Ashland Distribution buys trucks with composite hoods

The new International TranStar trucks have engine hoods made with Ashland's AROTRAN low-density sheet molding compound (SMC).

Ashland Distribution, a division of Ashland Inc. (Dublin, Ohio), recently took delivery of 40 new International TranStar Series regional haul tractors with a special feature – engine hoods made from Ashland's own lighter-weight trademarked AROTRAN 720 low-density sheet molding compound (SMC).

"Every year we purchase a number of heavy trucks to keep our fleet up-to-date,"says Kevin Dinan, fleet manager for Ashland. "These trucks meet our needs extremely well and feature parts that are made from Ashland products."Each year Ashland replaces about 10 percent of the more than 400 tractors that comprise its fleet.

"We thought this was a great way to support a company that is using our products in their manufacturing process,"says Cedric Ball, global marketing manager for transportation, Ashland Composite Polymers. The truck hoods were produced using AROTRAN 720 resin by CORE Molding Technologies Inc. (Columbus, Ohio). CORE Molding produces fiberglass reinforced plastics (FRP) parts and sheet molding compound (SMC). "CORE is known in the industry for producing high quality fiberglass reinforced molded products and SMC for a variety of markets,"says Ball.

"Our AROTRAN resins provide the International tractors with proven performance, tough Class A finish and lower weight per part,"says Ball. The AROTRAN 720 resin formula uses patented nanoclay technology to save approximately 21 pounds when compared to standard composite truck hoods. That relates to additional hauling capacity for the trucks. "Any weight the manufacturer takes off of the truck is a step toward overall weight reduction and better fuel efficiency. The payload capability may be incremental, but it all comes together to reduce the delivery cost,"says Dinan.