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Spec’ing a Detachable Gooseneck Trailer

Minnkota Power Cooperative, an electric generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Grand Forks, North Dakota, recently replaced its antiquated mechanical detachable gooseneck semitrailer with a new unit.

The old trailer, used approximately 10 times a year for the past 20 years, was replaced by a new model from Felling Trailers (www.felling.com). UFP recently spoke with Keith Millette, fleet supervisor for Minnkota Power Cooperative, and Laurie Engle, sales representative for Felling Trailers, who shared how they worked together on the spec’ing process.

Identifying Needs
Minnkota Power Cooperative’s fleet includes 106 trailers, more than half of which are units from Felling.

According to Millette, the cooperative decided to once again go with Felling for the new trailer because the fleet’s existing Felling units have proven to hold up against rugged use.

“When we do our annual trailer inspections year after year, Felling typically requires the least amount of repairs compared to other trailer manufacturers we use,” he said.

The spec’ing process for the detachable gooseneck semitrailer took about three weeks. Millette said the best place to start the process is to identify what you are hauling – its height, length, width and weight. That way, you can select the right tractor to pull the trailer, the right wet kit and so forth.

Millette also recommended collaborating with various departments within the utility organization to gather input on their expectations of the trailer.

“This is extremely important when ordering any trailer, especially when it’s 100,000-plus pounds of product going on top,” said Engle, who worked with Minnkota to configure the trailer build.

The detachable gooseneck trailer will primarily be used for hauling transformers weighing 85,000 to 100,000 pounds, but it will also serve as a multipurpose unit, transporting payloaders and forklifts as needed.

Communication is Key
Engle said the spec’ing process requires teamwork and a lot of communication via email and phone calls to ensure the equipment that will be going on the trailer will fit. Just designing the build can take three to four weeks, she noted.

Remember to be patient when spec’ing the trailer, Millette advised. He compared the trailer manufacturer’s spec sheet to the cooperative’s wants and needs, and then options were added and removed as needed.

“I used the base trailer spec sheet from Felling’s brochure for a detachable gooseneck trailer that was the closest to the weight I was going to carry,” he explained.

Millette also sent specs to Felling of what he was going to haul on the trailer.

“Felling Trailers doesn’t manufacture the mechanical deck. Keith [Millette] and myself, along with the engineering team here, went back and forth with the exact specs of what was going to be carried,” Engle said.

After spec’ing the trailer, the project moved on to Felling’s engineering department, she said.

“They worked on the 3D CAD drawings to get the correct strength in the beams, cross-members and other materials needed,” Engle explained. “Then the customer received all the drawings to go over and approve with his crew.”

Selecting the Correct Measurements
So, how did Millette help to ensure the trailer would be capable of carrying the heavy weights that would be hauled?

“We went off transformer footprints to ensure a trailer deck would be the proper size, have enough axles and haul without issues,” he said.

Millette also pointed out that the cooperative chose a hydraulic detachable gooseneck over the mechanical option because of the ease of detaching (i.e., it is more efficient for crews to attach and detach in rough, uneven and wet terrain).

According to Engle, “A hydraulic gooseneck is safer to use as the neck can be raised to allow the truck’s fifth wheel to attach without having to pick up the main deck in the process as you would with a mechanical gooseneck.”

Together, the cooperative and Felling also had to make sure that the height, when loaded, was low enough to ensure a transformer would be able to travel under overpasses. The hydraulic gooseneck can be raised or lowered to change the front deck height for ground clearance or overhead obstructions.

The result of the spec’ing process is an XF-110-3 HDG-L 55-ton hydraulic detach built to Minnkota’s specs and equipped with a booster/stinger to compensate for the needed load transfer when hauling transformers.

Additional features were incorporated for operator safety and ease of use, including strobe light/flasher kit safety lighting and a self-contained 11- to 13-horsepower hydraulic system with an electric start.

Millette said his crews are happy with the trailer’s ease of setup and operation.

About the Author: Grace Suizo has been covering the automotive fleet industry since 2007. She spent six years as an editor for five fleet publications and has written more than 100 articles geared toward both commercial and public sector fleets.

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Minnkota’s XF-110-3 HDG-L Trailer Features
With the help of its longtime trailer manufacturer, Felling Trailers, Minnkota Power Cooperative was able to replace its 20-year-old unit with a gooseneck trailer built to its desired specs. The resulting XF-110-3 HDG-L trailer features:

  • Full load capacity.
  • 12 feet with a 13-foot hydraulic detachable gooseneck.
  • A 108-inch swing clearance, with a two-position kingpin at 96 inches and 108 inches.
  • Main deck length of 18 feet.
  • A 45-degree approximately full-height trunnion approach with a quarter-inch tread plate cover over the center of the trunnion and approach paired with a one-piece full-length wheel cover.
  • 120,000 pounds GVWR.

Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference – June 2021

UFP will participate in the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference (EUFMC) in June 2021. Here’s an update from EUFMC about their decision to go virtual in 2021. More news to come as we approach the event this June!

“The decision to hold EUFMC as a virtual conference in 2021 was not an easy one, but with uncertainty about pandemic restrictions and travel guidelines among attendee companies, it is the right choice,” said Jeffrey Schneider, EUFMC President and Manager Transportation at Louisville Gas & Electric-KU. “The board of directors is now working to develop and produce the industry’s leading event for utility fleet professionals in a virtual format for 2021 at a level of quality that has been the hallmark of EUFMC.”

 

Learn more about EUFMC at EUFMC.com

A Practical Review of the ANSI A92.2 Standard

This is a review of ANSI/SAIA A92.2-2015, “American National Standard for Vehicle-Mounted Elevating and Rotating Aerial Devices.” As a consultant, investigator and auditor, I have been surprised time and again that people who should know this standard do not know it that well. Most fleet managers are familiar with the rules, which is important because the A92.2 standard obligates owners of aerial lifts to be held liable for equipment they sell in certain scenarios. On the employee side, a working knowledge of A92.2 can prevent incidents and loss of life. In fact, a recent live-line barehand training class was what inspired this topic. We found that a bucket truck had the leasing company’s logo sticker adhered down both sides of the insulated boom section. That bucket truck was designed and rated for barehand use at 500 kV, yet a vinyl-plastic printed logo installed by the leasing company, spanning two-thirds of the insulated length, could have had some serious implications for the safety of that boom.

In this article, we are going to review some of the information covered in the A92.2 standard. Readers should recognize that ANSI/SAIA consensus standards are protected by copyright, so we will not directly reproduce the text of the standard itself. The A92.2 standard can be purchased directly from the ANSI website (https://webstore.ansi.org).

The target audiences of this review are the owners and users of aerial lifts (bucket trucks) as well as safety departments, with the goal of familiarizing those parties with both the safety aspects and owner responsibilities regarding aerial lifts. Unlike many consensus standards, A92.2 has been incorporated by reference into the OSHA standard, meaning that certain parts of the A92.2 standard are enforceable by compliance officers. In addition, the incorporated parts of the standard essentially are “living” – they have been published in the Federal Register and made available to the public so that updates to the A92.2 standard are automatically part of the legally enforceable federal OSHA standard. Now that we have the applicability of the standard covered, let’s take a look at what the standard requires.

A92.2 Requirements
The various sections of A92.2 are specific to different groups and their relationship with an aerial device. The manufacturer is the principal audience for Sections 4 and 6. Section 7 is for dealers and the installer who puts the aerial device on the vehicle. The owner is primarily responsible for Section 8, which covers inspection and maintenance plus training of operators. Owners also are responsible for having a unit inspected and repaired if it is overloaded, turned over or makes an electrical contact (see 8.2.5). User responsibilities are addressed in Section 9 and include ensuring that only trained personnel are allowed to operate the aerial device; the section also states what those trained personnel are required to know. Owners and users share the Section 9 and 10 responsibilities.  

Paragraph 1.1.1 of the A92.2 standard defines the equipment covered. Those covered devices are vehicle-mounted aerial devices, including extendable (telescoping) and articulating boom platforms, and ladders and towers mounted on trucks, trailers and all-terrain vehicles.

Paragraph 1.2 sets out the purpose of the standard, which is to prevent accidents and injuries by standardizing ratings for the aerial lifts covered, and to assure an understanding of the responsibilities of manufacturers, dealers, brokers, installers, lessees, lessors, maintenance personnel, operators, owners and users.

While the design and manufacturing standards covered by A92.2 affect those units newly manufactured after the June 2016 effective date, all other provisions of A92.2 apply to both new and existing units delivered by sale, lease, rental or by any other form of beneficial use on or after the effective date.

Part 2 of the standard covers references related to design; Part 3 covers definitions particular to the standard; and Part 4 is about controls. Operators of aerial devices are familiar with many control schemes of various manufacturers, but there are a few rules that need particular attention as I have seen some of these controls “tricked out” by operators.

Paragraph 4.3.1 requires controls to be clearly identified and protected from damage and unintentional operation. That means when trees or an operational error knocks off the enclosure surrounding the controls, the bucket is out of service. It’s the same for the control labels. If you can’t read them, the boom doesn’t fly, no matter how familiar you are with the controls. The labels are readily available, so there isn’t any reason they can’t be replaced well before they are no longer legible. Every aerial device must have controls at the bottom of the boom that are labeled and protected from inadvertent operation or damage.

Paragraph 4.3.1.2 requires controls to have an enabling or unlocking action designed to prevent inadvertent movement of booms by bumping controls. This is where some users have tricked out controls by taping down levers or actuators. As with any safety mechanism, defeating it is against the rules, but those levers and actuators get taped down more than you might think.

Paragraphs 4.4.2, “Boom Securing,” and 4.4.3, “Platform Security,” are related to each other and critical. Transport creates impact stresses on buckets that result in mount failures and loss of buckets, usually when they’re in the air with people inside them. Securing the boom not only protects weldment-to-fiberglass fatigue at the elbow, but it also keeps the boom from slamming down the bucket during rough road travel. All of us have seen buckets stowed with no landing support, but it is now a requirement to provide support, and for good reason: stabilizing the bucket and protecting it from stress that can shear the bucket from the boom mount. If your crews tend to leave hoists and tools in the bucket during transport, these two features – boom straps and bucket support – will help to relieve the stress that bouncing tools contribute to bucket mount damage.

Anchorage/fall protection requirements are found in paragraph 4.9.4. Attachments are to be designated by the manufacturer and rated at 3,600 pounds per person. An important inclusion here is that the attachment itself is to be rated but not necessarily the boom or bucket it is attached to. As the rule states in a note to paragraph 4.9.4.3, “Strength Requirement,” this does not imply that the aerial device is meant to meet or comply with this load requirement. It is imperative that employers look closely at the fall protection they provide and ensure it is the best choice for bucket use.

Bucket Design and Application
The A92.2 standard is the final word on design and application of buckets and booms used in line work. There are three types of buckets: non-insulating for use with insulating liners; non-insulating for use without insulating liners; and insulating buckets. 

Paragraph 4.9.5.1, non-insulating with liner: This bucket is made from non-conductive materials with a tested, insulated liner installed. The basket must be identified as non-insulating. The liner must be supported by the bottom of the bucket, and the bucket cannot have drain holes or an access opening.

Paragraph 4.9.5.2, non-insulating, not designed for use with liners: This bucket may be constructed of conductive or non-conductive material, must be identified as non-insulating, and may have drain holes and access openings.

Paragraph 4.9.5.3, insulating buckets: These buckets are constructed from non-conductive material and have no drain holes or access openings.

5.1.2: Insulating Aerial Device Categories
There are five categories of insulating aerial devices. Each category has special design characteristics to accommodate the design use. They are not all created equal, and how a device is used in the field must match its design category.

Category A: This is a bucket designed for barehand use. In Category A buckets, the boom – not the bucket – is the primary means of protection for the worker. These buckets must have all of the conductive components bonded together at the boom’s working (hot) end. Category A buckets have an electrical testing system installed at the lower end of the insulating upper boom. For Category A booms designed for work above 138 kV, a corona ring is required to be installed at the upper end of the boom and bonded to the conductive components. Category A booms may be used as gloving platforms if they meet the cover requirements of paragraph 4.1 of the A92.2 standard. The cover specified in 4.1 is an insulating cover over the lower metal boom tip that is exposed to conductor contact to prevent the upper end of the conductive boom from contacting energized conductors.

Category B: This bucket is commonly referred to as a gloving bucket, but the criteria for Category B is related to the boom, not gloving use. Category B buckets have an insulating boom equipped with a test electrode system at the lower end. The boom itself is considered a secondary level of protection for the worker. Here, the primary means of protection is use of insulating tools, which can be hot sticks and rated insulating cover. A Category B bucket can be designed and used for gloving if it meets an additional requirement of paragraph 4.1: an insulating cover over the lower metal boom tip that is exposed to conductor contact. Category B insulating buckets and insulating booms are not designed for direct uninsulated contact with energized conductors even though they are tested for insulating value.

Category C: Like Category B, the designation for Category C is the design of the boom – not use. Category C is a boom with a lower test electrode, and the boom and basket are designed as secondary protection, whereas insulated tools are primary protection for the worker. Category C is limited to work on electrical systems below 46 kV. For Category C booms to be used for gloving (below 18kV), the lower metal boom tip must be covered with insulating cover.

Category D: Category D booms are insulating but do not have test electrode systems installed, and no metal boom-tip covers are required for use as a gloving platform. These booms are a secondary means of protection, whereas the primary means of protection is use of insulating tools – better known as “sticking” – not distribution gloving work methods. Work from this platform is on systems less than 46 kV.

Category E: Category E aerial booms are designed for low-voltage applications. The primary means of protection are insulating guards or isolation. Category E booms are nameplate-rated at voltages of 20 kV, 5 kV, and 1 kV and below.

5.2.2: Hydraulic Vacuum Prevention
Hydraulic vacuum is a phenomenon that can happen with loss of hydraulic pressure in the boom or controls. It happens when a high-reach aerial device, configured in a high angle, leaks hydraulic fluid due to pressure loss or a leak at the lower end of the boom. With the boom elevated, the weight of the hydraulic fluid in the hoses is sufficient to pull a partial vacuum in hydraulic lines. The issue is that the partial vacuum is conductive and can result in a flashover of the hydraulics if the boom or basket is energized, particularly in Category A barehand applications. For this reason, a vacuum prevention system is installed. If a vacuum should occur, the control system opens and admits air into the leaking line, lowering the conductivity of the hose by eliminating the vacuum. These valves – commonly known as atmospheric valves – are mounted so that they can be readily checked, tested and replaced in the field.

A note here: The A92.2 standard does not specifically call out inspection of vacuum prevention systems as a frequent inspection item. The frequent-check items include safety devices, which the vacuum valves are. In A92.2, paragraph 6.4, “Manuals,” the location of and methods for testing the valves are required information for operator manuals. Here, the testing of vacuum valves is listed as a periodic check. However, most barehand operators, recognizing the nature of vacuums in hoses as compromising the upper boom, perform these checks every day before use.

8.2: Frequent and Periodic Inspections and Tests
Frequent inspections are those daily to monthly inspections. The frequency is determined by the employer according to frequency of use of the equipment and wear and tear. In any case, the frequency of inspection established by the employer should guarantee that worn or deficient components will be found before they reach failure mode. The A92.2 standard lists those pre-use daily frequent inspections as including walkaround visual inspection; controls in operation; labels and covers; fiberglass inspection; hydraulic leaks and hoses; warning and instructional tags and signs; safety devices (like atmospheric valves); electrical systems, including test and gradient protection (corona rings and bonding); aerial operation setup using lower controls; emergency stops; outriggers; and interlocks. There is no requirement in A92.2 for records of frequent inspections other than deficiencies being tagged, reported and repaired.

