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UFP Magazine

Kate Wade

Reading Truck Group RM-45 Crane Body

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Reading Truck Group, a premier truck equipment manufacturer and distributor, has added an all-new crane body to its product lineup. The RM-45 is designed and built to deliver unsurpassed lifting capability, enhanced safety and lighting, and ease of accessory installations. All systems on the body have been thoroughly re-engineered and reimagined to deliver the most capable, best-performing Reading crane body ever.

One of the most notable enhancements to this crane body is the addition of the torsion box understructure, which provides the strength and resistance needed to enable a powerful 45,000-foot-pound lift at full 100% capacity rating throughout the lifting zone. Built from galvannealed steel to resist corrosion, the RM-45 also features a seamless wheelhouse panel, a redesigned workbench bumper with built-in grip steps and quick-mount brackets for easy accessory installation. A headache rack and rear compartment mounted work lights and strobes provide additional lighting and enhance safety for the operator. www.readingbody.com/rm-45-crane-body/

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Kate Wade

Xantrex No-Idle Solution

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Xantrex, a subsidiary of Mission Critical Electronics and a leading supplier of inverters and inverter/chargers, has introduced a no-idle solution to the work truck market. Freedom e-GEN is a lithium-ion battery-based power system that can be requested as an OEM install with most truck upfitters or as an aftermarket solution through Xantrex authorized dealers.

The heart of the Freedom e-GEN system is the dedicated lithium-ion battery bank that offers twice the power capacity in the same physical size as a traditional deep-cycle battery. Available from 125 Ahr to 1260 Ahr as part of a fully customizable power generation system, Freedom e-GEN batteries last six to eight times the life of traditional batteries, providing up to 6,000 charge-discharge cycles.

The Freedom XC Inverter/Charger converts DC electricity from the batteries into stable AC power. It is also power factor corrected to use AC current as efficiently as possible.

Further, the Freedom XC Inverter offers the added benefit of supplying up to 3,000 watts of continuous utility-grade, true sine wave power, which is especially important for proper function of sensitive electronics such as laptops, utility test equipment, and charging bases for power tools and two-way radios. https://xantrex.com

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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

A Practical Guide to Using Outrigger Pads

I’ve met a lot of people over the years while working in the utility industry. One of those people is in management with a respected manufacturer of aerial devices. Back when OSHA published 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC, “Cranes and Derricks in Construction,” he and I and a few others were discussing how a utility operation could best comply with some of the standard’s requirements. The OSHA rules were formed with the perspective of typical construction sites in mind. In particular, we discussed the rule’s expectation that the site’s general manager will tell the crane operator about underground obstructions that might collapse and cause a crane to become unstable. It’s obvious that a crane operator setting structures on a right-of-way doesn’t have that luxury, so we were thinking about things we could do. The discussion landed on auxiliary outrigger pads. At the time, my friend from the aerial device company had this to say: “We have occasionally been sued by folks who turned over one of our cranes or aerial devices, but we have never been sued by anyone who had set up on auxiliary pads.”

I don’t know if that’s still the case with that company, but at the time I began to research why auxiliary pads appeared to be an important part of stable setup for aerial devices. Basically, it’s because sometimes even a few square inches of additional pad dimension can increase ground support by tons per square foot. When it comes to the four-point support of an aerial device that weighs in at tons, tons-per-square-foot increases are a good thing.

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Sean M. Lyden

Con Edison Orders All-Electric Class 8 Bucket Truck for Pilot Program

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In late March, Con Edison announced its partnership with electric truck OEM Lion Electric and Posi-Plus, an aerial device equipment manufacturer, to develop the first all-electric bucket truck in North America.

“Medium- and heavy-duty trucks are more challenging to electrify than cars, but the purchase of our first all-electric bucket truck shows the market is real today and it will only accelerate from here,” Tim Cawley, Con Edison’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. “While initially small in scope, this represents an important step in Con Edison’s journey toward fleet electrification.”

The truck will be built on the Lion8 all-electric 51,000-pound-GVWR chassis. Con Edison has spec’d the truck to be able to travel an estimated 130 miles on a single charge, with a charging time of about eight hours using two Level 2 chargers.

The production of an all-electric Class 8 bucket truck is a significant development, with zero emissions, lower maintenance costs and much quieter operations to improve safety in the field.

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Sean M. Lyden

New Best Practices for Post-Pandemic Fleet Operations

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In March 2020, longtime fleet professional and UFP editorial advisory board member Matt Gilliland was tasked to lead Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD) Infectious Disease Prevention and Control response team.

