News About Fontaine Modification
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Fontaine Modification Certified to Install EZ Trac All-Wheel Drive Systems
Fontaine offers EZ Trac installation at 10 modification centers nationwide
Charlotte, N.C. (October 26, 2020)
Terra Drive Systems has named Fontaine Modification a certified installer of its EZ Trac® hydraulic all-wheel drive system. EZ Trac is designed to improve traction and maneuverability for on-highway and severe service vocational trucks without altering OEM cab specifications.
Fontaine installs EZ Trac at its modification centers in Charlotte and Statesville, North Carolina; Avon Lake, Chillicothe and Springfield, Ohio; Detroit, Mich.; Garland and Laredo, Texas; Dublin, Virginia; and Mineral Wells, West Virginia. It achieved certification through extensively training employees at all of these locations. As a result of the certification, customers can take advantage of a fast, streamlined delivery process made possible Fontaine’s extensive ship-through agreements with OEMs around the country.
“EZ Trac is a unique product with a wide range of applications,” says Jamil Young, president, Fontaine Modification Medium and Heavy Truck Operations Division. “The installation process is simple and straight-forward, and the system will help improve efficiency and driveability for our customers.”
EZ Trac is the first commercially available, steerable hydraulic drive assist system designed to be installed on Class 6, 7 and 8 trucks without putting extra stress on existing engine components. It helps vehicles maintain factory turning radius and ground clearance while allowing for a lower center of gravity to decrease risk of overturn. EZ Trac improves a truck’s turning radius to 50 degrees from the standard range of 36 to 42 degrees. This significantly improves maneuverability in challenging off-road environments. EZ Trac is a good fit for trucks in the utility, construction, fire and rescue, refuse, towing, oil and gas, and forestry industries.
Fontaine Modification’s Ed Greer Retires After 40 Years in Trucking
After four decades of business travel, home is calling
Charlotte, N.C. (September 1, 2020)
After 40 years as a traveling salesman in the trucking industry, Ed Greer, regional sales manager for Fontaine Modification, is now sold on the idea of retirement.
“It’s been a fun and rewarding journey, especially my multiple stints at Fontaine,” says Ed Greer, who is retiring from Fontaine Modification this month. “When I got into the trucking business right out of college, I never would have thought I’d still be in it after all these years. I’ve had some really good experiences and worked with a lot of great people who I can count as friends. But it’s time to stop traveling and spend time at home.”
Greer spent his entire career working in sales and customer service for companies in the transportation industry. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Spring Hill College in Alabama, he started as a salesman in the truck leasing business from 1980 to 1992, including stints at Hertz Corporation, Hertz-Penske Truck Leasing and Truck Rental of Alabama.
In 1993, Greer, worked as a regional sales manager at Fontaine Fifth Wheel until 1999. From 1999 to 2001, he served as district sales manager for Volvo Trucks in Jacksonville until shortly after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
In 2001, Greer joined Fontaine Modification as a regional sales manager in Dallas where he worked in the company’s new Fleet Services division until 2006. After spending 7 years as a sales manager at New Orleans-based Carrier Transicold South, he returned to Fontaine Modification in 2013 in his current role of regional sales manager.
“Ed’s industry experience, passion and dedication allowed him to help us meet the needs of our key fleet customers,” says Jamil Young, president, Fontaine Modification Medium and Heavy Truck Operations Division. “He has been a great asset to our team and we wish him well in retirement.”
To ensure a smooth transition for Greer’s long-time customers, he will work with Fontaine Modification as a consultant for several months.
Mike Randolph New President of Fontaine Modification Light Duty Truck and EV Solutions Division
Randolph brings decades of OEM and industry experience to electrification role
Charlotte, N.C. (August 17, 2020)
Fontaine Modification has named Mike Randolph president of the Light Duty Truck and EV Solutions division it launched earlier this year to focus on electrification and light truck modifications.
“We’re happy to welcome Mike and confident his OEM experience and knowledge of the trucking industry will help us continue our momentum.” says Paul Kokalis, Fontaine Modification president.
Fontaine Modification’s Light Duty Truck and EV Solutions provides electrification packaging, integration and installation solutions as well as a full spectrum of light duty vehicle modifications.
Randolph joins Fontaine Modification from sister company Fontaine Fifth Wheel where he served as vice president of sales and marketing for the past three plus years. Prior to that, he spent six years with Volvo in national account sales leadership roles and 20 years with Freightliner in sales and marketing roles both at corporate and dealer locations. He earned a bachelor's degree in marketing and management from the University of North Texas.
