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Peterbilt’s Model 520 Delivers Reliable Performance in the Demanding Refuse Industry


Model 520

There’s nothing more demanding in the vocational work truck arena than the harsh demands of the refuse industry. Built to handle the daily grind is Peterbilt’s Model 520. The rugged, aluminum cab delivers best-in-class durability for increased uptime and lap seam construction on a zinc-coated steel sub-frame for corrosion resistance. Bulkhead-style doors provide years of watertight performance.


The Model 520 diesel engine lineup spans from the lightweight, fuel-efficient PACCAR MX-11, available with up to 430 horsepower and 1,650 lb-ft of torque, to the Cummins ISX12 with ratings up to 400 horsepower and 1,650 lb-ft of torque. The PACCAR PX-9 engine provides one of the highest power-to-weight ratios in its class with up to 380 horsepower and 1,250 lb-ft of torque. For natural gas applications, the Model 520 is available with a choice of 9- or 12-liter engines, including the ISL-G Near Zero Emissions engine. These spark-ignited engines are capable of running on either Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). With the flexibility to mount tanks either on the rail or integrated into the body, the Model 520 allows for maximum use of space when integrating a body for a variety of applications.


This low-cab forward vehicle adds a new dimension of productivity and versatility. The 65-degree cab tilt enhances maintenance and serviceability. Body installation is cost-effective and efficient, and the center console provides convenient access to body control integration points.

The Model 520 features an innovative cab that delivers versatility, comfort, and ergonomics. Center console sides are now angled, providing operators easy visibility and access to controls from either side. An enhanced HVAC system improves airflow and climate control for a more comfortable cab. The Model 520’s interior features an ergonomic dash design with LED-backlit gauges, a driver information display for critical vehicle data, and rocker switches within easy reach for maximum driver comfort and productivity. A 90-degree door opening with three grab handles on each side, and an impact-resistant, bolt-on step provides easy entry and exit.


According to Peterbilt, the distinguished grille styling accommodates new pantograph wipers, providing 27% more coverage than traditional wipers for improved visibility. Two headlight technologies are available for the Model 520: halogen bulb lamps and optional LED lamps. Both provide excellent brightness and coverage.


In May, Peterbilt introduced three new cab configurations for the durable Model 520. The vocational model is now available in Left-Hand Drive, Right-Hand Drive, and Right-Hand Stand-Up Drive, in addition to the existing Dual Seated Drive configuration.

Peterbilt introduced the Model 520 in the Dual Seated Drive configuration in 2016 providing drivers the ability to operate the vehicle from either the left or right position to optimize ergonomics, efficiency, and safety.

The Left-Hand Drive and Right-Hand Drive configurations provide a comfortable seated driving position while in transit or performing curbside operations.

The redesigned Right-Hand Stand-Up cab configuration provides ease of ingress/egress for those applications that require the driver to exit the cab multiple times during the route reducing driver fatigue. Driver ergonomics are further enhanced by standard adjustable seat, angled steering wheel, and dead-pedal to rest their left foot during operation.

“The Model 520 provides superior performance and adaptability in rugged operating environments,” says Robert Woodall, assistant general manager of sales and marketing. “Offering a full lineup of cab configurations for the refuse market further enhances the versatility of this vocational vehicle for our customers’ operations.”

The Model 520 is available with a wide range of engines, including the PACCAR PX-9, PACCAR MX-11, and Cummins ISX12 diesel engines, as well as the Cummins ISL-G, ISL-G Near Zero, and ISX12-G natural gas engines.


Peterbilt Motors Company—a PACCAR company—combines a global reputation for industry leading design, innovative engineering, and fuel efficiency solutions. Peterbilt also provides a comprehensive array of aftermarket support programs to complement its full lineup of on-highway, vocational, and medium-duty products, including alternative fuel vehicles. Find out more about Peterbilt, visit

