and 5.7-inch color LCD monitor. Options: rearview camera, cast counterweight, second auxiliary hydraulics and longer arm.

Horsepower: 24.7Operating weight: 8,807 lbs. Maximum digging depth: 11 ft. 4 in. Maximum digging reach (ground): 17 ft. 9 in. Maximum loading height: 12 ft. 2 in.


Doosan demonstrates DX50Z-7 compact excavator
Doosan DX50Z-7 compact excavatorDoosan Infracore North AmericaHighlights: Zero tail swing, standard enclosed cab with HVAC and standard attachments of bucket, quick coupler and thumb. Options include heated, adjustable seat and steel tracks.

Horsepower: 48.8 Operating weight: 12,121 lbs. Maximum digging depth: 11 ft. 5 in. Maximum digging reach (ground): 19 ft. Maximum loading height: 12 ft. 6 in.

Excavators in action

The following two videos are of Doosan’s new DX35Z-7 compact excavators shot during a media event at the company’s testing grounds near Tucson, Arizona. The excavator in the background is the enclosed-cab version.

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Two States Race to Build First Wireless-Charging Road for Electric Vehicles

Michigan and Indiana are leading the charge to build a road that would wirelessly power electric vehicles, with each claiming they will be the first to do it.

That means no stopping to plug in to a power source. The pavement would be electrified to do the charging automatically.

The Indiana Department of Transportation announced in July it was partnering with Purdue University to develop what it says would be “the world’s first contactless wireless-charging concrete pavement highway segment.”

The project involves “magnetizable concrete” that would charge electric vehicles as they travel across it. The technology is being developed by German startup company Magment.

The project will span three phases. The first two will focus on pavement testing, analysis and research at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus. For the third phase, INDOT will build a quarter-mile test bed of the magnetizable concrete to gauge its ability to charge heavy trucks at high power.

If all goes well, INDOT says, it will deploy the innovating pavement to a section of interstate somewhere in the state.

Just a few months after INDOT’s announcement, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said her state would be the first to build a wireless EV charging road.

The Michigan DOT sent out a request for proposals September 28 for the pilot program on a one-mile road, the location of which is to be determined but would be somewhere on a state-maintained segment in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb counties.  

The goal is to “deploy an electrified roadway system that allows electric buses, shuttles and vehicles to charge while driving, enabling electric vehicles to operate continuously without stopping to charge,” according to the governor’s office. 

The entity whose proposal is accepted will work with MDOT, the state’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, and other state agencies. MDOT set an October 25 deadline for the proposals.

It’s not clear yet what technology Michigan’s project will rely on, but INDOT has settled on Magment’s magnetizable concrete, which is a mixture of cement and recycled magnetic particles called ferrite, which can come from electronic-waste recyclers, according to the company. It says its “proprietary blend of concrete and magnetic particles is easy to integrate into existing concrete processes.”

Ferrite is a ceramic material made by mixing iron-oxide with metals, such as nickel, zinc, manganese, barium and/or strontium. It is used in electronic inductors, transformers and electromagnets.

A coil assembly is also integrated into the concrete to transfer electric power to moving vehicles above. The company says the coil assemblies can withstand heavy loads.

The magnetizable concrete is still undergoing research “to improve magnetics performance and to facilitate mass production,” the company says.



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Is Construction Ready for Electric Heavy Trucks?

When discussing new technology for heavy trucks – Classes 6, 7 and 8 – we have to start with electrification.

It’s been the biggest buzz in recent years.

Several OEMs have demo’ed electric models, providing a proof of concept. But it’s clear not every application is suited to electric trucks, especially when it comes to construction.

Three criteria are used to determine whether an electric truck is the right choice for the task:

One, the loss of payload capacity due to battery mass is not a deal breaker.

Two, the trucks are not in motion for the entire workday, requiring additional charging.

Three, they come home at night. This is based partly on the need to charge, and until charging stations become as common as gas stations, most electric trucks will need to return home for that process.

But even charging stations on every corner won’t answer the second part of the home-at-night requirement, which is that charging massive vehicle batteries takes time. It’s not something that can be completed while the driver is inside Pilot Flying J having lunch.

The application most often cited as a perfect match for electric vehicles is pickup and delivery (P&D).

