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Grote Industries Inc. announced its new modular, digital wiring harness for trailers, 4SEE, which is slated to go into limited release in North America in the fourth quarter, with full release beginning in 2023.
The product comes as the number of sensors already on or planned for a trailer is expanding, the company noted, including: smart lamps, proximity sensors, trailer tracking, cargo door monitoring, security and cargo sensing, and tire pressure monitoring. And, Grote said these will provide users with cost savings, reduce Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration violations and provide actionable insights.
But data from a trailer today comes from independent silos, said C.J. Biank, global market manager for Grote.
“Our intention is to bring that all through our digital harness and really equip the fleets at one spot, whether that’s through our telematics or their telematics solution, and push that data to where it needs it to be,” Biank said.
But not all the data at once, he added. “We are just trying to pick those key insights that matter to the maintenance, safety, operations and finance folks.”
The 4SEE system begins at the weather-protected, pre-wired nose box at the front of the trailer. It comes with two simple locking connectors on the bottom of the box, said Adam Slade, director of engineering at Grote. One connects to a traditional seven-way harness and the other to the 4SEE digital harness.
“We are the largest trailer wire harness manufacturer in North America, and have developed a great deal of knowledge about what works and what doesn’t work in the heavy-duty environment of commercial trailers. The digitalization of our trailer electrical system in 4SEE is the evolution of that system,” said CEO Dominic Grote during a recent webinar.
The system’s modularity allows a user to plug in a new sensor or device to an existing connection point, Slade said. “The 4SEE leverages latest wireless technology to connect the data generated within the trailer to the end user.”
Biank said announcements would be forthcoming soon on partnerships with other companies for cameras, proximity and wheel-end sensors.
The app and portal interface. (Grote Industries Inc.)
There will be options for both original equipment installs of 4SEE and retrofits through Grote’s network of installers.
“It doesn’t matter who the trailer maker is,” Biank said. “It would take, depending on the setup and what systems are being installed, anywhere from two to eight hours.”
Or it could be done in-house by a fleet, which Grote will train.
Meanwhile, the Madison, Ind.-based company reported research shows within next five years up to 33% of new trailer builds will be that smart connected trailer.
Grote also has operations in Canada, China, Germany and Mexico.
Biank said a number of fleets have been running road-trial systems for the past 10 months and those tests have accumulated about 1 million miles.
Most major trailer makers have been made aware of what Grote is doing with 4SEE and have seen some early information on the system, he said.
“This is not just a dry van solution,” Biank said. “Our intent is to take this to flatbeds and tankers as we go. There’s new functionality and integrations we’re working on and all classic trailer types are in our future.”
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