Periodic inspections are those typically conducted by qualified mechanics. The frequency of periodic inspections is established by the manufacturer and employer, and inspection and maintenance records are required to be kept for five years.

8.1: Owner’s General Responsibilities
I mentioned at the beginning of this article that the A92.2 standard established some very specific responsibilities for the owner of an aerial device, including those regarding transfer or sale of the device. In particular, the rule requires owners to comply with the testing, maintenance, modification, training and inspection requirements. It calls out the responsibilities of the owner to meet the requirements above and repeats the rules for frequent and periodic inspection, requiring those tasks to be conducted by a qualified person. Owners should be advised that these requirements are known in civil litigation as standards of care, upon which claims of negligence are based.

8.2.5: Post-Event Inspection and Tests
This section requires that a device exposed to any stress in excess of design stress, both structural and electrical, must be removed from service, inspected and tested. The obligation is to assure the integrity of the stressed components or permanently remove them from service. The required tests are outlined in 8.2.4, but any additional non-destructive tests that may be indicated by the type of incident also are required.

8.7: Change of Ownership
When an owner sells an aerial device, the owner must provide the manufacturer’s manuals with the unit at transfer of ownership. The new owner has 60 days to notify the manufacturer of the transfer and their contact information. The purpose of this rule is to leverage the detailed informational records maintained by the manufacturers of aerial equipment. The manufacturers have committed to keeping detailed records of the ownership and transfer of their equipment so that they can readily inform owners if an issue is discovered. The notifications required by this rule help to meet that end.

8.1.2: Training, Retraining and Familiarization of Operators
In the training of employees, with the exception of powered industrial trucks as well as cranes and derricks in construction, OSHA does not detail the specifics. The employer is expected to establish requirements, conduct training and be able to defend their programs to OSHA. Of all the utility-related consensus standards, the A92.2 standard is singularly detailed in its requirements for training of operators. Keeping in mind that this consensus standard is the civil liability standard of care, you should consider incorporating this training agenda into your company’s training curriculum for bucket truck operators. The curriculum includes more than a dozen topics. Prescribed in more detail than described here, the topics include the purpose, use and care of operator manuals; responsibilities with malfunctions; safety features and prohibited override; operating systems; stability factors; placards and decals; daily inspections; safety rules of the NESC; authorizations to operate; securing equipment; operator warnings and instructions; fall protection; practical demonstration of skill; and proper stowage for transport.

Conclusion
The committee that developed the A92.2 standard recognized that users play a significant role in the safety of aerial devices and that they also play a role in the performance and safety of used equipment sold on the market. As we have seen, the A92.2 standard does exactly as its published purpose states: It prevents accidents and injuries by standardizing ratings for the aerial lifts covered and provides an understanding of responsibilities for manufacturers, dealers, brokers, installers, lessees, lessors, maintenance personnel, operators, owners and users. We hope you will do your part and help the A92.2 standard do its part by incorporating the provisions of the standard into your operating procedures.

About the Author: After 25 years as a transmission-distribution lineman and foreman, Jim Vaughn, CUSP, has devoted the last 22 years to safety and training. A noted author, trainer and lecturer, he is a senior consultant for the Institute for Safety in Powerline Construction. He can be reached at [email protected].

NTEA Work Truck Show 2020 in Indianapolis, IN

NTEA Work Truck Show |  March 3-6, 2020 in Chicago, IL

Produced annually by NTEA – The Association for the Work Truck Industry, The Work Truck Show® features the latest vocational trucks, vans, vehicle components and truck equipment from 530 exhibitors on a Show floor covering more than 500,000 square feet. The event includes a robust educational conference with industry-specific training and opportunities to engage the commercial vehicle community at special events.

Click here to learn more: worktruckshow.com

 

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ATSSA Convention & Traffic Expo 2020 in New Orleans, LA

ATSSA Convention & Traffic Expo |  January 24-28, 2020 in New Orleans, LA

For its 50th Anniversary, ATSSA’s Annual Convention & Traffic Expo is THE event for more than 3,500 roadway safety professionals and transportation officials. Network with all manner of roadway safety personnel at various events, view the latest industry products and services, raise your level of engagement with high-quality education and information sessions, and so much more in New Orleans.

Click here to learn more: expo.atssa.com

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Chicago Auto Show 2020 in Chicago, IL

Chicago Auto Show |  February 8-17, 2020 in Chicago, IL

First staged in 1901, the Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show in North America and has been held more times than any other auto exposition on the continent. This year marks the 112th edition of the Chicago Auto Show.

All Chicago Auto Show exhibits are held in the McCormick Place complex. Exhibitions include: multiple world and North American introductions; a complete range of domestic and imported passenger cars and trucks; sport utility vehicles; and experimental or concept cars. In total, nearly 1,000 different vehicles will be on display. 

Click here to learn more: chicagoautoshow.com

The SEMA Show 2019 in Las Vegas, NV

The SEMA Show |  November 5-8, 2019 in Las Vegas, NV

The SEMA Show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world. It draws the industry’s brightest minds and hottest products to one place, the Las Vegas Convention Center. In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more.

Click here to learn more: semashow.com

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International Construction & Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE) 2019 in Louisville, KY

International Construction & Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE) | October 1-3, 2019 in Louisville, KY

ICUEE is the utility industry’s largest trade show, covering 30+ acres of indoor and outdoor exhibits, and bringing together more than 19,000 utility professionals every two years.

Click here to learn more: icuee.com

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EUFMC Aims to Advance Strategies for Fleet Improvement

After record-breaking attendance in 2018, the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference is heading back to Williamsburg, Virginia, June 2-5, where it will feature an educational program focused on “Advancing Strategies for Fleet Improvement.”

Earl C. “Duke” Austin Jr., president and CEO of Quanta Services, will deliver the 2019 keynote address. According to EUFMC, Austin has played a fundamental role in Quanta’s significant growth. He spearheads strategic development of the contractor company’s capabilities in assessment, planning, engineering and design, procurement, construction, commissioning, testing, operations and management of infrastructure systems.

Other event speakers are scheduled to include Mark Kelly and Jason Schechterle. Kelly, who has been chosen as the featured dinner speaker, is an American astronaut and retired U.S. Navy captain who will offer insights to attendees based on his life experiences. Schechterle is a former Phoenix police officer who will facilitate “Burning Shield,” a safety presentation that chronicles his life after a vehicle fire in which 40% of his body sustained severe burns.

EUFMC’s two-day educational program will offer a number of sessions delivered by fleet executives, manufacturer representatives and industry experts. The sessions are scheduled to include the following:

  • Fleet 101
  • Workforce Productivity
  • HD Fleet Electrification
  • Load Securement
  • Department Organization
  • Benchmarking
  • What are Your Goals?
  • In-Servicing Equipment
  • Legal Issues
  • Modifications Standards and Product Liability
  • Regulatory Update

Additional highlights of this year’s conference will include industry roundtables; utility equipment drive-through demonstrations with educational and technical presentations by suppliers; and an equipment show with more than 60 displays of vehicles, equipment, components and more.

*****

When: June 2-5

Where: Williamsburg Lodge and Conference Center, Williamsburg, Virginia

Web: www.eufmc.com

Snapshot: Founded in 1953, the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference is an annual meeting that brings together hundreds of fleet, manufacturer and service provider representatives. The event offers a comprehensive educational program that includes presentations by fleet executives, manufacturers and industry experts; roundtables that encourage the sharing of best practices; utility equipment drive-through demonstrations; and an equipment show with more than 60 displays.

Utility Fleet Safety Track in Denton, TX

Utility Fleet Safety Track at the iP Utility Safety Conference & Expo | April 29 – May 2, 2019 in Denton, TX

We are dedicated to safe utility fleet operations, that’s why we’ve added a Utility Fleet Safety Track to the iP Utility Safety Conference & Expo.

Click here to learn more: utilitysafetyconference.com/agenda/utility-fleet-safety-track

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MEA Transportation & Fleet Learning Conference 2019 in Louisville, KY

MEA Transportation & Fleet Learning Conference | April 9-10, 2019 in Louisville, KY

The MEA Transportation & Fleet Learning Conference is designed by and for utility fleet personnel. Topics such as Fleet Emergency Response, Electrification, and Fleet Rightsizing are covered through industry-expert presentations and peer-to-peer learning over two days. 

Click here to learn more: meaenergy.org

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What to Consider When Spec’ing Onboard Scales

Operating an overloaded truck is categorized as a misdemeanor in most U.S. states. Aside from putting the safety of the operator and the public at risk, overloading also can increase fines and lead to premature vehicle wear and tear.

Fortunately, the availability of today’s onboard scale technology can help utility fleet managers ensure trucks operate at a safe weight.

So, what exactly should fleet managers consider when spec’ing onboard scales? Utility Fleet Professional connected with industry professionals who shared insight into selecting the right applications for your fleet.

Benefits of Technology
Nebraska Public Power District has been using onboard scale systems for more than 10 years and currently has approximately 20 scale systems in use between tractor-trailer units and dump trucks.

NPPD’s primary reason for installing the scale systems was to verify loaded axle weights to ensure they were compliant with DOT bridge laws.

“The benefits were almost immediate due to the fact that operators could place a load on their trucks at the job site and know if they were within the legal weight-carrying capacity of their truck or trailer,” said Robert Barbur, fleet services superintendent for NPPD.

The fleet researched three types of scale systems: one that uses air suspension, one that uses a trunnion/spring set and one that uses forces related to dump-body hydraulics.

“Generally speaking, it comes down to what type of suspension the truck or trailer uses when you put them on – proactive or reactive,” said Matt Gilliland, director of transportation and facilities for NPPD.

Gilliland said NPPD’s preference is the air suspension design, which costs less money and is accurate and easy to use. It also can be interconnected to trailers.

“The Air-Weigh [air suspension] system uses the tractor’s multiplex system for sending data from the trailer to the display in the truck cab,” Barbur explained. “This allows us to couple any trailer with an Air-Weigh system to any of our tractors that have the Air-Weigh system installed.”

In addition, Barbur shared that the systems can be installed at truck manufacturer facilities before they are delivered, which saves the utility time to the final in-service of the chassis.

Besides the Air-Weigh (https://air-weigh.com) system, NPPD uses the Vulcan scale system (https://vulcanscales.com) on some of its dump-body applications. The system senses the load of the material in the dump box via a hydraulic cylinder and/or the spring pins on the chassis to measure the weight of the load.

“This system has also worked well for us and continues to provide trouble-free service,” Barbur said.

What’s Your Scenario?
When selecting a scale system for your fleet assets, a choice should be made based on how the system will be used. Barbur provided two scenarios to consider.

Scenario 1: Legal limits. You might be seeking a scale system that will help you ensure your truck is DOT bridge legal and you are within the limits of your local laws as far as axle weights are concerned.

Scenario 2: Purchase weight. You are hauling a material and this material needs to be weighed for purchase by the end customer, which will require a legal-for-trade scale system.

Barbur recommended talking to several scale system manufacturers to get input from them about what their systems can and cannot do. He also suggested talking to other fleets using onboard scale systems to confirm how they function in real-world situations.

Lastly, fleet managers should do their research on the support of the product, such as finding out if the scale manufacturer offers system support through OEM truck chassis dealers and how large their support network is.

About the Author: Grace Suizo has been covering the automotive fleet industry since 2007. She spent six years as an editor for five fleet publications and has written more than 100 articles geared toward both commercial and public sector fleets.

*****

Watch Your Truck’s Weight
Because operating an overloaded truck is a misdemeanor in most states, multiple offenses can lead to jail time and loss of an operator’s commercial driver’s license, according to Air-Weigh.com.

Fines and penalties for loads that exceed specified weight limits vary from state to state, with hidden penalties sometimes contributing to even larger fines.

Here are several examples of penalties and fines cited by Oversize.io:

  • Oklahoma: $208.90 fine for 0 to 2,000 pounds overweight.
  • Indiana: Approximately $40, not including court costs.
  • West Virginia: An out-of-state vehicle can be impounded, in addition to being subject to overweight fees.
  • Texas: First offense is a fine up to $150. The second and third offenses tack on jail time of 60 days and six months, respectively.
  • New Jersey: In addition to a fine, the company will be held responsible for any damage done to a bridge.

Source: Air-Weigh.com

Chicago Auto Show 2019 in Chicago, IL

Chicago Auto Show | February 9-18, 2019 in Chicago, IL

First staged in 1901, the Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show in North America and has been held more times than any other auto exposition on the continent. This year marks the 111th edition of the Chicago Auto Show. The Chicago Auto Show utilizes more than 1 million square feet in the North and South Exhibit Halls of the McCormick Place complex. 

Click here to learn more: chicagoautoshow.com

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Piedmont Natural Gas Expands Its CNG-Powered Fleet

When it comes to discussions of alternative fuels and sustainability in utility fleets, electrification often takes center stage.

And for good reason. Electric utilities have a vested interest in selling more of their product – electricity – so it makes sense that they would take the lead by making big investments in electric vehicles (EVs) for their fleets. A major contributor to this trend has been Edison Electric Institute’s Transportation Electrification Initiative, which in late 2014 garnered commitments from more than 70 investor-owned electric utilities to devote at least 5 percent of their annual fleet acquisition budgets to purchase plug-in EVs and equipment.

But utility fleets shouldn’t overlook compressed natural gas (CNG) as part of their green initiatives, said Karl Newlin, senior vice president and chief commercial officer for Duke Energy’s natural gas operations, who also oversees the fleet and public fueling station development at Duke subsidiary Piedmont Natural Gas (www.piedmontng.com), which serves more than a million residential, commercial, industrial and power generation customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

That’s because natural gas not only burns much cleaner than gasoline and diesel, but it also offers – at least historically – more stable pricing than conventional fossil fuels, giving fleets a greater sense of predictability with fuel costs.

Piedmont launched its fleet CNG program in 2009 with 12 natural-gas-powered Ford F-150 pickup trucks. Today, the utility operates 469 natural gas vehicles – more than a third of its total fleet of 1,215 vehicles. And in August, Piedmont expects to open its 11th natural gas filling station available to the public.

So, why has Piedmont gone all-in with its fleet CNG program? What are the best fleet applications for natural-gas-powered vehicles? And what do fleet managers need to know about deploying natural gas fueling infrastructure?

The Business Case for CNG
First, what has driven Piedmont Natural Gas to continue to expand its natural-gas-powered fleet?

“Of course, we’re a natural gas company. But we have always been a sustainability-focused company,” Newlin said. “So by moving more of our vehicles from either gas or diesel to natural gas, we’ve wanted to get the message across that we practice what we preach.”

According to Argonne National Laboratory’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation model (https://greet.es.anl.gov/), light-duty vehicles running on natural gas can reduce life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions by 11 percent. And because CNG fuel systems are completely sealed, the vehicles produce no evaporative emissions.

But does CNG make good business sense for fleets, beyond the environmental benefits? After all, the price premium for a vehicle equipped to run on CNG typically ranges from $10,000 to $20,000 or so, depending on vehicle class, fuel tank configuration, and whether the fueling system is dedicated or bi-fuel capable. Dedicated systems run exclusively on natural gas whereas bi-fuel systems can switch between natural gas and conventional fuels to extend range.

In fact, the lower cost of CNG per gasoline or diesel gallon equivalent still offers a compelling opportunity to “go green” with a reasonable payback period, Newlin said.

“For example, in the region where we sell compressed natural gas, gasoline is about $2.22, diesel about $2.50, but our product is about $2 for natural gas. So there’s still some cost-competitive advantage for natural gas,” he said.

While the price difference between CNG and conventional fuels may not seem that big, that’s only because gasoline and diesel are available at relatively low prices today – which, as recent history has proven, can change quickly with the volatility of global markets and conflicts in the Middle East.

