Volvo Trucks North America to develop prototype lightweight composite sleepers
Sep 1, 2008 12:00 PM
Volvo Trucks North America will develop lightweight prototype sleepers made with advanced composite material technology as part of a United States Army program to reduce the weight and improve fuel economy of trucks.
The project, part of the Army's Military and Commercial Truck Weight Reduction Program, calls for Volvo and program partner TPI Composites Inc. of Scottsdale AZ to design, build, and test prototype truck sleepers. .
Because of their generally lighter weight, the use of composite components can improve truck fuel economy and thus reduce carbon dioxide emissions. TPI's advanced processes yield components that are even lighter and stronger than composite components formed using traditional methods. In addition, composite materials resist corrosion, insulate better, and may provide a quieter sleeping environment.
Three sleeper cabs will be produced as part of the project, with the first to be delivered in late 2009. The project is slated to run for 21 months, with Volvo and TPI sharing the $2.5 million funding.
The cabs will consist of three pieces: a one-piece composite sleeper, a composite roof, and Volvo's highly engineered steel cab, modified to attach to the composite sleeper. Testing will include the “cab shaker,” in which a full-size cab and sleeper, complete with interior fittings, is attached to a large hydraulic device. The cab shaker subjects cab and sleeper to prolonged violent shaking to test durability and integrity.
Access www.volvotrucks.us.com for more details.
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