How Technology is Transforming Diesel Technician Careers

By Jeff Van Enkevort Feb 4, 2016
Diesel Technician

We have all heard the term grease monkey, referring to mechanics of the past, but a lot has changed since then. First, the equipment being worked on had no logic-controlled devices. Today, tractors can have over 20 logic-controlled devices, while trailers have two to four. Working on trucks is now about brains and brawn.

Today’s diesel technicians spend just as much time using diagnostic software and electronics technology as they do turning a wrench. Driver safety and convenience is the catalyst for many of these changes. Examples of these truck technologies include:

  • OnGuard Collision Mitigation System
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Forward-looking cameras for lane departure
  • Mobile communications platforms
  • Roll Stability

What makes Schneider different than the competition?

Most of our competitors may use some of the same software, but very few have the same amount and do the diesel tech training that Schneider currently implements. We also have a relentless passion to be on the cutting edge of truck technologies, which is why Schneider gets a Customer Demo Unit (CDU) every year. The CDUs are tractors equipped with changes that will not release to the general public for a year or more.

It’s not just truck maintenance

Let’s not forget about trailers either — they are getting more complex also. Most Schneider trailers and containers have a tracking system on them. The system not only reports trailer location, but also has a sensor to tell if the trailer is loaded or empty.

Schneider also has several locations that use reefer trailers for hauling refrigerated and frozen loads. Reefers are starting to be made as a hybrid unit that can run on shore power when at the dock (imagine the controls it takes to make sure the system functions properly).

Last, let’s talk about trailer safety. Do you know that Schneider’s Tanker trailers are now equipped with Roll Stability Control (RSC)? The RSC controller can actually communicate with the truck to apply the brakes if the unit senses a possible trailer rollover from excessive vehicle speed.

Staying on top of your game

Schneider currently employs five full-time maintenance system trainers. Our shop diesel techs usually get training before the dealers. A recent example is the new DT-12 Detroit automated manual transmission. Schneider trained more than 100 techs before Freightliner started training at their own dealerships.

‘Will I actually get the opportunity to use this technology?’

The answer is yes if you show you are motivated to learn and show the effort to learn on your own. Schneider is one of the only fleets that repair the unit bumper to bumper, including engine overhauls and after-treatment system diagnostics.

Have you explored Schneider’s diesel technician career opportunities near you?


About the Author

Jeff Van Enkevort IMG

Jeff graduated from Fox Valley Technical College’s Diesel Program in 1991. Prior to completing his program he began his career with Schneider as a part-time Diesel Technician in February of the same year. Since then he has worked as a full-time Diesel Tech, Central Engine Scheduler, Maintenance System Trainer and now an Equipment Maintenance Services Manager.

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