SD: TESTED FOR TOUGHNESS
The SD badge denotes the toughest of the tough, so it’s not surprising that it’s awarded only after strenuous testing. And the process starts before pen is put to paper, says Krzysztof Hus, manager of product strategy for Freightliner Trucks.
“We solicit customer input up front and again during development. We ask customers from key applications to review designs, and their input affects what we develop. For example, we heard specific customer feedback about visibility, so we not only validated sightlines on our models and those of our competitors; we tested visibility requirements for the 108SD and 114SD. The result: best in class visibility, directly attributable to that testing. We also paid particular attention to creating a clear back-of-cab, with a special fuel tank and battery location under the cab to make it easier for body builders to upfit. Then we ran the truck on a test track to be sure the installation was solid enough to stand up on the job site. In the concrete mixer market, there was particular concern about the high center of gravity of mixer barrels, so engineers built Enhanced Stability Control (ESC) into that model,” said Hus.
Components, systems and entire vehicles are subjected to an array of virtual and physical tests to ensure the product delivers the expected function, performance and reliability.—Krzysztof Hus, manager of product strategy, Freightliner Trucks ”
Freightliner product strategy managers define the intended uses of each vehicle, and then break them down to specific applications and environment: construction, dump, snow plow or crane. “Components, systems and entire vehicles are subjected to an array of virtual and physical tests to ensure the product delivers the expected function, performance and reliability,” Hus explained.
Depending on what’s being tested, this testing may take place in a Freightliner climate chamber in Portland, Ore., in a series of brutal bashings like those pictured in the video clips at a test facility in Portland, or on a road course at a proving ground near South Bend, Ind.
Freightliner subjects cabs to testing to the standards of the Society of Automotive Engineers and the Communaute Europeenne. Freightliner is the only truck manufacturer whose cabs also meet the demands of the Swedish pendulum test, in which a 1,500 kg steel barrel smashes into the driver’s upper A-pillar, ensuring cab integrity and durability.
When a Freightliner truck bears the SD badge, customers can be sure it’s one tough truck.