Consider this as a frame of reference: In the October 2011 “Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report,” the price gap per gallon equivalent between CNG and gasoline was nearly $1.40, with gasoline at $3.46 and CNG at $2.09.

Price Stability
So, any discussion of the business case for CNG in fleets should also include the topic of price stability.

That’s because since that 2011 report, the price of CNG has remained relatively unchanged. According to the most recent “Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report,” the national average for CNG is $2.15, only a 6-cent difference from October 2011, with minimal variation in price in the years in between.

“One thing we are seeing is that some of the more sophisticated fleet managers who are also responsible for fuel procurement are becoming more attracted to natural gas because it’s been a very stable-priced product for the past several years. Whereas, of course, we’ve seen diesel prices fluctuate greatly,” Newlin said.

What’s driving the price stability of natural gas versus traditional fuels?

“It’s the advent of additional supply of natural gas that’s been discovered in the U.S. since about 2008, with the ability to unlock – via fracking and horizontal drilling – the large deposits of natural gas in the Pennsylvania and Ohio regions, as well as in West Texas,” Newlin explained. “And that means on-shore production. This is important because previously we’d have price disruptions because of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, but we really don’t have that phenomena anymore.”

Newlin said that natural gas is more of a national market versus a global market, which also has helped stabilize the price of CNG since about 2010. “The supply-demand differentials of natural gas within our country aren’t really impacted very much by what goes on in the Middle East or in Asia like they are with oil.”

Optimal Applications
What are the best fleet applications for CNG-powered vehicles?

“We’re seeing strong adoption across a wide range of duty types of trucks and vans,” Newlin said, referring both to Piedmont’s own fleet and the fleets of some of the utility’s commercial customers. “We’re seeing a high adoption rate from everything from Ford Transit Connect service vans all the way up through Class 8 tractor-trailers. So I think we’re seeing a lot of fleet managers experiment with what’s possible. But clearly, the return-to-base applications or those where the trucks are on a route that offers a sufficient number of CNG stations are seeing solid adoption and penetration.”

Newlin said that the majority of Piedmont’s nearly 500 CNG-powered vehicles are light-duty pickup trucks and vans used by service technicians, and SUVs for general fleet use and personnel transportation.

Fueling Infrastructure
If a fleet is interested in acquiring CNG-powered vehicles, what’s involved with deploying on-site fueling infrastructure?

The first step, Newlin said, is to determine whether there is natural gas nearby so that the natural gas company can provide service to the fleet location. Then, the next step is to decide is whether you need a time-fill or fast-fill station.

What’s the difference?

“With a time-fill station, as you might imagine, the trucks can come back from their route, sit in the parking lot overnight, and the tank is filled slowly over a few hours,” Newlin explained. “But if their business requires a rapid-fill or a fast-fill, that’s typically a higher capital cost because it requires additional compression to be able to hook up the pipe and refill the tank, just like you would a gasoline vehicle, in about 90 seconds.”

What does it take in terms of capital cost to deploy an on-site fueling system?

“There are a lot of variances when it comes to on-site fueling deployment costs,” Newlin said. “But as you might imagine, the time-fill requires less capital investment than fast-fill. If you’re doing a time-fill station, depending on your existing infrastructure, you’re in the several-hundred-thousand-dollar range. And if you’re doing a fast-fill station, then you’re probably in the 1- to 2-million-dollar range.”

The Bottom Line
While Newlin couldn’t comment on future plans for expanding the number of CNG vehicles in Piedmont’s fleet, he did offer numbers that provide insight into the growing demand for natural gas as a transportation fuel.

“From an overall business standpoint, our CNG volume has grown by a third from 2015 to 2016. That’s for all of our gallon equivalents that we’ve sold. And I think it can grow another third from 2016 to ’17. So, I would look for the overall gasoline gallon equivalents [of CNG] delivered to continue on a rapid pace for the next five years as the fuel becomes more widely adopted. And I think the penetration will continue to be healthy in the commercial fleet arena.”

What’s New in Digging Machines for Utility Fleets

When you need to dig trenches to lay underground gas lines, or drill holes for setting transmission poles, or be able to dig in tight spaces, the objective is the same: to have crews get the most work done in the least amount of time, with the least amount of effort and cost. 

That’s the goal that has driven the development of several new products and upgrades released by top heavy-equipment manufacturers in the past few months. 

So, what new digging machines and tools have recently come to market? How can they equip utility companies and contractors to boost productivity and profit? Here are seven new developments to keep your eye on. 

CASE Construction Equipment
What’s New: Six New Mini Excavator Models
Website: www.casece.com

This spring, CASE Construction Equipment introduced six new mini excavator models: the CX17C, CX26C, CX33C, CX37C, CX57C and CX60C. Offered in zero tail-swing, short-radius or conventional configurations, C Series mini excavators feature an adjustable boom with the ability to offset left or right to work closer to buildings and obstacles. An auto-shift travel system offers greater ease and efficiency when operating the machine on varying terrain. 

All C Series mini excavators are built with an auxiliary hydraulic system that features standard proportional controls, shut-off valve and easy-to-select joystick control patterns to equip operators to get more done in less time. A spacious and comfortable operator environment – with ergonomic controls, adjustable seating and line-of-sight digital displays – helps minimize operator fatigue. 

Terex
What’s New: Stand Alone Core Barrel 
Website: www.terex.com/utilities 

Terex Utilities recently released a new auger tool for digger derricks – the Terex Stand Alone Core Barrel – that increases productivity when drilling hard rock. The tool fits directly onto a standard Kelly bar and can be stowed like a standard auger on the boom, eliminating the need for any attachments or having to remove the tool for transportation.

The Stand Alone Core Barrel is designed for easy plug removal, with a unique tooth pattern that allows the rock plug to easily fall out of the barrel when the operator ratchets the rotation of the tool, unlike other core barrels that require workers to physically hammer the core out of the barrel.

Available in various diameters ranging from 18 inches to 30 inches, the Stand Alone Core Barrel features a barrel wall of 5/8 inches, with an overall tool length of 104 inches. 

Ditch Witch
What’s New: JT40 Horizontal Directional Drill
Website: www.ditchwitch.com 

In February, Ditch Witch introduced the JT40 horizontal directional drill, equipped with two 7-inch LED displays to provide a direct, transparent view into all critical machine functions and operations. 

The JT40 offers a two-speed, rotational drive system that produces 5,500 foot-pounds of torque to achieve greater drilling efficiency. And the machine minimizes pipe-entry distance, giving operators increased drill pipe support as the drill enters the ground. 

This model is available with either a fully enclosed cab with premium heat and air capabilities or an open operator’s station designed with integrated vandal covers. Both options feature a premium ergonomic seat and extended legroom. 

Altec
What’s New: DT65H Transmission Digger Derrick
Website: www.altec.com 

Altec’s new DT65H digger derrick is a hydraulically actuated, continuous rotation, heavy-duty transmission digger derrick designed with steel load-bearing structures. The machine features a fiberglass third-stage boom and has a 21,051-pound lifting capacity at 10 feet, enabling the operator to dig a hole and set a large transmission pole with just one unit setup – to help crews get the job done in significantly less time.

The DT65H offers fully hydraulic pilot-operated controls, a standard 15,000-pound planetary winch and a full-view riding seat with single handle control. The machine also incorporates a high-flow piston pump into the hydraulic system. 

Vermeer
What’s New: Silver Series Drill Rod
Website: www.vermeer.com  

Built on the tradition of Vermeer’s premium Firestick drill rod, the company’s new Silver Series model offers utilities and utility contractors a quality aftermarket drill rod at a more economic price point.

Vermeer’s Silver Series drill rod is composed of S135 common-grade steel to reduce cost, while still offering the same column wall thickness-to-strength ratio as the Firestick model to ensure durability and optimal steering performance.

The Silver Series drill rod is available in four sizes: 1.66 inches (4.2 centimeters), 1.9 inches (4.8 centimeters), 2.06 inches (5.2 centimeters) and 2.375 inches (6 centimeters) for use on the D7x11 through the D24x40 S3 Navigator HDD models, including all current and legacy models.

Bobcat
What’s New: Next Generation R-Series Excavators
Website: www.bobcat.com 

This spring, Bobcat Co. introduced its all-new, next-generation R-Series excavators. The first R-Series excavators to launch will include the Bobcat E32 and E35 in the 3- to 4-ton class.

The new dual-flange rollers extend the excavator’s undercarriage structure closer to the track’s edge and provide up to a 15 percent increase in over-the-side capacity, which improves over-the-side digging performance and slewing ability so that operators can get more jobs done in less time and effort.

Bobcat also has redesigned the cab to enhance operator experience. The tall, wide windows provide 15 percent more surface area to increase visibility. And there is 29 percent more floor space for the operator’s feet and legs than previous models, with redesigned floor pedals that conveniently fold away. The new automatic heat and air-conditioning systems give operators complete control over the cab climate, with an optional heated seat to ensure operator comfort in especially harsh winter climates.

John Deere
What’s New: 30G Compact Excavator
Website: www.deere.com 

John Deere upgraded its G-Series excavator lineup in March with the introduction of the 30G compact excavator that offers increased lift capacity and improved breakout forces. 

The 30G uses 27D/26G buckets and attachments that John Deere customers may already be utilizing in their fleet. It also uses several components that are common to the 35G model to help simplify parts tracking and maintenance for fleets.

Featuring a redesigned cab with heat and air-conditioning and a new seat with adjustable wrist rests, the 30G excavator keeps operators comfortable – and productive – in any climate and conditions.

Technology Helps Fleets Streamline Maintenance Operations

Where fleet maintenance is concerned, technology providers including Decisiv (www.decisiv.com) and Zonar Systems (www.zonarsystems.com) have been working with utilities to maximize visibility, consistency and transparency, among other things.

“Those actually go right to your bottom line because you reduce costs, you reduce downtime, and you make everybody more effective and the whole process more efficient,” said Michael Riemer, vice president of product and channel marketing for Decisiv.

Decreasing Downtime
Reducing downtime is a primary goal of nearly every utility fleet manager since it is a huge productivity killer.

“If your asset is down for two days but should only be down for two hours, that’s a huge cost,” Riemer said.

One of the biggest culprits contributing to unnecessary downtime are inefficient and often outdated paper-based systems and communication methods. Much of the time involved in a service event – from the time someone realizes an asset is broken to the time it’s back in service – has nothing to do with fixing the asset, Riemer noted. “It’s all the other things: the talking, the paper finding, the communicating, the scheduling. It’s a highly inefficient process which dramatically increases downtime,” he said.

Idaho-based Kootenai Electric Cooperative, a Zonar Systems customer since 2014, was at one point all too familiar with that unwanted downtime. KEC was looking to improve communication between drivers and fleet through the use of electronic pre- and post-trip inspections to help ensure all 110 fleet vehicles were up and running as often as possible.

“We were having a huge communication issue between the driver and fleet when it came to yellow or red tag violations on the vehicles,” said Mike Stevens, KEC fleet mechanic.

Drivers would work overtime and come in after hours with issues, such as a mirror falling off or another repair.

“Now, even if no one is there when [a driver gets] back to the shop, they can give it a yellow tag violation. I get a notification email and when we show up to work the next morning, we go repair that without even physically talking to them,” Stevens said, referring to KEC’s use of Zonar Systems’ electronic verified inspection reporting, or EVIR.

According to Jeff Wells, Zonar’s vice president, “With EVIR, we can actually go in and send that information electronically within seconds to get those shops to make those repairs and also include items such as VINs and meter data [engine hours and mileage], which is also very beneficial in their business on remote vehicles.”

Precision Pays Off
Decisiv helps customers by providing a single platform for managing all of their service events, whether they are being performed in-house or by third parties.

“We pull all the telematics and diagnostic information, service history, build details, warranty information, service bulletins, recalls, maintenance status, etc., so that when you’re working on an event, you have a very clear understanding of what’s going on with that asset and what needs to be done to it,” Riemer said.

Doing so enables technicians to fix issues correctly the first time and cut down on triage time, which in turn has been able to reduce customer downtime.

Zonar Systems has had similar experiences with its customers by being able to cut back on unnecessary repairs.

“We can now diagnose what the problem is and avoid the road call altogether,” Wells said. “So there’s a significant amount of time and money that’s being saved. And then the ones that we do need to go out and do repairs on, we have better insight as to what to bring so those repairs are being done in an effective manner.”

For fleets looking to implement new technologies into their maintenance operations, both Riemer and Wells recommended first having a strong understanding of your business along with goals and objectives, the current systems in place in your organization and how they’re being used, as well as who’s in charge of those systems.

About the Author: Grace Suizo has been covering the automotive fleet industry since 2007. She spent six years as an editor for five fleet publications and has written more than 100 articles geared toward both commercial and public sector fleets.

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Cutting Costs, Making Profits
In addition to assisting with fleet maintenance operations, Zonar Systems’ technology has helped utilities cut costs and make a profit.

One of the company’s customers of over 10 years has been able to better manage its existing fleet of more than 12,000 units to eliminate the cost of renting equipment. Jeff Wells, Zonar’s vice president, described the fleet’s problem as a rental dependency.

“They were renting equipment,” he said. “For example, they had two sites that were within 20 miles of each other. Location 1 had a piece of equipment needed by Location 2, but Location 1 claimed they used it all the time. What we’ve been able to do for them is lower that rental dependency by providing insight into Location 1 utilization. Those conversations are really easy when you have the data. We can say, ‘OK, Location 1, you haven’t used this piece of equipment in a year, so we are going to send it to Location 2 and use what we have rather than take on that cost of renting a piece of equipment for Location 2.’ That was the biggest benefit for them.”

Another customer, Kootenai Electric Cooperative, was able to achieve return on investment within one year of implementing Zonar’s EVIR system.

“We implemented in 2014, and then in November 2015 we had a major storm,” said Mike Stevens, fleet mechanic for the cooperative. “We were able to track our vehicles 24 hours a day, monitor them, and then we put up geofences around the affected areas. We were able to get back $2 million in FEMA funding by proving the vehicles were there.”

Strategies to Reduce Fuel Theft and Fuel Card Misuse

Yes, it could happen: A nefarious individual could approach one of your pieces of equipment parked on the lot and siphon fuel right from the tank.

What is perhaps more likely, though, is loss due to improperly used fuel cards.

“By and large, employees do the right thing,” said Geoff Scalf, director of global energy business development at Telogis (www.telogis.com). “But you will have some employees who will make poor choices.”

Leveraging the proper technology and techniques can help ensure fuel theft is kept to a minimum.

It’s important that employees understand what the proper use of fuel cards means. Aside from using the cards to fill up personal vehicles, Scalf said he often hears of employees who travel in groups and don’t think twice about using one employee’s card to fill up several vehicles at once. There’s nothing fraudulent about that sort of misuse, but it can make for messy paperwork, numbers that don’t add up and misallocation of funds in the future. Another example of misuse: when an employee pulls a trailer with, say, a backhoe loaded onto it, and then uses the card to top off both the truck and backhoe without changing any codes in the system.

Telogis Fleet offers one way to keep closer tabs on misuse, whether or not it was intentional. The Telogis platform includes a module that gives increased visibility into fuel usage.

“It looks at fuel transactions and compares those to miles driven, to the location of the vehicle, to when the transactions actually occurred,” Scalf said. “It also looks at what you would expect the miles per gallon to be for that vehicle. Then it will flag anything that is outside the norm. Now, the customer can easily analyze the data; identify trends, opportunities and maintenance issues; as well as identify which transactions may be fraudulent or if there’s been misuse of the fuel card.”

