UFP Magazine

Kate Wade

LockNClimb Ergonomic Safety Ladder

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LockNClimb, the world’s leading manufacturer of innovative ergonomic safety ladders for the trucking industry, has introduced the 42LNCTRKENG. This ladder rolls easily and sets up quickly around the tires, allowing unparalleled working access to all maintenance points on the engine via its stable, wide, slip-resistant platform. The ladder can be repositioned where needed to access running lights, windshields, mirrors and other components. The optional yellow safety handrails provide extra safety when ascending and descending.

LockNClimb ladders are made one at a time out of industrial-grade 6061 aluminum by skilled craftsmen in the USA and have been designed to exceed all applicable OSHA and ANSI standards. The patented LockNClimb base makes the 42-inch-high 42LNCTRKENG a freestanding ladder with no top rest support required. The ladder can easily be rolled on its commercial-quality hard rubber wheels and slides on replaceable brass feet to prevent sparks. www.locknclimb.com/trucking

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Kate Wade

TravelCenters of America TechOn-SITE Mobile Maintenance

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TravelCenters of America LLC has answered the call to provide more comprehensive heavy truck maintenance and repair services for fleet equipment that is idle with TechOn-SITE.

Trucks today are more complex than ever, equipped with advanced electronic components, sensors and emission controls that require state-of-the-art equipment to diagnose an issue and a highly skilled technician to complete the repair. TechOn-SITE, previously TA Truck Service OnSITE, better identifies the importance of the technical expertise required to fill a growing need in the industry for expanded remote maintenance and repair services. 

The TechOn-SITE mobile maintenance vehicle is custom designed to provide the technician access to the tools, equipment and parts needed to complete routine maintenance or a more complex repair. Some of the most frequently requested mobile services include DOT inspections, computer diagnostics, tire service, brakes, lighting and trailer maintenance. www.ta-petro.com

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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

Manufacturer Warnings and OSHA-Compliant Safety Performance

Over the past few weeks I have received several inquiries regarding horizontal directional drilling (HDD). It’s not unusual in our industry for questions to make the rounds of utilities and contractors, generating interest and often controversy. I also have recently received several inquiries regarding OSHA allegedly canceling the digger derrick exemption in 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC, “Cranes & Derricks in Construction.” OSHA hasn’t done that, but somebody said they did, and folks started asking around. Soon after, I received calls for clarification on the matter. In the digger derrick case, there was nothing to it; OSHA has not changed anything about the exemption. However, concerning HDD, there is an issue that raises an interesting question for those who administer compliance.

The point of the rest of this article is not to recommend or criticize any safety procedure associated with HDD. The point is to examine the role of manufacturer warnings and OSHA-compliant safety performance in the workplace. There is no doubt that I will get emails from HDD machine manufacturers and adherents of overshoe use, as well as overshoe sales or manufacturing representatives. I invite your response. To be clear, both Utility Fleet Professional magazine and I are solely interested in providing an opportunity for perspective and analysis of a process that will help individuals learn how to deal with challenges in the workplace.

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Sean M. Lyden

Lessons Learned from a Telematics Deployment

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Cut fuel costs, promote safer driving behaviors and improve storm response – these are just a few examples of how fleet telematics that captures and tracks vehicle data can help you run your department more effectively.

But deploying telematics across hundreds or even thousands of fleet assets can be a daunting task if you don’t know what to expect.

UFP spoke with Paul Jefferson, fleet manager at Oklahoma City-based Oklahoma Gas & Electric, who oversees about 2,000 fleet assets, to learn about the utility's experience with telematics.

Jefferson and his team began working with the benchmarking and telematics provider Utilimarc (https://utilimarc.com) in 2015 with a pilot program that included 30 vehicles. To date, the company has installed telematics on about 1,200 vehicles.

What advice does Jefferson have for other utility fleet professionals when it comes to a telematics deployment? Here are five tips.

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Sean M. Lyden

The Low-Hanging Fruit for Greening Your Fleet

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What if you could convert the majority of your fleet to run on a cleaner-burning, renewable fuel with minimal capital investment. Would you do it?

According to NTEA’s 2019 Fleet Purchasing Outlook, a growing number of fleet professionals are saying they would, with survey participants naming biodiesel as their top alternative fuel choice – and their top choice for future interest.

Think of biodiesel as the low-hanging fruit for fleets to make a significant dent in their green initiatives without breaking the bank. That's because the fuel is relatively easy to get, and biodiesel blends up to B20 (20% biodiesel and 80% petrodiesel) can be used in most diesel engines without modification. Compared to petrodiesel, B20 reduces carbon emissions by 16% on average, according to the National Biodiesel Board. And you can use biodiesel in conjunction with your fleet electrification efforts, such as with hybrid-electric diesel trucks.

