TORONTO, Ont. — The process of picking the top products for a year can be like being asked to pick your favorite child. No matter what choice is made, some feelings are going to be hurt.
But hey, maybe one of the kids is a scholar or a star athlete. Would it be wrong to sing their praises?

With that in mind, here are product launches that caught my attention in 2018. Trucks themselves are always excluded – apologies to fans of the Kenworth W990, International CV, Hino XL, and Freightliner Econic SD – but I believe the following offerings promise real solutions to real problems.

Cummins X12 engine

The Cummins X12’s 11.8-liter displacement puts it smack in the middle of medium-bore engines, but the ratings for horsepower and torque place it in the range of what some people might expect from a 13-liter engine. It weighs in at 2,050 lb., leaving it with the highest power-to-weight ratio among engines from 10 to 16 liters in size. It’s lighter than other 11-liter engines, too.
The final product delivers 455 hp at 1,400 to 1,900 rpm, and 1,700 lb-ft of peak torque between 1,000 and 1,400 rpm.

Not only that, but the X12 reportedly has half the number of parts used in other diesel engines, and the sculpted block has removed metal while retaining structural integrity. The composite rocker cover and oil pan sheds weight as well. And the integrated engine brake is said to deliver 50% more braking power than a *traditional engine brake.

Michelin’s Energy Guard

Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts. In this spirit, Michelin unveiled a fuel economy package – and it didn’t even include tires as part of the equation.
The Energy Guard aerodynamic system includes a flexible trailer side skirt that can bend over objects and snap back in place, aerodynamic flow-through mud flaps, a wake reducer to increase pressure on the back of the trailer in the name of reducing drag, and drag-*reducing fairings. Together they reportedly improve fuel economy by 7.4%.
Just remember that it’s an all-or-nothing proposition. Every component is included

Peterson Pulse

Peterson is tapping into trailer data with its new PetersonPulse intelligent trailer system, combining CAN-Bus technology and telematics capabilities.
The system monitors lights, ABS brakes, tire pressure *monitoring systems, and cargo temperature – all in real time – issuing alerts via Bluetooth and cellular connections.
Signals from trailer sensors are delivered to the front *controller mounted in a nose box, using 6-mm twisted pair *communication wires, and all components are sealed and tested against vibrations. Battery backups ensure the monitoring *continues when equipment is untethered.


Struggling with a wheel that’s seized in place? You can put the sledgehammer down. AME International’s RimWit and RimWit Junior tools were designed to loosen stubborn truck wheels and rims without the danger of damaging sidewalls or rims. The RimWits are powered by electric or air impact wrenches, and will work with steel or aluminum rims. The junior version will accommodate 19.5 truck tires.
Snap-on Flank Drive Xtra (FDX)

Snap-on’s Flank Drive Xtra (FDX) socket system represents the company’s first redesigned socket since it unveiled the Flank Drive system itself in 1965.
The new design grips fasteners further off the corners and offers up to 25% more strength than its predecessor. The angled contour also ensures the socket wall grips damaged fasteners more closely, offering 50% more turning power.
A chamfered lip on the hex and drive ends offers a better grip and more turning power – especially when working with shallow-headed fasteners that have limited top clearance.
Istobal Hw’intrawash

Trailer interiors can get pretty grimy depending on the freight being hauled, and not everyone is anxious to head inside with a power washer. Istobal has addressed the challenges with its Hw’intrawash, which promises to clean a 53-foot trailer in as little as three minutes, or fully clean and sanitize a unit in six minutes.
At the heart of the automated equipment is a pumping system that delivers 33 US gallons per minute at 1,100 psi, combined with accurate chemical dosing. Up to two different chemical products can also be used depending on the need. A conveyor motor moves the stainless steel guides, while a frequency converter regulates the speeds for each pass.
Volvo Xceed

Significant fuel economy gains are becoming tougher to realize through individual products. Combine this reality with unique operating needs and fuel-focused fleets can find it difficult to make the best spec’ing decisions to maximize their ROI.
Volvo is answering this need with the new Xceed fuel efficiency package for VNL 760 and 860 models for those who haul dry vans or reefers. The final result boosts fuel economy by 11% over the existing Fuel Efficiency Plus spec’, and betters the Fuel Efficiency Advanced package by 3.5%.

The system includes an XE powertrain package with the Volvo I-Shift automated manual transmission and Volvo D13 engine with turbo compounding, but it also adds extended fairings and ground effects. Dedicated wheelbase options optimize trailer gaps at about 44 inches. There are also 950 lb. in weight savings realized through a horizontal exhaust system, dedicated rear axle, limited fuel tank configurations, lightweight fifth wheels, and aluminum chassis components.

Expect such application-specific packaging to become a growing trend.

Trifecta Pre-Adjusted Hub Assembly

Stemco’s Trifecta Pre-Adjusted Hub Assembly, developed with Webb Wheel Products, is designed to install with ease.
It features the Discover XR (extreme runtime) wheel seal with GlideLock technology, which is self-locking and doesn’t require a pre-lube. Combining the seal with Webb’s hub and a Defender composite hub cap also helps to resist corrosion.

Meanwhile, Stemco’s Zip-Torq unitized axle spindle nut means there are no additional clips, snap rings, or screws required.
And no bearing adjustment is needed when installing the new assembly.
Valvoline Premium Blue One Solution 9200

Oil formulas include exacting chemistry. Valvoline’s Premium Blue One Solution 9200 offers a single bottle that will meet the needs of natural gas, diesel, or gasoline engines.
Developed with Cummins Westport, the formula meets CK-4 standards for diesel, SN standards for gasoline, and the unique demands
of natural gas. It’s available as a *10W-30 and 15W-40. It’s priced close to a natural gas engine oil, but extended drain intervals are possible in diesel engines.
Updated Bendix Wingman Fusion

The days of collision mitigation systems being seen as a gadget are fading away. Some fleets won’t even contract owner-operators unless the trucks are equipped with them.
Bendix has built on its Wingman Fusion system with software updates that will apply full braking

power, help drivers navigate stop-and-go traffic, add highway departure braking, and automatically resume the system.

Active cruise will work at lower speeds, like when you’re in a traffic jam, and drivers can re-engage the functions by simply touching the accelerator. There’s no need to push a resume switch. Active cruise will also automatically re-engage the cruise control after Fusion applies brakes above a certain speed threshold. And highway departure braking will apply the brakes to slow a vehicle that leaves the roadway.

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