Leveraging Technology Now and in the Future
Fleet Equipment recently broke from its 40-year tradition of featuring only commercial trucks on its covers in order to feature the Great Dane Everest TL trailer. The magazine also asked Great Dane President, Dean Engelage, to comment on current industry perspectives and trailer technology. His comments are below.
Meeting Industry Challenges The current driver shortage is limiting fleet expansion and they are experiencing a capacity constraint. Nonetheless, new trailer builds have increased the first half of this year. Fleets are concerned with the total cost of ownership (TCO), and we continue to work to provide value. Our trailers are not just a commodity. We design for every application and build what customers' want, not what we want. For instance, for refrigerated vans we offer PunctureGuard lining systems that extend the life of the reefer by protecting inside walls from impact damage. With the addition of ThermoGuard, insulation outgassing and moisture absorption are reduced. We're eliminating wood in our reefers to extend trailer lifespan by stopping damage from wood rot as the trailer ages. The thermal efficiency of ThermoGuard interiors also helps hold temperatures, which means that reefer units don't need to work as hard or consume as much fuel. Additional innovations, such as CorroGuard undercoating, protect against corrosion—and the EnduroGuard rear frame design with stainless and galvannealed steel components offer long-term durability and protection—all of which help to lower trailer maintenance costs.
In the future, Great Dane will likely use more new, non-traditional materials—less wood and more plastics—in trailer construction to reduce vehicle weight, increase payload and increase fuel economy. In addition, we may even be using Nano-materials and similar specialized coatings as water repellents to further mitigate corrosion. Also, newer adhesives may make it possible to reduce the number of construction fasteners.
The demand for technology is only going to increase. With more data collection will come the need for more ways—and people—to collect and report the information. Customers will continue to look at long-term value. They will be looking beyond the initial cost of trailers to the long-term benefits of the unit—and that plays to our strengths.