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Top 10 Trends in Chassis-Mounted Auxiliary Equipment

May 2015, Work Truck - Feature

by Mike Antich - Also by this author

Increased use of auxiliary power units (APUs) (above) to power auxiliary equipment, spec’ing auxiliary equipment for weight reduction, and improved packaging have helped significantly improve fuel economy and environmental sustainability. (PHOTO: Fontaine Modification)
Increased use of auxiliary power units (APUs) (above) to power auxiliary equipment, spec’ing auxiliary equipment for weight reduction, and improved packaging have helped significantly improve fuel economy and environmental sustainability. (PHOTO: Fontaine Modification)

A variety of trends are impacting the specification of chassis-mounted auxiliary equipment by commercial fleets. Work Truck asked industry subject-matter experts to identify these trends and explain why they are occurring.

Here is what they told us:

Trend 1:
Greater Use of Multi-Function Components

One example of multi-function equipment used in upfits is a three-in-one air compressor, generator, and welder.

“There’s an immense drive to reduce weight so a vehicle is below the threshold for DOT and CDL requirements,” said Joe Brightwell, manager, fleet services operations – truck engineering for Wheels. “In addition, the space savings created by multi-function equipment and ease of operator access is a win for drivers.”

Trend 2:
More Interest in Crash Avoidance Add-On Equipment

OEM option packaging restrictions are causing many fleets to add safety equipment at the upfitter.

“Starting in late 2014, we have seen interest in fleets requesting crash-avoidance features. The majority of crash-avoidance features are offered by OEMs, which requires customers to select up-level or luxury trims. As a result, fleets are utilizing aftermarket companies and upfitters to install crash avoidance features on work level or base trim vehicles,” said Charles Mathew, supply chain specialist for Donlen. “The most common crash avoidance technologies used by fleets are forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, and lane-departure prevention. This technology enables safer driver behavior, reduces the risk of accidents, and saves lives.”

Trend 3:
Widespread Focus on Fuel Efficiency

A major trend with auxiliary equipment is the push for increased fuel efficiency.

“Significant gains are being made in both fuel economy and environmental sustainability by spec’ing auxiliary equipment for weight reduction, improved packaging, and the increased use of auxiliary power units (APUs) to power auxiliary equipment,” said Mike Crumlett, manager, North America truck maintenance operations for Emkay.

Trend 4:
Increased Use of Telematics in Commercial Fleets

Fleet telematics applications have proliferated. “Various types of installed telematics components have hit the fleet industry with a major impact on fleet operations. Monitoring driver habits, as well as vehicle operational data, is becoming almost as commonplace as cruise control or power windows. We view the telematics industry as a constantly evolving, invaluable partner providing our customers with real-time information that will assist them in their job,” said Bill Byron, senior truck specialist for medium- and heavy-duty trucks for Donlen.

There are several reasons why this is occurring: “These devices provide cost-savings opportunities by developing downloadable critical data pertaining to driver habits, pointing toward accident prevention and fuel usage. Additionally, by monitoring vehicle performance, a fleet manager can utilize the data to make more educated fleet vehicle selector choices for his or her company,” said Byron.

One impact to the upfitting of these devices is the incorporation of this equipment by OEMs into the vehicles during the new-vehicle assembly process.

“Fleets continue to seek out new telematics technology in an effort to maximize fuel efficiency, monitor drivers to ensure safe driving, and manage logistics. Competition will increase in this market as OEMs continue to develop in-vehicle telematics systems,” said Howard Goldman, vehicle purchasing manager for Merchants Fleet Management.

Trend 5:
More Fleets are Specifying Cranes, Compressors, and Inverters

“We’ve experienced an increased frequency in being asked by customers to include equipment, such as cranes, compressors, and inverters, within our upfit quotations prior to an order being placed. Our customers prefer using nationally recognized brands at a consistent, repeatable price for their use wherever their need may be,” said Byron of Donlen.

Another reason is for improved cost control.

“Fleet managers are continually been pressed to control or reduce costs and having these types of equipment added post-vehicle delivery not only limits the productivity of the vehicle operator (if they are out seeking quotes and not working), but also the costs can vary dramatically between their New York branch and San Francisco branch, for example. Where possible, we coordinate with our upfit partners to have as much of the job-specific necessary equipment added prior to final delivery to reduce technician downtime and, just as importantly, to standardize costs,” said Byron.


  1. 1. regional managers [ June 30, 2015 @ 08:11AM ]

    good info


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