Truck & Components
- Published: Thursday, 17 May 2012 13:11
- Written by CP Staff
Cummins Inc. announced its ISX12 heavy-duty engine with significant fuel economy improvements for regional haul, vocational and specialty applications. The ISX12 leverages the strength and performance of its predecessor, the ISX11.9, to deliver fuel economy improvements up to 5 percent in regional haul applications, and as much as 12 percent in vocational applications.
The compact ISX12 will deliver improved fuel economy, reliability and proven performance across the range of applications for which it is suited. Featuring better pulling power, excellent driveability and strong clutch engagement torque, the ISX12 is designed to work in rigorous duty cycles, including those for work trucks, such as dump and mixer trucks, and refuse applications. Additionally, full suites of horsepower and torque ratings are available for fire and emergency vehicles, recreational vehicles and motorcoaches as well as regional haul and day cab operations in Class 8 trucks.
It utilizes common components with the industry-leading big-bore engine, the Cummins ISX15, including an enhanced cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system, a single VGT Turbocharger and the proprietary XPI fuel system. Like the complete lineup of on-highway Heavy-Duty and MidRange engines, the ISX12 utilizes Cummins Aftertreatment System with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology.
The ISX12 has a power range ideally suited to meet the needs of regional hauling and LTL distribution operations, with standard ratings ranging from 310 to 425 hp and SmartTorque ratings from 330 to 425 hp. SmartTorque ratings unleash higher torque in the two top gears so that drivers can climb steep hills with fewer downshifts. For vocational applications, product engineers contend, the ISX12 is an exceptional choice, with a high power-to-weight ratio and 800 lb.-ft. of clutch engagement torque. Eight vocational ratings are available, along with integrated Rear Engine Power Take-Off (REPTO), Front Engine Power Take-Off (FEPTO), and a choice of hydraulic drive options. — www.cummins.com; www.cumminsengines.com
Natural gas version
Cummins Westport Inc. officially unveiled its ISX12 G, a 12-liter heavy-duty, factory-built, dedicated natural gas engine for regional-haul, truck/tractor, vocational and refuse applications at the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville in March. The ISX12 G is based on the Cummins ISX12 diesel engine platform, the newest member of Cummins Heavy-Duty engine family. The ISX12 G will operate exclusively on natural gas, and fuel can be carried on the vehicle as either compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG), utilizing Cummins Westport's proprietary spark-ignited, Stoichiometric cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (SEGR) technology, first introduced with the 8.9-liter ISL G.
The ISX12 G also features Three-Way Catalyst (TWC) aftertreatment, which is packaged as a muffler and is maintenance-free. No Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) or Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) aftertreatment will be required. A range of five ratings—from 330 to 400 hp and 1,150 to 1,450 lb.-ft. torque—will be offered. Field testing is under way, with production expected to begin in early 2013. The ISX12 G will also be the first engine from Cummins Westport to include optional engine brake capability and will also offer customers the choice between manual and automatic transmissions.
The ISX12 G will be manufactured in Cummins Heavy-Duty Engine Plant in Jamestown, N.Y., and will be backed by a Cummins base warranty (two years, 250,000 miles; 6,250 hours of operation). Extended coverage options will be released closer to production. Service, parts and training support will be delivered by the Cummins service network.
The ISX12 G is expected to be certified at launch to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (ARB) emissions standards of 0.20-g/bhp-hr oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and 0.01-g/bhp-hr Particulate Matter (PM). The engine is additionally expected to be capable of meeting Euro VI and pending U.S. greenhouse gas and fuel economy regulations. Partial funding in support of the ISX12 G engine development has been received from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in partnership with the California Energy Commission and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and the California Energy Commission in conjunction with the Gas Technology Institute.
TruckTrax signs on to tablet revolution, shelves clipboards
After Catalina Pacific driver Robert Barry washed and packed his chutes having delivered the last load of the day for a recent southern California project—the West Basin Edward Little Water Recycling Plant—he carried his wireless tablet to the back of his truck for the contractor to sign. The contractor confirmed that the delivery times were correct and signed the receipt with his finger. Within seconds, an electronic image of the ticket was deposited in the invoicing system, and the completed order was ready for billing.
