Learn how to secure technology’s future

July 11, 2018
TMC’s 2018 Fall Meeting education and study group sessions.

Increasing vehicle complexity and rapid technological change demands attention to detail and careful consideration when it comes to commercial vehicle fleets. As technology transforms the way fleets specify and operate equipment in both intentional and unintended ways, the smartest fleets scrutinize the investments they make in their operations and maintenance programs in order to make smart business decisions and stay ahead of the learning curve. 

That’s why this year's American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) 2018 Fall Meeting, which offers a collection of educational sessions designed to keep maintenance personnel on the cutting edge of vehicle technology, is themed “Securing Technology’s Future.”

This year’s meeting will take place September 16-20 at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida.

At TMC, equipment and technology professionals can also:

  • Participate in TMC’s Future Truck Initiative, where TMC and its member companies work together with OEMs to create the industry’s standards for future truck technology and equipment that help ensure the truck of the future is one that is the most efficient to operate and maintain.
  • Gain and share information with hundreds of peers at TMC’s Shop Talk, a free-form discussion on equipment issues.
  • Resolve troubling equipment issues at TMC’s Town Meeting and Fleet Operators’ Forum.
  • Participate in voluntary standards-setting efforts through TMC’s Study Groups and Task Forces, which tackle important issues such as electronic logging devices, natural gas-powered vehicles and emerging onboard technologies.

Educational sessions

The 2018 Fall Meeting will host a number of educational and study group sessions so fleet maintenance professionals can stay attuned to industry trends. It will feature two technical sessions and eight study group sessions.

Technical sessions

Growing and Retaining Your Own Technicians 

Companies must be ready to train and develop technicians as part of their overall technician strategy, especially given the current technician shortage, training effort needed to get an entry-level technician productive, complexity of today’s equipment and natural attrition due to retirement.

TMC has developed a number of recommended practices designed to help fleets and service providers set up programs to foster career development pathways for technicians as well as establish effective mentoring and apprenticeship programs to help train new technicians to be productive without expending an exorbitant amount of time, money and resources.

What the Blazes? – Thermal Events Forensic Analysis

Recently, the trucking industry has experienced what some fleets report is an increased number of truck fire incidents. The issue of truck fires has also received significant attention at various meetings of both the TMC and Technical Advisory Group (TAG).

Learn from panel experts what types of thermal events are occurring among fleets and how often, as well as gain insights into the causes of these incidents. Guidance on how fleets can prevent these trailer fires from occurring in the first place will also be provided. Panelists will include fleets, manufacturers and risk management specialists.

Study Group Sessions

TMC Study Groups are standing committees that identify problems and challenges facing motor carriers and other truck equipment users. These groups, which are long-term in nature, study a specific sector of truck technology or management.

Study group meetings at TMC’s 2017 Fall Meeting include:

Proper Tire and Wheel Selection for Today’s Complex Operating Environment 

The diversity of vehicle specification associated with today’s complex operating environment has had an impact on tire and wheel selection. Yesterday’s standard fleet spec may not perform as intended on the latest vehicles.

This session approaches how tire and wheel specification has changed with the changing vehicle designs. An expert panel of fleets, suppliers and tire and wheel specialists will be on-hand to provide fleets guidance on how they may wish to change their approach when it comes to tire and wheel selection, especially as newer technologies change the way they spec other aspects of their fleet.

A Deep Dive into New Trailer Safety Feature Enhancements 

The S.7 Trailers, Bodies & Material Handling Study Group will take a deep dive into what new trailer safety feature enhancements may be coming down the road and what they will mean for fleet maintenance operations.

During this session, panelists will address several proposed safety enhancements including new rear underride guard designs, side impact pedestrian guards as well as more substantial side underride guards designed to address motor vehicle collisions. The role supplemental information devices – such as back-up cameras and sound alerts – can play in improving collision mitigation will also be discussed.

