Get Custom Virtual Training the Way You Need It!   Learn More

UFP Magazine

Jim Vaughn, CUSP

Arc Flash and Face Masks

Recently I have received numerous emails and phone calls regarding respiratory air-filtering masks rated for arc flash. I’m sure everyone reading this, no matter what country you’re in, is aware why that’s the case: the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are a regular reader, you know it is my methodology to address topics by first citing the related safety standards in effect and then discussing the issue from a practical perspective typically related to the utility industry. This time is no different – for the most part.

Initially, the use of masks during the pandemic was limited as effective respiratory protection and still is for the public per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As far as OSHA was concerned regarding workplaces, the only approved mask was the NIOSH-approved N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR). The N95 rating means that the mask meets the criteria for effective filtering of airborne particulates and moisture at 95%. The rating system also was established by NIOSH. It is important to understand that the N95 rating is based on the assumption that the masks are utilized by trained users meeting the OSHA respiratory protection worker training and fit-testing standard, which also can require a medical evaluation of the user.

Continue reading
  103 Hits
  0 Comments
Sean M. Lyden

What’s New in Digging Machines for Utility Fleets?

Web-JCB-1

When the job is to dig trenches, drill holes or dig in tight spaces, how can utility crews get more work done in less time at lower cost?

That's the question many heavy-equipment manufacturers ask themselves as they design and develop new digging machines and accessories.

So, what new products have emerged within the past six to nine months to help utility companies and contractors improve worker productivity and cut operational costs? Here are seven new developments to keep your eye on.

JCB
What’s New: 19C-1E Fully Electric Mini Excavator
Website: www.jcb.com   

As JCB’s first fully electric mini excavator, the 19C-1E is suited for construction and excavation applications in enclosed or urban job sites, or noise- and emissions-sensitive environments, such as hospitals and schools. The machine offers comparable power to JCB’s diesel 19C excavator, while producing zero exhaust emissions and one-fifth the noise.

Continue reading
  201 Hits
  0 Comments
Sean M. Lyden

6 All-Electric Pickups in the Pipeline

Web-Tesla

For utility fleets committed to electrification, the holy grail is to electrify pickup trucks.

That’s because pickups represent the largest vehicle segment for most fleets in the industry. So, if you can electrify a wide range of pickup applications, you’ll make a huge dent in your company’s sustainability efforts.

The challenge is that high battery costs and low range between charges have historically made the idea of all-electric pickups seem impractical for widespread fleet use. And there are no products commercially available for fleets to choose from.

But that could be changing soon. Here’s an overview of six electric pickups currently in development that are expected to launch in the next one to two years.

Continue reading
  118 Hits
  0 Comments
Gary L. Wollenhaupt

Gas vs. Diesel: Which is Better for Your Medium-Duty Truck Applications?

Web-Ford-F600

Diesel has been the traditional engine for medium-duty utility trucks. But with Ford, GM, Isuzu and other OEMs recently launching new gas-powered models, utility fleet professionals have more options than ever to consider. Recent volatility in fuel prices has changed the equation as well.

So, which is better – gas or diesel? The answer is, of course, "It depends."

Diesel engines use about a third less fuel than comparable gasoline engines and are particularly well-suited for high-idle situations where gasoline engines don't perform as well.

But gas-engine trucks cost less to purchase, and maintenance is usually less expensive. On the other hand, diesels tend to have a longer useful life and retain more value at high mileages when they are released from the fleet, according to George Survant, an experienced fleet consultant.

Continue reading
  114 Hits
  0 Comments
Sandy Smith

Mistakes to Avoid When Spec’ing Cable Reel Trailers

Web-Dejana

With his crew focused on downtown Austin, Texas, and several substations, size was an important consideration for Bobby Dahl, network construction supervisor for community-owned Austin Energy, when selecting a new cable reel trailer.

The new trailer upgraded outdated equipment, making work safer and more efficient. “We used to pull cable out with a one-ton truck and sit there and roll it up,” Dahl said. “During the daytime, that’s inferior. But we have a lot of cable failures at night, and that made it a safety concern.”