“This is an exciting time to join Fontaine Modification as it builds a strong reputation as a major player in the electric vehicle solutions market,” says Randolph. “My background gives me a unique perspective on what customers are looking for in the electrification segment and will allow me to successfully lead Fontaine’s efforts in delivering new and innovative services.”
Randolph and his wife, Peggy, live in the Charlotte area.
Jerry Prosser Retires from Fontaine Modification After Six Decades in Trucking Industry
Served in various engineering roles at Freightliner Trucks, Volvo Trucks and Fontaine
Charlotte, N.C. (July 16, 2020)
After more than 60 years as an engineer in the trucking industry, Jerry Prosser is finally ready to leave the industry in the hands of the next generation. After turning 84 on July 1, he has officially retired from his role as an engineering consultant at Fontaine Modification.
“It’s time for the next phase of my 80/20 plan,” says Prosser. “I said I’d work until I’m 80 and play until I’m 100, so it’s time to move along. One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed working at Fontaine is because of the group of employees with ‘can-do’ attitudes who have joined the company over the last 13 years, and who have been key to the growth of the company. I’ve been able to contribute key knowledge and be part of the development of significant new product offerings. Fontaine’s ability to rapidly provide new products in response to changes in the trucking industry positions it to have a continued impact on the future of the industry.”
Prosser’s career in trucking began with a summer job in Freightliner Trucks’ Portland, Ore., manufacturing plant in 1954 and concludes with 25 years in various engineering roles at Fontaine Modification. In between, he managed hundreds of key engineering projects during stints with Freightliner, Western Star, White Motor Company and Volvo Trucks North America. According to Prosser, some of his most impactful projects included:
While at Freightliner, designed a container adaption to FLR’s sea pallets for transporting King Ranch cattle to Hawaii (1958).
Served as project leader on the design and protype build of Freightliner’s first tilt cab (1958).
Initiated and developed the concept and design of a new air intake and exhaust erector set of parts covering an array options that was used until 2000 (1965).
Managed the model making and aerodynamics testing of U.S. Volvo, Freightliner and Kenworth models at the University of Maryland’s wind tunnel (1983).
As Volvo’s first U.S. employee transferred to Sweden, advised Volvo in Sweden on U.S. specs for its new truck program (1984-86).
Served as plant manager of Volvo’s Ogden, Utah, Autocar plant (1986-1990).
Designed a prototype of a tall integrated sleeper for Volvo White within 90 days (1990).
Designed a super-heavy-duty military vehicle in 6 weeks for a foreign government and built 150 in less than 4 weeks in 1990.
Volvo Trucks partners with Galfab, Fontaine Modification
New collaboration streamlines installation of Galfab’s roll-off hoist bodies at Fontaine’s Dublin VA facility, expedites delivery
Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA) is collaborating with Galfab to have roll-off bodies available for installation at the Fontaine facility near Volvo Trucks’ Dublin Va factory.
The local process will enable a more efficient body installation and delivery of Volvo truck models with 60,000- or 75,000-pound Galfab roll-off hoist bodies to customers and dealers, Volvo said. The bodies are delivered from Galfab’s headquarters in Winamac IN to Fontaine Modification located adjacent to the Volvo Trucks assembly plant in the New River Valley of Virginia.
The most common model for this specification is the Volvo VHD. However, it’s also offered on other Volvo Trucks models that meet the minimum chassis requirements for the application. Specific option codes containing all chassis preparation requirements make the ordering process easy. Volvo Trucks performs all frame drilling, corrosion resistance coating and paint applications on the chassis at its assembly plant prior to the body installation process at Fontaine.
Previously, a finished Volvo truck chassis was transported to Galfab’s Indiana facility, where the roll-off body was installed before being delivered to the customer or dealer, the company said. The new process reduces logistics fees and delivery times for fully finished, quality commercial vehicles that arrive straight to the customer or dealer.
“This new practice gives customers and dealers the option to order a Volvo truck with a Galfab roll-off body, which removes complexity from the body installation and delivery process,” said Andy Hanson, product marketing manager at VTNA. “Not only does this save a significant amount of time and money for our customers and dealers, but Fontaine assures a high-quality installation and integration with our chassis.”
Read the full article here
Fontaine Modification Stays Flexible Among COVID-19
Right now, every day is both the same and different. We have the “Groundhog Day” movie syndrome (where every day feels just like the day before), yet each day features changes and issues we have never dealt with before.
“A tremendous amount of effort goes into making sure we have a safe workplace for our employees,” noted Paul Kokalis, president of Fontaine Modification. “This has led to a daily video conference call with the senior staff of the company to assure that we are taking the latest information into account.”
Fontaine is fortunate that none of its 10 locations have experienced a COVID-19 outbreak within its workforce. Some locations are experiencing closures; however, as the OEM the company serves at those sites has closed operations.
