I spent the better part of last week at TMC 2019 in Atlanta, the annual conference of the ATA Technology & Maintenance Council. This is one of the leading educational events for the trucking industry and is designed to provide fleet owners and operators with the latest information on how to improve maintenance, sustainability and fuel efficiency. Professionals from around the country come to TMC to network and join committees, study issues and help establish new best practices and standards.
The theme of this year’s event was “going beyond the frontier of maintenance.” There were several educational sessions that addressed future-oriented truck and trailer technologies, vehicle electrification issues, KPIs, and equipment specification trends.
A few of the main trends that became readily apparent to me at TMC 2019 were:
- A strong emphasis on the continued need for technician and driver training.
- The need to amplify and promote the vital role trucking plays in the domestic and global economy. One shining example of the value the trucking industry brings is how quickly fleets drop everything during natural disasters to reroute trucks and deliver needed supplies to those people in urgent need.
- A big focus on using data and analytics to elevate and improve maintenance operations.
- Presentations on how technological advancements such as automated driving and platooning will be used to fill in the driver shortage gaps in the future.
- Discussions on a new DOT pilot program that is reducing restrictions on younger drivers to help ease the current driver shortage.
Link Innovation on Display at TMC 2019
Of course, attendees go to TMC to see the latest product developments as well. At our booth we showcased our latest innovations suited for fleets, including our ROI Cabmate and 6×2 Adaptive Loading Auxiliary Suspensions.
There was tremendous interest in our 6×2 Adaptive Loading Auxiliary Suspensions, which was also on display in a Volvo VNR in the Volvo booth and the Mack Anthem day cab in the Mack booth. This configuration is designed to provide better fuel economy, longer tire life, and better traction, particularly in slippery conditions. People were very excited about this technology and we received a lot of questions about when it will be available on other major OEM vehicles. You can read our case study to learn more about how Joel Morrow of Ploger Transportation uses this technology to help achieve considerable fuel savings.
Customers visiting our booth were also excited about the advantages of the ROI cab suspension. Many were interested in the new features and technology we use to achieve the future standard in ride quality. It’s easy to see why—with the dampening rate of the shock being infinitely variable, it can respond to large or small bumps accurately to keep the ride smoother than was previously possible. You can also see how our ROI Cabmate suspension performs in real-road conditions in this review by Heavy Duty Trucking magazine.
Attending TMC 2019 was a great opportunity to learn more about technologies that will impact the trucking industry for years to come. It also helped to further position Link Manufacturing as an innovative company that is driven to find opportunities to provide OEMs, owners and drivers the solutions they need for success—today and for decades to come.