Before implementation of the Telogis platform, it’s not unusual, Scalf said, to see 10 to 20 percent of fuel involved in misuse or theft. Because of the advantages of increased visibility, Telogis does have competitors in the fleet management software space. What makes the company different, according to Scalf, is that it works with automotive and equipment OEMs, installing telematics hardware with Telogis software so that it is available for use from the moment vehicles are delivered – minimizing the downtime and hassle of installations.

The increased visibility a fleet management program provides can mean benefits beyond reducing fuel theft and misuse. On the list: increased driver safety, work order management, better vehicle and employee allocation, and more.

Other Strategic Efforts
When it comes to addressing fuel theft in particular, the use of monitors, sensors and anti-siphoning devices also can be strategic efforts. Traditional safety and security precautions still apply; telematics simply takes things further. And if the data is available, why not use it?

“Fuel management definitely requires controls,” said Todd Carlson, principal manager for fleet asset management at Southern California Edison. “An uncontrolled fuel program can induce shrinkage and theft across a fleet. From my experience, even the worst scenarios of theft typically impact only a small percentage of the total annual fleet consumption, yet the dollar amounts can be significant.”

Carlson noted that Southern California Edison has had very few documented instances of fuel theft in recent years; a number of efforts to reduce it are in place.

“The majority of our fuel consumption and pumping occurs at bulk facilities at our service centers, which are behind fences, well-lit and typically monitored with cameras,” he said. “Off-site fueling is reviewed and approved by the driver’s manager via expense reporting.” In addition, SCE utilizes a telematics system that allows for tracking vehicle location and fuel consumption, and has Veeder-Root systems on most bulk tanks to confirm bulk delivery volumes.

Utility fleet professionals can be quite surprised when they first become aware of what’s actually been happening with their fuel, Scalf said. But the first step toward any improvement is being aware of the issue.

About the Author: Fiona Soltes is a longtime freelance writer based just outside Nashville, Tenn. Her regular clients represent a variety of sectors, including fleet, engineering, technology, logistics, business services, disaster preparedness and material handling. Prior to her freelance career, Soltes spent seven years as a staff writer for The Tennessean, a daily newspaper serving Nashville and the surrounding area.

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When Combating Fuel Theft, Don’t Forget the Basics
In addition to strategic use of technology, fighting fuel theft and fuel card misuse starts with some practicalities. Following are several questions fleet managers should consider as they address these issues:
• Are fuel tanks locked and keys secure?
• Are vehicles parked in safe, secure, well-lit areas?
• Are employees aware of what constitutes proper fuel card use?
• Do employees understand why reducing fuel theft matters?
• Are consequences for improper fuel card use in place and enforced?
• Is off-site fueling regularly and comprehensively reviewed?
• Is there adequate visibility into how, when and by whom fuel cards are being used?
• Have anti-siphoning devices and/or sensors or monitors been considered/installed where necessary?

Renting vs. Buying Heavy Equipment

It’s a common occurrence for utilities and contractors: A piece of heavy equipment is needed, but it’s not immediately available in the fleet, so the project manager rents what’s required. But that may not always be the right strategy – especially when the rental is done outside the fleet manager’s purview.

“I have seen cases where equipment was rented for lengths up to 27 months and turned back in to the rental store,” said Daniel Fitzpatrick, fleet manager for NorthWestern Energy, which provides electricity and natural gas to more than 700,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. “When this happens, you lose any rental credit and the equipment.”

Paul Lauria, president of fleet management consulting firm Mercury Associates (http://mercury-assoc.com/), has seen it too. “One of the problems we see, particularly in utility companies, is they allow business units to rent equipment to fill a temporary need,” he said. “Two years later, the rental unit is still in the fleet and no one has been paying attention. It would have been cheaper to purchase and then dispose of it.”

Granted, haggling over a purchase or evaluating the merits of rental versus ownership may not make sense when thousands of customers are without service. So, while there likely are no hard and fast rules that utilities can develop to address this issue, following some broad principles can help.

“It makes financial sense to own your equipment,” Fitzpatrick said. He tries to purchase any rental equipment at a reduced price when the rental ends, or when money has become available. “Where a buyout is not an option, focus on the interest rate and controlling costs in the short term.”

Fitzpatrick also tries to avoid rentals by moving equipment around as needed, something that may go against an operator’s wishes for “the brand new rental piece when compared to an older, owned unit.” Still, he said, “decisions to rent should always be made on what is in the best interest of the company and customers.”

And that means evaluating costs beyond the equipment’s rental or purchase price, Lauria said. “If it has an annual fixed cost of $10,000 per year and you use it five days per year, the cost per day is $2,000. You may be able to rent it for much less as needed.”

It’s Not All About Cost
Lauria recommends that the rent-versus-purchase conversation evaluate not just costs, but also “your waiting tolerance. If you’re a water utility, you can’t say, ‘We’ll get to that in six hours because we don’t have a loader available.’ That would be unacceptable, obviously. It’s part science, part art and part common sense.”

He recommends that utilities use a chargeback system to “make costs visible. If the fleet is an order-taker and the business unit says, ‘I’d like this bucket truck’ and the fleet orders it, they’ll not be able to make informed decisions.”

And making an informed decision includes factoring in residual value. A purchase and depreciation may still outweigh rental costs, if the item could be sold when it’s no longer needed. “In my experience, a lot of organizations that purchase outright don’t do a good job in managing residual value,” Lauria said. “It doesn’t occur to them to buy it, use it for six months and sell it. Yes, there are depreciation and transactional costs, but it may still be cheaper.”

Another consideration is whether the rental is for a temporary project or an intermittent need. “It’s more common for organizations to rent fleet assets for a temporary need, like a project that is time-limited,” Lauria said. “There’s just one problem: Everyone has the same need for the same equipment in the same season.”

That ties into the most important question to consider: Is the piece of equipment even available? Ultimately, that may be the deciding factor when determining whether to rent or buy. But setting parameters on when and how to make the decision can prevent costly mistakes.

About the Author: Sandy Smith is a freelance writer and editor based in Nashville, Tenn.

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Making the Most of Rentals
Daniel Fitzpatrick, fleet manager for NorthWestern Energy, has learned to make the most of rentals, often acquiring them when a project is complete. Whenever a piece of equipment is turned in, “the rental store/dealer provides me the make, model, hours, rents paid and buyout price of the equipment,” he said. “This gives me the opportunity to purchase lightly used equipment for our company while maximizing the rents we have already paid.”

But before making a purchase, any rental must meet certain qualifications:
• Is this a model that fits spec?
• Does the utility receive credit toward purchase? The rental payments should reduce purchase price, Fitzpatrick said.
• What interest rate is being charged?
• Is service available and nearby? Fitzpatrick notes this is a “short-term and long-term question. We will need service after we purchase the piece of equipment.”

When rentals meet the fleet’s criteria, it often makes financial sense to purchase the used piece of equipment.

When Does it Make Sense to Outsource Maintenance?

Even if you have a robust in-house repair shop, chances are that you still outsource portions of your maintenance operations – to save money, quickly fill gaps left by technicians who’ve recently retired or tap into specialized expertise to perform critical repairs.

But how do you determine which aspects of your maintenance operations make the most sense to outsource and which ones you should keep in-house?

UFP recently posed this question to Paul Lauria, who has worked with numerous government and utility fleets for more than three decades as president of Mercury Associates Inc. (www.mercury-assoc.com), a fleet management consulting firm based in Rockville, Md. He offered these four points to consider.

1. Cost
How much money will outsourcing actually save the organization?

“The only way that you’re going to be able to determine if you’re saving money is to know the costs of performing outsourceable fleet maintenance and repair activities in-house versus farming them out to a vendor or contractor,” Lauria said. “And that’s one thing, in my experience, that a lot of organizations, including utilities, don’t have a good handle on. What are the avoidable costs of operating its own garages or of performing a particular type of maintenance or repair activity, for example? If you were to shut down or downsize those garages and shift work to third-party service providers, what costs would go away? That establishes the baseline for determining whether or not you can save money by outsourcing.”

2. Impact
How will outsourcing impact your ability to serve and respond to customers?

“You need to understand how the level and quality of service you provide to the company’s operating units – your customers – would be impacted by outsourcing,” Lauria said. “If you’re going to reduce your costs by 5 percent, even if that’s a multimillion-dollar figure, the question you have to ask yourself is: Will that level of savings be sufficiently large to justify any reduction in service level or quality that might result?”

That’s because utilities, especially, can’t afford to allow excessive downtime with important assets.

“Most utility companies operate their own garages because they have mission-critical equipment that they cannot easily have maintained and repaired entirely by outside vendors. For example, they’re understandably reluctant to relinquish complete control over the maintenance and repair of those assets because, once they do that, they generally will not be able to call out mechanics 24/7 to support the fleet during weather-related or other emergencies,” Lauria said.

Then there’s the impact of any logistics involved with outsourcing. “If you’re talking about outsourcing, where the vehicles need to go to vendor garages for servicing – as opposed to a situation where you’re bringing a contractor in to staff the company’s garages – you now have to take vehicles off-site, which could result in a significant increase in the amount of time that’s spent transporting vehicles to and from vendor shops,” Lauria said.

And you also have to consider any impact that outsourcing could have on in-house staff, Lauria advised. “You want to think about: Are the savings that could be realized – whatever they are – large enough to justify all of the hand-wringing, all of the angst that the organization’s likely to go through to outsource? Because there is going to be a lot of hand-wringing. There is going to be a lot of angst, particularly if there are labor unions involved.”

3. Volume
What types of vehicles offer the best opportunity for outsourcing?

“The best candidates for outsourcing generally are the light-duty vehicles in a fleet, as long as your heavy truck and equipment mechanics are not sitting around, twiddling their thumbs if work on the light-duty vehicles is outsourced,” Lauria said. “Keep in mind that one of the reasons that a lot of in-house fleet maintenance programs work on light-duty vehicles is precisely because they have to employ technicians to work on the mission-critical assets. So, if there’s not a steady diet of line truck or digger derrick maintenance and repair work to be done, you sure don’t want to be sending your service technician vans and passenger sedans out to commercial garages while your truck mechanics stand around staring at the walls. So, a lot of times, light commercial vehicle maintenance effectively is used as backfill for in-house shops.”

4. Expertise
What’s the most common aspect of maintenance operations that utility fleets tend to outsource?

“When you need specialized expertise, for one,” Lauria said. “Depending on the size of the utility, a smaller company may be more likely to outsource dielectric testing of its buckets, for example, because they can’t justify having the equipment to do that in-house. Or, it may be outsourcing hydraulic repairs because it doesn’t have enough volume to justify having the technical expertise on staff. The last thing you want is one of your aerials failing because somebody in-house didn’t properly repair a hydraulic cylinder.”

The idea here is that the more specialized the type of repair, the greater the economies of scale associated with its performance. So, if you don’t have the volume of work to keep specialists busy, then it usually makes financial sense to outsource that work to service providers that perform those repairs all the time.

The Bottom Line
Keep in mind that outsourcing maintenance is not an all-or-nothing proposition. As Lauria put it: “I can outsource simply by saying, ‘You know what? Every second PM, we’re going to let the drivers of our passenger vehicles go to Jiffy Lube.’ Or, ‘We want to see the vehicle at least once a year, but we don’t have a problem with you getting tire rotations and oil changes at a commercial repair shop at other times during the year.’ If that helps a company stretch its in-house maintenance resources during an era in which all fleet owners increasingly struggle to attract and retain qualified maintenance technicians, then that type of outsourcing deserves careful consideration.”

3 Takeaways to Expect from Utility Fleet Conference 2017

Utility Fleet Conference 2017 exists to provide a forum that challenges us in the utility fleet industry to change ourselves – to learn, grow and adapt in an environment where so much change is happening so quickly.

Think about it: Emerging technologies like self-driving systems, connected vehicles and drones are already here and just beginning to make an impact on your fleet – and how you do business. And, as more older fleet workers and technicians prepare for retirement, you have to compete even harder to find workers who are qualified to fill those roles.

The reality is that yesterday’s knowledge, skills and strategies are not enough to tackle today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. We must grow.

But what should we learn? And how can we apply that new knowledge to equip ourselves for long-term success?

Start by attending Utility Fleet Conference 2017 (www.utilityfleetconference.com) October 2-4 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky., and expect to leave with these three important takeaways.

1. Gain Insight
Find out about emerging fleet trends and technologies that could impact your job. Attend panel discussions led by experts on important topics, such as “The Future of Telematics and Connected Fleets” and “The Top Trends Impacting Utility Fleet Operations.” There also will be sessions on autonomous vehicles and drones, and their potential impact on fleet.

2. Learn Strategy
Get exposed to new ideas and strategies that can help you take your fleet’s performance to the next level. Learn best practices from peers and industry experts on fleet safety, electrification and maintenance management.

3. Lead Success
Become a more effective leader with your team and senior management. The opening keynote will be delivered by author and leadership expert Jim Finkelstein on “Old School vs. New School: Managing Across Generations.” There also will be sessions that offer real-world strategies on how to expand your influence with senior management and how to recruit and keep your top technicians.

So, if you’re a fleet professional working for an investor-owned utility, public utility, cooperative or utility contractor, Utility Fleet Conference at ICUEE is designed specifically for you. For a full conference agenda, visit www.utilityfleetconference.com.

See you in Louisville!

Sean M. Lyden
Editor

Stertil-Koni Smart Control System

Heavy-duty vehicle lift leader Stertil-Koni has incorporated its advanced, full-color, touch-screen control console – known as the ebright Smart Control System – into the company’s popular ECOLIFT, an ultra-shallow, full-rise, axle-engaging in-ground scissor-lifting system.

In that way, the ongoing operation and monitoring of the lift is made even easier, placing all critical information directly at the fingertips of the person who needs it most – the busy technician on the shop floor.

First deployed on Stertil-Koni wireless mobile column lifts in 2015, and subsequently rolled out to the company’s battery-operated cable mobile column lifts in 2017, the enhanced ebright Smart Control System provides intuitive ease of use with maximum visual information about the entire lifting process.

This ebright Smart Control System will deliver intuitive controls with actual data about the lift in action; tracking of specific operations and information codes; relevant information available at a glance; actual lifting height displayed; and visual display of maximum programmable lifting height. www.stertil-koni.com

Greenlee G6 Turbo Puller

Greenlee Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has introduced the G6 Turbo puller to improve contractor speed and efficiency. Capable of pulling 6,000 pounds of force, the G6 Turbo model pulls up to 60 percent faster than the competition, according to the company.

The 120-volt AC drive motor can pull 6,000 pounds of maximum force and 4,000 pounds continuously. Dual capstans on the G6 Turbo puller deliver faster pulling speeds across the entire load spectrum of the pull. Control boards monitor the current draw of the G6 Turbo puller motor and protect it from overloading the puller. Built-in spring-loaded pins allow for quick changeovers and easy setup, and eliminate the hassle of loose pieces.

The G6 Turbo puller is equipped with features to reduce downtime and injuries. A footswitch safely controls motor power without the operator placing themselves in front of the rope. The 125-pound G6 Turbo puller is built on a dolly, making it easier to move the unit from worksite to worksite. Handles on the dolly and the boom allow operators to easily and ergonomically adjust for height. A gearbox feature prevents rope and cable tension from pulling back into the conduit when the operator stops pulling. Setup time is faster and easier than other pullers on the market. http://greenlee.com/g6

EUFMC 60th Anniversary

This year, the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference celebrates its 60th anniversary. Sixty years is bound to bring a significant amount of change to anything, and bucket trucks are no exception. Utility Fleet Professional talked with industry professionals for their thoughts on the evolution of aerial lift devices.