In construction, good matches could include service, fuel and water trucks, and trucks shuttling equipment between sites, whether on a flatbed or a trailer. But dump trucks, mixers and a number of other mainstay applications would not be a great place to go electric.

Here’s a look at the latest heavy trucks on the market, advancements in truck electrification and a lot of other technology that can help drivers and contractors:

Who’s gone electric?

Kenworth’s T680E has a range of up to 150 miles, depending on the application, and can be fully charged in 3 hours.

This Class 8 truck (pictured at the top of this story) uses Meritor’s Blue Horizon 14Xe tandem electric powertrain that provides 536 horsepower of continuous power and up to 670 horsepower peak power and 1,623 pound-feet of torque. Top speed is 70 mph. Two gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR) are offered: 54,000 and 82,000 pounds.

Kenworth says the T680E is targeted at the P&D, regional haul and drayage markets. It also offers two electric low-cab-forward models, the Class 6 K270E and Class 7 K370E.

Electric motors are the HV2600 and HV3500, rated at 355 and 469 horsepower, respectively. With the HV3500, the truck can maintain 40 mph on a 6% uphill grade. Range is up to 200 miles and top speed is 65 mph.

Equivalent models from Kenworth’s sister company, Paccar, are the Peterbilt 579E and the 220EV.

Mack offers the LR Electric, its first – and so far, only – fully electric truck. But it’s only offered as a refuse truck. Tim Wrinkle, Mack Trucks construction product manager, explains why:

“Refuse made the most sense. It is a closed-loop application where the vehicle returns to its home base each day, allowing it to be charged.”

Is construction ready for electric trucks?

Despite all the electric hype and buzz, construction customers seeking electric vocational trucks are left with few, if any, options.

Construction will be one of the last markets to go electric,” says David Hillman, senior director of vocational marketing, Navistar. Navistar produces International brand commercial trucks. “It will get there eventually, but not soon.”

Engine options for the International HX620 are the International A26 with up to 500 horsepower and 1,750 pound-feet of torque, or the Cummins X15 with up to 605 horsepower and 2,050 pound-feet of torque. Transmission options include an Allison automatic, Eaton manual or Eaton automated manual. The HX620 has traction control, electronic stability control and Bendix Wingman Fusion. Single and dual fuel tanks are available up to 240 total gallons.Navistar InternationalHe says construction tends to be local, and a large number of construction trucks come home each night, which meets two of the necessary criteria for making electric work.

Beyond that, Hillman says, construction would benefit from characteristics of electric vehicles, especially immediate torque and low noise.

As with electric passenger vehicles, initial costs tend to be higher than for traditional internal-combustion vehicles, but operating costs can be competitive. Oil and filter changes are eliminated. Foundation brake wear can be significantly reduced, especially for trucks equipped with regenerative braking.

Battery weight remains a consideration, “but since we introduced our eStar truck in 2010, battery technology has advanced significantly, and part of that advance is a dramatic reduction in battery weight,” Hillman says.

His advice to customers considering electric trucks is to work with the dealer as a consultant. Understand that vocational applications are wildly diverse, and the dealer can help identify which of your applications would be best suited for electric.

But mostly, “manage your fleet as you always have. Understand your operation and the impact of fleet management decisions. Hold the OEM and the dealer accountable to make sure they keep your best interests in mind.”

Regulations driving change

California is the major mover in bringing electric vehicles into use, and Brian Tabel, executive director of marketing of Isuzu Commercial Trucks of America, says the company probably will not roll out electric models until late 2023 or early 2024.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) mandate has not been finalized but will almost certainly require that a certain percentage of vehicles be “zero emissions.” He says other states may follow suit. Pennsylvania seems likely to do so. States will have the option of following EPA or CARB requirements.

“Electrification is here, and we’re fully aware of that,” Tabel says. “We’re engaged in development and testing right now but are still a year or a year-and-a-half away from providing details.”

Isuzu FTR Class 6 truck
The Class 6 Isuzu FTR has a GVWR of 25,950 pounds and a GCWR of 30,000 pounds. Power comes from a Cummins B6.7L diesel engine rated at 260 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque. That output is run through an Allison 2500 RDS six-speed automatic transmission. The FTR will accept bodies up to 30 feet long. Full air dual-circuit brakes with ABS and 16.5-inch S-cam drums front and rear provide stopping power. Fuel tank choices are 50 or 100 gallons.IsuzuTabel says one market where it seems electric vehicles would be shoo-ins is landscaping. “Landscapers meet the general requirements for using electric trucks efficiently, but that market has also been adopting electrification strongly, from string trimmers to mowers to chain saws. Some landscapers even have solar panels on the roofs of their trucks to provide equipment recharging between jobs.”

