Trucks Unplugged: Diagnostic data is on the air

One of Central Oregon Truck’s T680s had already crossed into Canada this March when the news arrived: Something seemed wrong with the fuel pressure. Sensor-generated warnings are never exactly welcome news, but Pape Kenworth was able to confirm the fuel system was already due for some scheduled maintenance. It looked like the driver could complete the southern leg of the trip to Denver.

The engine had other ideas. The electronic warnings began to increase. Everyone decided it was best to schedule the work before the trip was done.

Troubleshooting trees have been firmly rooted in fault codes for years. The data that shines a Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) or triggers another type of warning can steer technicians to look at specific components or complete specific repairs. But manufacturers are rolling out increasingly sophisticated diagnostic platforms that make it possible to tap into sensor data without plugging in a scan tool.

Fault codes are now being fed to fleet managers, dealerships, and call centers alike. Forget about the lamp on a dash. The data from late-model engines is feeding reports through text messages, emails, or web portals. Drivers don’t need to call dispatchers to report warning lamps; fleet managers learn about issues at the same time, in some cases with a call from a central call center or dealership team that monitors the details. Central Oregon Truck managers received word about the fuel pressure issue by email, generated through Kenworth’s TruckTech+ system. Personnel at the dealership offered a watchful eye.


Remote access

“Any fault code that’s generated, we can get information back to the operator in less than 10 seconds,” says Lori Cobb, Cummins’ vice president – connected solutions, referring to her company’s Connected Diagnostics system. If the problem relates to a missed regen cycle, the warnings can even come with a “de-rate timer” that tells fleet managers how long the truck can continue before the engine power is dialed back.

It’s not the only emerging issue that can be identified through remote diagnostics. Andrew Dondlinger, Navistar’s vice president – connected solutions, refers to a coolant leak as an example. Drivers have been known to top up reservoirs when warnings are triggered on the dash. The problem is that can leave maintenance teams blind to the underlying problem. Techs might not check hoses or clamps when the equipment rolls into the service bay for other issues, or not think about warning drivers to stop the practice that can introduce unwanted air into the system.

Not all fault codes and warning indicators require a truck to be parked. But fleets still need to know about the issues that are emerging before they can make informed business decisions. The Kenworth system, for example, divides codes into four categories, from information and service soon, to service now or stop the truck.

“I wouldn’t say there were codes that were necessarily being ignored [before remote diagnostics came along]. It’s more about having the fleet understand the severity of the fault,” says Greg Treinen, sales and marketing manager – connectivity with Daimler Trucks North America, referring to the value of the systems. All too often, drivers were heading to shops whenever they saw a check engine light, only to find a repair could have waited. “It’s kind of giving them that information or that insight into helping them make that -initial -decision whether to take the truck in right away or they can keep going,” he says.

Fleets aren’t the only ones that have something to gain. Real-time data streams also help manufacturers to detect warranty issues earlier than ever. “In the past, in order to hear about those issues, you’d have to wait until you had a dealer call or customer call,” Dondlinger says. It can also take two or three months for warranty paperwork to make its way through every channel. “Now we’re able to see that [issue] within minutes, hours and days.”


Data and information

Remote diagnostics is about more than a stream of sensor data. It’s about finding ways to transform it into useful information, and often involves live personnel monitoring the information before it actually reaches truck owners. Data from Mack’s GuardDog system, for example, is monitored by OneCall agents who will help decide if a code is an immediate threat or can be addressed later. “We put them in a position to make a better business decision,” says David Pardue, vice president – connected vehicle and uptime services.

The systems are also becoming increasingly refined. Mack’s first GuardDog Connect system tracked about 50 fault codes, he says. “We’ve more than tripled the number of codes and quadrupled the number of parameters.” Through a partnership with GeoTab it has even been able to extend the support back to EPA10 engines.