“Making sure we have the necessary components to complete the modifications has become more of a challenge as our suppliers are running into their own parts shortages and capacity restraints,” noted Brian Gagnon, Director of Process Improvement, Materials, and IT for Fontaine Modification.
There are also challenges beyond the traditional supply chain related to employee safety.
“A new factor, during this time, is the ordering and scheduling Personal Protective Equipment and the material needed to keep our employees protected,” Kokalis added.
Looking forward, Fontaine is aware of potential demand vs. capacity issues that could impact operations over the next few months.
“Assuming that the worst of this crisis is behind us at that time, many of the issues will be associated with matching our capacity to modify trucks to the OEMs’ build schedule,” said Jamil Young, President of Medium and Heavy Truck Operations for Fontaine Modification.
Honestly, only time will tell the potential impact on upfitting operations.
“Over the next six months to a year, the economic outlook will be a large influence in truck production. That will determine how we schedule and staff going forward,” Young added.
Fontaine Modification's President, Light Duty Truck & EV Solutions, Pat Griffin, added that “While demand for trucks of all types will be driven by the economy, those vocations supporting the changing consumer environment stand to gain the most.”
Read the full article here
Fontaine Modification President Paul Kokalis Elected to Green Truck Association Board of Governors
GTA is an affiliate division of NTEA, the Association for the Work Truck Industry
Charlotte, N.C. (5/21/2020)
Paul Kokalis, president of Fontaine Modification, North America’s most comprehensive provider of post-production truck services, has been elected to a three-year term as Governor at Large on the Green Truck Association (GTA) Board of Governors.
GTA is an affiliate division of NTEA, the Asssociation for the Work Truck Industry. The GTA Board of Governors is responsible for setting policy and developing strategy for the organization, as well as playing an active role in the development of programs and services. Kokalis previously served on the NTEA Board of Directors from 2016 through 2019 and sees serving on the GTA Board as a way to continue giving back to the industry.
“I really enjoyed my time as part of the NTEA Board of Directors and look forward to the opportunity to continue contributing to the industry’s ongoing evolution through my service on the GTA Board of Governors,” says Kokalis. “I believe my seasoned perspective, technical expertise and real-world experience in a variety of green solutions will help me provide value to the board and the industry.”
Kokalis joins the board with more than 40 years of experience in the truck equipment industry. He joined Fontaine Modification in 1988 as a field salesman and has served as general manager of Fontaine Modification’s Volvo operation, vice president of alternative fuels, and in his current role as president. Fontaine Modification is active in the alternative fuels and emissions reduction segment of the commercial truck industry. The company provides complete engineering design, protype development, and production installation for electric vehicles as well as CNG, LNG and LPG fuel systems on Class 2 through 8 trucks at its nationwide network of truck modification centers.
“The Green Truck Association is at the forefront of improving work truck efficiency and productivity,” says Kokalis. “I encourage my fellow NTEA members, as well as other industry professionals, to join the GTA network of companies who share an interest in the electric and alternative fuel segments of our industry. Members can access GTA’s unique tools and data while keeping abreast of the latest green truck solutions on our road toward zero emissions.”
Volvo Trucks Partners with Fontaine Modification to Offer Reduced-Height VAH 300 Day Cab
Volvo Trucks Announcement
Volvo Trucks partners with Fontaine Modification to offer a 94.5-inch height VAH 300 model. This new, lower auto hauler cab was developed and engineered in conjunction with Fontaine. In addition to this new model, Fontaine also modifies a full range of Volvo Trucks models to service the needs of all customers for any auto hauling application or load size:
VAH 300 (Available as Fontaine Model 94 or 97)
VAH 400 (Available as Fontaine Model 97 or 102)
VAH 600 (Available as Fontaine Model 97 or 102)
Read about it here
Electric trucks deliver engineering and production jobs to Detroit
Detroit Free Press (March 21, 2020)
The Detroit Free Press references the recently opened Fontaine Modification Detroit facility in an article about electric commercial vehicles bringing jobs to Detroit.
Read about it here
Fontaine Modification to Install Merlin Solar Panels; Help Fleets Avoid Expensive Jumpstarts
Fontaine offers solar panel installation nationwide
Charlotte, N.C. (March 25, 2020)
To help fleets better meet their unique power demands and avoid expensive jumpstarts, Fontaine Modification now offers installation of solar panel systems from Merlin Solar for customers nationwide.
Fontaine installs Merlin Solar panels at its modification centers in Charlotte and Statesville, North Carolina; Chillicothe and Springfield, Ohio; Garland and Laredo, Texas; Dublin, Virginia; and Mineral Wells, West Virginia.
