Products & Services – On the Move at Euro Bus Expo
A round up of innovations, launches and developments in products and services at this year’s show – Chris Peat and David Cole
As readers of our preview on the Euro Bus Expo know, there were many new releases, product launches and innovative technology featured at the show.
As ever, Chris Peat traversed the halls and perused the stands, bringing you the latest products and services news while David Cole tracked down some of the seating providers to find out what they were displaying.
Here’s what they discovered..
Drawing the crowds was CPT. Not only did it have information available on becoming a member of the trade organisation, it also held its ‘Ask the Minister’ forum. This enabled visitors to its stand to write a note to the DfT concerning what change they would like the government to implement to improve conditions and assist the industry. There were some interesting responses. It also promoted its latest developments, including its latest workshop and engineering accreditations, the appointment of Andy Warrender and its new Crisis Control Helpline. The latter sees its professionals deal with press, radio and TV enquiries for its members.
Portland Fuel was promoting its fixed price fuel card. The company claims it is the only fuel card that allows users to fix diesel prices for up to a year. Another of its offerings is purchase reviews, which involve the firm look at its client’s premiums and suggesting better ways to buy fuel.
Parts, engines and equipment
Alcoa’s newest aluminium wheel, its Sprinter model available in size 16.0 x 5.5 was one of the main attractions to its stand. On the drive axle, the product can be mounted in mixed applications with the original steel wheels supplied with the vehicle. A full vehicle conversion kit is available.
Cyclesafe, a new mirror system designed to help avoid collisions with cyclists, was the main focus of Ashtree Glass’s stand. The M926CE twin lens mirror is designed to give drivers far greater visibility in urban environments. Also new was a wing mirror that folds backwards in an impact in an effort to reduce damage.
Carlyle offer a massive range of parts, the latest on display was its new range of Doga OEM wiper components. They are designed for applications including ADL, Plaxton, Wrightbus, Optare, MCV and Van Hool.
Clark Wright introduced to the public for the first time its eQuilt fire protection system. Blanketing the engine compartment, the product is designed to stop a fire spreading throughout the vehicle. The composition of the material used in the product is kept firmly under the company’s hat, but it is maintenance free and fastened to the body using mechanical fasteners or heat resistant contact adhesive.
The Euro6 engines from Cummins described in last week’s On the Move were on its stand and also installed in ADL’s next generation Enviro400 and Enviro200. Additionally, Otokar had the Navigo and Vectio LE fitted with the ISB4.5 Euro6. The company announced that its Darlington factory reaches its 50th anniversary in July 2015 and to mark the occasion it is searching for the oldest surviving buses with engines built at the site.
One of the stand out products on Eberspächer’s stand was the new AC 420 G2 roof mounted air conditioning system for minibuses. The modular unit has been designed to be lightweight in an effort to save fuel. It has reduced refrigerant charge facilitated by its shortened refrigerant pipes and, thanks to using brushless blower technology, it benefits from longer durability of the evaporator fans.
Showcasing its next generation emissions solutions was Eminox. This includes its Gen 3 SCRT emissions reduction system, which has been designed and developed specifically for urban operation while fitting into a minimal space envelope. It combines SCR with CRT technology to reduce particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and other harmful emissions.
Brake component specialist, FirstLink Auto Parts, was showing some of its wares. It can provide brake discs, pads, drums, shoes, chambers and sensory equipment for all makes and models. It designs and manufactures them using its in house design studio.
The main product focus at Grayson Thermal Systems’ booth was the E-Drive cooling system. According to the company, it has been configured to ensure energy is not wasted, leading to fuel savings of up to 15%. It can be designed to customer specifications to include up to 20 fans that will only operate when required. New features being specified for the product for 2014/15 include new finger guards, a next generation CANbus controller, an improved control box, a 3lbs lighter fan and a new lighter tube and fin design. The company was also letting visitors know it is Thermo King’s sole official supplier to the UK bus and coach market.
Invertec was showing its Halo ring LED alongside its up lighting designed in conjunction with Optare. Also illuminating its stand were some interior lights for the new ADL Enviro400 and a new lighting system for Iveco’s Urbanway, which featured a colour wash. Another product on the stand, which was said to be proving popular, was its LED tube designed to replace older fluorescent models.