He settled on a self-propelled hub drive cable reel puller from Dejana (https://dejana.com) and has a second one on order. It has multiple benefits, Dahl said, including strong pulling torque and an ability to navigate tight alleyways.

“We didn’t have to have a bigger footprint to do the job,” Dahl said, which can mean less traffic control needed on the job site because fewer intersections are blocked.

That maneuverability – and all the benefits it has brought – also was among the top considerations for Dahl when spec’ing a new cable reel trailer.

Continue reading
  132 Hits
  0 Comments
Grace Suizo

Selecting the Right Fuel Card Program for Your Fleet

Web-Smart-Fleets

With fuel being one of the greatest expenses for any fleet organization, a fuel card program can be a helpful and efficient way to keep track of spending, usually at little or no cost to fleets. Recently, Utility Fleet Professional spoke with two fuel card experts who shared tips for what to look for in such a program.

While a number of organizations house on-site fuel stations and can easily track fuel spend and consumption that way, there are still instances when drivers are unable to make it back to the garage site to fill up. For example, drivers who are dispatched for emergency or weather-related work may have to fill up at an outside retailer or truck stop instead (i.e., an area where fuel activities can no longer be monitored).

Using a fuel card program can supplement these operations to give clients flexibility and appropriate oversight of fuel use, according to Steve Jastrow, vice president of consulting and analytics for Element (www.elementfleet.com).

“If fleets don’t have a managed program today, the fuel card is a great solution,” he said. “Fraud prevention, oversight of usage, productivity and the data to report/benchmark can all deliver savings.”

Continue reading
  93 Hits
  0 Comments
Max Chesnes

How is the Coronavirus Pandemic Affecting Fleet Rightsizing?

Web-Fleet-Management

Among the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the impact it is having on utility fleet rightsizing efforts across the U.S.

Traditionally, rightsizing is about understanding the values and measurements of the appropriate level of fleet utilization, according to Charles Guthro, vice president of global strategic services for ARI (www.arifleet.com).

The fleet management services company works through exercises with its customers to help shed light on strategies that enhance fleet productivity and maximize opportunities to generate revenue. But, Guthro said, some strategies have changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Well, COVID-19 has flipped upside down even the best-thought-out plans. Now everyone is looking at it as, ‘How do we strip out cost from the business?’ Obviously, everyone’s revenues are significantly impacted,” he explained.

This, in turn, has put pressure on rightsizing efforts from a cost-reduction vantage point, Guthro added.

Continue reading
  109 Hits
  0 Comments
Sean M. Lyden

Shop Talk: Verizon Communications

Web-MVIMG_20181001_090413

In February, as the novel coronavirus spread overseas and cases began to trickle into the U.S., Verizon Communications, as a company, started grappling with how the pandemic might impact its operations.

“Before the media and most people were talking about what you should do, we’re thinking, ‘How would we operate? How do we keep our people safe?’” said Herb Pruitt, director of fleet operations for Verizon Communications.

UFP recently spoke with Pruitt to learn about the adjustments Verizon’s Fleet Operations team of over 400 employees, mostly mechanics, has made to ensure worker safety while maintaining a large fleet of about 29,000 vehicles during a pandemic. Here are the key takeaways from our conversation.

Continue reading
  81 Hits
  0 Comments
Sean M. Lyden

You Ask, We Answer: Your Research Team for Navigating These Uncharted Waters

One of the challenges of providing you with content that offers timely and interesting insights is that so much is changing so quickly in the world and in our industry.

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed utility fleets to re-evaluate how they operate, spec vehicles and manage their shops.

For example, in cases where vehicles are no longer centrally garaged because they’re being driven home, how do you ensure that all PMs get done on time? (In this month’s “Shop Talk,” we spoke with Herb Pruitt at Verizon Communications, who offers lessons learned and best practices on this topic.)

When crews hand off vehicles to garage staff for maintenance and repairs, what should be the process to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus? What PPE should be worn and when? What types of disinfectants should be used?

