Western Star builds real-world 'Transformer' for extreme duty

Western Star builds real-world 'Transformer' for extreme duty

'Serious Trucks' brand targets new markets with XD Offroad lineup

GREENVILLE, SC. Leveraging its iconic brand and Daimler corporate clout, Western Star is looking to “transform” the off-road construction and mining markets with a new line of specialty trucks and an innovative system for swapping truck bodies to suit the immediate needs of equipment operators in the field.

Company executives on Thursday introduced the trade press to the Extreme Duty (XD) Offroad package and the new the MBT-40 Transformer chassis in a demonstration at Michelin’s Laurens Proving Grounds.

Calling Western Star a “brand with attitude,” President Kelley Platt explained she wanted to event to highlight the “vocational focus” as part of the company’s growth plan, which also includes expanding the dealer network “to help them tap into new markets and convert new customers to Western Star.”

The XD Offroad line is an important part of that growth strategy, designed to deliver the “serious trucks” label to the articulated and ridged frame markets. Engineered specifically for extremely rugged environments, it’s now available on both the 4900 and 6900 models. Vehicles spec’d with the XD Offroad package deliver maximum driver safety and comfort while providing customers with a low cost per ton product for off-road applications. Western Star plans to open the XD Offroad package up to other models in the future.

And the real star is the 6900XD Offroad MBT-40, dubbed the Multi-Body Transformer for its ability to quickly change from one fully functional in-cab controlled body application to another, a new concept for off-road equipment markets, explained John Tomlinson, XD and vocational sales manager, Western Star .

The Western Star MBT-40 with a dump body, next to a tanker body that took less than 10 minutes to exchange.

Simply, Western Star has taken the concept of a “demountable” roll-off or hook-lift body a step further.

“A transformer is an off-road chassis that’s capable of transforming from one fully functional truck to another fully function truck,” Tomlinson said. “We’ve created a system where you plug the trucks in. All of the switches turn into the new body switches. All of the hydraulics size themselves to the new body.”

Basically, the concept means that customers don’t need to buy a whole, new vehicle for specialized tasks only to park it at the job site most of the time.

Using a Palfinger G68 hooklift with a lifting capacity of 68,000lbs and a new transformer package, the MBT-40 gives customers greater utilization of their chassis. With the new product, extremely complex and heavy capacity bodies can be changed over and back to work quickly and easily.

“It’s a fully functional water truck if you need it; if you don’t need it, 10 minutes later it’s a dump truck,” Tomlinson said of the demonstration vehicle. “The MBT-40 package is a game changer in construction applications for its ability to be multiple pieces of equipment in one chassis. 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.”

One hydraulics package is designed to work with multiple bodies.

The unit is equipped with a generic in-cab control system and a self-adapting hydraulic system that also allows the operators to quickly and easily swap the controls of multiple body applications as well. The MBT-40 features multiple hydraulic air and electrical connections that allow it to connect and power a variety of body needs from powerful flow controlled hydraulic motors and pumps to heavy high flow tip cylinders.

“Working with Western Star on this open platform concept product has been great. CARCO Industries is very experienced in mining and off-road fuel and service products along with carrying the Palfinger crane lines,” said Charlie Schimmels, sales manager, CARCO Industries. “This combination of experience and product along with the rugged design and carrying capacity of the XD40 Offroad chassis offered by Western Star makes this a very unique product. With commodity prices down and budget cuts becoming common place we need to think smarter about how we do business and the MBT-40 does that.”

The 6900XD is available in both 6x4 and 6x6 configurations.

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