Matt Cullum, Assistant Chief Engineer
Matt Cullum, Assistant Chief Engineer


How can Peterbilt Help Maximize My Payload?

In each issue of First Class Magazine, we ask a Peterbilt subject-matter expert to address an issue that we hear frequently discussed in the field. In this issue, we interviewed Peterbilt Assistant Chief Engineer Matt Cullum to help Peterbilt customers understand exactly how they can maximize their payloads and enhance profitability.

Let’s start with the basics. How does Peterbilt help its customers maximize their payloads?
CULLUM: Weight savings has long been at the forefront of Peterbilt product and technology development, and a key component of the push for maximizing overall operational efficiency for our customers. And Peterbilt has long been the industry leader in custom specifications — there are many spec configurations that customers can use to achieve maximum performance and profitability. At the intersection of those two initiatives lies the opportunity for customers to spec any vehicle in our product line for maximum weight-carrying capacity.

What are the first steps toward customers developing a weight-saving spec?
CULLUM: Customers will find our sales personnel quite knowledgeable regarding the various specifications available and how much weight savings each might offer. And they’ll find that our sales team is very willing to engage our engineers in the spec’ing process.

They can talk to our engineers and get recommendations on why certain configurations may not serve them best in their applications, or how others might be a better fit. That engagement process is what lands them a spec that will not only perform at premium levels, but deliver maximum weight savings as well.

Let’s talk some numbers. Show us some examples of weight savings that are unique to Peterbilt.
CULLUM: First of all, you’re seeing more mid-block engines, such as the PACCAR MX-13 and MX-11, in applications that had long favored 15-liter alternatives. The smaller MX-13 or MX-11 block — along with its use of compacted graphite iron, which offers 20 percent weight savings vs traditional gray iron blocks — immediately provides a significant start on weight savings, without compromising durability.

Additionally, the MX-13 uses a single crankshaft that has been engineered to be so perfectly balanced that it does not require the use of counterweights. All tallied, the weight difference between an MX-13 and a comparable 15-liter product is 330 lbs.

Customers who spec the PACCAR Powertrain will realize even greater weight savings. The PACCAR Powertrain is up to 700 lbs. lighter than other drivetrains powered by 15-liter engines on the market.

The frame also presents weight-saving opportunities. Through the optimization of a measurement known as Section Modulus, Peterbilt has developed a proprietary, material-saving shape for its frame rails. This allows Peterbilt to offer its customers both stronger and lighter frame rails even while using less material than its competition.

Crossmembers offer customers a further opportunity to reduce weight. The specification of aluminum crossmembers in most applications can save Peterbilt customers 60 lbs. over steel alternatives.

Aluminum wheels and air tanks, tool boxes and battery boxes, bell housings, brake drums, fuel tanks — these all offer further opportunities for customers to save weight.

Certainly, the opportunity to develop a weight-saving spec and maximize payload in almost any application is available from Peterbilt.