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Kate Wade

EUFMC Aims to Advance Strategies for Fleet Improvement

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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.

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Sean M. Lyden

The State of Self-Driving Vehicles: Proceed with Caution

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Norman Vincent Peale, author of the classic self-help book "The Power of Positive Thinking," put it like this: "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."

Peale’s message is clear: Aim high. That way, even if you miss your target or it takes you longer than you had hoped, you’ll accomplish so much more than you could have if you had set your sights lower.

It appears that after a decade of shooting for the moon, the automakers and tech giants working in the self-driving space have realized that replacing human drivers with software is a much harder challenge – and will take longer – than anticipated to solve. But in their pursuit of full autonomy, OEMs have made significant progress in developing driver-assist systems and other technology that could pay significant dividends in saving lives until the day that "driverless" becomes a reality.

What has happened in the past year to change the trajectory and outlook for fully autonomous vehicles? Where does the industry stand today?

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Jim Galligan

Avoiding Costly Mistakes with ATUVs

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Prices can range upward of $300,000 for a ready-to-work all-terrain utility vehicle (ATUV), so fleet managers can ill afford missteps in spec’ing, maintenance or planning – mistakes that may end up costing unnecessary dollars or lost days on a remote site while waiting for repairs.

Fortunately, mistakes can be avoided with smart spec’ing and common-sense practices, according to ATUV chassis manufacturers.

Right-size spec’ing is the most important thing fleets can do, said Matt Slater, vice president of sales and marketing with Terramac (www.terramac.com).

“[Make] sure you are sourcing the right size unit for your application,” he said. “Problems [can] arise when you source too large an attachment to go on a unit or try to use a smaller unit to make it easier to transport. The inability to move [equipment] on a specific trailer or to get permits for it is something we see all the time.”

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Sandy Smith

How Utility Fleets Use Telematics for Preventive and Predictive Maintenance

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When utility fleets use telematics as intended, the benefits of the technology can be wide-ranging. Each asset, each mile driven and each minute spent idling generate data and insight that tell a story about the fleet.

And telematics data can be analyzed to determine not only what is currently happening with fleet assets, but also what could happen in the future. That’s why some utility fleets have begun to use the data for both preventive and predictive maintenance. However, where predictive maintenance is concerned, there are some operational hurdles to overcome.

At Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., telematics was implemented in heavy-duty vehicles in 2011 and in all light- and medium-duty vehicles in 2014 when the utility was acquired by Exelon Corp. Now, telematics is available on 1,289 vehicles and about 40 other assets, according to America Lesh, manager of fleet at BG&E.

Every three hours, Verizon provides the mileage, engine hours and GPS coordinates of all enabled BG&E vehicles and equipment. That data is uploaded to BG&E’s fleet management system.

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Fiona Soltes

The Fleet Manager of the Future

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Being a utility fleet manager today can be tough. How much tougher will it be tomorrow?

With the constant advancement of technology, the increasing need for communications savvy and leadership acumen, ever-decreasing budgets, and an aging workforce being replaced by a younger cohort lacking institutional knowledge and experience, it’s a nail-biter of a time.

So, how does a utility fleet manager prepare for the future?

Gary Lentsch, CAFM, fleet manager for the Eugene Water & Electric Board in Eugene, Oregon, said that people skills are huge, especially when it comes to the ability to “hold yourself accountable and focus on the things that matter most to the operation.”

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Grace Suizo

Operating a More Efficient Parts Management Program

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Making sure your shop is well-stocked to handle any issues that come your fleet’s way is a smart plan, but it also can be costly and inefficient if you overdo it and end up with bloated inventory. UFP recently spoke with two fleet professionals who shared some best practices about how to operate a more balanced and efficient parts management program.

The best starting point is to monitor what moves and then find a sensible minimum, according to Dale Collins, fleet services supervisor for Fairfax Water in Virginia.

“Maintain an inventory of items that move quickly and be sure that your suppliers are able to provide quick sourcing of less frequently used items,” he advised, noting that mission-critical parts are important to have in-house.

For Fairfax Water, consumables – including fluids, filters, brakes and tires – are the most important. The majority of other items can be sourced quickly, Collins explained.

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Sean M. Lyden

Electric Outlook for the Work Truck Industry

My biggest takeaway from this year’s NTEA Work Truck Show? The industry appears to be headed toward an electric future. But a lot of work still needs to be done for that future to become a mainstream reality anytime soon.

Here’s what I mean: Electrification is building momentum because the cost of battery technology has been trending downward to the point where electrified trucks are becoming a more attractive and financially viable option for fleets to try.

According to Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance report, lithium-ion battery prices have fallen 73% per kilowatt-hour since 2010. That trend is expected to continue until EVs become cheaper to buy than their fossil-fuel-powered counterparts by 2025 to 2029.