And what will be the impact on vehicle and equipment manufacturers regarding their production and delivery timelines over the next 12 to 18 months? In what ways will you need to adjust to ensure all business units and their crews have the equipment they need when they need it?

Continue reading
  74 Hits
  0 Comments
Kate Wade

Rock Mills’ Lifter and Lifter PLUS

Rock-Mills-Lifter

The Lifter and The Lifter PLUS are vehicle-mounted, automated solutions to remove heavy network access lids and storm grates. Manually removing lids and grates is now obsolete. Remove covers and grates safely and efficiently with the push of a button on a hand-held remote.

The Lifter and The Lifter PLUS offer a broad range of removal solutions. The Lifter is intended for conventional-sized covers. The Lifter PLUS is meant for use with heavy, large-diameter covers; it offers an industry-leading automated safety solution to remove covers as heavy as 600 pounds with the push of a button. www.rockmillsent.com

Continue reading
  141 Hits
  0 Comments
Kate Wade

Hino Ultimate Confidence Initiative

Hino-Confidence-Initiative

Hino Trucks has acknowledged that the rapidly changing global health emergency is creating uneven economic effects across all industries. In response, Hino is introducing the Ultimate Confidence Initiative meant to strengthen and support their customers’ businesses.

Hino Trucks, in conjunction with Toyota Industries Commercial Finance, is offering customers a No Payment in 2020 option. Subject to credit approval on applications made by August 31, 2020, this financing opportunity is available on all new Hino models.

Customers who take advantage of the No Payments and No Interest in 2020 option also will have all of their required maintenance covered in 2020 through December 31.

The current, complimentary HinoCare planned maintenance program for Hino's cabover lineup (155, 195, M4, M5 models) already helps customers stay on schedule and on budget. Now, customers with this preventive service care program on their current cabover trucks, or HinoCare that was purchased for their conventional trucks (258, 268, 338, L6, L7 models), will have a 90-day extension added to the end date of their services. www.hino.com/dealers.html

Continue reading
  148 Hits
  0 Comments
Kate Wade

PRO-VISION Hybrid HD DVR

PRO-VISION-DVR

PRO-VISION Video Systems, a proven leader in mobile video technology and software, has announced the release of its new 900 Series Hybrid HD DVR that combines 1080p HD recording and observation technology in one device for unrivaled video coverage on commercial vehicles.

The PRO-VISION 900 Series Hybrid HD DVR simultaneously records video and provides camera views on an in-cab monitor – including the rear view while backing up and blind spots while turning – in 1080p HD resolution. The DVR provides operators with the high-quality video they need to prevent accidents and shows the details of what really happened during an incident.

With the release of the new 900 Series Hybrid HD DVR, PRO-VISION also has released a new line of 1080p HD cameras designed for the 900 Series. They are intended to help operators avoid collisions with crystal-clear views of their surroundings, providing a picture quality that’s nearly seven times better than other systems.

With up to six cameras providing 360-degree video coverage, and industry-leading features including built-in Wi-Fi, automated wireless file transfer and GPS tracking, the PRO-VISION 900 Series Hybrid HD DVR is backed by a five-year system warranty. https://provisionusa.com

Continue reading
  305 Hits
  0 Comments
Kate Wade

Atlas Copco XAS 188 Air Compressor

Atlas-Air-Compressor

Atlas Copco Power Technique now offers the XAS 188, a single-stage oil-injected rotary screw type air compressor, powered by a Kubota Tier 4 Final, liquid-cooled, three-cylinder diesel engine. This unit brings the customer a lower total cost of ownership, the highest efficiency in compressed air, a best-in-class service experience, user-friendly features, easy transportation and environmental friendliness.  

Now available in the U.S., this model is the most popular among the small diesel Atlas Copco air compressor range, which includes the XAS 110 small air compressor (110 cfm at 100 psi) and the XATS 250 (250 cfm at 150 psi).  