Magtec showed an example of its compact modular electric power system for new or retrofit applications and advised that further development was underway to increase the single charge range of vehicles fitted with the units.
Fuel tanks for various vehicle applications were promoted by Priden Engineering. The company manufactures them for Wrightbus. It’s not just fuel it can produce tanks for, it can also construct them for AdBlue and other liquids.
A new electric door, designed to be less complicated than others on the market, was displayed by PSV Systems together with a new hybrid door that shares similar components. A new two stage ramp was shown, comprising of two boards that fit together in the aperture. One major UK operator wants to implement the product within the next year, according to the company. A manual boarding ramp was shown too.
A Sure-Lok double inertia occupant belt from the AL600 Series was the newest product from Q’Straint. The kit is a complete solution for securing wheelchairs and their occupants in community transport vehicles. It features a heavy duty cover, dual vehicle sensitive retractors, an internal floating guide, track anchorage and a positive locking indicator. Also on display was the company’s Quantum wheelchair restraint product for bus applications.
Webasto signed an agreement with Spheros at the show, which sees the Doncaster based air conditioning and heater specialist exclusively handling the company’s products in the UK. It already provides back up and support for the Spheros products. On its stand it had the Citysphere fully self contained 3.8kw hermetically sealed 24v air conditioning system. It is designed for citybus saloon air conditioning applications. Fitting into a vehicle’s roof hatch, it has been designed to distribute air better for improved cooling.
The Aunde Group stand featured Isringhausen and Esteban products now carrying Isri branding. Revealed at the show were the Plus models in the Civic range. The UK produced Civic Plus V2 and V3 feature customisable finishes and will be available as an option from around the end of February 2015. In response to increasing demand from passengers for on-board power to their phones and tablets, two options for USB connections were shown, one integrated into the rear of the EGA coach style bus seat and the other as a front and rear fitment between Civic seats as seen on the Blue Tiger vehicle launched the previous week. The NTS2 E driver’s seat was shown in all electric form with the card recognition option which sets the seat to a position stored on the driver’s card. The seat is also heated and air mover cooled for comfort.
Cogent Passenger Seating’s stand was based around a Red Kite converted Peugeot minibus incorporating the company’s products. The low weight of the SportLight 15 seater meant it could be driven on a car licence. Described as the lightest on the market, Cogent’s stainless steel framed Solo Lite seat weighs in at just 11.9kg with belt and leg. It is designed to be comfortable down to the 95th percentile of the population and has the option of an ABS back and a variety of headrests. In parallel with the development of new products and a busy programme of vehicle refurbishment and upseating, Cogent have been vertically integrating their business, bringing manufacturing processes in house and developing their own test rigs.
Rescroft hosted AccessibleSoloutions, an area with products from a number of minibus builders and converters featuring Rescroft seats. The company initiated a programme of factory expansion earlier this year to meet increased demand for the wide range of seating solutions shown on the stand. The company’s latest development is a lightweight child seat/booster to fit any vehicle seat equipped with a three point belt.
Equal priority was given to lightweight bus seats and driver’s seats from US based USSC on the STER stand. STER has worked with USSC for five years and has established a joint venture to produce the seats in Poland for the European market. USSC offer STER passenger seats on the US market. The company’s lightweight bus seat has been approved by two groups for applications in London. Support for STER bus products is provided by H&D Trim; the company is looking for a partner for the light and heavy rail market.
Taking centre stage on the Politecnica stand was the company’s new Trans Europe Express (TEX) coach seat in full leather trim with new style sewing. An upgraded version of the GTV was shown on the E-leather stand featuring new covers and special sewing.
Seating systems were also shown by: Brusa with a very similar stand to their German IAA one; Lazzarini with a display ‘in the round’; and Kiel-Sitze in the additional covered display area between the main hall and the outside display.
