September 11-15, 2017
Category: Fleet

Suspension Savings

The challenges associated with beverage fleets in today’s market are ongoing. Diverse loads, rising costs and maintenance are just a few of the many topics that require careful consideration when making investment choices to best benefit a company’s future.

PepsiCo North America Beverages recently collaborated with SAF-Holland on a new fleet suspension system from to help reduce fuel costs, extend tire life and reduce toll costs. The SAF CBX40 with Auto PosiLift is a system for fleets with varying load requirements in daily operations, according to the company, that raises the rear depending on the weight of the load. That specified weight is programmed into the system by the trailer original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and is read by the pressure sensor in the air system each time the trailer’s engine is started and hand brake is released.

In June, PepsiCo North America Beverages began testing this technology and Roland Bailey, supply chain associate leader at the company, recently discussed with Beverage World the initial results

BEVERAGE WORLD: What challenges were the company facing that led to this investment?
PepsiCo North America Beverages fleet faces the same challenges all distribution companies face in today’s high-priced petroleum market: how to spec equipment that effectively utilizes every drop of fuel. We look for investments that have a positive return that helps reduce operating expense and leads environmental stewardship.
BW: How did the company decide on this particular system from this vendor?
The lift axle concept was a collaboration between the PepsiCo North America Beverages fleet specification committee and SAF-Holland. The technology to capture weight data from the air bags and make a decision based off of a set of written data was new with the introduction of the latest ABS ECM. The auto-lift concept was created and then worked on with engineers in trailer design, ABS and suspension to develop a pilot unit. Once the initial pilot units were placed into service it was just a matter of tweaking the parameters to meet Department of Transportation compliance and our delivery needs.
BW: What does the equipment offer?
The Auto PosiLift axle offers increased fuel economy, reduced tire and wheel-end maintenance, and offers a reduction in toll costs.
BW: On how many vehicles will this be implemented?
The lift axle is now part of our standard specification on all long haul and local delivery trailers.

BW: How does this investment fit in with the company’s overall fleet goals?
We expect the return on investment to take less than one year from the savings on tire and brake wear alone. Since we keep our trailers for many years, anything beyond the initial payback calculates as upside, allowing investment in other products or services that further reduce cost and improve service to our internal customers. Our goal is to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective equipment to our sales and transportation departments.
BW: Can you go through the savings that were realized or that are anticipated?
Although we are not prepared to share specific data,we can say that in our store delivery application, the average reduction in the forward axle wheel revolutions is 60 to 80 percent. In general terms, the cost of wheel-end maintenance on the lifted axle should be reduced by approximately the same amount. These results will vary depending on diminishing load times and parameters set in the module to lift the forward axle.

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