Throughout its ready mixed operations in Arizona, California, Nevada and the Pacific Northwest, CalPortland Co. has begun replacing its aging, truck-mounted, GPS-enabled statusing equipment with 7-in. touch-screen tablets loaded with software to function as a timecard and delivery ticket. In the ready mixed business, the majority of delivery information continues to be conveyed via paper, supplemented by radios or push-to-talk phones in trucks. According to CalPortland Director of Business Processes and Architecture Daniel Fincher, the “bulk construction materials industry is the last bastion of delivery drivers carrying paper tickets on a clipboard. Virtually every other industry has evolved to the electronic age.”
GeoTrax is the latest development from TruckTrax LLC in Vancouver, Wash., founded a decaded ago by CalPortland and high-tech firm Capstone Technology to develop industry-related hardware and software. “Merely replacing paper is the easy first step. The trick is to use the tablets’ capabilities to make it a better venue, to offer something more than is possible with paper,” says Capstone cofounder Steven Fain.
Electronic tablets have taken the business world by storm since Apple’s introduction of the iPad, he adds, providing a platform that’s convenient, inexpensive and powerful. Replacing hardware-centric AVL systems was a logical step. “The exciting thing about tablets is that they are completely portable, they can be moved from truck to truck, driver to driver,” Fain affirms. “The key point is that software for the tablet needs to be built especially for the intricacies of ready-mixed delivery and the tablet specifically.”
CalPortland finds the tablets and GeoTrax software require far less training time than older, traditional truck-mounted GPS systems. Drivers find the touchscreen interface intuitive so they’re comfortable with the system in less than an hour. The Android-based devices also use Google Maps for turn-by-turn directions rather than a costly customized mapping program.
“The GeoTrax team has concentrated on delivering convenience, productivity, cost-effectiveness, improved customer satisfaction, and competitive advantage to ready-mix companies,” says Fincher. “Being ready-mix people, they understand a producer’s needs in a way that [those] outside the industry never will. We are a conservative industry, given the huge capital expenditures necessary to run a concrete company, we typically shy away from the leading edge of technology. We can’t afford to make the mistakes other industries can. TruckTrax has been able to marry the two worlds in a way that makes sense for us.”
When asked what’s next, Fain notes, “Verbal communications with drivers in the field seems to be a common problem. We are working on providing push-to-talk capabilities into our dispatch system as well as GeoTrax. Imagine in the dispatch screen the ability to right-click on a truck and speak to the driver. We are also working on using the tablet as a display for a back-up camera. There is no shortage of good ideas, we just need more time to get to them all.” — www.trucktrax.net
Twisted Pair Solutions
Wave Push-to-Talk Service
The construction industry heavily relies on various moving resources to work in unison for efficient job completion. This includes mobile, office and dispatch workers, suppliers and distributors, as well as fleets and equipment. One essential component to maximizing the productivity of these often-dispersed entities is effective, clear, real-time communication.
Historically, construction and concrete work crews had restricted communication options. Radios, which offer the immediacy and reliability of push-to-talk communication, are limited in their range as they are built on private networks. Radios also require expensive, continual upgrades and the bulky, single-purpose devices do not offer benefits beyond voice communication. Similarly, carrier-based solutions offer a radio over a cellular network and while these devices are more practical and less expensive, they also lock users into a specific device and service provider and still limit the functionality and coverage area based on the provider.
Today, with the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other communication devices, there is an easier, more cost-effective way to achieve real-time, push-to-talk communication between teams of mobile workers through software applications. Software solutions allow these devices to connect at any time, over any data network, essentially creating a single, geographically unrestricted network. Software allows companies to leverage their existing communication infrastructure to experience seamless two-way communication between work crews and teams.
