Heavy Duty Trucking Supplements

Eaton On-Highway Transmission News 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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12 ON-HIGHWAY TRANSMISSION NEWS Roadranger Powerful Partnerships: How Roadrangers Spec the Right Transmission An on-highway Roadranger ® expert, who works directly with feets of all shapes and sizes, breaks down how Roadrangers work with customers to tailor the right transmission specs for their feets. With more product solutions than any of its competitors, Eaton ® knows the importance of getting every feature and capability tuned just right. Q: How do you size up a feet's situation, i.e., the demands on the feet or its drivers? Darrel Newton, Roadranger Linehaul Expert: We really have to start by looking at what the application is for each feet. Each one has different criteria of what they need. You've got to look at the feet, what are they going to do, what are they hauling, and where. You also have to look at what their current product is, the legacy product, whether it's a manual or automated. We also have to fgure out what is the feet's priority: fuel economy or performance? So you have to really understand which way they want to go. Then we can design a package, and your shift and engine calibrations. For example, we work with the engine manufacturers and dealers to make sure we're matching up the engine correctly and that they have the right ratios to optimize performance and fuel economy. For feets covering the whole U.S., you've got to put a package together that will pretty much cover any terrain, especially with the feets that like to have one spec for everything. But that does affect performance and fuel economy, which is something we have to make sure they understand. Additionally, some feets use their truck in multiple operating conditions, such as linehaul and LTL. In these cases, the spec must provide enough fexibility to provide the best operating product for a broader operating range. There is no cookie cutter way of doing things in this business. You may be able to take the same product from one feet and put it in a different feet, but have different shift calibrations and different ratios and RPMs in order to meet the other feet's needs. But at the same time, you can't take one product and put it in a linehaul feet and expect it to work in an oil feld. It just isn't going to work. Q: How are certain needs addressed through specifcations, such as manual or automated, or selecting options like Hill Start Aid? Newton: First, I look at their driver pool. What is their turnover? The reality is that driver pools are changing and today the name of the game is driver satisfaction. Fleets are digging deep to provide trainers and to try to grab all the drivers they can. But a lot of newer drivers just typically don't understand how to drive the traditional products. So if a feet is really looking to get better fuel economy, then an automated transmission may make perfect sense for them because with an automated, we can better control the shift points. One of my customers using automated transmissions even made the comment to me recently that one-tenth of 1% fuel savings still equals $20 million a year. So if you can gain fuel economy benefts off of going from a manual to an automated, that's just a beneft to them and a beneft to us. Plus, we've got so many options, whether it's a side-mounted or bottom- mounted PTO, or thru-shaft, we can tailor that to the customer's needs. Then we can look at what options they would prefer like Hill Start Aid or if they need creep mode. And helping feets fgure out all those features and specs is what the Roadranger network was built for. Eaton's Roadranger network is the largest sales, service and aftermarket network — more than 200 experienced consultants and trainers — strategically located across North America providing feets with support, solutions and expertise throughout the entire lifecycle of the truck. Q: How would certain specs be discussed based on costs? Newton: We look at their trade cycles. Is the feet going to keep that truck for 5 years, 700,000 miles, or is he going to trade it in earlier at 3-4 years? You look at the warranty packages to match what the trade cycle is to help optimize the cost. Q: Knowing that feets look to gain a competitive edge, how does that lead you to product recommendations? Newton: An example would be a less-than-truckload (LTL) feet compared to a steel hauler. For the LTL feet, their common load may be only 60,000 pounds, whereas you get into the fatbed feet hauling steel, they're going to be looking at saving weight any way they can. They need to get the truck as light as possible so they can haul more payload. But every feet has a different idea of "competitive edge." For some it's their drivetrain, for some it's routing, but for most it's about being on time. So it's really about reliability and making sure feets have a reliable product to do the job. And that's why we're careful about spec'ing based on the application, and why we work with the dealers to make sure they're also spec'ing the trucks to match what the customer's needs are. The feets I work with look to me not just as a transmission provider but as a solution. Learn more about how the Roadranger network can assist your feet at www.Roadranger.com/expert

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