Mack Trucks Inc. announced it's making available liquefied-natural-gas (LNG)-fueled versions of its MR and LE truck models. The trucks are powered by 325-hp. Mack E7G (natural gas) engines. The OEM notes that a 350-hp. rating of the E7G will be available in the future for highway applications.

According to Mack, the power module, which consists of the E7G engine and an LNG fuel-storage system, is adaptable to additional chassis models based on customer requirements.

On-board LNG storage is provided by two "super-insulated" stainless steel tanks. These can be ordered in 50- or 100-gal. capacities to ensure the necessary range for refuse-collection routes.

The E7G engine, which boasts an electronic control unit, uses spark plugs to ignite fuel and air in the cylinders. According to Mack, the powerplant's 11.5:1 compression ratio is the highest among natural-gas units offered in the U.S. on-highway market. The OEM also states that the engine runs on a "very lean" 26:1 air-to-fuel mixture, "which keeps emissions low and maintains good driveability."

"We feel that natural-gas refuse trucks are a logical progression for municipalities with established fueling stations currently servicing bus fleets," said Steve Ginter, Mack's vocational product manager. He also said that large refuse-collection firms are researching the economies of running fully integrated natural-gas trucks.

Waste not, want not Eaton Corp. said that Refuse Advisor, an addition to its Fleet Advisor logistics-management product line, generates information that waste-collection operations can use to improve profitability.

According to Eaton, Refuse Advisor generates information that is organized so fleets can respond immediately to customer needs. The system monitors, records, and reports daily driver and vehicle data. The manufacturer said that by automating long-term data collection, Refuse Advisor eliminates the need for manual route audits.

The system can identify customers or accounts requiring billing adjustments. Historical trends, including seasonal effects, can also be tracked to get a full picture of the cost of servicing a customer.

Eaton pointed out that Refuse Advisor uses wireless data communications to put fleet managers in "constant contact" with each vehicle on a route. Several communications options are offered, including data card, in-yard radio, and real-time data transfer. These can be combined in a single system that lets Refuse Advisor select the best transfer mode. That choice is made based on the urgency of a message, available coverage at transfer time, and cost of the data transmission.

Since it captures such vehicle information as engine hours, engine rpm, and fuel consumption, Refuse Advisor can also serve as a maintenance-management tool. The system also records rapid decelerations, scale calibrations, and maximum and average weight per vehicle, Eaton noted, and can maintain a fleet's PM history as well.

Seeing is believing Officially introduced to the waste industry by 3M was its 6200 series of Scotchlite high-gloss reflective materials, which combine high visibility with a glossy appearance. According to 3M, the 6200 material can be easily incorporated into accessory apparel, such as caps and helmets, in the form of lettering. The manufacturer points out this can promote corporate identity as well as enhance wearer visibility.

"This is a reflective product that offers visible protection in a creative way," remarked Gary Pearson, market development supervisor for 3M Personal Safety Products. He said that with colors such as as white, blue, fluorescent red-orange, and fluorescent lime-yellow, clothing can be "brightened up" while offering a "maximum level of visibility and comfort" to wearers.

According to Pearson, the high-gloss product consists of "highly retroreflective microprismatic lenses formed in a durable resin." He said this technology gives the material a shiny appearance that aids visibility even in extremely cold and hot temperatures as well as when wet.