International introduces ProStar aerodynamic tractor
Jun 1, 2006 12:00 PM
After five years and $300 million in development costs, International Truck and Engine Corporation debuted its new ProStar family of aerodynamic highway tractors. International made the introduction at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. When fully launched, ProStar will be available in four models: the basic ProStar, ProStar Premium, ProStar Eagle, and the top-of-the-line ProStar Limited.
The ProStar family is built on a 122-inch low drag conventional cab and will offer a 56- or 73-inch sleeper berth in addition to a daycab model. Designed as a highway tractor, the new models will offer tandem drive with 40,000 lb or 46,000 lb capacity and front axles of 12,000, 13,200 lb, or 14,000 lb capacity. Initial production in 2007 will have Cummins ISX engines with horsepower ratings from 385 to 525. In 2008, International will add Caterpillar C13 engines with ratings from 380 hp to 470 hp and C15 engines rated from 435 hp to 500 hp. International's proprietary MaxxForce engines will debut in the ProStar family in 2008 with ratings from 300 hp to 450 hp.
International says ProStar is designed to provide optimum fuel economy, driver satisfaction, reliability, and low cost of ownership. Specifically, the new trucks are built to fit today's drivers. International engineers conducted extensive research on the size of drivers and the tasks they perform inside the cab, using a 36-point body measurement profile and time-and-motion studies of driver activity. Design effort included the extraordinary steps of engineers sleeping in cab models and having them travel to truckstops and customer locations for almost 1,500 driver interviews. International also sought comments from its dealers and from a number of customer advisory boards.
The result is a truck with sloped hood and streamlined fenders, cab, and roof for enhanced aerodynamic performance. To ensure a low drag design, International started the process with computational fluid dynamics followed by running one-eighth scale models in a wind tunnel. As the design concept neared completion, a full size tractor was put in the wind tunnel for final validation. Factors in the low drag design include a wraparound windshield, a sharply sloped hood, and minimal gap between the bumper and other bodywork. The bumper is designed in four sections that can be replaced individually, saving shop time and parts expense.
To improve driver comfort, design of the cab and chassis suspension as well as the seat suspension was approached as a complete system. Seat travel and flexible steering wheel positioning were given special attention along with the location of controls and instrument panel displays. Many driver tasks can be performed using controls contained in the steering wheel.
ProStar will begin production in the first quarter 2007 at the International plant in Chatham, Ontario Canada.
In other introductions from International, the company unveiled a new hood design for its 7000-series trucks to make room for the larger cooling systems required by EPA 2007-compliant engines from Caterpillar and Cummins. Chief among the design changes was a decision not to drop the radiator down between the frame rails, International says. The new hood is composed of three pieces, allowing repair at low cost in case of damage.
Joining the rush to cut fuel consumption from engine idling, International now offers a factory-installed auxiliary power unit for its 9900-series tractors. The International No Idle APU provides cab heat or air-conditioning in addition to AC power for appliances. Air-conditioning provides capacity of 10,000 Btu/hr.
The auxiliary power unit requires 21 inches of frame space. With a 500-hour maintenance interval, unit service can be synchronized with normal vehicle maintenance intervals. A remote start feature allows drivers to start the unit from a distance and allow the cab to cool or heat before entering. The fuel-fired heater also provides coolant heating for the tractor engine ensuring fast starts in cold weather.
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