Repair and refurbishment
Two new fabrics were displayed by AT Industries; the Portland Spirit and Star. The Spirit is for headlining, specifically for minibuses and coaches, whilst the Star is designed for roofs and walls. The company has the new jet black Hi-Flex velor, which has been used on the latest EVM conversions.
AK Carpets were there to present their range of coach carpets and other interior fabrics for the PCV industry. Director, Richard Ayers, was at the show in his new role for the first time. Photos of former Director, Harry Law, were on show in memory of the well loved man.
They promised an unmissable stand and that’s what they delivered. Fabercon brought a cow (albeit a plastic bovine), which was part of the company’s emphasis on the Austrian Knietz range of in-vehicle fabrics. As well as examples of its materials, the company also showed its steam cleaner.
During the year, fabric specialist Holdsworth has been changing its name to that of its parent company, Camira. The name change was the focus for the company at the show, alongside a presentation of new product ranges Dimension and Quantum. The Dimension collection is the business’ first transport fabric to include ‘closed loop’ recycled yarn derived from their own polyester waste and selvedges. It is 20% lighter than traditional wool moquettes. The show was also the launchpad for Quantum, a ‘stylish and chic’ new polyester range suitable for bus and coach interiors. This stock backed collection comprises 36 designs in 14 colour options.
The latest designs in E-Leather were displayed at the show. The company provides a green alternative to real leather, reconstituting waste leather off cuts to create its material. With examples of seats it has trimmed, the business showed its sewing techniques, patterns and embossing expertise.
‘Everything’ on Epengle’s stand was new. The entire range of moquettes displayed by the company had never been showcased in the UK before.
Light up USB ports fitted to coach seats were displayed by Hants & Dorset Trim, the latest equipment it supplies and installs.
As well as displaying its range of textile patterns, Swiss Lantal also demonstrated a new computer tool it is using to make designing bus and coach interiors easier. The application features internal views of a bus or coach and allows users to select a fabric from the company’s range and alter the vehicle’s interior colour specifications. It allows the camera view of the 3D virtual model to turn and move, providing a ‘walkthrough’ of the PCV’s interior.
A live demonstration of traditional hand painting of bodywork was to be seen at Meridian Coachworks, which certainly seemed to draw the interest of visitors. Making a return to the show was the PCV repair, repaint and refurbishment specialist’s putting challenge.
Rowan Telmac had a double decker on its stand to demonstrate its refurbishment and seating capabilities.
Some exciting developments are in the pipeline for vehicle refurbishment specialist Thorntons in the coming year, which B&CB looks forward to reporting on. The company had a photo display of some of its work and facilities, with representatives available to explain what it can do for customers.
Passenger transport technology specialists, 21st Century Technology, brought a completely re-designed exhibition stand to this year’s event. The company invited trusted supply partners on to its stand to show visitors how multi-modal its approach for transport technology is.
Integrated electronic systems for PCVs was one of the themes on Actia’s stand. It promoted its Multi-MUX integrated diagnostics system, which is designed to provide fast diagnosis of electrical problems. It supports ADL and Optare Euro6 vehicles and has online automatic updates for new vehicles. Modular and upgradable, it has a menu system intended to easily guide the technician.
A host of new equipment was shown by Autosound. One of the biggest developments on its stand was a Bosch MediaRouter, which has only recently been added to its range. The device allows passengers to stream content from a USB stick, as well as providing onboard wi-fi. The company’s EasyGuide CityBus passenger information system was shown. GPS triggered, the system can display different media content depending on where it is. It provides voice announcements, route information, maps, location specific advertising, pictures, video and live TV. USB charging points were another product promoted. A new Bosch Freeview TV tuner for onboard applications was shown, as well as a new Blaupunkt onboard phone for drivers, which is connected to the vehicle. Autosound also offer a lane departure warning system in addition to its existing products. The editor was baffled by a USB powered fan that, when turned on, showed the company name in lights on the fan blades.
GPS is now fitted as standard on Centrad’s CCTV systems. The company announced it is to completely refresh the brand, including a new logo design. Visitors were able to meet the company’s new Business Development Manager, Matt Freemantle.
Corethree demonstrated its mobile ticketing solution for Hertfordshire’s Interlink transport network. The mobile tickets are now in use with Uno Bus.