Delivering 189 cfm at 2.37 gallons per hour, a 27-gallon fuel tank is adequately sized to operate the XAS 188 for more than 11 hours at full load. The diesel engine offers an output of 49.6 horsepower at a rated speed of 2,700 rpm. The engine starts the compressor at 14 degrees Fahrenheit with a standard glow-plug or a cold-start option starts the machine at -13 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Highly efficient, a newly designed air end element includes a gear box, which demands less power from the engine, while at the same time delivering more airflow. This results in less fuel consumption and more productivity on the job. www.atlascopco.us

Continue reading
  275 Hits
  0 Comments
Jim Vaughn, CUSP

The ABCs of Grounding Mobile Equipment

Web-IMG_20170301_132942020

Across our industry, I have found all kinds of policies for grounding trucks. I also have found that in many cases, employers’ rules for grounding trucks are not based on OSHA requirements and – even more concerning – are not based on sound principles of protection. I believe the grounding policies are well intentioned, but they fail to achieve two important goals: (1) meeting the OSHA standard and (2) protecting workers where electrical contact hazards exist. So, let’s take an ABCs approach to the issue because even though some detailed explanation is required, it really is that simple.

A Defensible Plan
You must be able to defend your plan or policy. This is the case for every plan or policy. Defense is built around establishing and accomplishing a goal, understanding the hazard, understanding the mitigation of the hazard, training at-risk employees, and conducting periodic audits to ensure the plan or policy is properly employed.

The Goal
In our case, the goal is protecting workers from electrical hazards created by contact with mobile equipment. Let’s agree here that mobile equipment is anything that is moved into a work site. In addition, it is mobile equipment that can become energized. If it can’t become energized, it is not a hazard.

Understanding the Hazard
The hazard is energizing mobile equipment and the transfer of hazardous energy to an employee who is on, in contact with or near the equipment that has become energized. The hazard involves unintended or inadvertent energizing. There can be several energizing sources, but we can classify them as follows: direct contact with an energized source, capacitive coupled voltage or inductive coupled current (I’ll explain this a little later), and inadvertent energizing by grounding to a current-carrying source. Let’s start with this one first.

Continue reading
  323 Hits
  0 Comments
Sean M. Lyden

New Developments to Watch in Telematics

Web-Verizon-Connect-1

The fleet telematics industry has come a long way since 2000, when Geotab’s (www.geotab.com) executive vice president of sales and marketing, Colin Sutherland, joined the Ontario, Canada-based telematics company.

“Back then, [telematics] was all about collecting data on board the vehicle itself and, in many cases, having to manually transfer that data to a computing environment using [thumb drives],” Sutherland said.

But with today's telematics, vehicles can automatically transmit real-time location and operational data to the cloud at a significantly lower cost. And as wireless technology has gotten faster and cheaper, telematics capabilities have expanded considerably to include onboard cameras, workforce management systems and machine learning to generate more comprehensive and useful reports.

So, what’s on the horizon? What new developments in telematics should you keep your eye on in the next 12 months?

Continue reading
  680 Hits
  0 Comments
Sean M. Lyden

Flattening the Curve? The State of Transportation Electrification During a Pandemic

Web-AE_Shot_4_20

A perfect storm of geopolitical forces flooding the world’s oil supply and COVID-19 causing global governments to temporarily shut down their economies has precipitated a steep drop in gasoline and diesel prices in recent weeks.

So, what does this mean for the electric vehicle market?

After all, conventional wisdom says that cheap gas will put the brakes on the demand for alternative fuels, including electricity.

But Karl Popham, manager of electric vehicles and emerging technologies at Austin Energy, a public power utility and a department of The City of Austin, Texas, believes that demand for electrified transportation likely will continue to grow despite oil prices at historic lows.

Why? Popham points to four trends.

Continue reading
  663 Hits
  0 Comments
Grace Suizo

Selecting the Right Advanced Driver Assistance Systems for Your Fleet

Web-shutterstock_1369181927

From automatic braking and lane-keeping assist to adaptive cruise control, backup cameras and parking sensors, there are quite a few advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to choose from today. So, how do you decide which ones are best for your fleet vehicles? UFP recently spoke with Dale Collins, fleet services supervisor for Virginia-based Fairfax Water, to find out which systems have proved most helpful to his fleet over the past decade.