WAVE Connections is a next-generation, push-to-talk service that has proven the value of software-based communications, helping construction workers and their service providers connect more quickly, using the mobile devices they already carry. The communications service operates from any smartphone or tablet, allowing users to download an application and push-to-talk with each other from their Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, or BlackBerry device without the hassle of stopping to place calls. And, unlike other push-to-talk options, WAVE Connections works with any carrier, over any 3G/4G or Wi-Fi network.
WAVE Connections improves teamwork by reducing human latency, making all individuals involved with a project readily available. Crew efficiency and worksite productivity are improved when workers have network and device independence, allowing collaboration to occur from any location at any time on any device. For example, with a foundation concrete pour, the service would allow a ready-mixed producer and a truck dispatcher to communicate seamlessly and instantly with each other, allowing for more timely deliveries with less idle truck time on site. Similarly, a construction project manager could easily communicate on his Android phone with the superintendent at another job site on his Blackberry, with crews on their radios and even with the administrative assistant on a landline phone.
In addition, WAVE Connections allows users to extend other smartphone capabilities beyond voice, including data, location and presence, over any carrier data or Wi-Fi network. For example, GPS capabilities can help companies keep track of their equipment trucks and crew locations, allowing them to deploy resources as needed. Data collection devices can also be integrated, allowing the flow of information to improve and, in turn, enhance decision-making and approval processes. Software integration can also further improve task allocation and maintenance processes as well as monitoring work progress and crews’ health and safety.
Google Maps, Dispatch Software Integration net efficiency, cost savings
New technologies can bring their share of benefits; consumer-targeted ones can occasionally be highly beneficial to businesses and simple to implement and use. Here is a regular and problematic delivery scenario that can see different outcomes, with higher efficiency and savings in order of presentation. Embark on a ready mixed concrete delivery, four times over:
Version 1. A concrete producer fills a 10-yd. load into a mixer truck that now aims for its destination, a construction site on the other side of town. Halfway through, the vehicle is stopped, blocked in traffic congestion. That will cost the company hundreds of dollars in delivery delay, multiplied a few times for subsequent drivers that closely follow, added to potential quality issues of the concrete delivered on a hot and humid day. On top of that, the producer could even face penalties for being late. This is happening every day.
Version 2. A concrete producer fills a 10-yd. load into a mixer truck, dispatching it to a construction site on the other side of town. A few minutes after leaving the plant, the truck driver changes course and uses an alternate route to attain its destination, without any problem and on time. But what did happen here? Was it a bird? A plane? No, there was no Superman here. The smart decision was made by an advised truck driver using his mobile phone with GPS capability, real-time access to Google Maps, and activation of the traffic option.
He could see the congestion on his initial route and chose a different course that offered the “green” path, which indicates low traffic on Google Map. This result could be obtained using a smartphone or a tablet. An appropriate mobile data package will be selected, and the driver of the first truck of a sizable site delivery might be responsible for conveying traffic information and alternate routes to his colleagues who follow. This deployment of technology positions producers to benefit from smaller mobile data fees.
Version 3. Under the same load and delivery scenarios as above, a dispatcher agent monitors traffic using the same tool on his 27-in. monitor. He then calls his drivers using their “hands-free phones”—consistent with new regulations—and points them in the right direction. A trouble-free journey.
Version 4. The dispatcher (you know what happened before) studies his two screens in front of him. On the left side, he views all current orders within his Marcotte Dispatching Software, and on the right side, and through the Marcotte Link, he can see in real-time his 25 trucks on Google Maps with traffic, using their smartphone GPS capabilities, some on iPhones and others on Android. He is in command and relaxed and, like an expert air traffic controller, skillfully directs all circulation on the fastest route and provides instructions to truck drivers using Marcotte Text Messaging System. Today, like all others, deliveries will be accomplished on time, with efficiency, and at the lowest possible cost. The dispatcher is a happy camper and so are his customers and bosses.
Fleet specialist offers 'Managing Labor Costs' eBook
To assist fleet managers charged with finding new ways to better manage expenses while maintaining strong service levels, Networkfleet, Inc. is offering a free eBook, “Managing Labor Costs,” demonstrating how telematics and GPS fleet tracking technology can help reduce costs and boost driver productivity.
