UFP Magazine

Kate Wade

Elliott Equipment Co. D105 Digger Derrick

Elliott Equipment Co. D105 Digger Derrick

Elliott Equipment Co. has introduced the D105, a new ANSI 10.31 digger derrick specifically designed for transmission and heavy-duty construction projects. Mounted on a tandem axle chassis, the D105 boasts a 107-foot sheave height, 20,000 foot-pounds of torque and a 41-foot digging radius. The unit is equipped with Elliott’s high-boom pin-point geometry, allowing for maximum power out of the hole, a variable displacement piston pump and a new ergonomic seated control console.

Other key features of the D105 include auger spin speeds of 35 rpm (low) and 80 rpm (high); digging depth of up to 16 feet; heavy-duty tilting pole claw attachment and pole guide designed for gripping large poles; new front-entry seated pedestal control station; ability to handle augers up to 48 inches in diameter; 12,000-pound single line pull main winch with synthetic rope and 30,000-pound maximum lift capacity at a 10-foot radius; mounts on tandem axle chassis; radio remote control boom and digger operation; and optional out and down EZ-CRIB high-penetration two-stage vertical outriggers with full- or mid-span operation. www.elliottequip.com

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Kate Wade

WEATHER GUARD Defender Series

WEATHER GUARD Defender Series

The Defender Series from WEATHER GUARD offers the latest in affordable truck box solutions designed specifically for professional-level protection. Ideal for keeping tools safe and secure, the truck box offers heavy-duty security, including push-button locks, a reinforced front panel and two dual-stage rotary latches with looped strikers. It is available with more than 20 products across five categories, including Saddle and Cross Boxes, All-Purpose Chests, and Lo-Side and Hi-Side boxes. www.weatherguard.com

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Kate Wade

Bose Ride System

Bose Ride System

Utility trucks need stiff suspensions for stability on the job. Lineworkers pay for stiff suspensions with back pain and fatigue, and companies pay with lost productivity. The Bose Ride system solves these problems by actively counteracting unwanted road vibration to improve ride quality.

In a recent evaluation conducted at a major utility company, lineworkers unanimously rated the Bose Ride system as providing a smoother ride in bucket trucks previously rated as rough-riding. Objective engineering measurements from that evaluation demonstrated that the Bose Ride system greatly reduced road shock and vibration felt by drivers in utility trucks. www.boseride.com/utility

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Kate Wade

AEM/AEMP Telematics Standard Earns ISO Approval

AEM/AEMP Telematics Standard Earns ISO Approval

The mixed-fleet telematics standard from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) has received approval from ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, to be accepted as a global standard.

The new ISO mixed-fleet telematics standard enables equipment users to gather more OEM equipment data into their preferred business or fleet management software, providing easier access, improved ability to manage and analyze information across their fleets, and help saving time and money on the job site or within their operations.

While ISO is preparing the standard for final posting to its website, AEM and AEMP suggest three steps equipment users can take now to prepare for final publication of the ISO mixed-fleets standard.

First, equipment users are advised to check with their manufacturers to determine if and when they plan to comply with the standard and offer data through the standard’s application programming interface (API) format.

Second, equipment users are advised to check with the supplier of their preferred business or fleet management software for its plan to support integration of the new API to enable retrieval of their machine data. A helpful reference source is the "AEMP Telematics for Fleet Managers" primer.

Third, equipment users can bookmark the expected landing page for the standard and check back periodically to see when it is posted.

The ISO mixed-fleet telematics standard will be part of IS0 15143 (“Earth-moving machinery and mobile road construction machinery – Worksite data exchange”) as a new section – “Part 3: Machine data.” www.aem.org

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Kate Wade

Mattracks Rubber Track Conversion System

Mattracks Rubber Track Conversion System

Mattracks, the innovator in rubber track conversion systems, has produced a commercial-grade rubber track conversion system for utility work machines, which you can use to convert your tires to tracks in less than an hour.