Drug and alcohol testing solutions were launched to the market by Drager. It showed its Interlock XT breathalyser that measures the amount of alcohol in a driver’s breath and prevents the engine from starting if this level exceeds a preset limit. It also presented its Drugtest 5000 portable oral fluid drug detection device.
Fusion Processing presented its CycleEye device at the show, which detects cyclists coming up to a bus in its blind spot. A trial of the equipment on TfL’s fleet has just been completed. The first orders for the production variant of the product were being taken at the show.
GKN showed its Gyrodrive electric flywheel hybrid system together with a display section demonstrating how it could be installed beneath seats on a bus. The system is designed to be a lower cost alternative to conventional battery hybrids. According to its manufacturer, it leads to fuel savings of up to 25%, and the payback period for bus operators is three to four years. The system is smaller than conventional battery or super-capacitor hybrid units.
Fresh branding for Hanover Displays was publically revealed for the first time on the company’s new stand. A new logo and corporate colour scheme was shown alongside its range of products. Instead of the usual amber lettering display, UK Sales Manager, Alan Cressey, said many customers are starting to go for different colours.
JMW Systems’ newest product was the Auditta Fuel management system. Options for this include integration into fuel pumps, a seven inch touch screen, wi-fi connection, a fueller snapshot camera and an integrated electronic tank gauge. The company was also showing an example of its passenger information display systems.
Next stop announcement equipment was one of the talking points at Mobile Onboard’s booth with its Beam NextStop on show. Its BeamOS operating system was another interesting product, which allows the company’s own and third party equipment to be added to an integrated system. Also on show were the firm’s mobile ticketing capabilities and its Beam on-bus wi-fi solution.
A Mobivision passenger information display was shown by McKenna Brothers, alongside an array of other products from its range. It was getting across to visitors its products’ capability to provide ‘Talking Buses’ in line with Guide Dogs’ efforts to make audio visual technology onboard buses mandatory. The company was also promoting its vinyls service.
Merridale’s message at the show was that web based systems are not the only way to go when it comes to fuel management. Representatives from the company were also highlighting the fact it has reached its 20th year in business. Examples of its fuel management systems and pumps were shown.
Launched for the first time to the bus industry at the show was Mobile Mark’s LTM Series of antennas. It actually comprises of five separate antennas in one unit, able to deal with Wi-Fi, GPS and 4G LTE. Several variants of the model are available.
Mobility Networks Group’s accessible lift division, PLS, had an extensive stand complete with a rig displaying several lifts and solutions. One of the main attractions was its newest product, the AccessTM range. The EQ lift on display represented the latest evolution of PLS’s Ski-locker Lift as it encompassed a new, more aesthetic design. Handrails have also been enhanced to ensure smoother, easier deployment and storage. Designed to VDL’s specifications, the lift has built in GPS that enables it to be tracked by engineers if it breaks down.
Companies involved with mobile wi-fi access for the industry are growing in number. Pepwave is one of the latest to the market and provides a number of different solutions, from top of the range to entry level. Its SpeedFusion is designed to intelligently manage multiple internet links.
Demonstrating its range of cash management systems was Scan Coin. It had its RCS 400, which is designed to streamline cash administration and verification procedures enabling faster cash floats and speedier collection of the day’s takings. The company displayed its latest version of the CDS 830 cash deposit system, which includes two note acceptor modules developed in response to changing customer needs, particularly a change in the balance between volumes of coins and notes.
Taking centre stage on Synectics’ stand was the latest generation of its T-series CCTV recorder. The T1600 16-channel, analogue DVR has 1TB of storage space, meaning it can store up to seven days of footage. It can be upgraded to 2TB, with other options including an onboard accelerometer and solid state drives to maximise resilience against recording loss during incidents. Recorded data can be synchronised with a GPS receiver, allowing footage of incidents to be tied in with the vehicle’s location. Designed for effective cooling without fan assistance, the T1600 is protected against dust and dirt ingress.
