Performance and Reliability in the Face of Adversity
By: Oliver Emms
Haulage and transportation are critical to any economy. The UK’s Department for Transport for example recorded 2.47 million goods vehicles traveled from the UK to mainland Europe in 2010. It was also reported that this figure was up approximately 74% from eight years previously.
With increasing HGV traffic on our road networks and journey routes becoming longer and more diverse, it’s vital to ensure the vehicles used are as best equipped as possible to stand up to a variety of extreme operating conditions.
There are numerous factors that are considered and monitored when carrying out development testing for on-highway trucks. Varying climates can impact on engine performance in a number of ways. Both hot and cold temperatures can pose significant challenges for our trucks when operating. Here is a summary of each condition and the resultant issues that can occur.
Grenada, Spain is one location visited in order to carry out tests in high temperatures. In summer months, these can be in excess of 40 degrees Celsius. A range of trucks both small and large are often ferried abroad from the UK and driven to their relevant locations. High heat levels can cause the water contained in engine compartments to evaporate leading to difficulties with diesel traveling through the fuel lines. Levels of oxygen in the air can be lower in high temperatures and this can lead to difficulties in fuel ignition too.
Tests carried out in these conditions include steep hill climbs, high altitude, and high load trucking. Engine and exhaust temperatures are monitored and fuel efficiency is also recorded throughout the various tests. Stop and start town driving is important to assess too as fuel economy can drop significantly.
One destination for testing trucks in colder climates is Sweden. Falling inside the Arctic Circle, and with temperatures falling to -22 degrees Celsius in the colder months; it is an optimum climate for assessing the performance of goods vehicles.
The main problems that occur with trucks in sub zero temperatures are the vehicles’ diesel and battery acid freezing. However there have been developments in design to address these issues such as fuel additives and the installation of specially adapted heaters into fuel tanks.
The two main drivers of engine development and advances in technology are fuel economy and emissions regulations compliance. It is down to the engineers to balance performance and reliability with sustainable and environment conscious trucking. Rising oil prices and stricter emissions regulations are certainly paving the way for innovative, forward thinking, and creative engineering.
If your company has a range of trucks, ensure that you have the best insurance coverage available. Visit InsureFleet for a range of insurance options.
Oliver Emms writes for Truck Locator. You can browse a wide range of vehicles for sale at www.trucklocator.co.uk
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