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The lighting in a commercial vehicle can certainly be viewed from a utilitarian perspective, and it’s true that without lighting a work truck can’t really work. The advent of more robust, brighter, and longer-lasting LED lamps has not only resulted in an overall displacement of incandescent lighting, it has allowed a new era in creative light styling to begin flourishing. As is often the case, trends in the automotive sector strongly influence commercial vehicle manufacturing in terms of safety, comfort, and styling. Because of LED lighting technology’s enhanced flexibility, lots of creative energy has been directed its way, resulting in lighting solutions that not only enhance a vehicle’s appearance, but define it. “We have definitely seen a shift in our lighting discussions with OEMs and fleets,” Brett Johnson, president and CEO of Optronics International, says. “Once primary topics of conversation, lamp longevity and durability are now virtually a given, but lamp styling and differentiation are on everyone’s mind.” GLOLIGHT BREAKTHROUGH The introduction of Optronics’ LED GloLight Series lamp in 2012 ushered in the first automotive-style stop, tail, and turn lamps for use on commercial vehicles. With their smoothly illuminated outer band encircling an LED array, the lamps were unique enough to be patented. With glowing outer rings and dark centers, the new lamps grabbed the attention of OEMs and fleets alike. Optronics was leveraging recent advancements in diode technology and using its innovative optic design engineering talent to achieve the diffused outer ring that gave the GloLight its signature look. “At that time, nobody had done much to change the utilitarian look and feel of LED stop, tail, turn lamps,” Marcus Hester, vice president of sales and marketing for Optronics International, says. “The GloLight stood out and changed the way vehicle lighting looked, and today it remains one of the most popular and sought-after products we sell.” LIGHT GUIDE’S INNOVATION Optronics recently unveiled several four-inch round and six-inch oval LED stop, tail, turn, and backup lamps. The lamps employ a newly engineered, patent-pending method of light delivery that looks and works unlike anything else in the vehicle-lighting marketplace. Light Guide technology allows LED light to be transmitted from one location in the lamp to another and enables the illumination of complex shapes and patterns. Like their LED GloLight lamps predecessors, lighting with Light Guide technology makes lamps shine brighter and display an attention-grabbing appearance. The technology also allows OEM design engineers to pursue unique lighting visions. The Light Guide technology allows symbols, text, and logos to all be potential design features. “Our Light Guide technology continues to change the game by disrupting preconceived notions about what commercial vehicle lighting has to look like,” Johnson says. TWO LAMPS IN ONE Until recently, vehicles have generally been fitted with separate six-inch oval or four-inch round stop, tail, turn lamps, and backup lamps. Each lamp required a mounting hole in the vehicle body panels, frame posts, docking plates or gussets. And, each resulting cavity reduced structural integrity and presented a path for moisture and other contaminants that could lead to corrosion and further structural compromises. To make matters more confusing, stop, tail, and turn functions were often performed by LED lamps, while backup lighting remained largely the realm of incandescent lamps. Optronics’ Fusion LED combination stop, tail, turn, and backup lamps were designed to give users the benefit of two lamps for the price of one. Additionally, because the lamps are LED, they are more dependable and safer than incandescent lamps. The original nine-inch oval Fusion LED combination lamp was introduced in 2014 and has since been made available in four-inch round and six-inch oval formats with grommet- flange- and surface-mount versions that fit virtually any standard lighting application. The entire family of Fusion LED combination stop, tail, turn, and backup lamps also use Optronics’ patent-pending Light Guide technology and some even use GloLight technology. Installing a six-inch Fusion surface-mount LED combination lamp requires only a half-inch hole for wiring and four holes for rivets or screws. LED SUPERLAMPS Lamps used on commercial vehicles’ interiors and exteriors are sometimes exposed to various chemicals and environmental conditions. The patented coating on LED SuperLamps resists 45 specific chemical agents, including petroleum distillates such as coolant ethylene and coolant propylene, as well as diesel fuel, battery fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, organic solvents, methanol, detergents, cleaners, and urea. The coating is applied to each SuperLamp’s entire exterior. Lenses and housings accept and bond with the coating. The electronic circuitry inside most LED lamps is vulnerable to ambient factors such as transient voltage, electromagnetic interference (EMI), and electrostatic discharge (ESD). These conditions can occur in, on, and around vehicles. Lamps featuring LED SuperLamp technology are not damaged by transient voltage, EMI and ESD, and because they are also designed with solid-state, surface-mount device (SMD) technology, their LEDs are able to continue to function even if a lamp’s circuit board is completely submerged in water. LED SuperLamps have been tested and have proven to resist component degeneration as a result of UV exposure, flammability, vibration, temperature cycling, accelerated aging, high-velocity water spray, free-fall drops, humidity, salt fog corrosion, dust, thermal shock, and/or gravel bombardment. “The introduction of the LED SuperLamp and subsequent adoption of this and other lighting technologies from Optronics is a testament to its durability, practicality, and cost-effectiveness,” Johnson says. “Moreover, it is an example of the right products at the right time, all taking vehicle lighting to a new level of creativity, style, and substance.”

LED Lamps Light the Way with Style and Substance