Bucket trucks 60 years ago were very useful for the times. “The first bucket trucks were tremendous improvements to work practices that eliminated climbing poles,” said Joe Caywood, director of marketing and strategic initiatives for Terex Utilities. Caywood said an innovative fiberglass boom also allowed lineworkers to work on and around live lines without being tied to the pole. “At the time, poles were shorter and chassis did not support large equipment, so the average distribution line truck was sized more like today’s trouble truck.”

In the last 60 years those first bucket trucks have seen transformation and progress in a variety of areas. “Equipment capabilities have leaped forward and the ability to improve work methods has provided a smarter, safer environment for the lineworker, with more productivity, less fatigue, and less long-term wear and tear on the worker,” said C. Michael Anderson, P.E., a North Carolina-based engineering consultant formerly with Altec Industries. “In the mid-1980s, the equipment changed significantly. Work methods allowed the lineman to take advantage of available advancements in hydraulics, composites, and vehicles such that ergonomics and safety are major features in addition to cost and productivity.”

“From a repair and maintenance standpoint, I think the engineering has come a long way [in the last 60 years],” said Judie Taylor, president of DUECO. “It’s not only about the engineering of the bucket trucks and the use of them, but also being able to maintain them better.”

Mechanical Advances
Progressive steps forward have been taken during the history of the bucket truck in regard to hydraulics, chassis and other important parts. “Power sources have historically relied on the chassis engine to provide power for the boom,” Caywood said. “Advancements with PTOs have significantly improved efficiency and reliability. Changes from carbureted gas engines to computer-controlled engines significantly improved engine control and reduced work site noise. Today advanced hybrid solutions provide a quiet alternative energy source supplied from onboard stored energy.”

“We are able to diagnose a lot more on the chassis side of things with troubleshooting and the computerization of that,” Taylor said. “On the tower side of it, the true bucket truck side of it, a lot of the hydraulics obviously have changed. Safety features have definitely been enhanced.”

Similar to chassis changes over the years, aerial devices have evolved significantly. “With pole heights increasing, the aerial devices increased in working height and platform capacity to match the requirements of the job. Over this time, features and options also continually advanced,” Caywood said. Some of these enhancements and developments include the single stick controller, material-handling jibs, hydraulically compensated (coordinated action) booms, telescopic booms, elevators, basket rotators and lifters, and advances with dielectric materials.

“Back when I started in 1994, I would say 48-foot units were significant and probably the most popular distribution units, whereas now 55-foot units are the most popular,” Taylor said. “There is an increase in the line heights, and pole heights have changed so utility trucks have had to change with that.”

Safety Regulations
Mechanics and power sources have gotten bigger and more complex, according to Darin Hinnergardt, Altec Sentry Safety Program manager, “which leads to increased training for a better educated, more informed workforce. As a result, there is a need for safer aerial devices and digger derricks,” he said.

Safety regulations have also helped the industry to progress, with the addition of OSHA’s 1926.1400 standard to address cranes and digger derricks in the field being the most recent. But Hinnergardt said that it wasn’t until 1971 that OSHA was established and brought guidance to the industry. “In the ’70s, the lower boom insert was introduced to help protect the ground worker,” he added.

Caywood said the biggest advantage has been the reduction of wear and tear on today’s lineworkers. “Linemen are working much longer, in better health, because of the reduction of stress on their body from not having to climb poles all day long. Features we take for granted such as boom interlocks and moving outrigger alarms aid the operator to perform their tasks safely.”

The Next 60
A look to the future will see continued focus on innovation, integration and weight management, according to Caywood. “Fuel savings will be realized by each pound that can be reduced from the aerial device through use of lighter-weight, higher-strength materials combined with efficient systems that integrate and control chassis, aerial and operator,” he said. “As with all improvements that have been yielded over the years, they start with the voice of the customer and recognizing their needs.”

Hybrid systems have been one of the biggest recent advancements, and Taylor expects that to continue in the future. “The introduction of hybrids certainly has, I think, helped the industry to be aware that there is definitely a need for alternative fuels,” Taylor said. “I do think hybrids are here to stay and we will see more evolution of that technology. I also think from a regulatory standpoint and a safety standpoint we will continue to see more stringent regulations on the industry with the operation of bucket trucks and digger derricks.”

About the Author: Wade Vonasek is a writer and editor. His work has appeared both in print and online for publications such as Mass Transit, Professional Tool & Equipment News, Fleet Maintenance and more. He resides in Bristol, Wis.

The Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference

It all began in 1953. The desire of utility fleet managers for a convention of their own, one that would address the specific needs of their operations, became the mission and vision of Joseph B. Baker, the founder of Baker Equipment Engineering Co., and Jean Y. Ray, the fleet manager at Virginia Electric Power Co. (now part of Dominion Power), who hosted the first Public Utility Fleet Managers Conference at the Tides Inn in Irvington, Va. While the conference did not officially change its name to the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference until 1964, EUFMC was born. ~ EUFMC History 1953-2013

In 1961, 28 fleet managers and about 25 suppliers attended the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference. Today, the nonprofit association hosts 100 fleet managers from about 60 investor-owned electric utilities, electric cooperatives and electric contractors from the U.S., Canada and South America, and more than 250 representatives of about 95 manufacturers and service providers.

In its early years, EUFMC was truly a public utility conference. Its membership included fleet managers from electric, telephone and gas utilities, among others. By the early 1960s, its founders had redefined the focus of the conference, centering more on electric utility issues. Since 1951, when the first meetings took place to plan the inaugural EUFMC in 1953, 32 fleet managers from operations across the U.S. have served as president of the conference.

“EUFMC has always been organized by a small group of utility fleet representatives for the benefit and education of the utility fleet professionals that attend the event each year,” said Gerald Owens, fleet manager at Oncor Electric Delivery and this year’s EUFMC president. “The board of directors consists mainly of utility fleet professionals, all volunteers who devote time to the conference with the support of their companies.”

Sixty Years of Service
Decade by decade, EUFMC has served the changing needs of utility fleets and addressed the continuing advent of new technologies.

“Some things never change and that’s a good thing about EUFMC,” said Ven Burwell, retired fleet manager from Duke Power who served as EUFMC president from 1991-1992. “At the conference, fleet managers were concerned about how to save maintenance costs, and we were very interested in new technologies such as electric, natural gas and light-duty diesel trucks. EUFMC has always been a great conference where we could learn about fleet ideas and make more effective decisions.”

Conference programs listing topics of discussions across the years tell the story. In the early 1960s, EUFMC attendees were discussing derrick and digger combinations and aerial devices as well as all types of trucks and bodies. Over the years, topics have included legislative and regulatory issues and a range of fleet management subjects such as vehicle utilization and acquisition, benchmarking, fleet management software, life cycle cost models and best practices in preventive maintenance. In recent years, the conference program has covered the latest vehicle, equipment and shop technologies as well as alternative fuels and managing environmental compliance.

Bringing People Together
EUFMC promotes cooperation between fleet professionals and suppliers who come to the annual conference prepared to discuss technical issues and operational needs, address challenges, share best practices and find solutions. Activities include a drive-through utility equipment demonstration and an exhibition of the latest equipment and services for utility fleets, the site today of more than 60 displays.

“While some of the original manufacturers at EUFMC are no longer in business, there has always been an effort by suppliers to bring engineers to the show, people who can talk to fleets, listen to their suggestions and solve problems,” said Dick Rosenmeier, retired fleet manager at Public Service Electric and Gas Co., who was EUFMC president from 1982-1985. “That’s one reason it was always desirable to be invited. It’s an original concept that still stands because it’s a good one.”

“I have been attending EUFMC for 58 years,” related Lenny Fernandez, recently retired utility sales manager at Reading Truck Body. “The conference has always been about attaining knowledge from fellow attendees that you could not get anywhere else. Vendors and utility representatives come here with knowledge of products and what works in their operations.”

For many attendees, EUFMC has continued to be successful because it has not lost sight of its original mission – to bring together decision-makers from both sides of the partnership between fleets and manufacturers.

“It’s hard to imagine that any group can stick to its founding principles after so long,” said Skip Baker, president of Baker Equipment and grandson of conference founder Joseph B. Baker. “Yes, it has grown significantly, and the topics of conference discussions have changed with evolving technology and work practices, but the group’s fundamental reason for assembling year after year hasn’t. Fleet managers come to Williamsburg to learn and share.”

About the Author: Seth Skydel has more than 27 years of truck- and automotive-related publication experience. In his career, he has held editorial roles at numerous national business-to-business publications focusing on fleet and transportation management, vehicle and information technology, and industry trends and issues.

Fleet Management: Addressing Core Issues Minimizes Costs

Many companies are facing their biggest budget challenges in their history, noted Bob Pitts, senior principal at Accenture. Additionally, companies that typically operate large, specialized fleets of vehicles in support of their operations face additional pressures to reduce costs to meet these budget challenges. These fleets inevitably require large commitments of scarce capital and are expensive to operate and maintain while complying with corporate and legislative mandates. A proper strategic focus can deliver exceptional value, enhance reliability of service and improve public perception.

Pitts explains that turning a fleet from a necessary evil into a strategic asset requires addressing several core issues:
• Fleets that are suboptimized will drive operational and capital expenses higher than needed.
• Suboptimized fleets have more vehicles than necessary and asset utilization is low.
• Fleets are treated as a cost of doing business rather than a strategic asset.
• Supplier management is not advanced and fleets do not leverage spending to drive savings.
• Full life-cycle management and planning are subpar and usually driven by budgetary constraints.

“Key issues in fleet management involve capital commitments and management, as well as operating effectiveness and cost,” stated Mike Reiss, associate principal at Accenture. “Fleet asset utilization is not typically tracked or measured at an appropriate level, which leads to unwanted outcomes, such as having more vehicles than necessary, additional operating and maintenance costs, and not always having the right vehicles for the jobs they are needed to do. Additionally, fleet costs are usually fragmented and are rarely captured in total, which leads to problems in trying to adequately and accurately assess operating efficiency and evaluate strategic opportunities.

“Fleet management and fleet operations are not generally viewed as core competencies by nontransportation companies,” Reiss continued, “so it’s not surprising that focusing the spotlight on key areas will illuminate opportunities for operational improvements. Much of these opportunities can be identified and acted upon through best practices benchmarking, implementing and employing the appropriate decision support technology, and generating and maintaining high-quality data for monitoring and measuring progress and results.”

Accenture’s integrated fleet management methodology can provide a set of strategies to minimize total cost of ownership:
Buying smart: Strategic sourcing techniques drive some of the greatest value attainable in fleet management.
Operating smart: Pay rigorous attention to core operating practices involving maintenance and repair, fuel management, parts management and inventory control.
Selling smart: Disposing of vehicles at the appropriate time in their life cycle to maximize residual value.

An integrated fleet management program requires that all of these activities be analyzed, measured and managed as interdependent fleet management functions.

For more information, visit www.accenture.com.

About the Author: Seth Skydel has more than 27 years of truck- and automotive-related publication experience. In his career, he has held editorial roles at numerous national business-to-business publications focusing on fleet and transportation management, vehicle and information technology, and industry trends and issues.

Management Strategies

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
It was one of those very intense New England winter storms that, in February 2011, buried Vermont in up to 4 feet of snow, not counting drifting snow. So much snow had piled up during the night that when Dan Mackey, fleet manager for Central Vermont Public Service, headed for his office in Rutland, he realized it was impossible to make it. The roads had not yet been sufficiently cleared, so Mackey had to settle for the nearby Poultney, Vt., office to try to manage the fleet from there.

About a dozen customers from the Benson, Vt., area were without power, a nasty situation to contemplate in the dead of winter in a rural area. Pat Traverse, operations supervisor, found out that the roads leading into that area would not be plowed for another day. Mackey overheard the comment and asked, if he could get someone over there with the GT2000, could service be restored to those customers? Traverse responded, “Let’s try it. Service restoration is very important and if we could get service restored to these few customers, the Poultney district would be finished with storm cleanup.”

After explaining the situation and conditions, Ed Baker, shop foreman, volunteered to drive the only equipment that had a chance of making it to the downed lines in that type of weather. He loaded a Prinoth GT2000 track carrier mounted with an Altec AM55 aerial device onto the back of a semitrailer and headed west to Benson. Baker went as far as he could on the unplowed roads before he had to stop. Brian Crossman, second-class lineman, and Baker then unloaded the GT2000 into the snow and ice and headed toward the broken line.

As the GT2000 powered its way to the target, snow built up in front of the windshield, about halfway up. This is equal to about 6 feet of snow that the GT2000 had to muscle through, hauling the 55-foot aerial device. After several hours of hard, cold work by man and machine, power was restored thanks to the combination of the Prinoth GT2000 and the Altec AM55 material-handling aerial device, along with a highly skilled lineman and a very capable vehicle operator.

In June 2012, the Vermont Public Service Board approved the merger of Green Mountain Power and CVPS. CVPS, a shareholder-owned electric utility, serves one of the most rural territories in the country. In place at CVPS is a fleet of more than 300 vehicles and nearly another 150 pieces of equipment. The utility’s transportation team provides a wide range of vehicle and maintenance services and, as was seen in February 2011, also fulfills a vital role as frontline support for operations during storms.

Bringing Tree-Trimming Fleet Needs to the Forefront
In early September, NAFA Fleet Management Association announced the formation of the Utility Line Clearance Tree Equipment Committee. The committee’s primary activities will include working to bring equipment needs to the attention of manufacturers. The objectives of ULCTEC include collaborating on industry equipment, regulatory issues and other concerns. The group also plans to standardize the approach to operator training and develop an operator training template that covers key areas for all equipment. ULCTEC will interact with both the NAFA Corporate Fleet and Utility Fleet committees.

Dave Lynn, CAFM, equipment service manager for Penn Line Service, is the committee chair, and Lenny Hedgelin, fleet and equipment training coordinator for Lucas Tree Experts, is ULCTEC’s vice chair. The committee’s secretary/treasurer is Kevin Fitzpatrick, CAFM, of Wright Tree Service, and its reporting officer is Claude Masters, CAFM, of Florida Power & Light. Other current ULCTEC members are Chuck Cotton of Lucas Tree Experts and Mike Harris, CAFM, of Carolina Tree Care. Committee membership is limited to NAFA members who have utility line tree clearance responsibilities.

Asplundh Crews Continue Storm Work
After Hurricane Isaac made landfall in late August, residents of Louisiana and Mississippi were among the first to see equipment and crews from Asplundh Tree Expert Co. Included were approximately 1,700 workers from 21 states who joined with hundreds of local Asplundh employees to remove storm-damaged limbs and trees. The crews were sent to assist utilities restoring power in the wake of the hurricane, including Entergy Corp., Central Louisiana Electric Co., Mississippi Power and Magnolia Electric Power Association.

Hundreds of these mobilized crews began their trek for storm restoration work weeks earlier when Florida Power & Light began to prepare for Hurricane Isaac to hit the southern half of the state. When Isaac skirted Florida’s western coast and headed for New Orleans, most of the crews were sent to Louisiana and Mississippi. Asplundh also sent its mobile storm center trailer to Baton Rouge, La., to be a base of operations and communication for its crews. At the same time, Asplundh’s storm coordination team, in its Willow Grove, Pa., headquarters, worked throughout the Labor Day holiday to expedite the movement of crews and address logistical issues.

Life Cycle Cost Modeling
The issues are not unfamiliar to utility fleet managers. While developing models for vehicle replacements that meet operational and cost needs, fleets must also compete for capital funds and address the impact of inconsistent funding. If the fleet is aging due to a lack of capital for replacements, there is the added concern about having enough trained technicians to care for older vehicles.

Fleet managers involved in this process ask themselves important questions. Why do we replace vehicles at specific intervals? What are the most recent utilization patterns and will they change? What are current and projected purchase prices? What are our parts and labor costs for particular types of equipment? What are our projected residual values at different replacement intervals?