Landscapers are also acquiring bigger trucks to do bigger jobs. Many still rely on one-ton duallies but more are moving into low-cab-forward models such as the Class 6 Isuzu FTR and Class 7 FVR. The nimble handling of these trucks with their short bumper-to-back-of-cab distances and tight turning radiuses, plus the fact they can be upfitted with everything from cargo boxes to stakesides and flatbeds, make them very appealing.

Technology improving safety

Hillman says that among the many other technological advances in trucking, collision mitigation is often at the front. Cameras are also important, including those that capture in-cab video. Hillman says there’s a cultural bias to assume the truck driver is at fault in a multi-vehicle collision, “and in-cab video can demonstrate that the driver was operating the truck in a safe and responsible manner.”

Some drivers see in-cab video as an unwelcome intrusion of Big Brother, “but that typically only lasts 60 days or until the first time their safe operation of the truck is called into question.”

Hillman points to the suite of safety tools provided by Navistar’s International Diamond Logic package. Many features can be programmed by the customer.

For example, vehicle speed can be limited when moving with the body out of stow position. In reverse, the radio can be muted to reduce distraction. Camera point-of-view can be integrated with turn-signal activation to provide better visibility when turning or changing lanes.

Hillman says one technology that does not receive enough attention is the ability of the truck to be connected to the dealer, to the customer and to other vehicles and equipment on the jobsite.

Tabel says Isuzu’s optional advanced driver assist system (ADAS) will debut on its 2022 interim N-Series diesel models before being deployed on the 2023 N-Series gas and F-Series models. Features include lane-departure alerts and automatic braking for collision avoidance. All F-Series trucks now have the Cummins B6.7L engine.

Mack granite truck Bendix Wingman Fusion
Mack Granite trucks are available with the next generation of Bendix Wingman Fusion, a camera- and radar-based driving assistance solution.Mack TrucksMack’s optional ADAS is the latest generation of Bendix Wingman Fusion. Mack Command Steer for the Granite axle-back model uses an electric motor to complement the steering’s hydraulics. Steering effort is reduced by up to 85% and helps the driver maintain a consistent course in strong winds, on rough roads and in other challenging conditions.

Keeping electronic systems current requires updates, and Mack Over the Air (OTA) remote programming allows drivers to perform updates through the truck’s instrument cluster at whatever time is most convenient.

Standard on Anthem and Pinnacle tractors and Granite construction models, “driver-activated OTA updates can be done in minutes without a visit to the dealer to receive software updates and set vehicle parameters,” says Wrinkle.

Assist technologies available on the Kenworth T680 Next Gen include lane-departure warning and Lane Keeping Assist. Lane departure uses an audible alert while Lane Keeping Assist provides a tactile alert through the steering wheel.

The T689 is also available with adaptive cruise control that monitors traffic conditions and modulates throttle and brake positions to maintain a pre-set following distance to the vehicle ahead.

Kenworth’s Side Object Detection continuously monitors the passenger side of the truck and provides audible and visual alerts when an object or vehicle has entered certain zones.

Covid lingers

Covid is still playing a major role in the trucking world.

“Economic strength has continued despite ongoing Covid disruptions,” says Jonathan Randall, Mack Truck senior vice president of sales and commercial operations. Consumer spending and residential construction have contributed to robust customer demand, increasing lead times and order backlogs.

However, there’s a bottleneck of goods at ports, and although freight pricing is expected to remain high, carriers are having trouble recruiting drivers to expand their fleets.

Hillman says everyone needs to be prepared for ongoing delays of parts and products. Microchip availability is one example. Navistar, like everyone else, is having hiring challenges. His advice: “Try to adapt as best you can in an ambiguous environment.”

Tabel says lead times have gone from two months in pre-Covid days to nine to 12 months now. Chassis lead times are long. Body lead times are also long, and costs vary frequently, sometimes day-by-day.

“Everything is in demand, and everything is in short supply,” he says. “It’s just the way things are for the time being.” 

