Western Star’s all-new vocational truck is set to be the toughest Western Star yet after being subjected to the extreme and grueling testing conditions designed by the Product Validation Engineering team of Daimler Trucks North America, according to the manufacturer.
“Vocational customers work in the most challenging environments in the world; places where durability and uptime are crucial,” said David Carson, senior vice president, Vocational segment, DTNA, in a release. “We have put the next Western Star through its paces to ensure this truck surpasses their expectations. We have a hard-earned reputation for dependability, for reliability, and for toughness that our customers know they can count on when they get to the job site and on the journey there.”
Testing New Trucks
DTNA’s High Desert Proving Grounds in Madras, Oregon, lies 120 miles southeast of DTNA’s Portland headquarters. At an elevation of 2,390 feet and with 10,000-foot tall peaks within a 50-mile radius, the high desert of central Oregon lets engineers test in snow, rain, and blistering heat during the summer months.
Western Star has tested the new truck at the structures lab at DTNA, which houses both full vehicle and cab-only shaker tables to accelerate durability testing and find breakage in the lab, years before vehicles get to testing on the road or in the field. Capable of violently manipulating the vehicle on both X- and Y-axes to simulate a lifetime of extreme use in customer hands, the shaker tables can replicate approximately 1 million miles of real-world use in under two months of testing in the lab.
For different loading conditions, a "bed plate" test simulated extreme maneuvers on the chassis and specific components to ensure full capability, while a ‘frame twist’ test cycle was repeated 10,000 times to provide a solid foundation for the new truck and make sure it could withstand the rigors of the toughest vocational operating environments regardless of application or body equipment installed.
And, to match the unyielding strength and durability requirements with a maximum focus on driver safety, the PVE team at DTNA destroyed numerous cabs with multiple cab-crushing tests. The pendulum test imparted force to the top corners of the cab while the roof strength test applied extra force to the roof to exhaust its strength. Both tests yielded invaluable test data for the new, lighter cab design to ensure it matched and surpassed the performance of other Western Star trucks, according to the company.
These tests represent a few highlights of the full testing regimen to which the next Western Star was subjected. The world will get its first look at the all-new Western Star on Sept. 29. Work Truck and Heavy Duty Trucking will offer in-person reporting on the new truck.