Announced during the show was Ticketer’s recent deal to supply Cardiff Bus with Electronic Ticket Machines across its 210 strong fleet. The units will be delivered early next year. Cardiff selected the technology to accommodate future plans, such as the use of EMV cards and m-tickets. It has also ordered four hand-held units to reduce boarding times at busy locations such as the three Park and Ride sites and the Baycar service linking the city centre with Cardiff Bay.
One of the stand out products on Trailer Vision’s stand was the Omni-Vue 360 ‘look-down’ camera system. The device consists of four cameras, a recording unit and an onboard display to provide an all round view of the vehicle.
New from ticket machine specialist, TransMach, is the Casio IT-9000 portable ticketing device. It can be used to dispense paper tickets, read smartcards, scan barcodes and carry out chip and pin payments. It features a lithium-ion battery, a high speed thermal printer, a barcode reader and is capable of using 3G for data transfer. It has GPS, making it possible to link the machine into a satellite tracking system.
Vix Technology received a hand delivered ITSO certificate for its latest on-bus ticket machine. The device supports contactless bank cards, ITSO cards and NFC devices. It is also the company’s first third generation device to achieve ITSO certification.
Zeta Automotive was promoting its EconoSpeed fleet fuel saving system. Claimed to reduce fuel use by up to 15%, the product is a speed limiting device. It automatically adjusts acceleration for optimum engine performance.
Telematics and software
‘Where is my coach?’ is Distinctive Systems’ latest development, which was being promoted at the show. It sees the company’s coach management system linked with Google Maps to track the fleet. As well as allowing the back office to view the location of the vehicles, it also offers the same capability to customers using Traffilog’s telematics capabilities.
EP Morris showed the latest capabilities of its Depot Performance System alongside the range of services it offers.
Omnibus received a VIP visitor. Transport Minster, Baroness Kramer, paid an un-scheduled visit to the bus software solution company’s stand and was greeted by Directors Peter and Carol Crichton. The business was showing visitors the latest enhancements to its suite of software to meet new needs. Of particular interest was the new internet or intranet based web enabled driver information facility in the OmniDAS Driver Management System. Another development, introduced to meet changing needs of Local Authority clients, is the re-design of the Bus Stop Asset Management module, OmniFLAG.
Announced at the show was Traffilog’s newly signed five year contract with National Express. The deal will see the company continue to provide driver profiling, telematics and location based services to the operator. Under the agreement it will also continuously enhance the current functionality with several new developments currently being explored.
TruControl PSV, TruTac’s latest offering, was being demonstrated. Designed in conjunction with National Express, the web based system is a market leading, fully automated, analogue and digital tachograph analysis and compliance system.
Training and compliance
Blue Slate, a training DVD production company, was showing its latest release. The ‘Everyone’s a Passenger’ film provides advice on transporting passengers with varying disabilities. It includes interviews with people with disabilities to find out what they do not like about travelling on public transport. It shows a ‘bad bus’, exemplifying bad practice in terms of carrying disabled passengers and a ‘good bus’, demonstrating good practice. Most of its existing sales have been to use it as part of Driver CPC training. With a usual retail price of £149, it was being sold at a special show price of £99.
As well as its apprenticeship training courses for the industry, City College Coventry was also promoting its short courses designed for PSV employees. The latter are available for the mechanical, electrical and body trades.
The team from Novadata were on hand to help visitors plan ahead for healthy compliance to help protect their Operator Licence. The company specialises in transport training for drivers and managers. It says it achieves a higher pass rate than most for the Transport Management Certificate of Professional Competence (Management CPC) in Passenger Transport. It also had information on its Driver CPC training offerings.
Bridgestone showed its newest bus tyre, the U-AP 001. For all positions, it is designed for excellent grip and braking performance and is M+S marked for mud and snow, as well as the Alpine stamp for winter conditions. It has a higher load capacity than its predecessor, the R192 and a claimed 20% longer tyre life. Information was available on the company’s other products, as well as its retread options.
Two products were the main focus of Continental’s stand. Its latest tyre, the Conti Coach HA3 is intended for long distance coach operation. Through its sipes, it should achieve good braking performance and fuel efficiency. The second item of note was the company’s tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), ContiPressureCheck. The kit includes temperature and pressure sensors for vehicles’ wheels, a central control unit and a monitoring display for the driver’s cabin.