As battery costs have dropped, this has allowed for more affordable power that extends the battery range between charges, making it comparable to the range of conventional-fueled vehicles – and thus more acceptable for more fleet applications.

That's why we’re seeing a growing number of OEMs like Tesla, Freightliner, Mitsubishi Fuso and now Ford – with its recent $500 million investment in Rivian to produce an all-electric pickup truck – entering the fray.

But here’s the challenge: charging infrastructure. There's not enough of it.

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Kate Wade

Design Interactive Augmented-Reality Training Solution

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Design Interactive Inc., providers of augmented- and virtual-reality training solutions for fleet maintenance personnel, vendors and OEMs, recently announced that the company’s AUGMENTOR transportation-focused, augmented-reality training solution is now available on Android and iOS mobile devices.

The new mobile applications for AUGMENTOR include an augmented-reality mode that lets technicians visualize procedure steps where they are conducted. For example, if a vehicle requires an inspection of its tires or brakes, the step is placed near or on that component or system. Users also can see 3D virtual representations of parts for reference during inspection or repairs. The mobile app includes videos, audio messages and text instruction. 

For fleets, AUGMENTOR helps lower training, labor and parts costs, and increases vehicle uptime and shop productivity. Especially as new technologies continue to increase the complexity of the repairs, tools and skills needed by technicians, this transportation-focused solution ensures training consistency by enabling access to updated content. http://designinteractive.net

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Kate Wade

Rock Mills’ Lifter PLUS

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Rock Mills Enterprises is pleased to introduce The Lifter PLUS, the next generation of vehicle-mounted, automated manhole cover removal tools.

The Lifter PLUS has been designed to address the need for a more powerful tool to remove very heavy, large-diameter manhole covers commonly found in electric utility and telecom networks. The Lifter PLUS delivers 3,500 pounds of magnetic gripping capacity to powerfully remove covers that are not only heavy but also may have raised lettering and designs on the cover.

The Lifter PLUS and the newly introduced Folding Swing Arm offer a unique, innovative, industry-leading solution to support worker safety and work performance for high-challenge removal tasks. www.rockmillsent.com

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Kate Wade

VMAC PTO Driven Air Compressor

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VMAC has released its newest Direct-Transmission Mounted PTO Driven Air Compressor, designed specifically for RAM trucks. The DTM70 is the world’s first direct-transmission-mounted PTO-driven air compressor, currently available for Ford F-250 to F-750 Power Stroke Diesel trucks, and now for RAM 3500 to 5500 chassis cab Cummins Diesel trucks.

The DTM70 Air Compressor produces up to 70 CFM at 100 psi (175 psi max). It is powerful enough to use for OTR tire inflation, 1-inch impact wrenches, 60-pound jackhammers and pavement breakers, vertical/horizontal grinders and sanders, and other small- to medium-sized air tools with high air demand.

The VMAC DTM70 is a popular choice for those looking to save space on their truck decks, as it is installed under the truck. The complete DTM70 system weighs just 150 pounds, making it a lightweight choice compared to traditional deck-mount air compressors or other underdeck systems. www.vmacair.com/dtm70

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Kate Wade

ALI Lift Safety Training Course

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It’s easier than ever to make sure every technician in a shop receives training on the proper use of vehicle lifts. Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) is now offering an annual subscription option for its popular “Lifting It Right” online lift safety training course. An annual facility-wide subscription allows everyone in a single location to take the course as often as needed throughout the year.

This option makes it easier for facilities to train new employees, provides a significant cost savings for larger organizations and simplifies payment. Another new pricing option for the online course is a lower rate for vocational students and schools.

An annual subscription is $240 per facility location. The new student rate is $10 per person. Standard pricing is $16 per participant for the English version of the course and $24 per participant for Spanish.

“Lifting It Right” covers proper lifting practices for all types of vehicle lifts. The online course can be taken on a computer or mobile device. Most people finish it in an hour or less. At the end, a certificate of completion is stored online for easy access if a shop needs to produce training records. The course helps facilities comply with national and local safety training requirements. www.autolift.org/ali-store/

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Kate Wade

ASA Proximity Sensor System

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ASA Electronics has expanded its line of sensor systems with the CVPS18 four-channel system. The CVPS18 is an easy, economical way to outfit virtually any vehicle with the latest safety technology. The four ultrasonic, weatherproof sensors are easy to install and can be painted to match the color of the vehicle, making them a universal solution for aftermarket application.

The CVPS18 sensors are designed to detect objects within a 5-foot range of the rear bumper without requiring any calibration to aid in backing up or parking the vehicle. When the vehicle is in reverse, the sensors will trigger a speaker in the cab to emit an audible alert if an object should happen to get too close.