Volvo VNR 400 truck
The Volvo VNR 400 has a 42-inch flat-roof sleeper to maintain hours of service on short hauls. Engine options are a Volvo D11 with up to 425 horsepower and 1,550 pound-feet of torque, or a Volvo D13 with up to 500 horsepower and 1,850 pound-feet. Transmission options are Eaton Fuller manuals of 10-, 13- or 18-speed; or Volvo I-Shift 12-speed, I-Shift 12-speed severe duty or I-Shift 13- or 14-speed with crawler.Volvo

Product Roundup: Komatsu harvester and forwarder feature ground-gripping traction

There is probably no tougher environment for equipment than forestry, and Komatsu’s two new purpose-built machines, the 931XC-3 harvester and 855-3 forwarder, are made to stand up to these gnarly conditions.

Designed for maneuverability in everything from thinning operations to felling big timber, the 931XC-3 harvester balances power, torque and fuel economy to optimize low-speed operation with a high torque backup when needed. The machine’s eight-wheel-drive traction and smooth ride come courtesy of what Komatsu calls its “Comfort Bogie” drive system. The bogies oscillate to keep tires on the ground, following the terrain closely while maintaining a high clearance. Additionally, a fixed rear-axle design reduces rear ground pressure.

The harvester’s automatic cab/crane leveling system keeps your operator in the best possible position to work comfortably throughout the day. An automotive-quality cab features heated and cooled meal storage, a big front window for visibility, an ergonomic seat and climate control.

Designed with a high departure angle for climbing obstacles, the Komatsu 855-3 forwarder offers an optional blade for stump removal.KomatsuThe 14-metric-ton Komatsu 855-3 forwarder also operates on Komatsu Comfort Bogie axles with a high portal offset and V-shaped frame for ground clearance. For ground or stump leveling, an optional heavy-duty stacked blade is available. Mounted with a high angle of departure for climbing obstacles, there’s no interference between blade, battery boxes or hood guard. Operators can monitor and control everything from the engine and crane to the transmission and service ladders with the MaxiXT system. And operator-specific controls can be fine-tuned to achieve the finesse and speed each operator prefers.

AUSA has announced the global launch of its AUSAnow fleet manager.
Keep tabs on your AUSA machines with cloud-based monitoring.AUSANew software gives customers telematics info for AUSA vehicles

AUSA has announced the global launch of its AUSAnow fleet manager, an online fleet control solution. With this new digital service, AUSA is offering its customers a product to improve their efficiency and profitability by monitoring their machines with mobile phones or computers.

The new software communicates real-time information about maintenance requirements, technical and performance issues and any unexpected movement of machines.

Machine information is stored in the cloud, so AUSAnow can be accessed anywhere you can connect to the internet. The new system will allow users to view and create their own personalized charts, obtain in-depth information about the operation of their machines and make decisions that are based on detailed information.

Mecalac 156MRail
Mecalac 156MRailMecalacMecalac debuts new MRail-Series, a dedicated line of machines for the rail industry

Purpose-built for right-of-way maintenance or the construction of new tracks, Mecalac’s four new MRail-Series machines offer advanced safety features and performance tailored to meet the requirements and track sizes of public and private railways, light rail and subway networks.

The two tracked models, 106MRail and 136MRail, are based on the MCR crawler skid excavator concept. The 10-ton 106MRail can travel up to 6.2 mph on ground and 14.3 mph on rails. The 13-ton 136MRail offers ground speeds up to 5.6 mph and rail speeds as high as 12.4 mph.  

Both models offer 360-degree rotation. Optional rear and side cameras provide extra safety, visibility and precision when working in-between tracks, in tunnels or confined spaces.

Based on the MWR wheeled excavator, the 156MRail and 216MRail models provide solutions tailored to rail networks, different track sizes and available workspace. The 156MRail is ideal for users looking for a machine to work on subways or private tracks without the expensive features required by rail regulations. The 156MRail’s compact design provides good visibility for work in hard-to-reach places. It boasts travel speeds up to 21 mph on the ground and 18.6 mph on rails.

Built for the toughest rail jobs, the 216MRail model brings agility and maneuverability to users looking to complete projects on national and urban railways. With the greatest boom reach of the MRail models, the 216MRail can reach up to 24 feet 7 inches. It travels at speeds up to 18.5 mph on both ground and rails.