GT Radial made its debut Euro Bus Expo appearance with the GSR225 Combi Road and GAU861 all-position urban city-bus tyres. Launched one year ago, the GSR225 Combi Road has specially developed tread and base compounds designed to improve mileage and a wider tread pattern intended to deliver excellent handling and extra resistance to tearing and curbing. The 22.5in tyre is currently available in sizes 275/70, 295/80, 315/60, 315/70 and 315/80 with a load index range from 148/145M to 156/150L. GT Radial’s first all-position urban city-bus tyre, GAU861 has been designed with an extra reinforced sidewall to ensure maximum resistance to curbing and impact damage. Available in 275/70R22.5, the tyre can be used in both steer and drive positions on both 4×2 and 6×2 configurations and is M+S marked.
New on Groeneveld’s stand was the Fluidmaster, a fluid level indicator. It is designed with a warning light system, which uses LEDs to enable the operator to check fluid levels are correct. It can be used with up to eight different fluids using non-invasive sensors and uses components from the company’s well established Oilmaster system, which was also displayed.
With a prime position near the entrance to the halls, Karcher were hard to miss. Its best seller on display was the Professional TB Line, a gantry bus wash. Alongside was a single brush walk round model which is proving popular with smaller operators.
Liftmaster showed its HPK24 Hub Puller Kit, its newest piece of equipment. Designed for the ADL Enviro200 and Enviro400, it is for the easy removal of wheels and has already been supplied to a number of major operators.
JHM Butt’s Ravaglioli range of vehicle column lifts is available in either electro mechanical or electro hydraulic formats. The company’s other stand displayed Ceteor booster packs.
Prominently displayed on MasterPart’s stand was a Ceteor booster pack. Intended to be portable, the products are available for 12/24v and 24v applications.
An interesting product displayed on Stanners’ stand was one of the i-Range of induction heaters. New to the UK, the units are designed for mechanical heat expansion applications without damaging surrounding areas on the vehicle. The localised heat source takes cold steel to 800degrees C in less than three seconds. Using it means doing away with naked flames and gas cylinders. It heats up using a magnetic field.
An impressive sight on SomersTotalKare’s stand was an ADL Enviro400 double deck demonstrator being lifted using Somers’ mobile column lifts.
Stertil Koni had an Excel Conversions Sprinter minibus hoisted upon a set of its mobile column lifts. Information was available on its ST 1075 range of mobile column lifts, which can be wireless or have cables fitted to them.
Revolution was what WheelRight were after at the show. Its marketing material focused on affecting a revolution in how operators check tyre pressures. The company supplies an in-ground tyre pressure monitoring system. Buses and coaches drive over the sensor pads, installed at the depot, which sends tyre pressure details to the control unit. Messages are then sent out to staff when the pressure is out of a pre-set parameter. Unlike many tyre pressure monitors on the market, it requires no vehicle fittings.
Workwear, clothing and uniforms
Proudly displaying its Yorkshire Tiger uniform was First Corporate Clothing. The company provides the operator’s workwear alongside other bus and coach companies. Offering a range of products, the business has garments for all aspects of the industry, from high vis jackets to blazers and ties.
Euro Bus Expo proved a momentous occasion for the company previously known as Leisurewear Direct. The business used the show to launch its new name: Pride & Joy. The rebranding is designed to reflect an upscaled and exciting new product range of quality bus and coach uniforms. With a new direction and refreshed approach to passenger transport uniforms, the Pride & Joy clothing line focuses on quality, trends and detailing. Three new products were launched, including soft shell jackets designed for high performance with three layer waterproof, three way stretch fabric, breathable windproof membrane and fleece inner. British lamb’s wool fully fashioned jumpers with rib linked V-neck, rib cuffs and welt in navy, graphite and black were launched alongside an exclusive Pride & Joy high specification detailed poly-cotton shirt. The business has built and trialled its own automated customer ordering and processing system, which it plans to roll out to all customers during Spring 2015.