It includes specific actions managers can take to analyze fleet operations and implement a successful labor management strategy. Specifically, it addresses four key areas that can be improved using wireless fleet management:
- Improving driver efficiency and reducing miles traveled;
- Increasing driver productivity and reducing overtime costs;
- Increasing the amount of work being done each day; and,
- Accomplishing the same amount of work in less time.
The document also includes examples of how specific reports and alerts, such as trip reports, fleet utilization reports, Begin-End of Day reports, Geofence reports, Connect (Garmin in-cab integration) and vehicle tracking reports, can be applied to improve employee productivity. Free “Managing Labor Costs with Networkfleet” can be obtained at www.networkfleet.com. — Networkfleet/Hughes Telematics Inc., San Diego; 866/869-1353
Oil change: New heavy-duty diesel lube spec due in 2016
When it comes to diesel technology, nothings stands still for long. Engine manufacturers have been busy for most of the past decade, for example, planning, designing and testing new engine platforms and systems capable of meeting ever-tighter regulatory standards for lower emissions as well as customer demands for higher reliability, economy and power.
The pace has been a bit slower lately for diesel engine lubrication oils, however. The current top-level performance category for heavy-duty diesel engine oils, known as CJ-4, went commercial more than five years ago. Over that period, diesel technology has continued to evolve, driven by design improvements that include increases in engine power density, combustion pressures, fuel injection pressures, oil temperatures, and expanded use of wear-resistant materials in engine components, to name just a few.
The last seven heavy-duty oil categories to be developed—API CE, CF-4, CH-4, CL-4, CL-4 Plus and CJ-4—were developed about three years apart starting in the late 1980s, a pace that serves to highlight the lag between introduction of CJ-4 and the likelihood that when a new heavy-duty oil category is finally brought to commercial status in the future, CJ-4 will probably have been in effect for at least a decade.
Citing concerns about the changes in engine technology, the age of the current category—certain engine tests for CJ-4 oils are becoming obsolete, for example—and the ability of CJ-4 oils to protect late-model engines, the Engine Manufacturers Association in June 2011 sent a formal request to the American Petroleum Institute (API) for development of a new performance category for HD oils, and API subsequently gave the green light to the project, which calls for the new category (PC-11) to be ready for commercial release in January 2016.
Earlier this year, Shell Lubricants staged a briefing in Park City, Utah, to explain some of the major issues related to development of the new HD oil category. The principal objectives of PC-11, according to Shell experts, are to provide higher oil performance in several areas, including:
- Oxidation stability
- Aeration protection
- Shear resistance
- Compatibility with biodiesel blends
- Scuffing and adhesive-wear prevention.
However, any new oil category also must be capable of meeting other demands, such as better overall fuel economy and decreased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—both of which generally require lower-viscosity oils. And, PC-11 oils also must be backward-compatible with CJ-4 performance standards, which were designed to apply to engines meeting emissions-compliance standards in effect from 2007.
Shell believes that it’s entirely possible for lower-viscosity oils to provide adequate engine protection. It cites tests of its Rotella T5 10W-30 oil versus CJ-4 15W-40 oils that have shown equal or better engine wear protection results from the lighter oil over the heavier product. “Thin [lower viscosity] oil is the oil of the future,” said Dan Arcy, global OEM technical manager for Shell.
Even so, oil suppliers and engine builders are concerned that a single PC-11 product may not have the ability to provide satisfactory protection over the wide range of engine applications it will encounter. Thus it’s likely, explained Arcy, that the new category will be split into two subcategories: one that preserves historical heavy-duty oil criteria and one that provides fuel efficiency benefits while maintaining durability. This will require engine-oil suppliers to develop two separate product lines to meet category performance specifications.
At this time, noted Arcy, the actual performance targets are still not entirely clear and defined, and that it will be a “definite challenge” to have these targets defined and validated in time to meet the PC-11 release timetable. Work on defining the new category began in December 2011, conducted by a development team comprising three representatives each from API, EMA and the Truck Manufacturers Association and the American Chemistry Council.
