Next generation Oshkosh S-Series embodies mechanical to digital shift

As peak 2019 construction season approached, Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corporation briefly assembled ready mixed concrete producers from across the industry to showcase and open the order book for the new namesake S-Series front discharge mixer truck. President and CEO Wilson Jones framed the vehicle in terms of an overall diesel-powered equipment migration from mechanical to digital, Internet of Things-heavy operation. He and senior business leaders underscored TCO, or total cost of ownership, as the driving force behind the new S-Series design and specs. Measured against a legacy model introduced 25 years ago and upgraded in 1999, they outlined the truck’s features and performance potential:

Oshkosh Corporation has evolved the S-Series specs and technology features in lockstep with a broader shift in diesel-powered equipment—from mechanical to digital mindset. The all-new model premiered at the Oshkosh Convention Center gathering of front discharge mixer operators. Local and field tests with demonstration vehicles continue.
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Oshkosh programmed ClearSky in house. The telematics platform drives a message of minimizing TCO (total cost of ownership) through the tracking and reporting of driver or vehicle location and productivity, along with maintenance metrics. Extensive data capture feeds a robust analytics offering from which ready mixed producers can customize dashboards and other management tools. Shown here are sample summaries of daily fleet output; an individual truck’s site and plant proximity, plus slump, water and fuel levels; and, analytics snapshot for the same sample vehicle.
  • Better fuel economy, higher payload—the latter equivalent to .25 to 1 yard, depending on state- or market-specific axle configurations, and attributable to lighter, high performance powertrain and hydraulic power components.
  • Lower maintenance requirements, reflecting simplified frame rail, reduced volume of parts throughout the vehicle, and movement of components from outer rails to less impact-prone points.
  • Standardized front and rear axles, optimized around 39 state bridge laws and enabling quick 210-, 220- or 230-ft. wheelbase specs.
  • Sharp, 67.4-ft. turning radius versus 90.2 ft. on the prior generation model. Steering ease means mixer drivers can move where they want when they want, both on and off the job site. The new S-Series front axle features field-proven Oshkosh Defense military components for greater durability.
  • Driver-friendly features, topped by a newly designed cab with better ergonomics, increased storage space, greater visibility, plus ease of ingress and egress. Engineers’ visibility studies netted a thoughtful design that maximizes plant, road and site views, and enhances operator assurance. Larger cab allows for easy in and out, along with more accessible electrical systems.
  • Operator assurance. In addition to better ergonomics, expanded visibility and ease of use, the new cab has four times more shock absorption, meaning less vibration and a more comfortable ride to help producers retain good drivers.
  • Serviceability. Improvements that lengthen component service life, protect against corrosion, and ease access for checks or maintenance help lower vehicle downtime.

New S-Series models will also have FLEX Controls standard. This package of key mixer function-monitoring sensors was first available on rear discharge models of sister Oshkosh brand McNeilus after a ConExpo-Con/Agg 2017 debut. FLEX Controls take the guesswork out of any project and increase the life of the concrete mixer, engineers contend. The controls and programmable settings improve ready mixed concrete quality and delivery with consistent loading, mixing and pouring.

Concurrent with the S-Series unveiling at the Oshkosh Convention Center, near the host’s headquarters, was the launch of ClearSky. An Oshkosh developed and managed telematics platform tailored to concrete producers, it offers an all-encompassing driver, customer, project, truck and fleet analytics platform when integrated with FLEX Controls.

“ClearSky is our factory telematics solution created with deep customer knowledge and purpose build for front discharge concrete trucks,” says Oshkosh Director, Program Management Scott Steckling. “In addition to a truck designed with a total cost of ownership focus, ClearSky provides our customers information to help improve utilization and productivity, and save fuel—those are just a few of the benefits. We are excited about the impact ClearSky will have on our customers’ business.”

Oshkosh customers and officials were joined at the 2019 Innovation Day-themed unveiling by representatives of lead S-Series development partners to discuss the role of their now-standard components: Cummins X12 engine in 380- or 430-hp ratings; Dana Commercial Vehicle Driveline Technologies D46-172 rear tandem suspension; and, Kawasaki M7V variable displacement hydraulic motor. The Cummins and Dana components are key to the new model’s weight savings, while the Kawasaki motor helps improve fuel efficiency. Next generation S-Series production will be scheduled for early-2020 deliveries.