These solar panel installations feature Merlin Solar Road Warrior Series panels that are 80 percent lighter than glass and absorb 20 percent more energy in real-world conditions versus standard flexible solar panels. They are designed specifically for the transportation industry and are customizable to fit roof contours and designs for most major truck OEMs.
“Merlin’s innovative technology gives us the capability to provide customized solar power solutions to our customers’ specific needs and truck configurations,” says Jamil Young, president, Fontaine Modification Medium & Heavy Truck Operations.
The thin, flexible and lightweight panels have a rugged design to withstand harsh environments. The panels help fleets save fuel, eliminate expensive jumpstarts, extend battery life, increase reliability and reduce vehicle downtime. They increase power to offset parasitic loads by capturing and converting the sun’s energy into power for trucks to keep them operating at peak efficiency. The solar energy also provides power to run hotel loads, reducing the number of auto-start features.
“Fontaine Modification has a nationwide network through which it can deliver our technology to its customers,” says Fernando Mejia, director, Global Applications Engineering, Specialty Products, Merlin Solar. “It’s an honor for us to make Fontaine one of our preferred installers and together provide our solar panels to customers around the country on many of the top OEM trucks. We share the goal of delivering road-ready trucks and providing the power needed to keep them on the road.”
To learn more about Merlin Solar products, visit merlinsolar.com.
Fontaine Modification Opens New Michigan Facility to Support Detroit Chassis
Modification Center to provide customized body prep, suspension, and EV conversions for F-53 and F-59 chassis
Charlotte, N.C. (March 17, 2020)
Fontaine Modification has opened its tenth modification center. The new facility, located in the greater Detroit area, will provide modifications for Ford’s F-59 and F-53 stripped chassis assembled by Detroit Chassis. This becomes the fourth facility operating under the Light Duty Truck & EV Solutions division.
“Our new modification center positions Fontaine in the heart of American manufacturing and near the Detroit Chassis plant to support the F-53 and F-59 chassis as they roll off the line,” says Pat Griffin, president, Fontaine Modification Light Duty Truck and EV Solutions. “The location will allow us to complete modifications faster and streamline the chassis delivery process so that customers get what they need sooner.”
Fontaine Modification will provide customized body prep packages, suspension modifications / upgrades, and electric vehicle conversions for F-53 and F-59 chassis at its new 65,000-square-foot modification center. Nate Eichinger, Dir. Operations, will oversee the new facility in addition to the existing Light Duty Truck & EV Solutions locations.
Jamil Young Promoted to President of New Fontaine Modification Medium and Heavy Truck Operations Division
Fontaine combines fleet and vocational services in its modification centers.
Charlotte, N.C. (Feb. 19, 2020)
Building on five years of solid business growth, Fontaine Modification has combined its vocational and fleet services business units into a single division, Medium and Heavy Truck Operations. Jamil Young was named president of the new division.
As part of the business redesign, all Fontaine production facilities nationwide will now offer both vocational truck modifications and on-highway truck fleet services, making them more nimble and responsive to customer needs. Fontaine medium and heavy modification centers are located near OEM truck plants in Charlotte and Statesville, North Carolina; Chillicothe, Ohio; Garland and Laredo, Texas; and Dublin, Virginia.
The reorganization divides the day-to-day operations of Fontaine’s existing business between Young and Pat Griffin, recently appointed president of Fontaine’s Light Duty Truck and EV Solutions Division, allowing Fontaine Modification Group President Paul Kokalis to focus on acquisitions and the company’s growth as an engineering, new product development and contract manufacturing force in the industry.
“Jamil has done an excellent job driving growth over the last six years as president of Fontaine Fleet Services,” says Kokalis. “I have the utmost confidence in his ability to lead all of our medium and heavy truck business into the future.”
Young has served as president of Fontaine Modification Fleet Services since 2014. He joined the company in 2009 and was previously vice president and general manager of southern region operations. He also has held the positions of senior operations manager and general manager of Fontaine’s Garland, Texas, modification center. Young has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from FAMU/FSU College of Engineering.
As North America’s most comprehensive provider of post-production truck modification services, Fontaine has ship-through agreements with the leading truck OEMs to maximize customer convenience and minimize delivery costs. The company provides engineering solutions to meet customers’ unique requirements and specific applications while adhering to all federal motor vehicle safety standards. Some of the services offered include:
Sit-down dual drive conversions
Low entry stand-up conversions
Custom engineering and design
Alternative fuel system packaging and installation
Electric drivetrain packaging and installation
Installation of virtually any truck equipment, such as communications systems, auxiliary power units, PTOs, blowers, wet kits, safety systems, aero kits, and chassis equipment.
