What Pros With Dispatcher Training Need to Know About Downspeeding
June 16, 2017
Operating a trucking business, as with most other businesses, relies on operating at a low cost, and completing runs and other necessary work as efficiently as possible. Since trucks are a focal point for the industry, much of the ongoing development into cost-cutting and efficiency-enhancing measures are based around improving the way trucks operate, with various mechanical alterations to the vehicles being developed over time.
One such alteration is known as downspeeding. In America, it’s been a popular change to truck capability for a while, and is beginning to catch on more and more now in Canada, thanks to the potential it has to improve efficiency and lower fuel costs.
Here’s a look at what downspeeding entails.
Pros With Dispatcher Training Can See Downspeeding Change RPMs Without Sacrificing Torque
Downspeeding’s main effect is in changing the manner in which an engine works, lowering the RPM of the crankshaft that moves the engine’s pistons. This may seem strange, as up to a certain point, the higher the RPM of an engine, the more torque that is being generated, and the better a heavy load can be accelerated. However, with downspeeding, the rear axle ratio is reduced, which results in lower RPMs, but consistently high torque. This works largely because modern truck engines are able to create quite a lot of torque at lower RPMs, and trailers and cabs are more aerodynamic, too. Downspeeding might not work as well with an older truck engine or body.
In practical terms, the downspeeding technique’s main benefit is that it allows engine speed to remain relatively low while a truck is at highway cruising speed. This improvement to efficiency has many benefits, including reducing wear on pistons, gears, timing chains, and other moving parts in engines. If you work for a trucking company after dispatcher training, using downspeeding would likely allow you to see reduced fleet maintenance costs over time.
Graduates of Dispatch Schools Might Know Downspeeding Improves Fuel Efficiency
Reducing engine RPM will also have a substantial benefit to fuel consumption. Because the crankshaft, pistons, and other parts are moving less frequently, and movement takes fuel, less fuel is required to keep the engine moving when downspeeding is being used. Estimates for the amount of fuel that can be saved are around 2-3 per cent for trucks that implement it, and over long distances and across many vehicles, this can lead to huge fuel savings for drivers and companies.
Students at dispatch schools, however, ought to know that all the savings associated with downspeeding an engine are not free. Modifications to the transmission, clutch, driveshafts, and rear axles may need to be made in order to get the engine to downspeed and operate correctly, which means there is an upfront cost inherent to the concept. While it’s likely that the prolonged benefits that can come from making the modifications would offset the cost down the line, it’s entirely possible that the investment may prove prohibitive for some companies.
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