GPS Trackit's GL500MG protects unpowered assets including construction equipment.
The hidden installation and a tamper-proof design of GPS Trackit’s monitoring system enables you to keep tabs on unpowered equipment.GPS TrackitStop trailer theft with GPS Trackit monitoring

According to the International Risk Management Institute, only 10 to 15 percent of stolen equipment is ever recovered. One solution is GPS-enabled electronic monitoring. The recently announced GL500MG tracker from GPS Trackit monitors truck trailers and cargo to deter theft and assist in asset recovery.

GPS Trackit’s GL500MG protects unpowered assets including construction equipment, freight trailers, flatbed trailers, freight containers, generators, tool storage boxes, and recreational equipment.

The device features a five-year, onboard battery and durable housing to help construction companies, carriers and trucking companies locate and control their trailers around the clock. Geofences provide alerts whenever an asset leaves a pre-set area. A user update button immediately shares the GL500MG’s GPS coordinates to help you and law enforcement find the stolen asset.

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Cat Command Expands to 374, 395 Excavators

Operators can now dig, lift and track large excavators from a safe distance at hazardous jobsites or remote locations. Cat Command for Excavating is now available for the 374 and 395 models.

The remote-control system – which can be operated from onsite or hundreds of miles away – provides contractors with three primary benefits:

Enhanced safety: Suitable applications include working on steep slopes, soft underfoot conditions, hazardous material handling and demolition. It also allows production to restart immediately following disruptive processes such as blasting in quarry applications.  Increased productivity: Operators can move from one machine or one jobsite to the next with the touch of a button, saving time moving between locations and reducing the chance of falls from climbing on and off machines.A solution to combat the skilled labor shortage: Operators with physical limitations can comfortably run a machine from a station.

Both line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight operating options are available for Command for Excavating.

The Command console is ideal for short-term or emergency remote operation and is worn via a shoulder harness.

“Say you’re running in a safe environment, but you’ve got some work to do on a slope where there is some opportunity for danger,” says Cat product marketing consultant Mike Lenzie. “[The operator] can jump out, switch to remote-control mode, run it with that line-of-sight Cat Command console for an hour or two, and switch back to manual mode and continue operating.”

Using either a 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz frequency communications protocol, the console offers a machine control range reaching up to 437 ft. Built-in safety features stop all excavator movements if the remote shutdown switch is pressed, wireless communication is lost, or the console is tilted more than 45 degrees.

The Command station is a long-term solution for non-line-of-sight operation in an office onsite or a distant location.

“The station itself is set up with a seat that you would see in a Caterpillar piece of equipment. It has displays set up in front of you that mimic the exact display you would see inside the cab,” says Lenzie. “Then we have the ability to set up cameras not only on the piece of equipment but also at the site it’s running to give the operator the ability to visualize what he or she is doing.” Operation distance is limited only by the capabilities of the wireless network.

Users can control up to five different machines from the same or different locations, reducing downtime for shift changes or the need to travel to the jobsite. A touchscreen monitor similar to the in-cab display offers precise machine control, and screen mounts positioned in front of the user provide easy view of the excavator’s camera feeds.

Standard machine technologies including Grade Assist, Swing Assist and E-Fence can be set, activated and deactivated remotely. 

Need a Part Tomorrow? Cat Will Guarantee it Arrives or Give You Credit

In these days of parts scarcity and increased project demands, Cat has two service offers that might catch your attention.

Within Cat’s Customer Value Agreements (CVA) is a new feature Cat is calling a “Services Commitment Program.” Introduced in July in the U.S. (Canadian customers will see it in January), the program has two components: a parts availability commitment and service response time commitment. These are available on machines less than 10 years old that are covered by a new or renewed CVA.

Parts availability: Cat guarantees maintenance and common repair parts will be available to CVA customers when they need them. If a maintenance part is not available by the end of the next business day or Cat can’t get it to you Cat will credit you up to $1,000 for the amount of the unavailable parts. For common repair parts on dealer-performed service, the $1,000 credit applies at the end of the second business day.

Service response time: This ensures that you will have priority appointment scheduling, getting the next available slot in the dealer’s shop. Diagnostics are run before the machine comes in or the technician arrives, and the customer receives progress updates as their machine is serviced. 