Shell also used the briefing to call attention to its Rotella heavy-duty diesel engine lubrication limited warranty program, which was announced in mid-2011 and is free with the purchase and installation of Rotella T6 full synthetic, Rotella T5 synthetic blend or Rotella Triple Protection heavy duty engine oils. The warranty covers certain HD diesel engine parts for up to 10 years or 500,000 miles.
The warranty covers Class 2c–Class 8 trucks with heavy-duty diesel engines used in on-road applications with a gross vehicular weight of 80,000 lb. or less. Other conditions apply, and further details can be obtained by visiting www.rotella.com.
Also in mid-2011, Shell rolled out a redesigned portfolio of transmission fluids, gearbox oils, mobile hydraulic oils, gear and axle oils, and greases for on- and off-highway vehicles and equipment. The simplified product lineup, according to the company, is designed to make selecting the proper level of protection easier.
Shell Donax and Shell Dentax products were consolidated under the Shell Spirax brand of gear oils, axle oils and transmission fluids. All grease products are now under the Shell Gadus brand. Shell Retinax, Shell Rhodina, Shell Albida and Shell Alvania are among the products now in the Shell Gadus portfolio.
The redesigned portfolio, which is in effect globally, features new packaging labels and product guides to aid choice, using new names, color coding and visual icons to indicate individual performance benefits. — Prepared by Russ Carter, Mining Media
LoadStar Cab Forward
Stepping into a new market segment, the company unveiled a low cab forward model, suited to concrete-pumping and refuse-hauling vehicles, at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville. The LoadStar is equipped with a stainless steel cab to minimize corrosion and increase durability; vocationally designed, variable-depth frame rails for durability, light weight, and ride characteristics; ergonomically designed cab interior; and, integrated powertrain with MaxxForce engine (10, 11 or 13L), featuring CleanBurn Emissions Technology or optional natural gas version (Cummins ISL-G, early 2013).
“To fit driver needs, we optimized the space in the cab, increased seat and steering wheel movement, and adjusted joystick placement to deliver an outstanding ergonomic and customizable work environment,” said Jim Hebe, Navistar senior vice president, North American sales operations. LoadStar features the industry's first stainless steel cab-over design, netting a high-strength, long-lasting and corrosion- resistant enclosure, he adds.
A standard tilt/telescoping steering column and 10-in. fore/aft and 6.5-in. up/down seat travel afford abundant belly room. A 90-degree door opening and easy 18-in. first step height provide drivers maximum comfort in a vehicle with maneuverability underscored by up to 40-degree wheel cuts, Navistar engineers note. The truck also features the Diamond Logic system, which helps decrease downtime and improves productivity by enabling control of and communication between vehicle components and body equipment. LoadStar will be available for orders in October 2012 through U.S. and Canadian International dealers.
EPA 2010 MaxxForce Engine hits shipment milestone
Navistar announced at the Mid-America Trucking Show, that as of January, more than 100,000 2010 EPA-compliant MaxxForce diesel engines have been built, making it one of the most quickly adopted engines in the industry.
“Customer demand and feedback for MaxxForce continues to be high because they provide the efficiency and technology modern fleets need to succeed,” said Jim Hebe, Navistar’s senior vice president of Northern American sales operations. “MaxxForce engines are conceptualized and built without compromise and provide performance, durability, and efficiency.”
MaxxForce engines provide a full range of power options, enabling fleets to pair strength with efficiency to conquer some of the most demanding applications, with an emissions technology company engineers contend is the most advanced in the industry. MaxxForce CleanBurn Emissions Technology uses an intelligent control system integrated with a proprietary high-pressure injector and combustion bowl for a more complete and cleaner burn, achieving current emissions compliance in-cylinder and eliminating the need for additional equipment, fluids or hassle.
