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Truck filter value: Immediate & long-term

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Most of us have heard and even used the old adage, “Good things come in small packages.” It is never more true than when it explains the value filters bring to your operation’s trucks and tractors in terms of fuel economy, uptime and controlling maintenance costs.

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“The return on investment is clearly present for fleets to use premium filtration elements,” says Beau Lintereur, executive director-global aftermarket sales and marketing, Cummins Filtration. “Stop and consider what the high performance filter can mean to a truck’s performance—it is quite significant especially when you consider the impact of filters on all engine systems.”

High performance filters can lower a fleet’s costs. “With lube filters, service intervals can be extended significantly [depending on oil quality and condition], which reduces the quantity of filters and oil used—and that translates to lower costs and increased uptime,” Lintereur explains.

He goes on to say,“Roughly 38 to 40% of fleet expenditures go for fuel, so high-quality filter servicing at specified intervals can actually optimize fuel economy.

“Advanced filtration can positively impact vehicle uptime and reduce overall wear,” he says. Synthetic media provides higher capacity, greater efficiency and less restriction than traditional paper/cellulose. Cummins Filtration manufactures its own synthetic media, called StrataPore, which meets or exceeds OEM specifications. This media is used in the full-flow section of the Fleetguard filter to remove the smallest particles, while providing low restriction to oil flow in cold situations or when oil is thicker due to oxidation or sludge.

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Poor fuel filter efficiency can place undue wear on the engine’s injectors and leads to poor fuel economy and performance. With “smart” filtration, the monitoring system informs the fleet of the optimal time to replace with OE-quality component. The company recently introduced a new synthetic media called NanoNet, which it says provides three times more protection on engine injector testing. Field data has indicated that new media also provides 10 to13 times cleaner fuel out of the filter.

Another example Lintereur cites is the air filter, which slowly fills with contaminants. This contributes to restricted air flow and it’s “much harder to pull air through the last 20% of the filter’s life.” He notes that a truck operator actually burns more fuel when he uses the filter beyond recommended service intervals.

Filtration systems with new predictive-monitoring technology will include the intelligence and algorithms, electronics and the communications method to notify the driver a filter change is required.

Lintereur acknowledges that larger, more sophisticated fleets focus on fuel economy programs with the drivers and constantly provide coaching. “It’s a real competitive advantage to stay focused and re-examine maintenance practices including filter replacement,” he adds.

Proper filter usage is a practical value proposition. “We’ve studied the data from talking with thousands of fleet users,” he says. They use X-brand will-fit versus genuine OE quality and performance and are shocked by the poor results. Filters with built-in technology can deliver optimized results for truck operators.

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Fleets must protect their equipment investment with smart, proven processes in service and for replacement—and some are using telematics solutions. Lintereur suggested it could be an equalizer and provide greater info-access to manage service replacement more effectively. “The small- and medium-sized fleets could have the same capability to operate as efficiently as the large fleets,” he notes.

In canvassing many fleets’ parts rooms, this writer has witnessed a variety of filters in inventory, hopefully matched by the operations’ adherence to strict replacement schedules. Effective OE-quality filters with exacting interface to key fluid and air systems are vital to maximizing performance and uptime of power units.

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