The experiences of three fleets shed some light on this challenging aspect of utility fleet management and the ways in which positive results can be realized.

Kansas City Power & Light
“Our fleet is comprised of about 1,570 units and the average age of the equipment is just under eight years,” said Steve Granger, fleet manager. “Our life cycle study objectives took into account the aging fleet, our business model, and evaluations of previous practices and assumptions. The goal was to optimize the use of capital and level operating and maintenance costs.”

The result of this predictive approach, according to Granger, was an increase in capital funding of 30 percent over three years. “That was possible,” he added, “because we had a clear understanding of our objectives as we buy vehicles and equipment to support our company’s transmission and distribution and generation assets.”

Commonwealth Edison
Spanning a wide variety, there are nearly 3,100 vehicles and 1,100 pieces of equipment in the ComEd fleet. Annually, the utility’s vehicles travel more than 28 million miles.

“We had inconsistent funding from 2001 through 2009, which created large peaks and valleys in spending,” said Mike Radziewicz, director of fleet. “That also resulted in an aging fleet where about 40 percent of the vehicles and equipment were beyond life cycle. At the same time, 68 percent of the fleet is alternatively fueled and there’s interest in expanding the number of hybrid electric vehicles.

“Historically,” Radziewicz continued, “we had difficulty in competing for capital dollars and mathematically proving why we need consistent funding. Large groups of vehicles were coming due for replacement without funding in place and, at the same time, parts and labor costs and the number of annual work orders we generated were becoming unpredictable.”

The ComEd fleet’s recommendation for capital spending was based on a three-year – versus a five-year – vehicle life cycle. “We also indicated the benefits of maintaining recommended life cycles,” Radziewicz related. “Included were lower overall cost of vehicle ownership from reduced maintenance costs and improved residual values, reduced vehicle downtime that improved crew and fleet productivity through quicker maintenance turnaround, along with reduced rental costs.”

A strategy to optimize vehicle investments at ComEd was based on analyzing vehicle life cycle costs to determine optimal replacement cycles, and establishing a three- to five-year plan to bring the entire fleet back into an acceptable life cycle. “We used risk scoring to prioritize vehicle replacements,” Radziewicz said. “We standardized vehicle builds and types by vocation and matched fleet size to current and planned organizational staffing. The results include a vehicle replacement plan that calls for three years of consistent funding. We are also working to level future spending in the long-range budget.”

Pike Electric
With 7,500+ pieces of equipment, Pike Electric fields one of the largest electrical construction contracting fleets in the United States. Included are bucket trucks, digger derricks, cranes, pickups, and an assortment of dozers, excavators and backhoes.

To address replacement needs, said Cliff Edwards, vice president, fleet and support, Pike looks at controllable and other factors. Included are capital and maintenance costs and salvage or residual values. Other factors are standardization, the equipment’s condition at the time it’s being turned in, the benefits of an auction service or private sale, storm response and business growth needs, and contract stipulations. Additionally, replacement plans are impacted by equipment lead time and rental vehicle availability.

By taking into account all of the many factors outlined by these three utility executives, a path to determining the optimum time for vehicle and equipment replacement becomes clear.

Editor’s Note: These scenarios were first presented at the 2012 Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference. EUFMC 2013 will be held June 2-5 in Williamsburg, Va. For more information, visit www.eufmc.com.

ACT Expo News

Announcements from the Alternative Clean Transportation Expo, held at the Long Beach Convention Center in California.

ACT Expo brings together vehicle and engine manufacturers, fleet operators, infrastructure and fuel providers, Clean Cities coordinators, technology developers and policymakers. Visit www.actexpo.com for more.

Kenworth Green Truck Lineup
Four alternative fuel trucks were showcased by Kenworth Truck Company, including the T370 diesel-electric hybrid, which the manufacturer says helps enhance fuel economy by up to 50 percent in utility and service operations.

Also on display was a Kenworth T660 CNG truck equipped with the new Cummins Westport ISX12 G heavy-duty natural gas engine, a Kenworth T440 CNG mixer equipped with the 8.9-liter Cummins Westport ISL G engine and a Kenworth T800 LNG tractor with a 15-liter Westport HD engine.

“The ACT Expo is an important opportunity to demonstrate Kenworth’s continuing commitment to alternative fuel trucks, which are gaining increasing attention among vocational and medium-duty fleets,” said Michelle Harry, Kenworth powertrain marketing manager. “Kenworth’s alternative fuel product line features compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas, and diesel-electric hybrids.”

Visit www.kenworth.com for more.

Daimler Trucks North America Alternative Fuel Options
A number of natural gas-powered models were put on display by Daimler Trucks North America. Included were the Freightliner Cascadia 113-inch BBC day cab equipped with a Cummins Westport ISX12 G heavy-duty natural gas engine, along with a Freightliner 114SD setback axle CNG-powered dump truck, a Freightliner Business Class M2 112 LNG tractor and a Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation CNG walk-in van chassis. In addition, a Freightliner Business Class M2 106 hybrid, an FCCC all-electric walk-in van and an FCCC hydraulic hybrid walk-in van were showcased by DTNA.

“The breadth of our alternative fuel product offerings is in response to market feedback,” said David Hames, general manager, marketing and strategy for DTNA. “Customers in every segment want environmentally friendly solutions that enhance performance and we can meet that demand.”

Visit www.daimler-trucksnorthamerica.com for more.

ROUSH CleanTech on Display
A Ford E-450 cutaway fueled by propane autogas and owned by National Bus Sales, and Ford E-450 shuttle bus, F-250 pickup and E-250 cargo van models were displayed by the company at ACT Expo and made available for test drives.

Vehicles fueled with propane autogas emit significantly fewer greenhouse gases and smog-producing hydrocarbons, and virtually eliminate particulate matter when compared to conventional fuels, the company noted. All ROUSH CleanTech vehicles are certified to meet Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board guidelines.

Visit www.roushcleantech.com for more.

Past & Present

Held annually since 1953, the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference (EUFMC) remains true to tradition while staying at the forefront when it comes to providing highly valuable and relevant information.

“EUFMC brings together a large cross-section of utilities from around the country, large and small, for one common cause – to gain knowledge from the presented programs, from each other, to view products and to interact with the utilities’ supplier base,” said Ron Anderson, manager, fleet and equipment at NorthWestern Energy. “In no other place do you find such in-depth knowledge for fleet managers.”

That is by design, notes George Survant, director of fleet services at Florida Power & Light and current EUFMC president. “EUFMC is unique in that it’s built on the guidance of professionals from within the industry it serves,” he said. “The result is an event featuring technical and management presentations that helps fleet managers make a difference in their organizations.”

EUFMC continues to attract record numbers of fleet executives from investor-owned electric utilities, electric cooperatives and electrical contractors from across the U.S. and Canada, as well as representatives of equipment and service suppliers. The annual exhibition of the latest utility equipment and services during the conference features more than 75 displays where fleet managers can meet with 250+ representatives from more than 95 manufacturers and service providers.

Close Cooperation
Since its inception, EUFMC has promoted close cooperation between fleet representatives and manufacturers.

“The Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference is an annual opportunity for the leaders in our company to share product ideas and technical information with leaders in the electrical utility fleet industry,” said James Christian, director of engineering at Time Manufacturing Company. “The multifaceted environment of the conference allows our company to show products in a unique drive-through format, participate in technical sessions and have one-on-one interaction with our customers. This is not just a ‘salesman’ show as engineers, like myself, are encouraged to attend and participate in the technical programs and roundtable discussions.”

Each year, EUFMC’s officers and board of directors put together a comprehensive program of technical presentations that includes fleet managers, suppliers and industry experts who address the topics that are most relevant to attending fleets. The 2012 program, “Essential Tools for Utility Fleet Professionals,” features presentations on the following topics:

Industry Trends – Light Duty Vehicles
Jim Michon, Ford
Tom Nimmo, Utilimarc
Craig Neuber, ARI

Life Cycle Costs – Models that Work
Chris Shaffer, Utilimarc
Steve Granger, KCP&L
Mike Radziewicz, ComEd
Cliff Edwards, Pike Electric

Best Practices in Preventive Maintenance
Jack Abraham, Nova Scotia Power

Diesel Engines – Current and Future
Dave Bryant, Freightliner
Tim Shick, Navistar

GPS/AVL – Looking for ROI
Alan Riddle, SCE
Craig Stepien, FP&L
Tim Mooney, PHH
Tim Taylor, Telogis

Regulatory/Legislative Update
Bill Van Amburg, CALSTART
Pat O’Connor, Kent & O’Connor
Josh Chard, Altec Industries

Battling the Scales – Bridge Law Compliance
Mike Allison, Duke Energy
Bill Hall, Minnesota Power
Joe Caywood, Terex

PM Practices & Technician Training Survey Results
EUFMC attendees have indicated a high level of interest in the practices that utilities are following in regard to preventive maintenance (PM), testing of aerial equipment and training of fleet technicians. Topics on the survey include PM and dielectric and acoustic emissions testing practices, management information system and data use, warranty work and claims processing, and technician training and apprentice programs. During the 2012 conference, results of the EUFMC survey on PM practices and technician training will be presented.

Guest Speakers
Other valuable aspects of EUFMC continue to attract attendees, including guest speakers who share important perspectives. This year’s keynote speaker is Jim Stanley, senior vice president of power delivery for Duke Energy’s U.S. Franchised Electric & Gas business. A 35-year industry veteran, Stanley is responsible for the electric power transmission and distribution in a five-state service area. Duke Energy provides electricity and natural gas to approximately 4 million customers in the Carolinas and the Midwest, and distributes natural gas in Ohio and Kentucky.

Also on the agenda at EUFMC 2012 are two dinner speakers:

Top Gun – Major Dan Rooney, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), will address EUFMC attendees on June 5. A former F-16 pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, the decorated military aviator served three combat tours in Iraq and was a two-time recipient of the Top Gun award. Rooney is also the founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to the spouses and children of military service members disabled or killed in action.

Industry Leader – Bob Lutz, the driving force behind many vehicle advancements in a nearly 50-year career in the automotive industry, will be the guest speaker at the EUFMC President’s Gala Dinner on June 6. Lutz is currently a member of the board of directors of VIA Motors. Until his retirement in 2010 he served as vice chairman and special adviser, design and global product development at General Motors, where he championed the development of the Chevrolet Volt. Lutz has also held senior leadership positions at Ford, Chrysler and BMW, and was CEO of Exide Technologies.

Best Practices
The sharing of best practices is a hallmark of EUFMC. The conference provides a forum where fleet representatives can exchange information and discuss mutual concerns, including the highly popular fleet and supplier roundtables.

“As a first-year fleet manager, I attended the 2011 Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference and found the networking opportunities hugely beneficial,” said Michael Radziewicz, director of fleet at ComEd. “The best part of EUFMC for my company is the opportunity it provides for me to meet my peers and talk about issues that we are all dealing with and hear how they are addressing them. On a number of occasions since the conference, I’ve called other fleet managers I met to bounce ideas off of them and learn from their experience.”

“The 2011 Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference was my first and I was very impressed with the depth of technical information that was presented, the value that can be found in the experience of the attendees and the relationships that can be built with other fleet managers,” stated Keith Dunkel, team leader at Indianapolis Power & Light Company, Facilities & Transportation Fleet. “At EUFMC I met people who are dealing with the same challenges that we have and who are willing to share their solutions to common fleet management issues, during and after the conference. The sponsors do a wonderful job of supporting the event and its great sense of tradition. I have not been to any other conference with the quality of EUFMC.”

The 60th Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference will be held June 2-5, 2013, at the Williamsburg Lodge and Conference Center in Williamsburg, Va. For more information, visit www.eufmc.com.

 

The Work Truck Show

North America’s largest gathering of vocational trucks and transportation equipment, The Work Truck Show 2012 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis features more than 550 exhibitors showcasing Classes 1-8 trucks, chassis, bodies, components and accessories.

Thousands of work truck professionals, including fleet managers, equipment buyers, maintenance personnel, manufacturers, distributors and dealers attend the annual Work Truck Show to interact with peers, meet with suppliers, get answers to technical questions and visit exhibits. Industry suppliers also use the event to introduce new product innovations.

Former President George W. Bush will be the keynote speaker at The Work Truck Show 2012. President Bush will speak at the President’s Breakfast and NTEA Annual Meeting, offering insights into the challenges facing our nation in the 21st century and other timely issues.

NTEA Convention
The Work Truck Show 2012 is held in conjunction with the 48th NTEA Annual Convention. Established in 1964, NTEA, the Association for the Work Truck Industry, represents nearly 1,600 companies that manufacture, distribute, install, sell and repair commercial trucks, truck bodies, truck equipment, trailers and accessories. Buyers of work trucks and the major commercial truck chassis manufacturers also belong to the association.

The NTEA Convention serves as the educational component of The Work Truck Show, featuring more than 60 educational sessions for owners, managers and employees from truck equipment suppliers, upfitters, fleet managers and truck purchasers. Session topics on the agenda include:

• State of the Industry Overview – The NTEA Perspective
• Changing of the Guard: Millennials and Generational Differences in the Workplace
• Demystifying Weight Distribution and Payload Calculations for Work Trucks
• Government Regulatory Implications for the Work Truck Industry
• Learning to Avoid Costly Truck Frame Modification Errors
• What is the Future Economic Landscape for the Work Truck Industry?
• Optimizing Work Truck Body and Equipment Specifications
• Why Should I Care About Vehicle Certification?
• Build Your People Strategy First
• Ensuring Your Next Truck Chassis Matches the Job Requirements
• The Future of Fleet Operations
• The Ins and Outs of Lean for the Truck Equipment Industry
• Making Vehicle Investment Decisions Using Life-Cycle Cost Analysis
• Old Rules/New Tools: Staying People-Focused Using Today’s Technology
• Spec’ing Your Next Truck Powertrain for Optimum Efficiency & Performance
• The Next Generation of Work Truck Telematics

Chassis updates are on the NTEA agenda. Participating truck manufacturers include:
• Chevrolet & GMC Commercial Trucks
• Ford Commercial Trucks
• Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation
• Freightliner Trucks
• Hino Trucks
• International Truck
• Isuzu Commercial Truck of America
• Kenworth Truck Company
• Mack Trucks
• Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America
• Nissan North America
• Peterbilt Motors Company
• Ram Trucks
• Western Star Trucks

Green Truck Summit
Jointly produced by NTEA and CALSTART, the Green Truck Summit is also held in conjunction with The Work Truck Show. Technical experts, government officials, industry leaders and early adopter fleet managers come together at the Green Truck Summit to unveil recent developments in sustainable technologies and new commercial truck applications. Presenters share practical advice on fuel efficiency, firsthand information on building green fleet programs, and critical advances in engine and fuel technology.

United States Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Ph.D., will give the keynote address at the 2012 Green Truck Summit. Dr. Chu is a distinguished scientist and co-winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Physics. As Secretary of Energy he is charged with helping implement President Obama’s agenda to invest in clean energy, reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, address the global climate crisis and create new jobs.

Educational sessions at the Green Truck Summit include:
• Trends in Work Truck Technologies and Fuels covering upcoming changes that will affect the vocational truck industry, new clean technologies and fuels, and new vehicle efficiency and emissions standards.
• Gaseous Fuels: A Successful Alternative
• Work Truck Electrification: Leveraging the Ultimate Clean Fuel
• Watching the Bottom Line: Technologies for Increasing Fuel Efficiency and Eliminating Fuel Waste

Roadway to Fuel Independence and Air Quality Improvement in North America and Globally will be the subject of an address by Russell Musgrove, managing director of FedEx Express. Musgrove will provide insights based on his global company’s experience using sustainable technologies.