MaxxForce 13 continues to provide customers with a combination of lightweight, fluid-efficient power and is now available with up to 500 hp in LoneStar models. Leaders in weight savings and payload advantages, MaxxForce 11 and MaxxForce 13 engines provide superior strength, less fatigue and years of reliable service. The compacted graphite iron (CGI) engine design offers up to 500 lb. of weight savings over traditional, big-bore, gray-iron engines, translating to greater payload capacity.
A new integration between fleet telematics provide Zonar and geographic information system (GIS) provider Esri delivers real-time fleet data layered with sophisticated geographic map information. The resulting system helps companies determine capacity enhancements, improve fuel efficiency, optimize routes and share interactive transportation maps on the web.
Early adopters of this technology use the integration to determine fuel efficiency rates of specific routes with elevation information in addition to longitude, latitude, speed, odometer and fuel usage data; track vehicle location and diagnostic data in real-time on a map containing company facility and asset locations, preferred fuel stops, maintenance and service locations, or customer delivery points; provide advanced operational awareness via the integration of real-time vehicle locations with traffic, weather, work orders, and any company-maintained GIS data; and, publish web-based maps.
“Esri is a perfect complement for Zonar fleet data,” said Mike McQuade, chief technical officer at Zonar. “Zonar tracks longitude, latitude, odometer, speed and fuel, in addition to vehicle diagnostics in our core platform. Esri allows display of fleet locations and other data specific to their operation integrated through Esri’s mapping technology.
“Our customers asked for the ability to easily integrate fleet data into their own GIS,” said Wolfgang Hall, business development manager for tracking solutions at Esri. “The ability to display and store Zonar’s detailed GPS location data inside GIS allows our users to leverage advanced spatial analysis and to publish the combined data to mobile units and the Web.
“Fuel efficiency is extremely important to our customers and the Zonar and Esri integration provides additional data sets including elevation to the fuel capture data Zonar provides,” adds McQuade. “In addition, private and public fleets are improving customer service by sharing interactive location maps and expected arrival information to customers over the Internet and mobile devices.” — www.zonarsystems.com
The manufacturer reports that one year after its launch, the EverTough line of aftermarket clutches is meeting the unique needs of customers with older trucks.
“We’ve seen a healthy adoption by of our targeted end markets since the introduction of the EverTough by Eaton line,” says Catherine Auckland, director of aftermarket for Eaton’s Truck business. “We attribute a portion of this achievement to filling a customer want for a genuine Eaton-quality clutch that offers a little less in terms of features, but at a great value.”
Auckland notes that shortly after the economic downturn in 2009, Eaton began to look at ways of addressing those customers in the third and fourth replacement of their clutch, who want the quality and know-how that the OEM solution brings, but at a cost that better meets their operational needs. “We know truck manufacturers and fleets value genuine clutches from a production, or new truck, perspective,” she notes. “And many fleets continue to stay with Eaton clutches as they enter their replacement cycles. However, we noticed a point within the truck lifecycle where a segment of the market is willing to sacrifice some of the dampening features and performance of the clutch for a lower price point.”
The EverTough line was intended to address this need and fill the “better” gap within the manufacturer’s tiered portfolio of offerings by optimizing key areas of the clutch to achieve a balance of price and performance. For example, EverTough clutches have standard dual zerk fittings for 25,000-mile lube intervals and are rated for up to 2,050 lb.-ft. of torque. Key EverTough benefits over competitive offerings in its class, Eaton contends, include a one-year/unlimited mileage warranty while they are backed by the same Roadranger support as all other Eaton products.
The Advantage Series Solo and Easy Pedal clutches continue to offer customers the “best” level of torsional dampening protection, performance and overall lifecycle value with a two-year/unlimited mileage standard warranty and 50,000-mile lube interval. Eaton Reman and ValueLine clutches are positioned to offer “good” value to customers through economic design and functionality. — www.roadranger.com
Fuel-Monitoring Service With A Purpose
Imagine it’s a cold day in January. You leave the house for work, get into your car and it won’t start. Or, the temperature is approaching 100°F in July, you go to turn on the air conditioning and nothing happens. Let’s say you sit down at your computer, ready to cruise the Internet, and it makes a loud popping noise before the screen goes blank.