“Customers continue to choose CVAs in record numbers,” says Marcy Bytner, Cat marketing consultant. “In fact, 60% of our construction industry machines are sold with CVA, and 45% of those customers choose to renew.”

Self-service options

CaterpillarManaging most of your own repairs? Cat’s new Self-Service Options (SSO) offering is aimed at you.

“Typically a customer has to do all the research on a repair and sometimes guess as to what parts are needed,” says Mike Hernandez, Cat program manager. “SSOs take out the guesswork and make the repair process easier and more convenient.”

Working at your direction on what repair you want to make, Cat will put together an SSO package that includes the parts, instructions and recommended tooling to complete the specific work on more than 300 models. Repairs covered include minor engine bolt-ons, service brakes for drivetrains, replacing batteries and alternators, hydraulics and implement controls. The service instructions are available in 10 different languages.

“This is not a traditional kit, which is typically a fixed quantity of parts in box sitting on the shelf,” Hernandez says. Instead, each SSO can be customized to include only the parts and tooling you need to complete the repair by yourself. Customers can then complete the repair in-house and on their own schedule.

SSOs can be ordered online at Cat’s parts store or by contacting your local Cat dealer. The dealer fills the order, and if questions arise during the repair, your service tech can receive additional support from the dealer. “Customers are not alone in the repair journey,” Hernandez says.

Cat is concentrating on its small and compact equipment first with this program. Machines include compact track loaders, skid steers, compact wheel loaders, backhoes, compact excavators, small wheel loaders and dozers and telehandlers. As new machines are introduced, new Cat SSO packages will be developed. 

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Cat intros 8-foot pavers for smaller, tighter jobs

To the contractors asking for a compact paver from Caterpillar: your wish has been granted.

Cat has filled the gap in its product offering with a new line of 8-foot size-class paver and screed combinations. The AP400, AP455, AP500 and AP555 asphalt pavers, along with the SE47 V and SE47 FM asphalt screeds, are designed for small, tight jobs such as narrow streets, driveways and small parking lots.

“Compact pavers and screeds offer opportunity to both large and small contractors,” says Cat sales consultant Jon Anderson. “For large contractors doing pullouts and shoulders, this is the perfect machine for that at a lower cost point. For smaller customers, it gives them the opportunity to move up and do some bigger jobs that they’ve always wanted to bid on but didn’t feel they had the equipment for.”

The SE47 V screed can be extended to any width between 8 and 15 feet 6 inches, with a maximum width of 20 feet. The SE47 FM screed offers a standard paving range between 8 feet and 15 feet 6 inches, with a maximum width of 20 feet 6 inches. Both screeds offer paving depths up to 10 inches.

“One of the hardest things is to do a job where the paver is too big and you’ve got to do everything at the very minimum width,” says Anderson. “It’s a real challenge, so this provides new opportunities.”

Easy to load or road

When moving between multiple jobs per day, equipment must be easy to haul. Cat says these 13- to 15-ton size-class machines don’t require special permits for transport and have convenient tie-down locations.  

With a length of less than 18 feet 6 inches and width of 8 feet 6 inches, the pavers easily fit on trailers and can be hauled with other equipment. In addition, the front-loading angle of 17 degrees and high bumper clearance simplifies loading without the need for additional blocking material.

Roading it rather than loading it? Anderson says the versatile undercarriage design delivers “excellent traction and speed for traveling to the next starting point.”

The Cat Mobil-trac undercarriage design used on the AP455 and AP555 features a unique four-bogie system with self-tensioning accumulators and center guide blocks. This helps prevent slippage and reduce wear, while the oscillating bogie wheels help deliver smooth transitions when exiting the cut over transverse joints of mill and fill applications.

A simple wheel undercarriage design is also available with sand-rib or radial drive tire options. The AP400 can be equipped with a front-wheel assist option, while the AP500 can be equipped with front-wheel assist or the all-wheel drive option for increased performance on soft base materials or when pushing heavy loads.

Simple, intuitive operation

Simplified menu structures offer touch-screen activation from the main screen.Equipment WorldStandardized controls across the Cat paving product line make it easier to move crew members between machines and train new hires.

“We have some new, simplified menu structures that make it easier to make changes and a single-touch activation for the feeder system,” says Anderson. “The new display has fantastic visibility even in bright sunlight.”