Recently announced regulations (scheduled to take effect in 2016) and details about how companies can prepare to meet them will be the focus of A New Generation of Clean Work Trucks: Understanding the EPA and NHTSA Joint Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Work Trucks by a panel of experts from EPA and NHTSA.

Green Truck Summit sessions showcase new technology and provide information on reducing fuel consumption, improving fleet management, comparing clean technology options, funding clean vehicles and more. Green truck technology is also highlighted in the CALSTART Clean Technologies and Fuels Pavilion. In addition, exhibitors with products that improve fuel utilization, are environmentally friendly, use recycled materials and/or support environmentally sustainable practices are profiled throughout the hall as part of the Green Product Showcase.

Green Truck Ride-and-Drive
A popular highlight of The Work Truck Show is the Green Truck Ride-and-Drive. Featuring 21 commercial vehicles that incorporate advances in hybrid technology and alternative fuel applications, the Ride-and-Drive will include a variety of work trucks, including cargo and service vans, pickup trucks, dump trucks, shuttle buses, walk-in vans, tree-trimming trucks, utility trucks, box trucks, cutaways and more.

This year’s event includes an equally wide range of environmentally friendly drive systems, including CNG, propane, battery-electric, extended range electric, ultra-clean biodiesel, bi-fuel CNG, electric hybrids (series and parallel), and hydraulic hybrids. Some of the vehicles will feature lightweight and aerodynamic technologies. Equipment demonstrations of electric PTOs and similar technologies also will take place.

Cutting-edge technologies and energy-efficient vehicles available for ride and drive attendees are being provided by:
• Altec Industries
• BAE Systems
• Cummins Crosspoint
• Electric Vehicles International
• Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation
• Freightliner Trucks
• Hino Trucks
• IMPCO Automotive
• International Truck
• Isuzu Commercial Truck of America
• Kenworth Truck Company
• Knapheide Manufacturing Company
• Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products
• Lightning Hybrids
• Motiv Power Systems
• Peterbilt Motors Company
• Propane Education & Research Council (PERC)
• Ram Trucks
• Reading Truck Body
• Roush CleanTech
• Smith Electric Vehicles

Work Truck Show App
Now available for most mobile devices, The Work Truck Show App enables users to access the show floor plan, browse educational sessions, view and schedule appointments, and find exhibitors that are featuring products in the New Product Spotlight and Green Product Showcase programs. Scan the QR code at http://www.ntea.com/worktruckshow/index.aspx?id=25950 or visit www.guidebook.com/getit with a smartphone or device.

Industry Affair
The Work Truck Show 2012 is produced by NTEA and is supported by leading organizations:

• American Public Works Association (www.apwa.net)
• Association of Indiana Counties (www.indianacounties.org)
• CALSTART (www.calstart.org)
• Canadian Transportation Equipment Association (www.ctea.ca)
• Clean Cities – U.S. Dept. of Energy (www1.eere.energy.gov/cleancities)
• Clean Vehicle Education Foundation (www.cleanvehicle.org)
• Green Truck Association (www.greentruckassociation.com)
• Heavy Duty Representatives Association (www.hdra.org)
• Indiana Association of County Commissioners (www.indianacountycommissioners.com)
• Indiana Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors (www.iaphcc.com)
• NAFA Fleet Management Association (www.nafa.org)
• National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (www.naftc.wvu.edu)
• NTEA (www.ntea.com)
• Natural Gas Vehicles for America (www.ngvamerica.org)
• Ohio Contractors Association (www.ohiocontractors.org)
• Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association (www.onla.org)
• Propane Education & Research Council (www.propanecouncil.org)
• Rocky Mountain Fleet Management Association (www.rmfma.org)
• Service Specialists Association (www.truckservice.org)
• Snow & Ice Management Association (www.sima.org)

 

Upper Midwest Utility Fleet Conference

I drove several hours from Chicago to Red Wing, MN because I had heard of a grassroots organization called the Upper Midwest Utility Fleet Managers Council (UMUFC) was having their annual Fall meeting and wanted to check it out.

The nucleus of the group is out of the Minneapolis area. But I met a utility fleet manager that came from as far as Springfield, MO. Many of the Midwest Co-op Utilities find this the most time efficient way to hear what new products vendors are offering and share ideas on problem solving from maintenance to complying with federal and state regulations.

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Pictured L – R: UMUFC Officers Bernie Kolnberger – Chairperson, Curt Erickson – Program Coordinator, Steve Kallsen – Hospitality Coordinator, Doug Shoemaker – Membership Coordinator/Historian, Mike Donahue – Secretary/Treasurer, missing from picture Matt Gilliland – Vice Chairperson.

UMUFC meets on a bi-yearly basis to share information. There were about 50 utility fleet managers in attendance in a large ballroom. The managers come from some of the largest utilities in the upper Midwest as well as smaller cooperatives and district wide utilities to share information and learn from each other. In between vendor presentations there were “break out discussions” where a utility fleet manager would bring up a topic or challenge they were facing and the group would share information. For example: The group discussed how the current CSA 2010 regulations are impacting their day to day operations. They shared information on how each utility is dealing with complying with the regulations. It through this problem / resolution sharing format where the group bases its tag line “Promoting Better Fleet Management Through Mutual Exchange”.

Rather than smaller rural utilities or co-ops feeling like they might be on an island these meetings serve as a real opportunity to share solutions. One of the biggest questions the group had for me was, “are there any other regional organizations out there that are like us?” I had recalled meeting a Pacific Northwest utility fleet manager that had organized a similar group in the Seattle-Portland area but other than that was not aware of similar regional groups.

Certainly Utility Fleet Professional being the only publication 100% dedicated to the utility fleet market would encourage and support these regional grassroots meetings. I worked several years with a lumber association and saw first hand how these regional meetings could provide excellent education and networking opportunities. If you would like UFP to help organize and promote a regional utility fleet managers meeting? Please contact us.

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(Photos of UMUFC provided by Kurt Moreland attached)

Continuous Improvement

 

Louisville Gas and Electric Company (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities Company (KU) are well known in the industry for creative approaches to continuous improvement and outstanding performance in many respects – including the operation and maintenance of their vehicle and equipment fleet. The companies’ fleet is recognized as one of the most reliable and efficient in the industry. It consistently ranks in the top quartile in overall cost management, cost per mile, fuel costs and other components when benchmarked against other utilities. But that’s not good enough. Keeping with LG&E and KU’s style of being the best they can be, the companies continue to search for safety enhancements and operating efficiencies that will benefit their operators and customers.

The LG&E and KU fleet consists of about 1,600 units, including light- and heavy-duty vehicles, trailers, heavy-duty and power equipment, and a small number of hybrids. The fleet is managed by the Transportation Department in Energy Delivery (E.D.), the business unit that distributes natural gas and electricity and provides services to the company’s 1.2 million customers. The bulk of the fleet is utilized by E.D. employees who drive about 13 million miles per year across the Kentucky and Virginia service territory.

Ongoing Evaluation
“The key components of our business model are safety and service restoration,” says Bill Doggett, manager, transportation. “We want to ensure our equipment and employees can respond safely and quickly to customers’ needs, while operating cost-effectively, within all government regulations and in an environmentally friendly manner. That requires continuous re-evaluation of our needs and standards as well as manufacturers – all of which constantly change.”

Like many utilities, LG&E and KU’s diverse service territory challenges the companies’ ability to ensure DOT compliance, efficiently manage its fleet and balance customer service needs. It includes complex metro areas, rural backwoods, and the hollows and hilltops of the Appalachian Mountains, which make matching vehicle type and payloads with work needs daunting.

In the LG&E and KU service territory’s urban areas, patchworks of old and new infrastructures consist of different standards and equipment types. In rural and mountainous areas, terrain is a factor, so size and maneuverability become critical considerations when operating along tight mountain and country roads. Determining which parts and equipment to carry and how to optimize payload is also critical. Vehicles with lower weight allowances can impact service restoration timing because the number of tools, parts and other items they carry is restricted. Traveling many miles back to a service center for additional items isn’t an option in remote areas when working against service restoration deadlines.

Strategic Approach
To address these and other issues, last year LG&E and KU launched an aggressive, user-based fleet management strategic planning process that is streamlining its fleet and netting other benefits – particularly pertaining to employee awareness and safety.

The process began with teams, representing the transportation, safety and operations areas that developed and implemented fleet standards and controls for the heavy- and light-duty fleets. They ensured the companies’ “No Compromise” safety approach was incorporated into every initiative, optimized operational efficiency and assured regulatory compliance. The teams enlisted the recommendations of an outside contractor and, more importantly, the employees who use the vehicles and equipment. They included managers and frontline employees who formed additional heavy- and light-duty vehicle user teams, which inspected their vehicles, double-checked DOT compliance against standards, and reported questions and concerns.

“We gained a great deal of valuable information by including the individuals who actually drive the vehicles and use the equipment,” Doggett states. “They asked questions pertaining to situations that were job-specific and that aren’t in the manual, such as how to handle weight limits on roads and bridges in certain rural areas. It was a learning experience for us as well as them. The teams, as a combined working unit, had to develop solutions.”

Increased awareness among the workforce about DOT compliance was one of the greatest benefits of the process. The companies are recognized in the industry, nation and globally as safety leaders.

“This enabled us to close the circle of safety on yet another aspect of our operations,” says Ken Sheridan, manager, public and operational safety. “Our employees reaffirmed the company’s compliance with Department of Transportation regulations, which are specifically designed to ensure their safety as well as the public’s. Most importantly, they became better educated about how to manage compliance responsibilities and other safety requirements associated specifically with their vehicles or equipment. This is a huge perk for our companies.”

Business partners who support LG&E and KU’s purchasing, maintenance and repair work were also involved in and trained on the process. This is the same approach the company takes with safety initiatives, because the more people who are knowledgeable, the more who can support the achievement of goals. Business partners also must be in step with the changing needs of the business and, consequently, the final strategy’s content was critical to ensure they continued to support operating efficiency and safety.

“We believe in a top-led, employee-driven approach to safety,” says Sheridan. “Any time we give employees or our business partners responsibility for any aspect of operations or safety, they take charge. That’s why we have an outstanding safety culture.”

Improving Awareness
In addition to employee involvement, other measures helped to reinforce DOT compliance and safety awareness among the workforce at LG&E and KU. The companies tagged vehicles and trailers with decals listing the gross vehicle weight rating, gross combined weight rating and maximum allowable payload so drivers can accurately control payload and trailer towing capacity. They also purchased heavy-duty weight scales to:
• Validate the weight of newly ordered vehicles;
• Perform random weight audits as part of scheduled routine maintenance; and
• Perform weight checks following functional or driver changes.

Environmental concerns also play an important role in setting fleet standards, particularly at LG&E and KU, which are also recognized for environmental leadership. While the companies’ total fleet mileage has risen since 2007, carbon dioxide emissions have actually been reduced during that same time span. The challenge will be to sustain that success. As part of the fleet strategy, demands for larger construction equipment will have to be offset in other areas, especially the light-duty fleet. Including more hybrids in the fleet and other tactical initiatives, such as evaluating vehicle assignments, the take-home policy and the percentage of four-wheel drive vehicles, will all contribute to the success of this endeavor.

Never Ending
At LG&E and KU, the fleet strategic planning and evaluation process is never-ending. The companies continue to benchmark all aspects of their operations. Transportation policies are updated continually to reflect changes necessary for efficiencies and cost-effective measures. Additionally, other initiatives are underway to:
• Simplify and reduce the number of company vehicle standards by harmonizing business models, payload and equipment needs;
• Improve maintenance parameters, including extending preventive maintenance schedules and oil change cycles, enhancing tire management through the use of retreads and utilizing more advanced preventive maintenance technology;
• Reduce light-duty vehicle usage costs by right-sizing vehicles for the assignment and needs;
• Establish heavy-duty equipment/vehicle decision matrices for making cost-effective decisions about what unit is best suited for an operation and to support decision-making by managers when placing new orders; and
• Harmonize equipment pricing incentives with LG&E and KU’s parent company, PPL Corporation, based in Allentown, Pa. Both companies utilize Ford light-duty vehicles and Altec bucket trucks, creating a potential opportunity for lower costs at both companies.

Through a continuous and wide-ranging effort, LG&E and KU are finding new programs and practices that improve fleet performance.

Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company, part of the PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) family of companies, are regulated utilities that serve a total of 1.2 million customers. LG&E serves 321,000 natural gas and 397,000 electric customers in Louisville and 16 surrounding counties. Kentucky Utilities serves 546,000 customers in 77 Kentucky counties and five counties in Virginia. More information is available at www.lge-ku.com and www.pplweb.com.

 

Finding Solutions

 

Born out of necessity, the International Construction & Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE), also known as The Demo Expo, traces its roots to an Illinois farm in the summer of 1966. To help solve an equipment evaluation and communications problem, Illinois Bell invited 12 trencher manufacturers to demonstrate equipment in the same field, on the same day.

The field demonstration event was such a success that it was repeated in 1969 and 1972 as a three-day utility equipment show. By the late 1970s, what would become a biennial event now held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville had grown considerably. Today ICUEE is owned and produced by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

During the 2011 event, which takes place October 4-6, ICUEE will host more than 950 exhibitors and 20,0000+ attendees from electric, phone/cable, sewer/water, gas, construction, landscaping and public works industries. ICUEE now covers more than 1 million square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space. On display is equipment including all-terrain carriers, attachments, components, earthmoving, environmental, light, overhead and maintenance, material-handling, recycling, safety, testing, transportation, trenching, trenchless, trucks and utility materials/supplies.

A hallmark of ICUEE is the hands-on demonstrations of construction and utility equipment. Exhibited in job-like conditions, attendees can experience equipment working at ground level, underground and overhead. On the ICUEE Ride & Drive track, attendees can test drive commercial vehicles to examine trucks, engines, transmissions, brakes, safety and collision warning systems, fuel and GPS management systems, and hybrid and alternative fuel systems.

New for ICUEE 2011 are crane and rigging safety demonstrations from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators and International Powered Access Federation. ICUEE will again feature a general show safety demo area with a focus on topics such as live-line safety and pole-top/fall protection.

ICUEE also features an extensive education program where experts on the latest safety, regulatory, operational and technological issues affecting the utility and construction industry are on hand. In 2011, new workshop and certification programs complement more than 100 learning opportunities covering underground, aboveground and overhead applications, new technologies and the latest industry, regulatory and management trends.

New keynote sessions at ICUEE 2011 will focus on energy and safety. In “Energy Policy – Outlook for the Industry,” Vic Staffieri, chairman and CEO of Louisville Gas and Electric and KU Energy, will discuss how the industry may be affected by potential energy legislation and regulatory action, and will cover renewable energy and development of clean technologies.

In “Hooked on Safety – Leading Safety Initiatives,” motivational speaker Billy Robbins will discuss how companies can implement behavioral-based safety initiatives that will change the way all employees think about safety and create a fresh commitment to safety within a company.

The 2011 ICUEE education program includes new co-located programming from the Association of Equipment Management Professionals, Underground Construction Technology, International Erosion Control Association, National Association of Trailer Manufacturers, SAE International and Scaffolding Industry Association.

ICUEE attendees will have access to the iP Safety Conference & Expo. Sponsored by Incident Prevention magazine, the event is the utility industry’s leading educational opportunity for safety, training and operations professionals.

The National Rural Water Association’s H2O-XPO is also co-located at ICUEE. H2O-XPO brings together top officials, decision-makers, buyers and new technology in the water and wastewater industries.

From its inception until today, ICUEE remains at the forefront with its equipment demonstrations that allow attendees to make highly effective competitive comparisons. Now, the annual event’s extensive education program complements the displays of the industry’s latest equipment technology and product innovations.