The reality is that our daily lives are filled with a variety of machines and other pieces of equipment that we know how to basically operate, but couldn’t fix in a pinch if our lives depended on it. When these breakdowns occur, often the only resort is to turn to the phone book, hoping that we can find a knowledgeable person who can fix the problem both quickly and cost effectively.
Now, imagine you operate a company—it can be a ready-mix concrete plant, waste disposal service, rental-car agency, or hundreds of other types of businesses—that relies on a steady supply of fuel to keep your operations humming and on schedule. What would happen if any one of the various pieces of equipment that keep that fuel flowing—dispensers, storage tanks, level-monitoring gauges, overfill alarms, etc.—were to stop functioning properly? Sure, you know how your business operates and the amount of fuel that is needed on a daily basis, but like that malfunctioning car, air conditioner or computer, could you repair it in a timely manner? The answer to that question would, in a vast majority of cases, be a resounding, “No.” So, what’s the solution?
Don’t Go By The Book
For many, the solution would be the least common denominator: Reach for the phone book and find someone who can professionally address the problem. There is, however, a much better alternative—partnering with a company that can make service management a one-stop shop. An expert partner can remotely monitor your operations, receive notification of system breakdowns or alarm events and then expeditiously dispatch a certified contractor to fix the problem correctly, the first time, and in the most time-sensitive manner possible with no hidden costs.
For any business that relies on a fleet of vehicles, fuel is the lifeblood of the operation. Therefore, the number one focus is ensuring that the fuel island remains operational 24/7/365. If the ability to fuel vehicles is interrupted for even a few hours, the negative effects can be far-reaching.
Take, for example, a ready mixed concrete company. Let’s imagine that a malfunctioning dispenser at the plant’s fueling island has halted the flow of fuel. After a service call is made and the wait for the technician to arrive has begun, one of the alternatives to keep the fleet rolling may be to have the concrete mixers refuel at a retail facility. A potential drawback is that the retail fueling facility is inconveniently located, resulting in time-wasting trips to refuel. A second potential negative is that the price of the fuel at the retail location will likely be higher than what the concrete company is paying through its fuel-supply contract.
On top of that, having to go off-site to refuel can throw production and delivery schedules out of whack. This could set back the concrete-delivery schedule to the point where the delay will push back the completion of the project. These delays will reflect negatively on the concrete provider, who will suffer through loss of reputation that can result in decreased business opportunities in the future.
At Your Service
Companies who provide service management have designed their programs to limit downtime, costs and headaches for their customers. If service of the fueling system is needed, the customer needs to make only one call—to the service management provider. From that point, the service provider uses its expertise to diagnose the problem, plot a solution and make every effort to ensure that it is resolved in a timely, non-intrusive, cost-effective manner.
Once the problem is diagnosed, the service management provider will, through its contractor network, find the right person to complete the repairs. This also means only one trip by the contractor to the site, rather than the two a phone book-initiated service call would take as the contractor would first need a site visit to assess the problem, then schedule a return visit with the right tools and parts to rectify it. The service provider will also have a keen idea what the final cost to the end-user will be for the repairs, while a trip through the phone book leaves the plant operator paying whatever price the repairman quotes.
Then, after the actual repair work is done, the service management company will review all invoices to ensure that the labor rates, travel time, travel costs and parts costs were all reasonable and customary (and even make payment to the contractor) and then note which parts are under warranty, should the need for repairs arise again before the warranty expires. The service provider will also make certain that any environmental regulations are being adhered to throughout the entire process. And all of this is done with the express goal of ensuring that the maximum amount of fueling-island uptime is achieved.
One company that is currently setting the pace in providing Service Management programs for its end-users is Ryder Fuel Services, based in Houston. It has designed a Web-based system—what it calls “white glove” service—that allows a company’s fuel-system needs to be monitored off-site, which also enables on-site personnel to focus their time and efforts on their actual core responsibilities within the business. Working closely with the customer, Ryder Fuel Services establishes a unique service protocol for each client, in which it attempts to have a problem diagnosed and a contractor dispatched within a four-hour window.