Still, as valuable as the data can be, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Email boxes can be jammed by information about so-called faults that include the “ghost codes” which simply resolve themselves. Suppliers are taking different approaches to solving that, using everything from filters to limit the types of reports that are generated, to having a live body interpret the data before calling in the news.

“Sometimes you don’t have enough data, or sometimes it’s too much data. You’ve got to add the knowledge piece to it. Data is good, but information is what matters,” says Conal Deedy, Volvo Trucks North America’s director – connected vehicle services. “When you take and understand a fault code plus some other information, we have a very high degree of certainty that this is exactly what needs to be done, and here’s what parts need to be used to fix it, here’s the type of mechanic you might need.”

“Many of them aren’t a severe-type code,” Dondlinger explains, describing the readings that can emerge. “Ghost codes come and go, and they shouldn’t be there at all.” Even when the filters are in place, he says most fleets limit themselves to reviewing the data about twice a day, just to confirm the equipment that will be available for dispatching.

“The combination of both email and the portal seems to work best, allowing fleet managers to quickly triage issues with the email before deciding if they want to dive deeper and look for more information,” says Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director.

Cobb finds that larger fleets are more likely to prefer emails that are sent through to a central maintenance group rather than drivers. “They know what route that driver is on; the sensitivity of the load,” she says. Smaller fleets can actually be the ones most willing to embrace more of the electronic feedback, because they have a chance to absorb all the information.


Predictive maintenance

The ultimate goal is to generate warnings that predict different issues before any warning lights or outright failures. And it is possible. Cummins engines in mining equipment, for example, draws on things like temperature readings to determine trouble spots to come.

“The on-highway space, we’ll get there, but you have to collect the healthy heartbeat data,” Cobb says. Put another way, engineers need an exact idea of how a healthy engine performs before they can create algorithms that raise the alarm as problems begin to develop. This will help to protect against “false positives” that suggest problems are on the way when everything is fine. Think of it as knowing the difference between heartburn and the warning signs of a heart attack.

“When we have the ability through seeing how that vehicle is being used, and how it is performing, we can be much more proactive in the whole maintenance and repair process to make it really efficient,” Deedy agrees.

The secret is in the combination of codes. Maybe it’s a specific coolant and turbocharger temperature that suggests a failing turbocharger. But Dondlinger says Navistar wants to be at least 85% confident in such readings before calling equipment into a shop. Otherwise, there’s the danger of swapping out something like an injector that still has plenty of life in it. “There’s a lot of data and a lot of time to analyze before you get to that certainty level,” he says.

Then there’s the matter of pulling together information from other sources, such as the location of nearby dealers that have the parts needed for a related repair.

As remote diagnostic systems are integrated into dealerships, there is the promise of checking to see if parts are available, and ensuring bays and techs are ready for the work. But there are challenges even when everyone is on an electronic system. Navistar inventory reports, for example, are only generated once per day. Maybe the turbo on the shelf was used hours before, on another repair. Determining in real time whether technicians or service bays are available is another issue.

Take it a step further, and it’s conceivable that data about the truck could be cross-referenced to an Electronic Logging Device to schedule repairs during resets or breaks, Dondlinger muses.

Daimler is exploring how the data might be used to customize maintenance schedules or service intervals, Treinen says. A focus on the engine or aftertreatment system could determine the best time for an oil or filter change. Think of it as proactive maintenance rather than predictive maintenance.

“We’re looking at what we can do with that data,” he says. “There’s a whole list of things.”


Source: Today’s Trucking


Deschutes County makes loans to growing businesses

Kollective Technology, whose software facilitates live video feeds for Fortune 500 companies, has raised investor capital in the millions, but CEO Dan Vetras said he could see no reason in 2015 to turn down a $50,000 forgivable loan from Deschutes County.

In exchange for the money, Kollective committed to creating 25 jobs by May 1, according to the county. Vetras said the company had 27 local employees in June, and he expects to exceed 30 by the end of the year because of Kollective’s recent growth. Its customers include Wells Fargo, Salesforce, Nestle, Unilever, Charles Schwab and John Deere.