Features include an exclusive offset rocker suspension, two-piece HD steel sprocket, rubber-coated UHMW wheels and a 15-inch-wide all-terrain track with an easy-steer option. The easy-steer option provides effortless two- and four-wheel steering while minimally increasing the turning radius. There are 16 LiteFoot models to fit Bobcats 3400, 3400XL, 3450, 3600 and 3650. www.mattracks.com

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Kate Wade

Nite Beams LED Safety Vests

Nite Beams LED Safety Vests

Nite Beams Class 3 high-visibility LED safety vests emit beams into darkness that are visible up to a quarter-mile away and can be seen in any weather condition. Wear a vest during the day, and then in low-light conditions simply push a button to activate LEDs for extra visibility.

Nite Beam’s safety vests were recently awarded second place for best safety innovation at the ATSSA Traffic Expo in New Orleans. Each vest is powered by a USB rechargeable pack, weighing less than an ounce for comfort. A full recharge takes one hour.

When the vest is worn with the constant mode on, the LEDs will last for 18 hours. While in flashing mode, the LEDs will last 40 hours before having to be recharged.

LEDs are available in red, green, blue, pink, orange or white. Sizes include M, L, XL, 2X, 3X and 4X. The vest is ANSI/ISEA compliant and washable. www.nitebeams.com

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Kate Wade

Solar Technology Arrow Boards

Solar Technology Arrow Boards

Solar Technology, manufacturer of solar-powered traffic safety equipment, recently announced that their flashing Arrow Boards will now include a built-in modem, GPS and free cellular service for the life of the board.

The cellular connection will enable customers to locate their boards via GPS, check battery voltage from their desks and change arrow patterns remotely. Customers will also receive data that includes a recorded history of what was displayed and when. The free cellular connection offers enormous savings over the lifetime of the board. www.solartechnology.com

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Sean M. Lyden

Boost Your Department’s Visibility, Value and Productivity With an Email Newsletter

Boost Your Department’s Visibility, Value and Productivity With an Email Newsletter

There’s a tendency for senior management to view fleet as a cost center and “necessary evil,” with little appreciation for the value the department brings to the business as a whole. So, when it’s time to cut spending, the fleet budget becomes a primary target, putting greater pressure on the fleet manager to do more with less.

How do you counter this impulse at your company? How can you bolster your department’s standing with management to garner the resources you need to do your job well?

Try starting a monthly email newsletter that keeps management and end users in the loop about the department’s latest news, vehicle order status and performance.

It’s a communication tool that has worked effectively for Matt Gilliland, fleet services manager at Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), which operates over 1,100 fleet assets.

Since Gilliland and his team launched their department’s email newsletter about seven years ago, it has not only helped them expand fleet’s influence with management, but it has also enabled the department to operate more efficiently, increasing its value throughout the organization.

“At the time, no one in the district really knew what fleet was doing,” Gilliland said. “We just weren't that visible. We were tucked away in the corner, and that was it. The newsletter has given us an opportunity to communicate our work – and value – within the organization because, as I tell my guys, our blue stripes and orange bumpers on our vehicles are by far the best advertising we do as a district. And how we manage those vehicles is vital to how the public perceives us – and how much confidence they have in us.”

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Sean M. Lyden

Dirty Jobs: What’s New in Digging Equipment for Utility Fleets

Dirty Jobs: What’s New in Digging Equipment for Utility Fleets

Whether you need to dig trenches to lay underground gas lines or drill holes in which to set transmission poles, the goal is the same: to perform the job using the least amount of time, effort and financial resources, while providing the maximum amount of safety and comfort for equipment operators.

So, what are some of the new digging tools brought to market in the past few months that can help utility companies and contractors boost productivity and enhance operator safety? Here are four new products to keep your eye on.

Terex Texoma Spiral Bullet Tooth Auger
www.terex.com/utilities

What if there was a digging attachment that could reduce your drill time in extreme ground conditions from up to eight hours with a standard auger to as few as 30 minutes? That’s the value proposition for the new Terex Texoma spiral bullet tooth auger, according to Dale Putnam, Terex Utilities product manager.

He said that the cut pattern and tooth attack angle on the Texoma auger make the bullet teeth act like "fingers" that penetrate and lift up sand, dirt, cobble, cement, fractured or hard rock, compacted soil or frozen ground, in a way that achieves faster cycle times in and out of the hole, so that crews can get more jobs done in less time.