The Fontaine Modification Medium and Heavy Truck Operations Division will be based at the company’s location in Statesville, North Carolina.
Fontaine Modification Hires Pat Griffin to Lead New Light Duty Truck & EV Solutions Division
Division specializes in engineering electric powertrain solutions across OEM platforms
Charlotte, N.C. February 12, 2020
Fontaine Modification has established a new division, Light Duty Truck & EV Solutions, focused on electrification and light truck modifications. Pat Griffin returns to Fontaine to serve as division president.
As North America’s most comprehensive provider of post-production truck services, Fontaine Modification has been active for several years in engineering electric powertrain packaging and integration plans across multiple OEM platforms. Demand for these services, and requests for support on light-duty vehicles, drove the decision to create the new Light Duty Truck & EV Solutions Division.
“The biggest challenge facing many of the innovators in the electrification and advanced technology space is how to commercialize their products,” explains Paul Kokalis, president of Fontaine Modification. “We’re one of the few companies in the industry that has the manufacturing and engineering expertise, capabilities and experience necessary to scale production from a single prototype to hundreds of vehicles within eyesight of the original manufacturing plant.”
Fontaine has nine modification centers across the country. The Light Duty Truck & EV Solutions Division will be based at the company’s headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. It will offer a range of services for light-duty vehicles from inspections all the way through body installations. Most light-duty modifications will be handled in three Fontaine facilities in West Virginia and Ohio.
Griffin, president of the new division, has more than 30 years of experience in the transportation industry, which includes recently serving as president of Fontaine’s sister company Marmon-Herrington since 2015. He previously served as VP of sales for Fontaine Modification in addition to executive positions in engineering, quality and Lean Six Sigma with Wabash National Corporation and Hayes Lemmerz International. He earned a BS in engineering from The Ohio State University and a MA in organizational management from Tusculum University.
Reporting to Griffin as director of operations is Nate Eichinger. Prior to this promotion, Eichinger served as managing director for Fontaine’s Vocational Heavy-Duty Business. He has been with the company since 2011. Brandon Hall joins Griffin’s team as director of engineering. Prior to his promotion, Hall drove many of the electrification projects for Fontaine from his position as senior R&D project engineer. He joined the company in 2011.
“Being intimately involved in the changing landscape of truck electrification is a great, new challenge,” said Pat Griffin. “However, leading this group of talented and experienced professionals is making this new venture a smooth transition for me.”
Fontaine Modification to Offer Samsara Hardware Installation to Help Fleets Access Real-Time Data
Arrangement simplifies technology implementation, makes trucks “road-ready” upon delivery
Charlotte, N.C. January 14, 2020
Fontaine Modification is now offering installation of Samsara hardware, including Vehicle Gateways, Asset Gateways, AI dash cams, and Environmental Monitors, to help fleets access important real-time data. This hardware can be installed at Fontaine’s nine locations across the United States to provide customers with faster and easier rollout across their fleets.
“At Fontaine, we strive to ensure our customers receive their vehicles ‘road-ready’,” said Jamil Young, president of fleet services at Fontaine Modification. “This means working with leading companies such as Samsara to deliver vehicles with the technology that our customers demand installed and ready to go. We’re excited to be able to upfit fleets with Samsara’s hardware to help them improve efficiency and access information in real time.”
Samsara Vehicle Gateways are advanced sensor platforms for fleets, providing operators with real-time location and analytics, sensor data, WiFi hotspot connectivity, and ELD-ready hours of service logging. Samsara Asset Gateways are designed to monitor high-value mobile assets, such as refrigerated trailers and heavy equipment, to improve operating efficiency, theft recovery, and more. Samsara AI dash cams use artificial intelligence and computer vision to detect near-misses, road signs, and high-risk driver behavior. Samsara Environmental Monitors offer wireless and waterproof data-logging with temperature and humidity sensors for environments that rely on this data to maintain quality or compliance.
“At Samsara, our customers are always looking for ways to simplify their implementation process,” said Elizabeth Yackley, Samsara senior implementation consultant. “Partnering with Fontaine will make hardware installation even easier and faster for our customers, which gives them more time to focus on their deployment, driver training, and perfecting the processes needed to deliver value to their organization.”
Fontaine Moves Modification Center Closer to New Hino Plant
Charlotte, N.C. August 26, 2019
Fontaine Modification is relocating its West Virginia modification center from Williamstown to Mineral Wells, WV. The new modification center offers double the production space and enables Fontaine to expand its truck modification and other service offerings.