The economic development loan to Kollective is one of 25 such loans that Deschutes County has made since 2010 to promote job growth. The county has loaned or granted $859,000 in exchange for 705 job commitments, an average of $1,218 per job.

Deadlines for job creation are still pending for 10 companies, but others have created at least 438 jobs and seen $438,000 in loans forgiven, according to the county.

“If you look at the spectrum of businesses, it’s not a bad batting record,” said Roger Lee, executive director of Economic Development for Central Oregon, which markets the program and is responsible for vetting applicants and auditing their performance on behalf of the county.

Companies that fulfilled their agreements include Navis, which provides reservation call support and data analysis to the hospitality industry; Central Oregon Truck and Consumer Cellular, according to Deschutes County.

At $1,218, the county’s average spending per job commitment is less than other cities and states spend on job-growth incentives, said Kenneth Thomas, a political science professor at University of Missouri-St. Louis who studies corporate tax incentives. He generally discourages local and state governments from using tax breaks or cash to persuade companies to relocate because the job-creation claims don’t account for jobs lost elsewhere.

“Lots of cities and states aren’t going to listen to me,” he said. “I also try to make sure they understand how expensive their program is relative to other cities.”

If Kollective retains all 25 jobs through May 1, 2018, the loan will be forgiven. Those companies that don’t live up to their agreements can get deadline extensions, but some have repaid the loans at 8 percent interest.

The county funds the program through various sources, including general funds and the county’s share of video lottery revenue, said Judith Ure, management analyst for the county.

Economic Development for Central Oregon markets the program, vets applicants and makes recommendations to the Deschutes County Commission. EDCO is also responsible for auditing the companies’ performance under their agreements.

“Our job is to make sure they’re used as judiciously as possible,” said Roger Lee, executive director of EDCO.

The maximum loan amount is $50,000, a useful tool for keeping or attracting employers, he said. “Even local companies, especially companies with headquarters elsewhere, want to see there’s local skin in the game,” Lee said.

Not every loan recipient has grown like Kollective. Three companies paid back all or part of their loans. G.L. Solutions, which received its $50,000 loan in 2010, paid back more than $19,000 after growth failed to materialize. Alchemy Solutions, a software company that in 2011 anticipated creating 13 jobs, moved to another state, Lee said. Geo-Spatial Solutions merged with FireWhat, which maps wildfires and other disasters.

The first loan recipient under the current program was the former Agere Pharmaceuticals Inc., a startup founded by former Bend Research employees who sold the company in 2015 to Patheon, based in Durham, North Carolina. Patheon later invested $5.7 million in an expansion of the Bend facility, which specializes in drug-absorption technology, and said it would add 22 jobs.

In 2010, Agere borrowed $14,000 on a commitment to create seven jobs over two years. At the time the company had a few employees and was waiting on a Small Business Administration loan, Lee said. “It wasn’t a lot of money, but it was money at the right time,” he said.

Other small businesses that have participated in the loan program include Vantage Clinical Solutions, Humm Kombucha and Sudara, a loungewear company.

Across the country, most corporate tax incentives go to large companies, even in programs that purport to support small business, Thomas said. “It’s good to see a government that’s actually giving incentives to small companies. It doesn’t have to be very much.”

Job-creation deadlines come up this year for several companies, including Medline Renewal, which refurbishes medical devices in Redmond, and Ammunition Development Corp., a subsidiary of Bend-based Nosler Inc. that has a plant in Redmond. EDCO has not yet reported on those firms, Ure said.

i3d Manufacturing revised its agreement with the county after its growth plans were slowed by the 2016 election, CEO Erin Stone said. “They were really willing to hear the story,” she said.

