Fourteen TTMA associate members delivered news about their companies’ trailer-related products and services during the TTMA convention.

This year’s convention had two such sessions on the program during which each of the participants had four minutes to explain their product and its benefits.

Here are the 14 who offered an update:

New slider from Reyco Granning

In today’s transportation industry, fleets are facing driver shortages, stretched budgets, increased regulation, and driver health and safety concerns. But Joe Gallo said their biggest concerns are matching equipment with drivers and loads, reducing operating costs and maximizing their return on investment. And although suspensions aren’t normally a concern, they can have a big impact on fleet operations and maintenance.

Enter the new Reyco Granning Dockmaster 400 air ride slider, designed to keep rigs on the road and out of the shop.

How? The DM400 is engineered to be both strong and light.

“In recent lab tests, it tested at 33% stronger than the leading competitor,” Gallo said. “And while the DM400 continues the tradition of tough Reyco suspensions, it does so at a weight that’s less than traditional designs. And less weight means more freight. And more profit per load.”

He said that in times of driver shortages, less experienced drivers can drive up maintenance costs with issues such as buckled suspensions, caused by hitting curbs or light poles or dropping into ditches. To fight back, the DM400 incorporates several anti-buckling features: seven-gauge, nine-inch SUPER C frame rails with deep crossmembers; unitized wrap-around hangers with circular fillet welds; and a sub frame X-brace.

When eliminating buckling issues, fleet maintenance managers need less personnel for repairs, less rolling stock and less demand for facilities and equipment. All this leads to greater utilization, better operating ratios, and a more profitable bottom line.

The DM400 also helps to stretch budgets by lowering costs associated with van suspensions that are out of alignment. Proper alignment means reduced tire wear and fuel consumption—and lower costs. With an easy, true “one-person” alignment system, the DM400 allows mechanics to dial in positive, accurate alignment using ordinary tools—and no additional parts cost.

The DM400 also addresses driver safety by incorporating an air-operated pin release, or, a manual pin release handle with the exclusive Reyco Flexi-pull, spring-loaded pin system that reduces pull effort—even if one or more pins are stuck.

Ridge Corp, Freight Wing Merge

Freight Wing Inc has joined forces with Ridge Corporation, the largest manufacturer of aerodynamic side skirts for trailers, integral walls for refrigerated trailers and glass reinforced interior liners for dry freight trailers.

The addition of Freight Wing adds volume to Ridge’s existing product line and expands Ridge’s capabilities to innovate in a competitive composite market.

Sean Graham, founder and president of Freight Wing Inc, and his team of nine join Ridge’s 88-person management and manufacturing team. Freight Wing Incorporated was founded in 2003 to provide practical fuel and emission savings through innovative improvements to semi-trailer aerodynamics. Ridge has acquired 100% of the Freight Wing stock.

Graham has worked with fleets, OEMs and various government agencies since the company’s inception to “father” the modern aerodynamic side skirt.

“What attracted me to Ridge was the opportunity to enhance the quality and performance of our side skirt though the application of the industry’s finest composite manufacturing knowhow,” said Sean Graham. “Ridge’s human capital has the knowhow to provide our existing customers improved product performance and the creative atmosphere to design and refine new fuel savings initiatives no matter what the source of fuel.”

Ridge has a new 90,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. It uses 20 million pounds of raw materials per year to make 75,000 skirts, 60,000 integral walls, and 720,000 dry freight panels. Ridge has had a 48.3% average annual growth rate over the past five years.

Cunningham offers new steel wheel

The Cunningham Company, LLC, the third-largest steel wheel supplier to trailer OEMs in North America, unveiled the 361˚ brand lightweight 2269 steel wheel.

This 22.5x8.25, hub pilot, five-hand hole wheel weighs 69 pounds and has an aggressive epoxy primer paint coat, covered by a powder topcoat providing about five times the corrosion resistance of standard primer-only painted steel wheels. Cunningham also offers a hot-dip galvanized coating option.

In September, the 361˚ 2269 wheel will be made in the newest, most modern steel wheel plant in the world, according to Tom Cunningham. The company purchased Hess Industries (a producer of steel-wheel production lines) to offer the best technical support for steel wheel manufacturing. Projections of a 63-pound steel wheel are very realistic by mid 2014.

He said the 361˚ approach and philosophy to the very old steel wheel industry is to provide more value.

“We try to produce the best wheel in the world and deliver that wheel to your door,” he said. “You place the order and our wheels arrive at your plant, with no freight scheduling, tracking, handling, or worries. We keep it simple. We focus only on steel wheels and offer just a few part numbers.

“The new plant will have the capacity to meet more TTMA members’ requirements. We provide the highest value to TTMA members by focusing on what your trailer customers want: high-quality, lightweight, and substantial corrosion resistance all at a competitive price.”

Corrosion protection from AZZ

For several years now, Joe Langemeier has been saying that hot-dip galvanizing provides long-lasting, economical corrosion protection for steel components of truck trailers.

It is important to understand that there are three basic elements to the corrosion protection of steel:

• Basic barrier protection.

“Barrier protection, as its name implies, protects against corrosion by isolating the steel from electrolytes in the environment. As long as the barrier is intact, the steel will be protected and corrosion will not occur. However, if the barrier is breached, corrosion will begin. Paints are often employed for this purpose. The impervious nature of zinc makes it a very good barrier coating.

• Cathodic or sacrificial corrosion protection.

“Cathodic protection is often used in atmospheric environments as well as in submersion environments. Cathodic protection utilizes scientific discoveries made in the early 1800s. Simply stated, when zinc and iron/steel are connected together in a corrosive environment, the zinc will sacrifice itself, which protects the steel from corrosion. You are all probably familiar with sacrificial zinc anodes used on pleasure watercraft to protect submerged steel parts from rusting away.”

• Passivation of the metal surface, or in our case the “zinc patina.”

“In the first 48 hours after galvanizing, the fresh zinc is exposed to oxygen in the air, with which it reacts to form zinc oxide on the surface. Zinc oxide in this form is difficult to see with the naked eye and does not readily wipe off on your hands.

“Within the first six months, the zinc oxide combines with moisture in the environment and forms zinc hydroxide. Zinc hydroxide is a gelatinous substance that is poorly adhered, is white in color, and comes off readily on a gloved hand. This is commonly referred to as wet storage stain, but is a critical step in the formation of the zinc patina.

“Within six to 24 months, the zinc oxide and zinc hydroxide combine with carbon dioxide in the air to form zinc carbonate. The zinc carbonate is tightly bound to the underlying zinc coating, non-soluble, and fairly rough in surface. Zinc carbonate corrodes roughly 30 times more slowly than steel.”

He said hot-dip galvanizing combines all three elements to provide steel with long-lasting corrosion protection.

He said there are a number of accelerated corrosion tests in use today, including proprietary tests used by different OEMs. Three common standards used are:

• ASTM B 117-09: Standard Practice for Operating Salt Spray (Fog) Apparatus, 2009.

• ISO 9227: Corrosion Tests in Artificial Atmospheres – Salt Spray Tests, 2006.

“This method is similar to the ASTM standard.”

• SAE J 2721: Recommended Corrosion Test Methods for Commercial Vehicle Components.

“The SAE committee working on J2721 standard is in the process of conducting atmospheric testing on coupons attached to truck trailers in cooperation with TMC members at this time,” Langemeier said.