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At the 2014 Mid-America Trucking Show, Western Star famously showcased a custom-designed version of a 4900X highway tractor then set to star as the Optimus Prime autobot in the next iteration of the Transformers series of movies. Fittingly, yesterday the company rolled out a transformer for its off-road customers.
The Western Star 6900XD Multi-Body Transformer (MBT)-40 – dubbed transformer for its ability to quickly switch out one fully functional in-cab-controlled body application for another – is the first such offering from Western Star and a new concept for off-road equipment markets.
“What we’ve done is taken a demountable and turned it into a transformer,” Tomlinson says. “Off-road chassis equipment can be expensive to buy and maintain and new emissions levels are making the investment even more costly.”
Demountable bodies generally are simply uninstalled and replaced for various applications. What makes the MBT-40 different, Tomlinson says, is that bodies mounted to the MBT-40 utilize the truck’s electrical and hydraulic system, meaning additional savings and functionality since those systems are equipped on the truck rather than the body.
Using a PALFINGER G68 hooklift, with a lifting capacity of 34 tons, Tomlinson says the MBT-40 is designed to replace the need for multiple pieces of dedicated off-road equipment on a job site that sit for long periods of time when they are not needed.
“I can water in the afternoon and dump all morning,” he says. “And it’s quicker to change over than it is to fuel the truck.”
The MBT-40 features multiple hydraulic air and electrical connections that allow it to connect and power a variety of bodies from flow-controlled hydraulic motors and pumps to heavy high-flow tip cylinders.
“By maximizing the operation time, customers can have the equipment they need always for when it is required,” says Tomlinson. “Mining, quarry and off-road construction industries are looking for better solutions right now and we have the answers for them with this new product.”
Tomlinson adds he is still working with truck body builders to expand the range of bodies the truck can accept, but possibilities are only limited by the willingness of body builders to design options and the capacity of the hooklift. “If it weighs under 34 tons, just let your imagination run wild,” he says.
A demonstration of the MDT-40 accompanied the launch of Western Star’s new Extreme Duty (XD) Off-road package at Michelin’s Laurens, S.C., Proving Grounds.