Learn how these new technologies might be effectively implemented and what potential impact they might have for your fleet’s maintenance program.

Today’s Heavy Duty Coolant Complexity: What It Means for My Fleet 

Advances in engine and vehicle technology – coupled with original equipment manufacturers’ demand for lightweight metals – have resulted in increased heavy duty engine coolant complexity. Accordingly, engine manufacturers also have developed more strict coolant compliance requirements for their component partners, which, in some ways, has complicated maintenance for their fleet customers.

Learn from our expert panel of fleets, manufacturers and suppliers on how to best manage fleet coolant maintenance for today’s vehicles. The session address coolant complexity, the various formulations in current use and which are suitable for the various vintages of vehicles in common use.

Current and Emerging Technologies to Optimize Vehicle Energy Efficiency 

During this session, TMC’s S.11 Sustainability & Environmental Technologies Study Group will explore the various categories of energy saving technologies by application and duty cycle to help attendees determine what potential solutions might work best in their operations. Presenters will discuss implementation, performance verification, driver and technician training and potential unintended consequences to consider. Additionally, fleets will share their expectations and experiences of validating the energy efficiency promises made once the vehicles are placed in service.

Multimeter Diagnostics: Are Today’s Technicians Ready for Tomorrow’s Voltages? 

TMC’s S.1 Electrical Study Group is conducting an assessment of fleet and service provider technicians in order to evaluate electrical knowledge. The cumulative results of this assessment will be evaluated and presented at the S.1 Study Group Session during TMC's 2018 Fall Meeting in Orlando. This assessment is partially based on TMC Recommended Practice 1204, which was developed by TMC’s S.12 On-Board Vehicle Electronics Study Group to help evaluate technician proficiency in the maintenance of truck electronic control systems. The assessment also features new questions to evaluate technician knowledge of more advanced electrical system components.

Learn how industry technicians measure up, and what new skills and training they will need to service tomorrow’s vehicle electrical systems.

Spec’ing and Maintenance Challenges for Active Safety Systems

Many fleets are starting to deploy the latest generation of active safety systems to improve driver awareness, assist the driver in maintaining safe distances and intervene if the driver does not respond to a potential conflict. These systems provide drivers with a variety of warnings that can reduce distraction, modify driver behavior, teach drivers how to identify conflicts before they unfold and enable improved vehicle control.

Implementing these types of systems into existing fleet operations are not without their specification and maintenance challenges. Attend this session to learn what a fleet needs to consider when spec’ing and implementing active safety systems. The session will also cover how these changes may impact fleet training and maintenance practices.

The Ongoing Evolution of the Light/Medium Worksite Hybrid Vehicle 

Manufacturers and equipment users’ main goal for hybrid-electric and all-electric powertrains is to reduce fuel consumption and reduce emissions. However, hybrid powertrains offer greater low-speed torque and flexibility in powering PTO and other work-site applications.

Learn how these alternate powertrain options are evolving to offer greater flexibility, capability and range for users of light duty and medium duty vocational vehicles and work trucks. The session will cover technological developments in the areas of battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles, and what all this means to this segment of fleet operations.

Snow and Ice Mitigation: Policies and Chemicals by State, and How Much Do You Think You Really Know About Corrosion? 

The objective of TMC’s S.17 Corrosion Control Study Group is to foster the development of technologies and practices that minimize the effects of corrosion on equipment to reduce downtime and maximize asset utilization.

This special “double feature” session will take a look at two specific aspects of corrosion control: Snow and Ice Mitigation: Policies and Chemicals by State, and How Much Do You Think You Really Know About Corrosion?

The first of these two short subjects will include an in-depth discussion on how deicing treatments and applications vary among the 50 states in the U.S. and Canadian provinces and what that means for fleets in terms of corrosion exposure and prevention.

The second of these two short subjects will challenge attendees’ assumptions as to how much they think they really know about corrosion and its impact on their operations, and the trucking industry in general – employing a lively and engaging trivia contest format.

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