PC-based setup downloads bar-code data to dealer computers.

Fleets may now find it easier to control parts costs with the introduction of a computerized inventory management system from Navistar International Transportation Corp. Known as Diamond Connection, the system is designed to monitor the number of parts a fleet uses on a daily basis and recommend inventory levels based on past usage.

Using PC-based equipment, an inventory manager or technician scans bar codes on parts going into or out of inventory. This information is automatically downloaded to the local International dealer's computer every night; a report is generated in the morning recommending stock orders for the fleet.

Diamond Connection enables fleets to carry the amount of stock necessary to maximize vehicle uptime, while reducing inventory capital and the time required to order and administer a spare-parts inventory. According to Navistar, the new system can reduce total inventory by as much as 30%-50%.

Steve Koch, vp and general manager, Navistar Parts Operations, says, "Having the appropriate inventory level of the right parts is a critical component for any fleet, but until now, the sophisticated management tools were far too complicated and costly for many fleets."

Diamond Connection software can generate usage reports by part number, description, bin location, and cost. It can also provide information on parts and labor for a specific vehicle, resulting in accurate billing records.

Another benefit of the system is its ability to provide recommended inventory levels for all parts, regardless of supplier. Parts requirements for all vehicles can be accommodated.

In response to the changing suspension requirements of on/off highway fleets -- many of whom now value the ability to carry additional payload and provide an improved ride for drivers -- Hendrickson Truck Suspension Systems has developed a family of lightweight walking beams called the HN Series.

The line consists of two models: the 920 lb. HN 402, which is rated at 40,000 lb.; and the 933-lb. HN 462, rated at 46,000 lb. Keith Gelinas, Hendrickson's marketing manager, points out that these suspensions are the lightest vocationals in their class and aimed at premium dump, refuse, mixer, and specialty vocational applications.

Unlike Hendrickson's walking-beam flagship, the leaf-spring RT, the HN Series uses Hendrickson's proprietary VariRate spring system. It depends on two pairs of diagonally mounted, bonded elastomer bolsters for support. Because the bolsters act in compression and shear simultaneously, they deliver a smooth ride in unloaded and lightly loaded conditions. A pair of auxiliary helpers, made of Hytrel (a polyester elastomer), furnishes additional stability when the suspension is highly loaded.

Two control straps provide severe rebound tension that protects the wide-center bolsters from damage. A derivative of a Hendrickson Nord suspension model popular in Europe, the bolster design not only enhances vehicle stability, but eliminates the need for the cross tube.

Hendrickson engineers kept the need for reduced maintenance in mind when designing the beam section. "The HN equalizing beam is produced as a fabricated box-type structure from robotically welded, high-strength/ low-alloy steel," says Gelinas. "It contains no center pivot bushing, which eliminates the lubrication requirement for the product while affording up to 17 in. of diagonal wheel articulation."

A pair of shock absorbers placed between each of the beams and saddles eliminates axle hop. Four torque rods provide improved handling during braking and cornering. Additional features include longer bushing life, and pin-beam end connections have been redesigned to allow more precise axle alignment and longer tire life.

A new, quieter transport refrigeration system has been introduced by Thermo King Corp. Dubbed the Whisper Edition, the new reefer unit runs 10 db quieter than previous models.

The product was developed in response to municipal noise restrictions, shipper concerns over noise at the dock, and the desire of fleet owners to make the cab environment more comfortable for their drivers, according to Doug Lenz, Thermo King's trailer product manager.

The Whisper Edition lives up to its name because of features such as a lightweight direct injection engine and sound-deadening elements that include a tuned intake, special exhaust system and muffler, sound-absorbing composite insulation, special door gaskets, and tight-fitting doors.

The reefer also comes with a built-in microprocessor and chlorine-free R-404A refrigerant.

In another breakthrough, Thermo King has developed a unique scroll-type compressor to replace the conventional reciprocating compressor on its top-of-the-line XDS SR reefer units for large straight trucks. The advance is said to boost cooling capacity, offer faster pulldown, improve reliability and longevity, and lower fuel consumption.

According to Steve Stucky, Thermo King's product manager, the key to performance lies in the manner in which refrigerant gas is compressed tighter and tighter by the compressor's oscillating motion. Gas remains in various stages of compression throughout its journey before it reaches discharge pressure at the center port.