Fontaine’s center is located close to the new Hino plant and will allow easy access to the increased volumes expected as the OEM introduces its XL series of Class 8 trucks. The new center features 33,000 square feet with more than 10 dedicated bays, two drive-through lanes, a paint booth and six 5-ton overhead cranes. The overhead cranes allow for safer and more efficient handling of large materials and bodies. In addition to painting services, equipment installations, and truck modifications, the additional space will enable Fontaine to offer new services.
The facility will be managed by Chris Reynolds who was the General Manager of the Williamstown center.
“This new facility gives us the capability to run several types of products simultaneously. That will be key to supporting the Hino XL series of trucks as they are introduced to customers,” says Nate Eichinger, Fontaine Managing Director. “We are optimistic that the move will allow us to continue to grow and expand the ways that we can support Hino and its customers. We also expect that growth to result in adding new jobs going into 2020.”
Fontaine Modification Recognized for Environmentally Sustainable Fleet Management Practices
STAUNTON, Va. August 15, 2019
Fontaine Modification received a Council on Environmental Standards Association (CES) recognition award for its support and advancement of environmentally sustainable fleet management.
Judy Williams, CES president and CEO, and James Williams, vice president, presented the 2019 award to Fontaine’s Brad Howard, director of fleet operations, Wes Lundy, purchasing manager, and Brian Gagnon, director of supply chain, in recognition of the company’s support and recommendation of sustainable fleet management products, practices and protocols to its many customers, which is fulfillment of one of the Association’s operational tenants.
“We cross-reference and refer Council members and like-minded consumers to companies exhibiting strong environmental stewardship - and a commitment to honoring the intellectual properties and ideas of the people who are improving our world - to help build a 360- degree, integrated system of sustainability,” says Williams. “Participants throughout the supply chain have countless opportunities to help grow green fleets across America. When Fontaine and other companies share knowledge and environmentally sound products, practices, and ideas with OEMs and the trucking industry itself, they are promoting and supporting environmentally sustainable fleet management that benefits people, planet, and profit.”
Fontaine Designs New Roll-Up Door Installation for Freightliner M2 Cabs
Improves Tool Access for Emergency and Vehicle Recovery Fleets
Charlotte, NC August 12, 2019
A new roll-up door design from Fontaine Modification makes it easier for firefighters, EMTs, tow truck operators and others to quickly access tools and equipment stored in the cabs of Freightliner M2 trucks. This patent-pending design allows for a watertight seal of the door to the truck, smooth, reliable operation of the roll-up door, along with easy maintenance.
Previously, storage door installation involved custom bending the mounting track to match the truck side’s curvature. Bending the track could lead to leaks and challenges with opening and closing the door.
Fontaine developed a mounting system that uses a surround to allow the door to be installed in a completely vertical orientation, rather than trying to curve to the side of the truck.
“This unique solution allows for a consistent, customized fit for these Freightliner M2 cabs from the beginning, rather than needing to modify on the fly if usability issues arise,” says Nate Eichinger, managing director, Fontaine Modification. “Vehicle operators will appreciate the smooth functionality and ability to service – clean, repair, and even replace – the door, since it can be removed from the framework we designed for this application.”
The new mounting system was developed by the engineering team led by Vocational Engineering Manager Dylan Ramsey at Fontaine’s Innovation Center for Research and Development in Charlotte. It will be installed on Freightliner M2 trucks at Fontaine’s Charlotte Modification Center, which supports Freightliner’s nearby Mount Holly manufacturing facility.
Fontaine to Offer Lytx Video Telematics Pre-wire Packages for Major Truck Brands
Clients can get vehicles pre-wired for Lytx fleet solutions as a standard option for faster and easier technology deployment
San Diego, 2019
Lytx ®, a leading provider of video telematics, analytics, safety and operational efficiency solutions for commercial and public sector fleets, today announced that Fontaine Modification will offer pre-wiring packages for Lytx fleet solutions on major truck brands including Ford, Hino, International, Volvo, Freightliner and Kenworth. Fontaine is North America’s most comprehensive provider of post-production truck modification services for OEMs, dealers and fleets.
“Fontaine’s reputation has been built on a history of providing high-quality service and innovative solutions,” said Jamil Young, president, Fontaine Modification Fleet Services. “With Lytx, we’re able to offer our customers a video telematics solution that can do it all — help improve the safety of commercial drivers, offer next-generation analytics, risk detection and fleet management — from a company that aligns with our standards for excellence. Lytx provides an innovative and dependable solution, and we’re excited to formalize our strategic relationship to offer Lytx as a standard pre-wire option for our customers as a faster, easier way to implement a video telematics solution.”
