MAN sees potential in platooning after pilot project with operator

MAN Truck platoon

MAN has seen further potential in platooning after the successful completion of a seven-month pilot project run alongside logistics company DB Schenker.

As part of research sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, drivers drove two electronically linked vehicles on the autobahn between Nuremberg and Munich branches of DB Schenker. Described as a “real-life platooning trial”, the trucks transported goods as opposed to concrete blocks used during other manufacturers’ trials. Through electronics, the trucks connected with the first dictating the speed and direction.

An MAN spokesman said: “The system allows the trucks to talk to each other. One press of a button in the cab is all it takes for the trucks to connect and start platooning.

“Should one driver wish to leave the platoon, he can by pressing the same button or, if drivers don’t want to platoon, they can decline invites from other trucks.”

Having covered approximately 35,000km with the trucks 15m to 21m apart, the drivers praised the comfort and the sense of safety provided by the platooning process. The project resulted in fuel savings of between 4% and 5%. 

Joachim Drees, chairman of the management board of MAN Truck & Bus, said: “We were able to show that platooning has the potential to contribute to the reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. First and foremost, we are pleased that the system works reliably and can increase safety on the motorway.”

Earlier this year, rival Daimler announced that it would not start any new truck platooning trials, having discovered that, in the real world, it offered just a 1% improvement in fuel economy.

MW Hydraulics dives into wet kits

Truck Wet Kit

Bridlington-based MW Truck Parts has launched a division to provide customers with a cheaper alternative to hydraulic wet kits. MW Hydraulics will sell new wet kits for a range of vehicle gearboxes, including Volvo, Scania, Mercedes-Benz, DAF, MAN, ZF and Eaton. The equipment, which includes hydraulic oil tanks, hydraulic pumps and PTO units, are manufactured to TUV Austria standards and come with a six-month warranty.

MW Hydraulics director Hazem Watti said: “We are expanding as a business and becoming more known in the marketplace for our used truck parts. Market leaders such as Edbro and Hyva are already in the market, but to buy a wet kit from us it would be £1,800.”

A standard wet kit from Edbro can be brought for £1195 including an aluminium tank and fittings.

Watti believes the new range will help diversify its business, with the company selling new equipment rather than used parts that MW Truck Parts is best-known for. “It’s a good alternative to the market leaders,” Watti continued. “Hydraulics are expensive, so we’re a good-quality alternative option to the market leaders.”

MW Hydraulics, which in the interim will operate as a sub-brand within the parts business’s main website, only stocks hydraulic equipment rather than the cylinders or rams needed to lift a body or run a crane, but will sell all the components either individually or as part of a full kit with aluminium tank, 45-tonne max-lift pump and the directional valve including all hoses, fixtures and fittings.

“If someone has never had a hydraulic application on their truck they can buy the full thing from MW Hydraulics and will then be able to get a crane or whatever else they need,” Watti explained.
MW Truck Parts was established in 2015 to fill a gap in the market for supplying used and recycled truck parts. The transition into new hydraulics parts is a step into new territory for the business, but is not an indication of where the core business might be heading.

“There’s millions of people selling aftermarket patented parts,” Watti said. “We give customers original equipment that is used but in good condition. We don’t concentrate on mirror arms or housings because you can get those from anyone. We give customers the option of buying quality used parts – like fuel tanks – that would otherwise cost a lot from a manufacturer if bought new.

“You can’t get aftermarket doors. A new door with all the trimmings from a manufacturer is about £1,500, from us it’s about £400.”