Identify Areas for Improvement
Fairfax Water has been utilizing ADAS since 2010. The utility currently operates a total of 434 units, 320 of which are on-road vehicles ranging from Class 1 to Class 8. Approximately 40% are equipped with some sort of ADAS; parking assist and backup cameras are the bare minimum, according to Collins.

The first tip he shared about spec’ing ADAS is to identify what you’re really trying to improve. “In our case, we really wanted to improve on a particular hazard, which was backing,” Collins explained.

Continue reading
  318 Hits
  0 Comments
Sandy Smith

Spec’ing ATUVs for Optimal Performance and Safety

Web-PowerBully-photo

Cooperative Energy, which generates and transmits energy to 11 member systems in Mississippi, recently doubled its line crews to four. It’s no surprise, then, that they’ve “had to have more equipment,” according to Wayne Owens, the company’s fleet maintenance supervisor.

Serving 55 of Mississippi’s 82 counties, Cooperative Energy crews must deal with hills, hollows and swampland, which means that it’s crucial to have an all-terrain utility vehicle (ATUV) that’s right for the diverse terrain.

“You’ve got to have a machine that will be adequate to get where you need to get,” Owens said. “The specs have to start with the terrain.”

Scott Merrill, vice president at tracked vehicle manufacturer PowerBully (www.powerbully.com), agreed that the application drives a lot of spec decisions for ATUVs, which can include wheeled, tracked and amphibious vehicles. “Fording depth is important, too,” he said. “If [the user has] to go through 3- or 4-foot streams and rivers, we make sure that the machine is set up for the ground clearance and the fording depth to get in and out of those situations.”

Continue reading
  422 Hits
  0 Comments
Max Chesnes

Where Sustainability Meets Service: Finding the Right Fit for EVs in Utility Fleets

Web-shutterstock_754400164

For several years, Joe Korn, a truck and alternative fuel consultant with ARI’s (www.arifleet.com) business intelligence and analytics team, has been working with some of the company’s North American customers to implement alternative fuel strategies.

One of his priorities is to provide fleet expertise to clients aiming to bridge the gap between internal combustion engines and battery electric vehicles.

Korn said that, with the proper infrastructure in place, there can be a long-term cost benefit to implementing EVs into utility fleets, and the reduction of fossil fuel emissions is a significant benefit as well.

“I am 100% behind electric vehicles,” Korn said. “There’s been a lot of interest from companies on how to incorporate electric vehicles and other alternative fuels into their fleet and how they can work towards sustainable strategies and lower pollutions.”

Continue reading
  481 Hits
  0 Comments
Gary L. Wollenhaupt

Does Your Fleet Need a Data Analyst?

Web-shutterstock_421484053

When Nebraska Public Power District added telematics capabilities to 200 of its work trucks, a few surprises lurked in the early reports.

The data showed the work trucks spent much more time idling than anecdotal evidence from drivers and fleet managers had suggested, according to Matt Gilliland, director of operations for the largest public utility in Nebraska, which serves 91 counties in the state.

That's the kind of insight that utility fleet managers hope to see from adding telematics to their fleet. A vehicle equipped with a telematics device can record and transmit a wide array of information, from engine fault codes to idle time to driver behaviors – like speeding and hard braking – as well as vehicle location.

However, utilities may not have staff with the right skill set to manage and analyze all the data flooding in. Will utilities have to hire new staff to fill those roles, or can the work be tackled in-house? Keep in mind, experts say a continuously connected vehicle generates about 20 GB of data every hour.

Continue reading
  372 Hits
  0 Comments

KNOWLEDGE, INSIGHT & STRATEGY FOR UTILITY FLEET LEADERS

Utility Fleet Professional is produced by Utility Business Media, Inc.

360 Memorial Drive, Suite 10, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 | 815.459.1796 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
© 2011 - 2020 Utility Fleet Professional. All Rights Reserved.