The screed heat, fumes ventilation, vibration settings and the washdown system are all accessible with the touch of a button from the main menu, helping operators start faster and increase productivity.

Versatile new screeds

Screeds with rear or front-mounted extenders enable contractors to match their application needs. The SE47 V is a rear-mounted screed, meaning hydraulic extenders are behind the main screed. This design enables material to naturally flow out to the end-gates for smooth, stable performance.

Rear-mounted SE47 V screed on a Cat AP555 asphalt paver.
The SE47 V and SE47 FM offer efficient heating and simple adjustments.Equipment WorldRear-mount screeds are typically chosen by 25 percent of customers, and Pennsylvania-based Schlouch Incorporated is one of them. “Over the years our employees have consistently given us the feedback that the rear-mount screed works the best for them,” says Glen Powell, Schlouch paving department coordinator and project manager.

The crew at Schlouch has been field testing the AP455 with the SE47 V for the past year. Here are some of the reasons why they prefer the rear-mount screed:

Full catwalk: “It has a full catwalk. When you run the extensions out, the catwalk extends with it so they can continue to walk out to the end of the extension,” says Powell. This allows for excellent visibility when paving in neighborhoods around stormwater inlets. Durability, rigidity and weight: The setup is also well-suited for high-tolerance applications such as sport courts. “The added weight of the screed behind the machine gives us a nicer mat coming out from behind, gives us a little better compaction right behind the screed and allows us to achieve good results,” says Powell.  

A front-mounted system may be a better option for contractors who frequently need to maneuver around obstacles like curbs and light poles. The SE47 FM is equipped with hydraulic extenders in front of the main screed and offers a smaller footprint that reduces handwork at the start of the paving pass. When the paving width is reduced, material is quickly drawn back into the auger chamber.

For contractors requiring wider paving capability, optional extension packages, as well as berm attachments, are available for the SE 47 FM.

Fuel-efficient power

Cat designed the new pavers with an eco-mode feature that pairs with automatic speed control to reduce fuel consumption. In most conditions, the engine can operate at a lower rpm and still deliver the required power to meet performance requirements. If needed, the engine will automatically adjust to a higher engine speed if certain load conditions are met.

The AP400 and AP455 have a 120-horsepower Cat C3.6 engine, and the AP500 and AP555 run on a 148-horsepower Cat C4.4 engine. Both engines meet Tier 4 Final emissions standards.

Enhanced visibility

Operators will immediately appreciate the enhanced visibility into the hopper and unrestricted forward view on these compact machines. The exhaust stack has been integrated into the new hood design and does not extend upward as it does on other Cat paver models. The pavers’ small footprint delivers excellent mobility in tight spaces and low-clearance applications.

“A few of the things we noticed right off the bat was the visibility around this machine,” says Powell. “Most notably, the elimination of a stack in front of the engine compartment. That now allows the operator to really see what’s in front of him, as well as a little bit lower hopper size on the machine. When you’re dumping trucks into the paver, the spotter that stands next to the machine can see in the hopper, see when it’s filled, see when the truck is empty and has better visibility into that area.”

Smooth material flow

Smaller augers deliver smooth material flow at narrow widths, helping contractors achieve quality targets. The 14-inch diameter augers efficiently move material through the auger chamber. Operators can control each material feed sensor when using cut-off shoes or when paving at narrow widths. Simply switch to manual and use the proportional control dial for the feed system.  

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Toyota Boosts Power, Safety, Looks on 2022 Tundra

Toyota’s slow reveal of its 2022 Tundra has finally culminated in an impressive grand finale that clearly sets the full-size truck apart from previous iterations.

Aside from a bigger truck that’s more refined and includes more driver-assist technologies, the 2022 Tundra is more powerful.

Though fans may lament losing the long-running 5.7-liter V8, they may find solace in a more powerful 3.5-liter V6 that offers 389 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. A hybrid 3.5-liter i-FORCE MAX offers 437 horses and 583 pound-feet of torque. Both variants are bolted to a new 10-speed automatic. For those keeping score — and who doesn’t? — the outgoing 5.7 offers 381 horses and 401 pound-feet of torque.

More power and anew high-strength boxed, steel-ladder frame that the 2022 Tundra shares with the 2022 Land Cruiser offer a jump in max towing from 10,200 pounds on the 2021 model to 12,000 pounds and a max payload capacity of 1,940 pounds, an increase of 210 pounds.