Gilliland’s team helped develop new COVID-19 policies and practices for the entire organization to reduce the risk and spread of infections and minimize operational disruptions from illness.

UFP recently spoke with Gilliland, NPPD’s director of operations support, to learn about some of the changes his response team recommended for the fleet department that employs 12 people and oversees about 1,200 total fleet assets. Specifically, we talked about the new fleet practices developed in the past year that he believes will likely continue beyond the pandemic.

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Gary L. Wollenhaupt

Fleets Embrace ADAS Technology to Make Drivers Safer

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While self-driving utility trucks are still a few years away, advanced driver assistance systems are here now. Most commercial vehicle manufacturers offer ADAS as standard or optional equipment on at least some vehicles, and fleet operators are figuring out how to train and manage drivers using these systems.

Commercial trucks offer many of the same safety systems found on passenger vehicles: lane departure warning and assist, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, adaptive cruise control and others. With all the news about self-driving cars and trucks, there can be legitimate confusion about how these systems work.

That's why driver training is crucial – so drivers understand what the systems will do and what they don't do.

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Sandy Smith

The State of UTV Electrification

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There is at least one obvious reason for an electric utility to move toward adopting electric-powered vehicles into its fleet.

“We’re using our own product,” said Paul Jefferson, senior fleet manager for Oklahoma Gas and Electric, which serves more than 858,000 customers across 30,000 square miles in Oklahoma and western Arkansas.

Another reason for the move? “[The vehicles] are lower maintenance,” Jefferson said. “You don’t have to change the oil and do other types of maintenance as with gas engines.”

His fleet includes 101 UTVs, 58 of which are powered by electricity; the remainder are due to be replaced by electric UTVs in the coming years.

OG&E had long wanted to move to electric UTVs, Jefferson said, but it took a while for the industry to catch up. “Four years ago, we started adding electric UTV carts. Prior to that, you could buy a golf cart, but there weren’t really robust UTV options out there.”

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David Cullen

How Leasing May Smooth the Electric Transition

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It may be too early in the game for fleet operators to factor in the impact of battery-electric trucks on maintenance costs and resale values.

Some experts hold that the cost of maintenance may be lower thanks to fewer moving parts on electric vehicles, yet it may be higher for other aspects, such as future battery replacements. But they also contend that the savings generated from not consuming diesel fuel may make maintenance costs a wash initially, and then they will improve in favor of battery-electric vehicles as rising demand brings down acquisition costs. Another factor to consider is fear over accurately predicting future resale values for battery-electric trucks.

Will all that in mind, a utility fleet may want to consider leasing versus buying their first batches of medium- to heavy-duty electric vehicles, such as bucket trucks and Class 8 on-highway haulers.

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Grace Suizo

Fleet 2030: The Top Trends Utility Fleets Should Watch This Decade

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What do utility fleet managers need to keep an eye on over the next decade? What emerging trends will have the greatest impact on fleet operations? And what do fleet professionals need to have on their radar so they don’t fall behind the curve or get blindsided?

UFP recently spoke with George Survant, a former longtime fleet manager who currently serves as a consultant for Fleet Mace Consulting, and Charlie Guthro, vice president of business intelligence and analytics for fleet management company ARI (www.arifleet.com), to get their answers to these questions and insight on what the future has in store for utility fleets.

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Jason Julius

Repair Solutions for Common Fiberglass Damage

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Maintenance of insulated booms on aerial devices and digger derricks is critical to preserving the integrity of the insulating qualities of the machines. While insulated equipment is required to be dielectrically tested each year, daily and periodic inspections of fiberglass components should be performed as directed by the manufacturer.

There are two common types of damage and wear that may affect the integrity of a fiberglass boom. The first, structural damage, is classified according to the type of damage – cuts, bruises or overloads. The second type is wear that occurs where there is contact with other components, such as at boom rests or at fiberglass-to-steel joints.

In both cases, the damage must be assessed to see if it is repairable. Each manufacturer provides information specific to the type and shape of its boom designs. For example, Terex Utilities provides two charts for the equipment it manufactures, which break the damage into minor damage and major damage. The severity of the damage will determine the course of action. Major damage must be reported to the manufacturer for analysis to determine if it can be repaired. Examples include overload damage, complete penetration of the wall or major damage within 24 inches of previously repaired major damage.

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Sean M. Lyden

Regain Your Focus

It’s easy to keep your focus when you have a rush of proverbial fires to put out. You know, like dealing with unexpected equipment breakdowns, handling complaints from business unit supervisors about delayed vehicle orders, or maintaining sufficient staffing levels in the shop during a pandemic as techs get sick or exposed and must stay out of work.

