MACK Trucks Inc is well positioned for success as economic and market conditions improve, according to Kevin Flaherty, senior vice-president, US and Canada. Flaherty spoke at a March 25 news conference during the 2010 Mid-America Trucking Show where Mack introduced several new products, including the mDRIVE automated manual transmission.
Customer response to Mack's ClearTech selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system and EPA 2010-certified engines has been very positive. The engines are in production, and customers are ordering them in new trucks.
“We've got the best mousetrap for EPA2010, plain and simple,” Flaherty said. “It features highly proven engines and SCR technology. We got the systems into customer hands for testing early and often. We were the first to receive EPA certification and we're already producing and delivering EPA'10 trucks. At the end of the day, we're going to be standing tall and well-armed with an EPA'10 product that we're sure is the best option for our customers.”
Flaherty also cited the strength of the Mack dealer network, growing demand for the company's natural gas trucks, the company's leadership position in export last year, and successful execution on military contracts as harbingers of future success.
All of the company's trucks sold in North America are now built in the same facility — the Mack Macungie Assembly Operations near Allentown, Pennsylvania. “We take great pride in the fact that every truck we sell here in North America is built right here in the United States,” Flaherty said. “We think there's value in that, and believe our customers share our view. We export trucks, not jobs.”
The latest generation of the Econodyne engine family for highway applications was on display at MATS. The Econodyne system is available with the MP7 and MP8 series engines in the Pinnacle model highway tractor.
The new Econodyne offering uses an intelligent torque management strategy, called EconoBoost, that gives drivers the extra muscle to keep vehicle speed constant under full engine loads to avoid downshifts. EconoBoost initiates at 1300 RPM, after four seconds of full throttle in the transmission's top two gears, opening up another 200 lb-ft of torque for as long as needed. It disengages once the driver lifts off the throttle and driveline torque drops to negative, such as when a hill is crested. EconoBoost delivers more than 90% of power after an upshift, without a “kick in the pants” experience or driveline shock.
Mack also expects success with mDRIVE, its new automated manual transmission (AMT). The mDRIVE AMT gives customers up to 1.5% improved fuel efficiency, better drivability, and enhanced driver satisfaction by automating gear shifting, while improving safety.
The Mack mDRIVE is designed and engineered to work exclusively with Mack MP series engines. It will be available on Pinnacle model highway tractors powered by the MP7 and MP8 engines. Customers may order mDRIVE now, with deliveries to begin early in the fourth quarter of this year.
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The mDRIVE has 12 forward and four reverse speeds, and is available in direct drive or overdrive. It has a torque capacity of 1920 lb-ft and a dry weight of 615 pounds. The shifting strategy for mDRIVE is optimized for North American highway conditions and is based on cruise speeds of 1350 to 1450 rpm for best performance and fuel economy.
The driver interacts with mDRIVE through a dash-mounted control pad containing manual input and hold shift buttons, with an integral display indicating the current gear. In addition, the Co-Pilot driver display in the center of the instrument panel provides the driver with transmission status, including the number of upshifts or downshifts available, the current gear and the current operating mode (such as Economy or Performance).
The transmission's Economy mode maximizes time spent in top gear, while Performance mode maximizes gradeability. An additional MackCellerator or kick-down feature drops the transmission one gear (while synchronizing engine RPM) when the accelerator pedal is sharply depressed beyond its detent to maximize acceleration in passing situations.
mDRIVE is available in two versions: Fleet and Premium. The Fleet package includes basic shifter controls, with Grade Gripper and MackCellerator as options. The Premium package consists of a shifter with more features for greater driver control, including manual shift inputs, performance and economy modes, plus Grade Gripper and MackCellerator. mDRIVE is available with two optional rear-mounted power take-offs (PTO).
The new automated transmission has an extensive list of customer-programmable parameters and functions, so performance can be dialed in for a specific customer application.
Other notable mDRIVE features include:
Cruise'n Brake, which limits engine brake operation while in cruise control until the target speed has been reached
Gear selection adjustment in auto mode, which allows the start gear and driving gear to be manually selected using the Premium shifter
Low Speed Modulation control, which enables clutch management at very low vehicle speeds when using the brake pedal to control vehicle speed, such as when backing into a loading dock or driving onto a weigh scale
Customer predefined splitter position when engaging PTO operation
Auto Neutral, which automatically shifts the transmission to neutral if the engine has been shut off while in gear or after four minutes of idling with the parking brake applied; this prevents stalling and reduces the load on the transmission.
Mack new C150/151 rear axle carriers combine proven design with improved rear axle ratios for highway and vocational applications. “The new C150/151 carriers play a key role in the Mack Pedigreed powertrain,” said David McKenna, Mack director of powertrain sales and marketing. “They're lighter, stronger, and stiffer than previous designs and represent what Mack has learned about integrated drivetrains in the last 110 years. The rear carrier is absolutely critical to a successfully-spec'd truck, including the gear-fast/run-slow highway tractor. The new and expanded ratio coverage reflects the continuing evolution of North American powertrains.”
The C150/151 retains Mack's traditional and unique top-load, dual-reduction design. The top-loaded carrier — where the driveshaft connects to the carrier above the axle — results in near-zero driveline angles, which minimizes noise, vibration and harmonics. Potential oil leak paths are significantly reduced since the carrier joint is on the horizontal plane, above the level of the oil reservoir. Dual reduction reduces gear face friction and related parasitic losses, component stress and excess heat, increasing overall component life.
Mack's power divider is standard with the new C150/151 carriers. Rear axle ratios run from 3.11:1 to 5.66:1. The new carriers are compatible with all suspensions offered by Mack.
Bendix ES (Extended Service) brakes are now standard equipment for all Mack truck models. Other brake systems, including the Bendix Air Disc, remain available options.
The Bendix ES brakes have a number of features to improve brake life and durability, while reducing operating costs:
a fixed single anchor pin design for superior brake geometry control and longer brake life
thicker brake linings for fewer relines
“E-coated” brake shoes for rust prevention
“hot staked” brake shoes for improved durability.