Fontaine develops fifth wheel for yard trucks

Updated Oct 19, 2015

Armor_MechanicFontaine Coupling Solutions has introduced a new fifth wheel designed specifically for yard trucks.

The Armor fifth wheel is stronger, easier to maintain and better protected from kingpin damage than other terminal tractor fifth wheels, the company says, providing increased uptime and lower total cost of ownership. It can be ordered on new trucks or fitted to existing competitor brackets in the aftermarket.

Robbie Laney, Fontaine Coupling Solutions director of sales and leader of the market study team, says the company spent more than three years studying the yard truck fifth wheel market, talking to more than 100 customers about how they use fifth wheels across warehouse distribution, industrial, port and rail applications.

“We learned that terminal tractor or ‘yard truck’ fifth wheels may be coupled and uncoupled up to 300 times a day vs. just once for most over-the-road trucks,” he says. “In port applications, they load containers weighing tens of thousands of pounds on them daily. These extreme operating conditions lead to high maintenance costs as customers have to frequently rebuild and replace fifth wheels that were not specifically designed to handle these tough applications.”

The Fontaine Fifth Wheel Group created a new company specifically to address the yard truck market. Fontaine Coupling Solutions started fresh and designed the patent-pending Armor fifth wheel from the ground up to meet the unique needs of the market. After thorough lifecycle testing at the Fontaine Research and Development Center and in the field, Armor is now available.

Armor_Top_ViewTo rebuild other yard truck fifth wheels, technicians must remove the wheel from the truck, and then turn it over to work from the bottom. The total rebuild process can take up to three hours. The Armor fifth wheel’s unique lock design simplifies maintenance — critical locking components can be replaced from the top side, reducing rebuild time to as little as 15 minutes.

The Fontaine Armor fifth wheel is built with all components tucked away from the edges of the top plate to help shield against kingpin damage. To provide greater useful life, the wheel features replaceable wear pads and a composite air cylinder. Its locking mechanism includes a proprietary anti-high-hitch feature to help prevent dropped trailers due to false coupling.

While many yard truck fifth wheels are rated to 70,000 lbs., the Fontaine Armor fifth wheel can handle 80,000 lbs. vertical load and 200,000 lbs. drawbar pull. Plus it’s backed by a one year warranty, double the length of the standard wheel used in this market.

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