This is possible because the Web-based approach to service management enables around-the-clock: a) Active system polling and integrity testing that ensure data reliability and accuracy; b) System status monitoring by trained Support Center experts that ensures equipment and systems reliability; and, c) Real-time oversight by personnel that monitor system status for repetitive or false alarms and chronic conditions that may prevent compliance.
This Web-based system also allows for more efficient compiling, tracking and review of past service calls, eliminating the need to log information in a notebook or sift through a drawer of old invoices in order to locate past histories. Ryder also monitors its contractor database to ensure that every vendor is up-to-date on its certifications, and will never send a customer a contractor lacking the proper training on the fuel system equipment.
It makes sense for a business that has a fueling component to partner with a company that can take all of the headaches and hassles out of the fueling system’s service management. That’s why savvy businesses are contracting with professional companies that have such a solution. Outsourcing service management to a third party eases the burden on the facility operator and provides the peace of mind knowing that you are partnering with a company that has taken ownership of that business segment within your operation, and also has the best interests of your company’s overall fuel-management system in mind.
Buffalo Crushed Stone is a primary supplier of quality construction materials in the Western New York region. Owned by New Enterprise Stone and Lime of Pennsylvania, it operates Buffalo Redi-Mix, serving the Buffalo market and surrounding region.
Buffalo Redi-Mix has relied on Theam conveyors in accomplishing the company’s goal of “Providing a quality product and servicing the needs of the customer.” With that in mind, the producer recently poured a number of pedestals and mud mats for wind turbine pedestal foundations using one of its Theam mixer-mounted conveyors on sites that had limited access. All together a total of 900 to 1,000 yd. were placed via the conveyor. Continuous placing was achieved by tailgating onto the conveyor with a rotation of trucks.
Buffalo Redi-Mix has seven Theam conveyors that are continuously in high demand operating in its fleet of 50 mixer trucks. The producer has continued to add conveyors annually for the past four years. According to General Manager, Peter Armlovich, “The Theam conveyors have given us a competitive advantage and ability to increase market share. They play an important role in servicing the needs of our customers.”
Adds Fleet Manager Dan Novoa, “The ability of the Theam conveyor to stand up to the rigors of daily use have been excellent.” — Westcon Manufacturing Inc., 800/635-6729, www.theamconveyors.com
RideMaster Air Suspension
The company’s family of fixed-axle air ride trailer suspensions has been enhanced with the addition of the RideMaster series, which includes two integrated axle models containing narrow bushings and three widebushing U-bolt axle connection models. The RideMaster family allows customers to spec suspensions for any load from 20,000 to 30,000 lb. per axle and to further customize their equipment with a choice of bushing widths and mounting options.
RideMaster suspensions are specifically designed for heavy-duty, fixed-axle applications where durability and long service-life are essential, including dump trailers and tank trailers. Engineered with all industry-standard components, the RideMaster family boasts such features as Rey-Align one-person axle-alignment system, full-coverage warranty, TIS-Ready design that accepts any OEM tire pressure inflation system, and tri-functional hanger bushing for extra-long life. Furthermore, wide-bushing models have longer, wider axle connection for greater weight distribution along the trailing beam. Axle connections use U-bolts and simple welds to facilitate axel changes.
RideMaster specifications include: GAWR of 20,000-30,000 lb. per axle; bushing options of 4.5-in. narrow and 6-in. wide; underslung and top mount; cast-cap narrow I-beam mounts; weld-on and bolt-on hangers available; mounting heights from 6.5 to 19 in.; and, up to 8 in. of axle travel.
“Every model in the series delivers on the Reyco Granning promise of suspensions that not only provide industry-best durability and reliability, but also live up to the RideMaster name for superior air ride performance,” said Wayne Powell, vice president of marketing. — www.reycogranning.com