Eaton’s 8LL and 18-speed manuals remain leading specs among dump truck buyers at Kenworth, but the need to attract and retain drivers is pushing the industry toward automated and automatic transmissions. Operating a manual transmission requires more effort and concentration on the road and in the work zone.
At 82.7 inches wide, the Kenworth T880 cab, shown here, is 10 inches wider than its predecessor and has 23 inches of room between the seats. Instead of offering an extended day cab option, Kenworth added 4 inches of space behind the seats to allow for more seat travel. There’s enough room on the back wall for hooks to hang coats and hard hats.
Kenworth also now offers the new Kenworth Nav HD. The system incorporates a hands-free communication system with Bluetooth connections and voice commands as well as turn-by-turn navigation, USB port, camera inputs, AM/FM/weather bands, and iPod or MP3 integration, among other features. Specific to dump trucks, Nav HD offers up to 30 “virtual” gauges in the screen to supplement the dash gauges.
Dump trucks are supplementing traditional dial gauges with data-rich digital displays. The Kenworth T880 is one example. Centered above the tachometer and speedometer is a 5-inch, high-resolution, color display—the Kenworth Driver Performance Center. Digital gauges provide general information like time and temperature but also real-time information about the truck’s operation, including oil and transmission temperatures, a sweet-spot visualization of RPM and fuel economy, engine torque, PTO status, and pop-up diagnostic alerts.
In today’s market, it is especially important to consider spec’ing your next new dump truck with both vehicle productivity and driver comfort and satisfaction in mind. Bed materials, shape, capacity, and other features go a long way toward determining a truck’s productivity. If your choice of dump body helps to haul a half-ton more than the next guy, you’re not just going to be more profitable. That half-ton is going to win you contract after contract over the vehicle’s life.
Among the truck dealer, truck OEM, and body builder, buyers have tremendous resources available to help them spec the truck they need. When looking looking at truck and body suppliers, ask how the two communicate. Have they worked together before? Are they talking to one another and sharing ideas on a steady basis?
Advanced braking systems can provide active safety features like roll and directional (yaw) stability control. “Dump truck loads are dynamic—they move—and no two payloads are placed exactly the same,” Kenworth chief engineer Kevin Baney says. “Drivers who have experienced advanced braking systems on highway trucks want the level of control that disc brakes and active safety systems can provide.”
The combination of disc brakes and a 6S/6M ABS configuration (six-wheel speed sensors and six modulators that transmit pulsating air when a wheel locks) provides all-wheel and individual-wheel braking control. Because it can respond to each wheel individually, ABS provides better performance in split-coefficient situations where one wheel is on a slippery surface like a steel plate and another is on dry pavement.