TRUCK TRACKS

More than pint-sized concerns

Trucks Article August 31, 2001
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The "diesel debacle" continues to dominate truck news


The "diesel debacle" continues to dominate truck news.


Engine maker Cummins Inc. made the biggest headlines. After introducing a family of diesel and natural-gas engines that cost $1.7 billion to develop, Cummins abruptly stopped work on a 10- to 13-liter diesel powerplant the firm once called its future. The engine was supposed to fill a gap between 11- and 15-liter diesels in the Cummins line. Layoffs for 500 people were announced for the coming year.


Ted Solso, Cummins chairman and chief executive officer, blamed a market slowdown for the moves. He indicated that the company is looking for a recovery in the fourth quarter of this year.


The company said it had already closed five facilities and laid off more than 2,000 employees.


There were reports that Cummins had been discussing sales agreements with various truck manufacturers in recent months.


Detroit pistons and emissions


Freightliner has reached an agreement under which its dealers and those for the companion Sterling and Western Star lines will market Series 60 diesel engines developed by Detroit Diesel Corp.


The 60s were the first electronically controlled diesel engines and ranked among the most popular.


Future access to the 60s in trucks of some makes was clouded by the purchase of Detroit Diesel by DaimlerChrysler, parent company of Freightliner.


Detroit Diesel Corp. has joined forces with Engelhard Corp. to develop an exhaust emission reduction unit for diesel engines.


Such after-treatment units as the new Emitless are gaining increased attention as pressure to curb exhaust emissions increases. Emitless was said to be a combination muffler and particulate filter, curbing engine noise while filtering out up to 90% of particulate matter from exhausts. It was designed to mate Engelhard’s exhaust control technology with the diesel engine producer’s established Detroit Diesel Electronic Controls.


Bridge handlers


Granite Bridge Formula Truck—that’s the name of a recent addition to the offerings of Mack Trucks. The producer would probably like to market it as the truck that has everything.


"Light weight, driver friendly with time-honored toughness." Those are the claims which open the introductory press release.


The producer goes on to say that the truck "was designed to meet the growing customer demand for weight-focused vehicles that conform to bridge formula regulations, without sacrificing durability or reliability."


The truck’s features include a 300-hp Mack diesel engine with the producer’s electronic engine control system.


The product is fitted with a variety of bodies and specialized equipment. The driver friendly point is driven by the space, varied instruments and top visibility from the cab.


Ready to meet


The nation’s diesel engine makers are expressing optimism that they will be able to meet the next tightening of diesel engine exhaust emission rules by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which is scheduled to take effect in October 2002.


Frank Bio, director of Volvo power, said his line "believes it is ready to meet the ’02 rules and has considered customers’ wishes in refining its engines."


Stephen F. Homcha, Mack’s executive vice president for Class 8 programs, said the company’s confidence in its ’02 products was based on exceeding EPA requirements by 10 to 20% during the development period.


Carl Volz, corporate public affairs manager for Caterpillar, said the company is counting on its Acert technology to deliver emission control advances for 2002 and beyond.


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