That’s because those issues are urgent. They’re emergencies screaming for your attention. And they won’t let up until you’ve solved them.

But what about when it comes to working on the important – but not urgent – projects or initiatives?

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Kate Wade

Andax Big Containment Pac

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Andax Industries has announced the introduction of the Big Containment Pac, a spill kit that can contain spills up to 110 gallons and fits in an 18-inch-by-15-inch-by-5-inch vacuum-sealed package that can easily be stowed behind truck seats or in other tight spaces.

The Pac includes everything needed to respond to a spill up to 110 gallons, including three 48-inch oil-selective Sorb Sox (mini-booms); 20 15-inch-by-19-inch oil-selective absorbent pads; a disposal bag and tie; protective gloves; and a 60-inch-by-10-inch-high pop-up containment pool with a carrying case and CO2 cylinder. 

In the event of a spill, the mini-booms and absorbent pads can be used to block off a storm drain or waterway while the inflatable pop-up pool can contain the bulk of the spill. The Big Containment Pac is a complete spill response system in one pilfer-proof package. www.andax.com

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Kate Wade

TradeUp Workforce Development Services

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Okos Partners LLC and Crane Industry Services LLC have announced the launch of TradeUp, a collaborative partnership program providing workforce development services for employers seeking skilled craft professionals.

Employers who participate in the TradeUp program first receive an assessment of their skilled labor requirements to see how that aligns with growth goals and the company culture. TradeUp then assists with recruiting and placement, career development, and safety culture and leadership training for employers in construction, utilities, manufacturing, and ports and terminal logistics markets. www.tradeupworks.com

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Kate Wade

Terex Hi-Ranger TL48

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Terex Utilities recently announced a new Hi-Ranger telescopic aerial device with superior jib capacities to meet the needs of trouble truck applications.

With an industry-leading side reach of almost 32 feet, the TL48 has a 500-pound bucket capacity plus a maximum material-handling capacity of 1,000 pounds. The key feature is when the upper boom is at a horizontal position, it still achieves 800 pounds of jib capacity with the inner boom retracted at 23-foot side reach and 26-foot working height, and 200 pounds fully extended at 32-foot side reach, where similar units have no material-handling capability. The product is offered with an end-mounted, cobra-style hydraulic articulating jib as well as side-mount bucket and jib configurations.

All TL units support ground access, making it easier to hand off tools, support personnel rescue and clean out debris in the platform. Like all Hi-Ranger telescopic booms, the TL48 is equipped with a rigid rectangular boom constructed from epoxy resin and bi-axial wound fiberglass filament. This process and design achieve consistency in insulating properties, size, density and strength-to-weight ratio of the boom. www.terex.com/utilities/en/product/hi-ranger-tl/tl48

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Kate Wade

Michelin Next-Generation Drive Tire

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Michelin North America Inc. is launching its next-generation on-/off-road drive tire optimized for exceptional traction, toughness and wear performance. The tire is designed for the construction, energy, concrete and logging sectors operating in mixed-use conditions.

The MICHELIN X Works D tire is designed to maximize safety, uptime and efficiency. Full-tread-depth lateral groove tread patterns provide optimum balance between stability for increased wear and improved rubber-to-void ratio for maximum traction. Teardrop sipes in the tire open as they wear, providing additional traction.

In terms of wear performance, the new Michelin tire has 15% longer life compared to X Works XDY.

Additionally, four steel belts at the crown of the tire protect from shock, impact and road hazards for enhanced durability and puncture resistance.

The new MICHELIN X Works D tire is available in the United States and Canada in 11R22.5 and 11R24.5 sizes in load range LRH. X Works D is backed by Michelin’s worry-free six-month road hazard guarantee. https://business.michelinman.com

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Kate Wade

FiberTech Outrigger Pads

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FiberTech Outrigger Pads are an ideal solution when extra rigidity is needed and weight is a concern. FiberTech Pads effectively spread outrigger loads and create stability for equipment such as mobile cranes, concrete pump trucks, high-reach aerial devices, rock crushers and mobile substations.

With crush ratings up to 600 psi and rated capacities up to 170,000 pounds, FiberTech Super Duty Outrigger Pads (formerly FiberMax Heavy Duty) are an economical, high-performance load distribution solution. FiberTech Pads can be used alone or as part of a multipad setup.