Lackluster fuel economy in the dated 5.7, which comes in at 13 mpg city and 17 highway, will surely be bested by the more fuel-conscious V6s, but we’ll have to wait on final EPA numbers.

A new interior offers creature comforts for driver and passengers alike, including a 14-inch infotainment touchscreen, available panoramic roof, heated and ventilated front seats, rear sunshade, heated steering wheel.

The instrument panel can be optioned with conventional gauges or a 12.3-inch instrument panel display.

2022 Toyota Tundra’s new interior comfortsToyotaA host of new tech features are found throughout Tundra as well, such as towing aids, off-road enhancements, an all-new multimedia system featuring wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and over-the-air updates.

Two different four-door layouts are available, as well as various bed lengths, including a 5.5-foot bed, 6.5-foot bed and an 8.1-foot bed.

Safety first!

Toyota Tundra was the first full-size truck to feature automated emergency braking, and starting with the 2022 model, every Tundra comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5.

The Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS with PD) features multiple enhancements, including not only detecting the vehicle ahead but also a pedestrian in low light, bicyclist in daytime, an oncoming vehicle and a pedestrian at intersections when making a turn.

At intersections, the system is designed to detect an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian when performing a left-hand turn and provide audio/visual alerts and automatic braking in certain conditions. Additional PCS functions include emergency steering assist, which is designed to stabilize the driver’s emergency steering maneuvers within their lane while avoiding a pedestrian, bicyclist or vehicle.

2022 Toyota Tundra pickup truck
2022 Toyota Tundra boasts a multitude of safety features.ToyotaTundra will be equipped with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC). Lane Departure Alert notifies the driver by sound if it senses the vehicle is leaving the lane without engaging a turn signal. When DRCC is set and engaged, Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) provides a slight steering force to help center the vehicle in its lane using visible lane markers or a preceding vehicle.

Automatic High Beams detect preceding or oncoming vehicles and automatically switch between high-beam and low-beam headlights. Road Sign Assist (RSA) is designed to recognize certain road sign information using a forward-facing camera and display it on the multi-information display (MID).

Toyota’s Rear Seat Reminder comes standard on all 2022 Tundras. The feature can note whether a rear door was opened within 10 minutes of the vehicle being turned on, or at any time after the vehicle has been turned on, with a reminder message in the instrument cluster after the engine is turned off, accompanied by multi-tone chimes.

In addition to the TSS 2.5 system, the standard Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) helps detect and warn you of vehicles approaching or positioned in the adjacent lanes. Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) can offer added peace of mind by helping to detect vehicles approaching from either side while backing out and alerting you with a visual and audible warning. The available Parking Support Brake is designed to implement brake control when there’s a possibility of a collision with a stationary object, approaching vehicle or while parking.

Improved suspension and handling

The 2022 Toyota Tundra’s new multi-link rear suspension drops rear leaf springs for coil springs, which leads to improved ride comfort, stability, handling and increased towing capacity.

The front of the truck gets a new double wishbone suspension, which offers a kingpin offset angle reduction to improve straight-line stability and high-speed driving.

The caster trail gets a 1-inch boost for added stability. To improve cornering, roll steer has been reduced by 25% compared to the benchmarks, and the roll height center has been elevated (152mm compared to 104mm, or roughly 6 inches compared to 4 inches) to reduce body roll, especially when cornering.

The 2022 Tundra gets twin-tube shocks at the front and rear of each truck. The shock absorbers feature triple-oil seals and extended dust covers for added protection and durability. New aluminum forged knuckles are used to cut weight. TRD Off-Road packages offer monotube Bilstein shocks.

TRD Pro grades get 2.5-inch diameter Fox internal bypass shocks that provide a 1.1-inch lift up front. The aluminum-bodied front and rear shocks feature piggyback reservoirs to house additional oil for improved off-road performance. The shocks use a new polytetrafluorethylene-infused (PTFE) Fox shock fluid to improve on-road comfort. This fluid includes microscopic particles infused with the oil to reduce friction.

The all-new Tundra will go on sale in December. 

2022 Toyota Tundra pickup truck tailgate
Pressing a button in the rear taillight causes a lighter tailgate for the 2022 Tundra to drop down.Toyota

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