The company, which makes production-quality metal parts for aerospace and defense through 3D printing, is heavily dependent on government contracting, and the sales cycle ground to a halt last year, Stone said. i3d’s executive office is in Bend, while the manufacturing facility and engineering team are in The Dalles.

The company, which expected in 2015 to have 12 employees in Bend, is going to pay back half its $24,000 loan, Stone said. The county also extended the job-creation deadline to May 1, 2018, she said.

—Taken from bend

Jeff Jones

Just finished my 3rd week here and I’m still glad I made the move. So far great people. They back their words up with actions. And they keep you running. I came from dry van and never strapped or tarped a load before which the tarping is killing me but is getting easier each time. COTC you’re doing something right.

COTC PACCAR MX-13 & Kenworth Truck Regeneration (‘ReGen’)

The trucking industry is heavily regulated; including engine emissions. The EPA requires emissions controls for semi-trucks burning ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) in the form of particulate matter reductions.

Central Oregon Truck Kenworth’s come equipped with the PACCAR MX-13 engine. PACCAR developed the Engine After Treatment Systems (‘ATS’). The ATS is made up of the Diesel Particulate Filter (‘DPF’) System and the Selective Catalytic Reduction (‘SCR’) System to reduce particulate and nitrogen oxide emissions. When the soot level in the DPF exceeds the desired level, a regeneration is required.


“You shouldn’t have to manually regen your DPF. The ATS will automatically do a regen while you’re going down the road. However, excessive idle time will require a manual regen to be initiated,” said Phil Taylor, the VP of Maintenance at Central Oregon Truck.

Should you need to a manual regen Josh Laughlin, Maintenance Specialist, says “a manual parked regen will take approximately 10 minutes. A big thing to keep in mind is that even though it says 10 minutes the regen could run up to 1 hour and 45 minutes. The ATS is programmed to say 10 minutes. Every time this process is interrupted you will have to start from the beginning.”

The following steps are recommended for a parked manual regen:

  1. Pull the vehicle over to a safe location
  2. Ensure no one is in the immediate vicinity to the tail pipe
  3. Maintain a minimum of 5 feet of clearance to any combustible materials from the edge and top of the vehicle
  4. Make sure your jakes/exhaust brakes are off and cruise control is in the off position
  5. Make sure both of the parking brakes are set truck and trailer
  6. Push the button for 20 seconds to start the regen – the truck’s RPMs should raise. When the regen is done the RPMs will return to normal.

Shawn Patrick

The best company there is out there. You have a problem let them now. I don’t care what other people say I have worked there once before and going back in July. Trust me I have many other companies I could go to but I have never been lied to and they always kept me running. They are like a family everyone that works there. The drivers help each other out if you have problems in the yard or out on the road. Have to say they are the best.

Kevin Evans

I have worked for many different truck companies’ local and OTR. I have not seen one thing that has been a lie so far. From the call with Bob to now. Everyone in the office and shop shows compassion and you feel like a big family. The driver coaches are very personal to make sure you understand everything and are set to do your job. Also, if anyone from Rick all the way down to a cook says they are going to do something then you can bet it will happen. I feel like this company is my family away from my family that I can count on.

Daseke announces stock plan for truck drivers; $10M for program

ADDISON, Texas — Daseke Inc., North America’s largest owner and a leading consolidator of the open deck transportation and logistics market, has announced a new stock plan designed around professional company truck drivers.

Daseke became a public company earlier this year and is traded on NASDAQ.

An estimated one million shares of common stock with a current valuation of an estimated $9.9 million have been earmarked for the 2017 employee stock awards program. Restricted stock units, (which are the right to receive common stock, subject to various vesting, transfer and other restrictions and which are referred to as “stock grants”), will be awarded to the approximate 2,100 company drivers and 800 support team employees who are employed by Daseke operating companies, and who were with a Daseke company in 2016. Stock grants will also be made to company drivers and support team employees who joined, or will join, a Daseke company in 2017.