The scroll compressor has 83 fewer moving parts than reciprocating models, making the unit quieter, lighter, and more durable.

At the same time, Thermo King revealed that field testing has begun on a liquid CO2-cooled system that is designed to complement the trend toward bigger trailers with thinner walls. With less insulation, there is room for more cargo, as well as more cooling demands.

Designated as the SB-III CR, the system uses liquid carbon dioxide gas to cool cargo. Essentially, there is only one moving part, the fan to circulate the cooling gas.

The SB-III CR offers three times faster pulldown to -20 deg F than conventional transport refrigeration, and significantly faster recovery from door openings. Capacity is projected at 61,000 Btu/hr. at -20 deg F, 60,000 at 0 deg F and 58,000 at 35 deg F.

The Jacobs 690 J-Tech Engine Brake, designed for the new Mack E-Tech engine, represents the first product in a new family of advanced hydraulic valve actuation systems for Jacobs Vehicle Systems. Known as J-Cam Technology, these systems have been developed to offer better retarding performance, improved packaging, reduced weight, and increased control of engine valve events.

Ultimately, J-Cam Technology will provide full authority valve actuation, which will boost fuel economy and emissions for all applications.

A small bump on the cam provides a "brake event." By leaving clearance in the system during positive power, this bump is ignored. When braking is desired, the J-Tech brake takes up the clearance. As the bump that provides the brake event comes around on the cam, the J-Tech brake hydraulically passes the motion to the exhaust valve. Because this braking bump on the cam is ignored when the brake is not in use, it can be positioned to optimize retarding without affecting positive power performance.

A telescopic flat platform trailer that can be extended in 5-ft. increments has recently been introduced by Fontaine Trailer Co. Rated at 80,000 lb. (distributed), the trailer comes in two versions -- one that can be extended from 45 to 75 ft., and the other from 48 to 81 ft.

The Model LTP-4 is a composite vehicle, containing aluminum as well as steel components to reduce weight. The 11/8-in.-thick apitong flooring is supported on 4-in.-deep crossmembers on 12-in. centers. The platform structure is supported by main beams having 23-in.-deep webs. The beams' flanges are made of Grade 120 steel.

Rollers affixed to the telescoping beams and a positive air-locking mechanism ensure smooth length transitions. According to Fontaine, the air-operated stop pin design makes it unlikely that drivers will get false locks when lengthening or shortening the trailer. The LTP-4 can be equipped with a number of options, including air-suspended spread tandems and mechanically suspended fixed tandems, as well as mechanical and air-controlled sliders.

Neway Anchorlok International has introduced a castoring, self-steerable auxiliary lift-axle suspension package. Weighing in at 375 lb., the V-Steer axle is a parallelogram design and rated at 14,000 lb.

The name is derived from the axle's V-arm parallelogram design, which offers improved lateral control of the axle and the suspension. Suspension arms are placed in a "V" configuration rather than in-line.However, the air springs are located in-line under the frame.

The design allows Neway Anchorlok to use the separating forces between the lower arms and the axle adapters for the lift mechanism and gives greater installation flexibility.

The rolling lobe air springs provide a full 13.5 in. of travel. The new suspension also uses free rotating urethane bushings and offers a maximum turning angle of 27 deg.

With its compact size, only 25 in. from the front of the frame bracket to the center of the axle, the new suspension package allows vocational operators to boost payload by adding the maximum number of axles. Plus, it makes it easier to fit vehicle accessories, such as battery cases and fuel tanks, in restricted spaces.

A new software program from Cummins Engine Co. provides complete engine service and troubleshooting information that can be easily accessed and searched on any desktop or laptop computer running Windows.

Offered as a CD-ROM, INTERCEPT will provide technicians and warranty administrators with a customized table of contents containing all relevant technical information once they supply an engine's serial number or model number. It can also be searched by engine model, fuel system, or year built.

INTERCEPT's libraries include electronic troubleshooting guides, service bulletins, parts lists, diagrams, and even guided diagnostic and repair routines for all Cummins medium- and heavy-duty diesels. It also offers customer assistance answers to frequently asked questions about its engine products, as well as operation and maintenance tips.