AUSTIN, Texas—Fifth wheels no longer are the fifth wheel of intelligent commercial vehicle products.
Fontaine Fifth Wheel recently unveiled its new SmartConnect fifth wheel—billed as “a fifth wheel with a brain.”
“Basically, we’re taking the guesswork out of fifth wheel maintenance and automating it,” Shane Wolfe, director of engineering, explained during the American Trucking Associations' Management Conference & Exhibition.
Similar to other fifth wheels, the SmartConnect system includes an indicator light that notifies the driver of the fifth wheel’s locking status. But what sets SmartConnect apart are its predictive maintenance capabilities, Wolfe explained: Not only do sensors monitor the fifth wheel lock position, the system also collects and processes data related to hardware components’ positioning, wear, and need for adjustment.
“It can accurately anticipate maintenance needs before problems surface,” Wolfe said.