“I’ve said from day one that people make the difference — we invest in people. In our industry, professional truck drivers truly are the heart and soul of everything we do,” said Don Daseke, president and CEO of Daseke.

“We want professional truck drivers and all our support team employees to have ownership in Daseke. To our knowledge, we are the first public for-hire trucking company to have a program that makes professional truck drivers company shareholders,” said Daseke. “It’s very exciting for me personally. A driver stock program was something I have been passionate about from the very beginning. This is about being an owner. We want people to come together, be empowered and build our company with the mindset of ownership.”

Stock grants will be awarded after one full quarter of service. Professional company drivers and support team employees who were hired in the first quarter of 2017, for example, will be granted stock grants in July 2017. Initial stock grant awards for those employed on December 31, 2016, will begin in June 2017.

“This is a program that is above and beyond what our operating companies already have in place with new hires, and it rewards those drivers who help us build the future,” said Daseke. “What’s more, we offer industry leading benefits, such as a 401(k) match of up to 4 percent, and a top-tier health care plan.”

Many of the Daseke companies have been named as a Best Fleet to Drive For by the Truckload Carriers Association in partnership with CarriersEdge, as well as have won numerous safety awards.

“We’re focused on quality,” said Daseke. “We continue to grow, recently adding two new premier companies to our family — The Schilli Companies, headquartered in Indiana and Big Freight Systems, headquartered in Manitoba, Canada. We want our people to experience ownership as we work every day to build value for our customers and our owners.”

With over 3,500 trucks and 7,300 open deck and specialized trailers, Daseke offers comprehensive, best-in-class services to the world’s most respected industrial shippers.

The Daseke family of open deck and specialized transportation and logistics companies includes Smokey Point Distributing (, E.W. Wylie (, J. Grady Randolph (, Central Oregon Truck Company (, The Boyd Companies including Boyd Bros. Transportation ( and WTI Transport (, Lone Star Transportation (, Bulldog Hiway Express (, Hornady Transportation (, The Schilli Companies (, and Big Freight Systems (



Best Fleets to Drive For 2017 | COTC and SPD Bring Home Honors

COTC and SPD Bring Home Honors at Best Fleets to Drive For 2017

It’s the hotly contested Best Fleets to Drive For competition, and Smokey Point Distributing and Central Oregon Trucking Company both made the Top 20. The awards are produced by CarriersEdge, which provides online training to the trucking industry, in partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA).

COTC Wins Best Fleets to Drive For Fourth Year in a Row

It’s Central Oregon Truck Company’s fourth year in a row winning and the first for Smokey Point Distributing.

Best Fleets to Drive For is an annual survey and contest that recognizes North American for hire trucking companies providing the best workplace experiences for their drivers. To participate, fleets must be nominated by a company driver or independent contractor working with them, after which they are evaluated across a broad range of categories reflecting current best practices in human resources. The 20 top finishers are identified as Best Fleets to Drive For and then divided in half according to size. The highest scoring fleet in each category is named overall winner.

COTC Impresses Daseke and CarriersEdge

“This is one of my favorite awards,” says Don Daseke, CEO of Daseke, Inc. “It’s recognition for doing things right on behalf of drivers, and I can honestly say that each of our operating companies do a great job with their drivers – people are our most important asset. It’s wonderful that SPD and COTC were publicly recognized for their efforts.”

CarriersEdge was impressed with both companies. “The concierge service that Central Oregon has is awesome, and a great way to make drivers feel special when they come into the yard, says Mark Murrell, CarriersEdge VP of sales and marketing. “Related to that, they have a notification system – they know the name of the driver that’s just arrived. Tied in with the concierge, it’s a great way to make people feel welcome and take care of any necessary business without the driver having to chase down different managers. What’s also notable about COTC is that they never stop coming up with new ideas to improve things. The reason they keep making the list is that every year they’ve come up with something new, and often something that’s really unheard of in the industry, and they’ve got it working successfully. They are very creative and committed.”