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Sean M. Lyden

The Final 3

The Final 3

Each issue, we ask a fleet professional to share three keys to fleet success.

This issue’s Final 3 participant is Michael Donahue, manager of transportation and construction equipment at Omaha Public Power District, an electric utility headquartered in Omaha, Neb., with over 1,300 assets in its fleet.

#1. Master one aspect of fleet at a time.
“There are many aspects to learn about operating a fleet – learning how to write specs, learning about your customers’ needs, learning what vehicles are out there and available, and everything else that has to do with fleet. If you try to bite off everything at once, you’ll feel overwhelmed. Instead, I think it's important just to jump in and take one bite at a time, learning about one aspect until you understand it. Then expand your knowledge from there.”

#2. Invest time to study your customers.
“Get to know your customers. Go to their work areas and watch them work. Ask them questions about what they're doing, how they're getting the job done and what equipment ideas they might have. Ask them for feedback on what they think could help them get things done more efficiently. And observe the equipment and operators in action. The more you know about your customers, the more effectively you can serve them.”

#3. Get involved in industry organizations, forums and events.
“Attend fleet conferences. I think they're very valuable for networking and learning about issues and trends that could have the biggest impact on your operation. Attending industry events can help you connect with experienced fleet managers who can answer your questions and offer real-world advice.”

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Sean M. Lyden

4 Smartphone Apps to Make You a More Effective and Efficient Fleet Manager

4 Smartphone Apps to Make You a More Effective and Efficient Fleet Manager

If you’re among the 64 percent of Americans who own a smartphone – up from 35 percent in 2011, according to Pew Research – you hold in your hand a powerful tool to record great ideas, facilitate collaboration, avoid traffic and make faster decisions, with thousands of apps available today.

The most obvious mobile apps discussed in fleet management circles are those associated with telematics providers to give you real-time access to fleet asset data on your smartphone. But beyond telematics, what other useful smartphone apps can help make your job easier and boost your productivity as a fleet manager? Try these four tools.

1. Evernote
URL: https://evernote.com
Cost: Free for basic plan

Think of Evernote as a virtual library of notebooks that you fill with important ideas, documents, emails, pictures or audio files – all in one place, accessible from any device.

For example, suppose you’ve found an interesting article and want to reference it later. With Evernote, you can clip the entire article or a part of it, place it in a note and access it anywhere from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. And if you don’t remember the name of the article, you can find it fast on Evernote by searching keywords.

Or, perhaps you’ve just finished a highly productive brainstorming session with your team and want to capture everything written on the whiteboard. Through the Evernote app, you can snap a picture of the whiteboard with your smartphone, and it’s automatically recorded on a note and organized in the notebook of your choosing, which you can easily share with others on the team.

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Jason Yunck

Spec’ing Step Vans for Utility Fleet Applications

Spec’ing Step Vans for Utility Fleet Applications

Step vans have become a popular vehicle option for utility fleets, offering distinct safety and productivity advantages over traditional service bodies.

With a step van, the driver can quickly enter from or exit onto the curbside, staying a safe distance from vehicle traffic on the road. Curbside entry and exit are also more ergonomically friendly for drivers, who may make 30 to 60 stops each day. The cab door design on step vans offers advantages, too. While traditional commercial vehicles are built with swing-out driver and passenger doors, a step van’s sliding doors allow the driver to more easily move in and out of the vehicle with materials or tools in hand. Here, sound ergonomics influence productivity and drive down costs.

In contrast to service bodies, step vans are built from a bare chassis, with cabs that allow full access to the cargo area. Some also have side cargo access doors, and nearly all step vans allow outside cargo entry from rear roll-up or hinged doors. This means that service tools and materials are easier to get to, which ultimately results in faster service calls.

To reduce weight and eliminate corrosion, step vans are constructed with aluminum sheet and extrusions. Fleet managers can expect these durable vehicles to provide a service life in excess of 15 years.

Another feature of step vans is that because they are highly customizable, with various interior configurations and workspaces available, configuring a mission- or company-specific solution is easy and economical. And, a full-height cab and cargo area, with inside storage, allows drivers to use the vehicle as either a mobile office or prep space for outdoor work.