Clients who receive a vehicle pre-wired for Lytx fleet solutions will experience a simplified installation of DriveCam® SF-Series Event Recorders. Fontaine Fleet Services can help get client vehicles road-ready in a minimal amount of time so they are able to start generating revenue as soon as the vehicle arrives.
Lytx’s customizable services and programs span driver safety, risk detection, fleet tracking, compliance and fuel management. The company’s unrivaled Driver Safety Program, best-in-class DriveCam Event Recorder and proprietary machine vision (MV) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are proven to help save lives and reduce risk. With the scale of its data — more than 100 billion miles of driving data analyzed and 100,000 risky driving events captured by video every day — Lytx is unmatched in its ability to provide fleets with the knowledge needed to help protect drivers and improve their driving behaviors.
“We’re honored to be working with Fontaine Modification,” said Eliot Feldstein, Lytx senior vice president of corporate and business development. “Their reputation for being the best in the business stems from their commitment to quality assurance, engineering expertise and reliable customer service. These are values we share, and we look forward to working with Fontaine to get vehicles road-ready and pre-wired for DriveCam event recorders, so our shared customers can efficiently deploy Lytx fleet solutions for accelerated impact on saving lives, reducing claims costs and improving their safety and productivity.”
Fontaine Modification Acquires ProBilt Services of Ohio
Fontaine’s ninth modification center will support nearby Kenworth plant.
Charlotte, NC April 01, 2019
Fontaine Modification Company has acquired the assets of ProBilt Services of Ohio, Inc. The 30,000-square-foot facility is located less than half a mile from Kenworth’s truck assembly plant in Chillicothe, Ohio. This facility, with parking for more than 100 trucks, becomes Fontaine’s ninth modification center.
The Chillicothe Modification Center will provide fleet in-servicing and vehicle modifications on Kenworth trucks. The proximity to Kenworth means customers can have their modifications completed and their trucks made “work ready” simply and efficiently. Services include graphics installations, pre-delivery inspections, cab and chassis modifications, and equipment installations – up to and including some body installations.
We’re excited to add this well-run operation with its fine crew of technicians to our Fontaine network,” said Paul Kokalis, Fontaine Modification President. “We look forward to putting our experience to work for Kenworth dealers and customers throughout North America.”
“We’re proud of our Chillicothe team and the business relationships we’ve developed,” said Toney Fitzgerald, principal owner of ProBilt. “While we’re sad to leave Chillicothe, we trust Fontaine will continue to nurture and grow the business here. This move allows us to focus on our home operation in Denton, Texas.”
Fontaine and Daycab Company Introduce Extended Cab Option for International HX Series
Ship-through agreement allows customers to receive vehicles sooner
Laredo, TX March 27, 2019
Fontaine Modification Company and Daycab Company are offering a new extended cab option for InternationalÒ HXÔ Series trucks that adds eight inches of interior space to the rear of the cab. This cab expansion gives drivers additional space for storing personal items and adjusting their seats for maximum comfort while on the road.
Many fleets choose the HX Series for applications where length is a primary concern because of the design’s short bumper to back of cab measurement. But for applications where this is not as critical, an extended cab can expand the truck’s versatility.
“In some applications where drivers spend extended periods of time in their trucks, additional cab space can improve their safety, efficiency and comfort,” says Jamil Young, president, Fontaine Modification Fleet Services. “This new modification is a simple, effective solution.”
The cab extension was designed to use many original equipment parts, maintain the existing cab and exhaust mounting, and utilize only minimal specially designed parts. Daycab Company builds the extensions at its Tennessee manufacturing facility and paints them to match the existing cabs. Fontaine then installs them on the trucks at its Laredo, Texas, modification center, which is located near the Navistar International manufacturing plant where the HX Series is built.
After installation, Fontaine returns the trucks to International’s transportation system. Using this ship-thru process allows customers to get their vehicles quickly and efficiently, while reducing logistical time and cost.
Fontaine Designs Narrow Cab for Utility Companies and Steel Haulers
Charlotte, NC March 4, 2019
Fontaine Modification Company has developed a narrow cab for Peterbilt trucks to help fleets improve maneuverability and efficiency when hauling special loads. The narrow cab option provides a unique method for hauling utility poles and steel to off-road sites.
Utility companies and steel haulers often need to carry large items, like utility poles, to locations where tractor and trailers have trouble going. Because the cab width limits the amount of product that may be hauled on either side of the cab, fleets have typically had to use trucks that have been crudely modified, or they run over-width trucks which require permitting each time they haul a wide load.