At least 13 layers of quad-axial continuous glass fibers and vinyl ester resin give FiberTech Super Duty Outrigger Pads exceptional structural strength and stiffness. A 1-inch-thick FiberTech Pad weighs 25% less and delivers the same load distribution performance as a 3-inch-thick SafetyTech Super Duty Outrigger Pad.

High-visibility yellow FiberTech Outrigger Pads are nonconductive, waterproof and chemical resistant. They feature DICA’s patented Hi-Viz TuffGrip Handles to simplify handling. FiberTech 36-inch, 42-inch and 48-inch diameter sizes are standard stock products. Other sizes are available upon request. https://dicausa.com

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Kate Wade

JLG and Oshkosh Corp. Partner with Microvast

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JLG Industries Inc., an Oshkosh Corp. company and leading global manufacturer of mobile elevating work platforms and telehandlers, has announced a planned investment by parent company Oshkosh Corp. in Microvast, a global provider of next-generation battery technologies for commercial and specialty electric vehicles. This new partnership, in combination with the company’s existing electrification supply chain partners, will continue to strengthen and advance the development of industry-leading electrified solutions across the JLG product line, including boom lifts, scissor lifts, low-level access lifts, vertical access lifts, stock and order picker lifts, towable lifts and telehandlers.

JLG has been at the forefront of the industry’s movement toward electrification, having offered electric products since the mid-1990s when the company launched its first electric boom lift. Recent electric product introductions include the industry’s first all-electric scissor lift, the AE 1932 DaVinci model.  

Oshkosh agreed to make a $25 million private investment in public equity in Microvast, which announced a merger with Tuscan Holdings Corp. on February 1, 2021. Oshkosh and Microvast also entered into a joint development agreement highlighting future battery collaboration and integration. www.jlg.com

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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

Understanding Radio Frequency Energy Exposure

Are you concerned about cellular antennas? Decades of research on cellphones and cancer have not found a link between the two, but that hasn’t stopped some communities from creating laws and public service campaigns regarding protection of the public from cellular system threats. What these actions have done is created a sense that the risk exists, leading to much concern and confusion for the public. There are risks, and they are not to be ignored, but many of them are misunderstood.

As communications technology continues to develop, its next iteration – 5G – is already here. The idea of 5G is better coverage using smaller, low-power, overlapping range with multiple antennas. This is the same technology used in large offices and hospitals to overcome the cellphone signal shielding caused by buildings. The buildings have numerous low-power, overlapping antennas that ensure cellular signal communications. The communications industry needs more mounting locations, and utility poles are the obvious answer. 5G is more of a physical hazard than a radio frequency (RF) hazard because it includes a powered cabinet on the pole wired to the antenna above, creating more congestion on the structure for climbers. I receive lots of questions and rightly so because line personnel are finding themselves looking at antenna installations where they have never seen them before. 5G is very low energy compared to other RF emitters but should not be ignored. Most of the 5G hazard is the antenna at the top of the pole, which can be anything from a 30-foot light pole to a 60-foot transmission pole. The obvious precaution, as with any antenna, is to not put yourself in the antenna beam. So, a 360-degree 5G antenna is like any 360-degree antenna: Don’t put your body in the beam.

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Sean M. Lyden

What’s New in Truck and Van Upfits for 2021

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The past year with the pandemic has been anything but normal with sporadic nationwide lockdowns, supply chain challenges and vehicle production delays. But there’s one thing we can still count on: Truck and van body manufacturers and upfitters are continuing to bring new products to market that equip your crews to get more work done in less time at lower operational costs.

Some companies have released new products with lighter-weight materials that increase a truck’s payload without bumping up to a larger vehicle. Some have added more versatile storage options to enhance accessibility and ergonomics for improved worker safety. And others have launched products that increase fuel economy and help fleets hit their sustainability targets.

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Gary L. Wollenhaupt

Fleet Management Gets Smarter with Remote Diagnostics

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If the last time your utility bought medium-duty trucks was eight to 10 years ago, the advancements in remote diagnostics available on new vehicles could be a game-changer for fleet maintenance.

Today, every OEM offers some level of remote diagnostic capability in their commercial trucks. Those diagnostics use onboard electronic sensors and connections to monitor and communicate components' performance and status to fleet managers in real time. There are aftermarket solutions that provide a deeper level of management capabilities as well.

The original telematics technology captured the diagnostic trouble codes or fault codes generated by a vehicle's onboard diagnostics required for emissions control beginning in 2005. As the technology and regulations developed, manufacturers deepened the level of information available from transmissions and other components.

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