As the vehicle continues to back up, or as the object moves closer, the beeping will become more frequent. If the object comes within 16 inches of the bumper, a solid tone will sound. The audio speaker has three volume levels – low, high and off – to suit driver preferences. 

The CVPS18 sensor system can be used in conjunction with other Voyager observation products, like backup cameras and monitors, to create a comprehensive safety system. www.asaelectronics.com

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Kate Wade

Transfer Flow Replacement Fuel Tank System

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Transfer Flow has introduced a 50-gallon high-capacity midship replacement tank for 2018-19 Ford F-150 Power Stroke diesel crew cab short-bed trucks.

The 50-gallon replacement tank is perfect for F-150 Power Stroke owners who want to maximize their fuel capacity and driving range without sacrificing truck bed space. It is crafted from ReliaSteel 12-gauge U.S. high-yield aluminized steel and includes internal baffles for strength and reduced fuel slosh. Installation is easy: Drop the plastic stock fuel tank, replace it with the larger steel fuel tank in the same location, fill up and hit the open road. Transfer Flow has more than 300 qualified installers throughout the U.S. and Canada who are ready to install your new tank.

All Transfer Flow fuel tank systems ship complete with every component needed for installation and are covered by a six-year, unlimited mileage warranty. The F-150 diesel replacement tank is powder-coated for a durable black finish, with the optional upgrade to add a spray-on textured coat for extra durability. www.transferflow.com

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Kate Wade

Bar’s Leaks Professional-Strength Hydraulic Seal

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Bar’s Leaks, the market leader in stop-leak products for over 70 years, has introduced Hydraulic Seal (P/N H60), a professional-grade formula to repair leaks, reduce friction and wear, and renew seals and O-rings in hydraulic systems. It’s designed to work in trucks, tractors, construction and agricultural equipment, as well as industrial applications.

Developed for both low- and high-pressure hydraulic systems, Hydraulic Seal Stop Leak and Conditioner contains a high-quality, durable, field-proven zinc-based additive package along with viscosity modifiers to restore thermal stability and anti-wear additives in the hydraulic system.

Bar’s Leaks Hydraulic Seal works with 32, 46, 68 and all other petroleum and synthetic hydraulic fluids, pump seals, control valve seals, actuators, rams, cylinders, O-ring boss fittings and hydrostatic transmissions.

The product is available in 32-ounce, 1-gallon, 5-gallon and 55-gallon sizes. For normal usage, add 1 ounce of Bar’s Leaks Hydraulic Seal for every quart of hydraulic fluid capacity. In extremely worn systems, use up to 2 ounces per quart of fluid capacity. For preventive maintenance, use a half-ounce per quart of fluid capacity.

Bar’s Leaks Hydraulic Seal starts working right after installation. Most leaks are sealed within a few hours of application and usage. Some leaks can take up to a few days to stop. https://barsleaks.com

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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

If it’s Not About Trucks, Does it Concern Me?

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you work in a fleet management role. Your mechanics and drivers don’t do line work, install phone lines, bury gas lines or dig up high-pressure water lines. But what if they service equipment in the vicinity of craft workers who do perform those tasks? Are they exposed to hazards not related to their direct responsibilities? If so, what is your responsibility as their manager? This article is about educating supervisors regarding hazard evaluation. Where your people work and the hazards they face while on the job are your responsibility. So, following is an example that demonstrates how OSHA’s expectations with regard to your responsibility to your employees may exceed the agency’s written rules in ways you may not be aware of.

There is an employer who is a transmission-distribution contractor; the business also has a telecommunications (telcom) division. The employer’s lineworkers must wear arc flash protective clothing required by OSHA, but as far as he knows, his telcom employees are not required by the OSHA rules to wear arc flash protective clothing. However, because of an incident involving some of his telcom employees, the employer became concerned. He wondered, why don’t telcom employees have to wear arc flash protective clothing, and should they be wearing it? Keep in mind that arc flash protective clothing is not the same thing as flame-resistant (FR) clothing. Welders, wrecker operators and traffic control professionals wear safety vests and bibs that are considered flame-resistant. Flame resistance is the quality of a material designed for protection from exposure to fire or flame, not electrical arcs. OSHA requires that arc flash protective clothing also must be flame resistant to ensure clothing does not continue to burn after exposure to an electrical arc. In addition, flame resistance is required for the outer layer of clothing worn by a worker who could be exposed to a heat source that could ignite that outer layer. There has been confusion over the years, so it is important to recognize that use of the term “FR” on a traffic vest label does not mean the vest is arc protective; it is only flame resistant. It’s a habit to use the term FR when referring to arc flash protective gear, but we all need to understand the difference in labeling.

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