When presented with this problem, Fontaine worked with equipment manufacturers and a utility company to develop a solution. “We narrowed the cab of a Peterbilt 365 6x6 truck by 18.5 inches, taking it from 72.5 inches wide down to 54 inches wide,” says Dan Jaynes, VP of Product Development for Fontaine. “This modification creates more space to transport poles or steel on both sides of the cab, while meeting legal requirements.”
One of the most important aspects of the modification was Fontaine’s ability to narrow the cab while maintaining the factory aesthetics particularly in the interior driver environment. The design also provides a unique door in the back of the cab that allows the driver to exit the cab when cargo is loaded on the sides.
The narrow cab was designed in Fontaine’s Charlotte Product Development Center.
Fontaine Modification Helps Fleets Improve Power Efficiency by Installing eNow Solar Power Units on Their Trucks
Fontaine modification centers nationwide now offer solar panel installation
Statesville, NC August 13, 2018
In response to increased fleet demand for the capability to collect and use solar energy to power auxiliary power units, Fontaine Modification Fleet Services now offers installation of solar panel systems from eNow Solar Energy Solutions.
Fontaine’s Statesville, N.C., location recently upfitted 26 sleeper trucks with the panels, which are designed to capture and convert the sun’s energy into useable power for trucks. Fontaine offers installation of eNow solar panels at all of its modification centers nationwide.
Unlike the heavy glass solar panels typically used in residential and commercial markets, the panels used for transportation applications are lightweight, flexible, only 1/8” thin, and sealed with a layer of ETFE that resists ice, debris, corrosion, and extreme temperatures.
“Working with eNow made our initial installation and documentation simple and efficient,” says Jamil Young, president, Fontaine Modification Fleet Services. “The product is rugged, robust and suitable for the working environment. The installation process is simple and straightforward, and we’re pleased to provide this service to customers at all eight of our locations.”
eNow solar panels collect energy from the sun and converts it to DC power charging the truck’s auxiliary batteries. These batteries are used to power the truck’s HVAC systems, liftgate, refrigeration, telematics and other auxiliary equipment. The solar panels produce about 300 watts per day, which helps fleets extend auxiliary battery life, decrease fuel costs and reduce downtime.
“It’s an honor to team up with a company like Fontaine Modification that has the reputation for being the best in the business,” says Guy Shaffer, chief marketing officer at eNow. “They’ve stood the test of time, continue to grow and attract business from some of the biggest OEMs in the world. Their standard of excellence aligns with eNow’s commitment to provide quality, durable energy products to the transportation industry.”
Fontaine Modification Promotes Juan Salazar to Facility Manager of Laredo Modification Center
Salazar to manage facility as truck volume nearly doubles
Laredo, TX June 19, 2018
To keep pace with a significant increase in the volume of trucks coming through its Laredo, Texas, truck modification center, Fontaine Modification Fleet Services promoted Juan Salazar to facility manager.
Salazar spent the prior two years at Fontaine as lead process engineer in Laredo and supported that function at the company’s Statesville, N.C., and Springfield, Ohio, modification centers.
As facility manager, Salazar is responsible for production planning, quality control, and achieving delivery, financial and employee safety goals. Specifically, he is spearheading the transition to a more efficient production process and the addition of a second shift to ensure that the Laredo center can handle the significant increase in truck volume.
Due to the hot truck market, the volume at Fontaine’s Laredo modification center has almost doubled from 600 trucks per month in January to about 1,100 per month in May.
“The truck industry is constantly changing and growing, and there is no limit to the types of applications our customers are coming to us for,” says Salazar. “I’m thankful for this opportunity and accept the challenge of leading the Laredo modification center to make sure we deliver the quality our customers expect.”
The Laredo modification center specializes in installing work systems, off-loading and electronics systems, vehicle tracking systems, safety equipment and graphics packages for heavy-duty trucks. The modification center supports Freightliner Trucks and Navistar manufacturing plants, utilizing ship-thru agreements with both OEMs.
To help the Laredo facility meet the increased demand for its truck modification services, Salazar led a change to more of an assembly-line production process where each technician specializes in one task or area before passing on the project to the next stage in the process. Salazar says this approach, the hiring of an additional 28 technicians and the addition of a second shift starting in June, will allow the facility to meet its commitments.
“We’re excited to welcome Juan to our Laredo facility management team during this time of increased demand for our services,” says Jamil Young, president, Fontaine Modification Fleet Services. “His quality assurance experience and focus on continuous improvement in production and safety make him the right person for this position.”
Before joining Fontaine Modification as a process engineer in 2016, Salazar served four years as electrical product engineer at Navistar Technical Center in Apodaca, Nuevo León, México. He earned a master’s degree in intelligent systems and a bachelor’s degree in mechatronics engineering from Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in Monterrey, Mexico.