For more information, visit www.icuee.com.

ARI Names Telogis a Certified Solution Partner

Telogis Inc. and Automotive Resources International (ARI) have entered into a partnership and distribution agreement for ARI to distribute Telogis Fleet and Telogis Mobile integrated with ARI insights, a Web-based fleet management system.

“We’re partnering with Telogis because of its experience working with large enterprise installations and its ability to seamlessly connect vehicles in the field with the home office,” said Gene Welsh, ARI’s worldwide vice president of sales and marketing. “We pride ourselves on only providing our customers with the most advanced and innovative fleet management solutions, and Telogis Fleet fits in that category. It’s a great example of two best-in-class companies coming together to provide one of the most advanced fleet management solutions in the industry today.”

Telogis Fleet is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) GPS fleet management system. The Telogis Mobile application provides a driver, vehicle and work flow management solution that operates on in-vehicle devices and integrates with Telogis Fleet. This includes vehicle inspection, hours of service and customized work process forms, turn-by-turn navigation and two-way messaging to connect field crews with the back office.

ARI is a vehicle fleet management company that manages more than 750,000 vehicles in North America in a variety of industries, including utilities.

AT&T Takes Delivery of CNG Vans

AT&T is putting 101 Chevrolet Express Cargo 2500 vans powered by low-emissions compressed natural gas (CNG) into its customer service fleet. The purchase is consistent with AT&T’s alternative fuel strategy to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and to support sustainable transportation. Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana CNG vans meet all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission certification requirements.

CNG-powered vans can produce 25 percent less emissions than similar gasoline- and diesel-powered vans, according to GM, which notes that the vans get gasoline-equivalent fuel economy of 11 mpg city and 16 mpg highway. Fuel tank capacity on the models ranges from 15.8 to 23 gasoline-equivalent gallons.

Testing Confirms Fuel Savings

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC has announced results of ongoing tests confirming its air management system reduces fuel consumption by more than 4 percent in medium-duty commercial vehicles. The closed-track vehicle testing included the Bendix PBS Air Injection Booster, Bendix Turbo-Clutch Air Compressor and Bendix Electronic Air Control Dryer.

“By combining these optimized air management products, vehicle and engine manufacturers have proven solutions that can be used in current and future vehicles to provide fleets and owner-operators greater fuel savings,” said Steve Mance, Bendix vice president and general manager for the charging business group. “This will become even more important with future implementation of the EPA and NHTSA proposed rule to further reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gases beginning in 2014.”

Work Truck Show Awards Presented

A panel of trade press editors and fleet managers attending The Work Truck Show 2011 presented two industry awards during the annual event this year. Dakota Bodies Inc. was the recipient of the Editors’ Choice Award for its new Component Body, and Energy Xtreme won the Green Award for its new U36 Crossover mild-hybrid plug-in system.

Named the most innovative product introduced at the show, the Component Body was selected as the winner from a field of 90 entries. Dakota’s Component Body is sold as a service body kit that upfitters can assemble in 16 different configurations to meet a customer’s specific needs. Components are huck-bolted together, making them easily interchangeable. The Component Body is available in galvanneal, aluminum or stainless steel, with a pre-assembled powder-coated finish. If a component on the body is damaged, it can be replaced without the need to buy a whole new body.

“We are delighted to win the Editors’ Choice Award,” said Dan Dahl, sales manager for Dakota Bodies. “It’s very difficult as a body manufacturer to come up with a new product that will satisfy the needs of a lot of companies in this industry.”

Named the best new product that advances fuel utilization displayed at The Work Truck Show was the new U36 Crossover mild-hybrid plug-in system from Energy Xtreme. The company was chosen to receive the Green Award from a field of nearly 30 entries.

The U36 Crossover was designed to provide reliable, emission-free energy to power hydraulic lifts and equipment on bucket trucks. It can be factory-integrated into new vehicles or retrofitted to existing utility vehicles. The system can run the truck’s auxiliary electrical equipment, tools, motors, pumps, hydraulic booms, lights, radio and laptop without the need to engage the engine or use a generator. The system includes an Energy Xtreme power management system, electric motor, pump and control module. It has a small footprint, weighs less than 750 pounds and plugs into a 30-amp wall outlet to recharge.

“Fleet users are finding that the U36 Crossover system reduces their payload by 35 percent and reduces maintenance,” said Energy Xtreme CEO Devin Scott. “As fuel prices continue to rise, our products have proven especially relevant and provide a cost-efficient way to reduce consumption and eliminate emissions while increasing functionality. We are honored to receive the Green Award.”

High Value

“The unique thing about the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference is that it’s put together by volunteers from within the industry it serves,” said George Survant, director of fleet services at Florida Power & Light and current EUFMC president. “The result is a highly valuable event featuring technical and management presentations, and a show that’s built on the guidance of fleet professionals.”

EUFMC has been held annually since 1953 in Williamsburg, Va. The gathering of fleet executives from investor-owned electric utilities, electric cooperatives and electrical contractors continues to attract record numbers of attendees from across the U.S. and Canada, as well as representatives of equipment and service suppliers.

“The time we spend at the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference is an investment in our people,” said David Meisel, director of transportation services at Pacific Gas and Electric Company. “I don’t know of any other conference where attendees from our company can learn as much and meet as many influential people, in both the utility industry and the supplier community, in such a short period of time. EUFMC is completely unique and something that each person who attends will find very valuable for years to come.”

Suppliers are also quick to agree that EUFMC offers high levels of value for everyone involved. “EUFMC lets us learn as much as possible about the needs of our customers who attend the show and meet with many high-level fleet management business contacts,” said Matt D’Arienzo, national fleet manager at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. “The formal meeting structure at this conference is excellent and informative, and the informal environment makes it very easy to have valuable conversations with contacts from all over North America. In this economic environment, we would not be at EUFMC unless the conference was truly top-notch.”

Each year EUFMC’s officers and board of directors put together a comprehensive program that includes fleet managers, suppliers and industry experts who address topics that are most relevant to attending fleets. In 2011, for example, the theme of “Focused Strategies for Future Success” will be covered in the following sessions:
Fleet Strategies: Acquisition, Maintenance, Parts – Gill Nichols, Baltimore Gas & Electric; Herb Kramer, Oklahoma Gas & Electric; Gary Butler, Progress Energy; Moderator: Bill Doggett, LGE-KU
2010 Emissions Systems: Fleet Experience and Strategies – Steven Hopkins, Georgia Power; Jay Massey, AmeriGas
Hybrid Truck Life Experience: One Year Later – Mike Allison, Duke Energy; David Meisel, Pacific Gas and Electric Company; Glenn Martin, Florida Power & Light
Utilization of Benchmarking Data to Define Success – Chris Shaffer, Partner, Utilimarc
Acquisition and Funding Strategies – Mark Smith, National Technology Deployment Manager, National Clean Cities Program
Washington Update: Legislation and Regulations Impacting Fleets – Pat O’Connor, President, Kent & O’Connor Inc. and U.S. Legislative Counsel, National Association of Fleet Administrators
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles – Mark Kosowski, Technical Executive-Hybrids, EPRI
Emerging Market Update – Bill Van Amburg, Senior Vice President, CALSTART
New Standards for Cranes and Digger Derricks – Joel Oliva, Program Manager, National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators; Jim Olsen, Product and Safety Engineer, Terex; Josh Chard, Director of Product & Corporate Safety, Altec Industries

“We work as a group for many months to sort through a large array of issues and determine what subjects will have the greatest interest to the fleet and supplier community,” Survant related. “By focusing on the most important critical issues, EUFMC is highly valuable. Attendance at this conference helps fleet professionals make a difference in their organizations.”

Other valuable and popular aspects of the conference continue to attract attendees to EUFMC. Every year a keynote speaker from a utility leads off the conference. This year Mike Sole, vice president of government affairs, Florida Power & Light, will address the group. In 2010, Des Bell, senior vice president of shared services and chief procurement officer at Pacific Gas and Electric Company, kicked off two days of technical presentations.

EUFMC also features guest speakers from the outside the industry who share important perspectives with attendees. This year, Coach Lou Holtz, one of the most celebrated and accomplished coaches in sports history, will return to Williamsburg – where he served as the College of William & Mary’s football coach from 1969 to 1971 – to address the conference.

Aptly called “the greatest motivator of our time,” Holtz had a 26-year career of inspiring players and motivating them to be winners, most notably with the University of Notre Dame “Fighting Irish” football team. At EUFMC, Holtz will use his experience and humor to help attendees learn to assess their strengths, work as a team and embrace the values that can help improve their organizations.

EUFMC is noted for its exhibition of the latest utility equipment and services. The EUFMC equipment demonstration this year will feature more than 60 displays where fleet managers can meet with 270+ representatives from more than 95 manufacturers and service providers. Since its inception, the conference has promoted close cooperation between fleet representatives and manufacturers and suppliers engaged in the development and design of vehicles and equipment associated with the electric utility industry.

“EUFMC provides incredible value,” said Judie Taylor, president of Utility Equipment Leasing Corporation. “Not only does it connect utility fleet managers together in discussions centered around their most current challenges, it also connects suppliers as a part of the solution to meeting their needs. The drive-through demonstration and equipment display offer the ability to learn about technology, while the conference seminars provide substantive information to assist fleet managers in learning about industry trends. Overall, this is one of the best conferences in our industry.”

The sharing of best practices continues to attract new attendees to EUFMC. The meeting provides a forum where fleet representatives can exchange information and discuss mutual concerns, including EUFMC’s highly popular fleet and supplier roundtables.

“As a first-time attendee at EUFMC I found the conference to be of great value as a fleet manager,” stated Bill Bonham, senior manager at Tennessee Valley Authority. “The networking opportunities with other electric utility fleet managers are a one-of-a-kind experience that can’t be found anywhere else. Everything about the conference was great.”

With all it has to offer, EUFMC continues to attract record numbers of attendees. In 2010, the conference had its highest level of fleet participation, including 100 fleet managers from more than 50 companies. Also included were more than 30 first-time participants.

This year’s 58th annual EUFMC is on track to set another attendance record. “EUFMC continues to offer amazing value to fleet managers,” said Wesley Keller, manager, transportation at PPL and this year’s EUFMC chairman. “The attendance at the conference reflects how great a forum this is for gathering valuable information and learning about best practices and technology developments that can be used to improve the efficiency of fleet operations. The record number of attendees shows clearly how this unique industry event provides exceptional value.”

ICUEE 2011 and AEMP partnership brings new fleet management exhibit pavilion, expanded education to show

ICUEE 2011 show attendees will find more fleet management education, products and services than ever before as the result of a new cooperative agreement between the International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE) and the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP). AEMP will develop a show education track for fleet management professionals as well as conduct certification exams at ICUEE 2011. The association will also sponsor the new Fleet Management Exhibit Pavilion on the show floor.

The next ICUEE will be held October 4-6, 2011 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky. ICUEE is geared to the utility/construction industry, with a focus on electric, phone/cable, sewer/water, gas, general construction, landscaping and public works.

AEMP represents heavy equipment management executives who work in areas including construction, government, utilities, energy and mining.

The new ICUEE 2011 exhibit pavilion, with its focus on the latest fleet management software, products and services, broadens the scope of what’s available at the show, and the pavilion format makes it easy for attendees to quickly locate what they need. Fleet management education sessions at ICUEE 2011 will benefit both new-to-the-field as well as experienced industry professionals.

“Fleet managers are an important customer segment for ICUEE exhibiting companies; with AEMP’s support we can more efficiently connect buyers and sellers and enhance the educational value for attendees,” stated Melissa Magestro, ICUEE show director.

“By working with ICUEE, we can offer our members and other industry workers more professional development opportunities and convenient access to the latest technology advances to help them and their businesses succeed,” stated Stan Orr, AEMP executive director

The 2011 Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference: A “top-notch” opportunity

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“EUFMC lets us learn as much as possible about the needs of our customers who attend the show and meet with many high level fleet management business contacts. The formal meeting structure at this conference is excellent and informative, and the informal environment makes it very easy to have valuable conversations with contacts from all over North America. In this economic environment, we would not be at EUFMC– nor would the attendance be at a record level as it was in 2010– unless the conference was truly top-notch.”

Matt D’Arienzo
National Fleet Manager
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

DID YOU KNOW that fleet representatives at EUFMC have the authority to buy the products and services you sell?

In 2010 EUFMC attracted 100 fleet managers, including 30 first-time attendees, representing over 50 investor-owned electric utilities in the U.S. and Canada and South America, and more than 20 electric cooperatives and contractors?

These fleet managers represent the industry’s leading companies. Collectively they:

  • Spend well over $13 billion annually on fuel, parts and labor
  • Operate over 275,000 vehicles, including nearly 70,000 trucks
  • Field as many as 35,000 trucks with aerial devices & over 27,500 service trucks
  • Employ about 4,000 technicians in their maintenance operations

TARGET AUDIENCE

Exhibit at the 2011 Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference and reach an audience unlike any other at the utility industry’s premier exhibition. The EUFMC outdoor exhibit is the site of more than 60 displays where fleet managers can meet with over 270 representatives from more than 95 manufacturers and service providers.

Become a Platinum Sponsor of EUFMC and have your company’s logo presented on conference advertising and in promotional materials sent to attendees throughout the first half of 2011.

SAVE THE DATE

The 2011 Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference will be held June 19-22, 2011 at the Williamsburg Lodge and Conference Center, Williamsburg, Virginia. For more information, visit www.eufmc.com

Ann Brown-Hailey
Director of Administration
Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference
757-220-1795
www.eufmc.com

Altec Industries exhibits cranes at ConExpo 2011

Birmingham, Ala., January 25, 2011 ­– Altec Industries, will exhibit three cranes at ConExpo 2011. Each crane is a display of Altec’s dedication to provide value to customers with crane safety, productivity and regulation compliance.

  • The newest feature is the tilt cab option, which is available on all riding seat models. A truck-mounted AC38-127S will feature this option, designed to offer crane operators increased vertical visibility and less neck strain during particular work applications. The tilt cab allows the operator to adjust the angle of the cab with hydraulic power.
  • To show the versatility of the AC38-127S, the unit will be displayed mounted on a track carrier, which is used for job sites not accessible by truck. This configuration provides customers a solution that offers a higher total return on investment than alternative lifting solutions. Typical uses include construction of electric power transmission lines and oil field work on remote sites.
  • A truck-mounted AC23-95B will also be displayed, which features a combination of safety and productivity benefits. Out-and-down outriggers provide increased productivity during setup in confined areas with short-span, mid-span and full-span load charts. From the control station, operators can safely access the bed using the walk-though control consoles. Outrigger controls at the crane controls, in addition to outrigger controls at ground level, reduce the  access/egress frequency required to setup the crane and  reduce the operator’s exposure to potential slip, trip and fall hazards.

Altec cranes are designed and built with integral safety features to help owners and operators comply with the new crane standard. The cranes displayed will be equipped with the following safety features:

  • Outrigger interlocks help prevent boom operation prior to deploying the outriggers.
  • Outrigger controls at ground level, and located within view of the outrigger shoes, help prevent crush hazards.
  • Winch drum rotation indicators signal the operator of winch drum motion and speed.
  • Area protection in the load moment indicator helps warn the operator of potential overhead hazards.
  • Load moment indicators programmed with a 50% de-rate for personnel handling with pin-on platforms.

 

Be sure to visit us at Booth 360 in the Gold lot. For information on all Altec products and services, please visit us on the web: www.altec.com

Altec is a leading equipment and service provider for the electric utility, telecommunications, contractor markets.  The company provides products and services in over 100 countries throughout the world.

360 Memorial Drive, Suite 10, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 | 815.459.1796

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