The Lowdown On The Technology & Maintenance Council

The Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) is North America’s premier technical society for truck equipment technology and maintenance professionals. Its mission is to improve transport equipment, its maintenance and maintenance management in order to benefit society through the highest standards of transport productivity and safety.

Founded in 1933, ATA (www.truckline.com) is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move the nation’s freight

TMC (tmc.trucking.org) is comprised of volunteer industry professionals who work together toward its mission by:

  • Conducting and sponsoring technical meetings and displays of transport equipment and components.
  • Publishing technical and management educational materials.
  • Engendering pride in the transport maintenance management field with awards and recognition activities.
  • Establishing cooperative relationships with associations, research organizations and government entities involved in truck transportation and working with them to improve the productivity and safety of equipment.
  • Promoting the cooperation between designers and manufacturers of transport equipment and those who specify, purchase and manage such equipment.
  • Providing technical input to U.S. and international organizations that write regulations and standards to improve equipment and transportation efficiencies.
  • Delineating equipment, technology and management practices through the development and publication of Recommended Practices (RPs).

RECOMMENDED PRACTICES MANUAL

For more than 30 years, TMC’s Recommended Practices Manual has been widely recognized as being one of the leading maintenance guides for commercial vehicles, containing the best equipment maintenance and maintenance shop management information available. This comprehensive 3,000-page resource manual contains more than 300 RPs.

TMC issues two types of RPs: Recommended Maintenance Practices and Recommended Engineering Practices.

  • Recommended Maintenance Practices are voluntary practices that assist equipment users, vehicle/component manufacturers and other industry suppliers in the maintenance of commercial vehicle equipment. These RPs also include informational documents that cover technical aspects of maintenance, equipment and supporting technologies.
  • Recommended Engineering Practices are also voluntary practices. These assist equipment users, vehicle/component manufacturers and other industry suppliers in the design, specification, construction and performance of commercial vehicle equipment.

In addition to the Recommended Practices Manual, TMC has a portfolio of more than 100 different materials covering a wide range of industry needs.

 

MEMBERSHIP MAKE UP

Originally organized as the Maintenance Committee of the Regular Common Carrier Conference, TMC has worked since 1956 to inform and educate the trucking industry about state-of-the-art maintenance and technology issues. Today, TMC members cover the entire spectrum of the commercial vehicle industry, including equipment users of all sizes and vocations; suppliers and manufacturers; service providers; technicians; owner-operators; academia and educators; trade press; and others that support the trucking industry.

 

GENERAL MEETINGS

TMC organizes two general meetings each year in the United States. The first is the Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition which is held in February or March.

The largest event within the ATA Federation, it provides a full slate of technical education programming and a technical exhibition that spans 200,000-square feet with more than 300 exhibitors. It attracts between 3,000 and 3,500 attendees.

The Annual Fall Meeting is the second meeting, held in September or October. This meeting features TMC’s National Technician Skills Competition - the TMCSuperTech - which offers commercial vehicle technicians the opportunity to display their abilities and earn honors and valuable prizes. (See article elsewhere this issue.)

Fleet Maintenance (www.vehicleservicepros.com) is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor of the TMCSuperTech.

The Fall Meeting also has technical education programming, as well as special technical demonstrations. It typically attracts 900 to 1,000 attendees.

 

STUDY GROUPS

Within the TMC are Study Groups - standing committees that identify problems and challenges facing motor carriers and other truck equipment users. These groups, which are long-term in nature, study a specific sector of truck technology or management.

A short-term working subcommittee of Study Groups is a Task Force. These subcommittees aim to solve problems through the development of a TMC Recommended Practice, information reports, technical policy advisories or educational sessions conducted as either a technical or a mini-technical session at a TMC general meeting.

Task Forces are composed of fleets and manufacturers collaborating to find solutions that benefit the trucking industry.

 

FUTURE TRUCK COMMITTEE

The Future Truck Committee is another group within TMC. It works to outline user needs and expectations for future vehicle designs.

This committee focuses on operational and performance requirements, rather the design requirements, allowing manufacturers great flexibility in meeting industry needs.

Further, the Future Truck Committee works with TMC Study Groups to identify areas of improvement for equipment and technology.

The committee has been successful in a number of its programs, including:

  • Development of TMC/SAE J1587/J1708 standards that establish a standardized onboard datalink and software protocol, thus avoiding a proliferation of proprietary solutions for heavy truck data communication.
  • Creation of the million-mile engine that doubles the service life of engines from the early 1980s.
  • Fuel economy gains from electronic (programmable) engines, automated manual transmissions, more efficient tire designs and aerodynamic improvements.

To learn more about TMC, visit tmc.trucking.org, send an e-mail to tmc@trucking.org or call (703) 838-1763.

 

Hannah Kolman is a freelance writer specializing in business, economic and general interest issues.

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