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Jim Galligan

New Power Sources Aid Anti-Idling Efforts

New Power Sources Aid Anti-Idling Efforts

Unnecessary idling is still the bane of many utility fleets, and while not every fleet wants to turn off vehicle engines at job sites, some new and updated technologies are offering improved auxiliary energy options.

In March, Altec (www.altec.com) introduced JEMS 4, the latest version of its Jobsite Energy Management System, which offers integrated engine-off cab heating and cooling and an on-demand, electrified PTO for hydraulic power.

The anti-idling system is automatic; as soon as the truck is put in park or neutral, the engine shuts down. “In this way, idle mitigation is not something the operator has to think about,” said Mark Greer, Altec market manager.

JEMS 4 relies on a new generation of lithium-iron-phosphate batteries, which offer improved thermal and chemical stability – safer chemistries – than the previous cobalt-based lithium-ion batteries. Also, the battery pack is about half the weight of previous versions and takes up about half the space, Greer said. (For more information, see the “Better Batteries, Lower Prices” sidebar at the end of this article.)

The core of JEMS is the idle and power management system from Cullman, Ala.-based ZeroRPM (www.zerorpm.com). In addition to the controller, components include lithium-iron power and energy modules to power booms, buckets and systems, said Evan Miller, vice president of sales and marketing. ZeroRPM also offers a stand-alone AC unit powered by the energy modules, and for organizations with enough roof space, the company has a solar-powered option to charge the batteries.

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Fiona Soltes

Utility Fleets and the Sharing Economy

Utility Fleets and the Sharing Economy

In our increasingly shared economy, even some utility fleets are moving from “mine” to “ours.”

This certainly makes sense. In addition to the fact that utility equipment and vehicles often are costly, they’re also unlikely to be in constant use. Pooling and sharing resources, then, can help cut down on surplus, reduce expenses and streamline operations.

The even better news? As the sharing economy has matured – think of Airbnb, Uber and Lyft – so have the technology offerings that help make it possible. There’s online forum MuniRent (www.munirent.co), for example, which allows municipalities to share surplus goods and equipment. AssetWorks (www.assetworks.com) offers fleet management software along with an automated motor pool solution, and allows reservations through smartphones and tablets. And then there’s Agile FleetCommander (www.agilefleet.com), web-based fleet and motor pool software that has been used by fleets in virtually all categories.

Naturally, the argument can be – and often is – made that there’s a segment of a utility fleet that can’t be downsized because it’s used during emergencies and peak demand. It’s also true that some vehicles have specialized tools onboard that are assigned to a particular individual.

The key is in recognizing that “no vehicle sharing initiative should try to apply the same rules for all types of vehicles and equipment,” said Ed Smith, co-founder, president and CEO of Agile Access Control Inc., developer of the Agile FleetCommander software. Fleet managers must acknowledge that real obstacles are present, he said, but also that some constructed barriers to sharing “simply aren’t fact-based.” Technology can help fleet managers know who has custody of a vehicle – and its keys – as well as assist in reporting and chargebacks.

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Grace Suizo

Factors to Consider When Making Outsourcing Decisions

Factors to Consider When Making Outsourcing Decisions

Deciding whether to outsource maintenance and repair work or perform it in-house can be a daunting task for fleet managers. To gain some industry insight, UFP recently spoke with Holly Giffrow-Bos, fleet supervisor for East Central Energy (ECE), and Dan Remmert, manager of fleet services for Ameren Illinois Company (AIC), about what’s worked for their operations and what to consider if you’re leaning toward outsourcing part or all of your maintenance and repair work.

According to Giffrow-Bos, about 15 to 20 percent of ECE’s fleet jobs are outsourced. These typically include body work, warranty work and any kind of heavy-duty engine or transmission replacement work. The electric distribution cooperative, headquartered in Braham, Minn., has a fleet of approximately 180 units.

Due to the level of training and the resources required to perform body work, Giffrow-Bos said ECE “never got into it because of the expense of having that specially trained person and equipment.” The fleet also doesn’t have a lot of jobs that require body work.

In general, ECE handles all diagnostics, repairs and preventive maintenance in-house. This work, too, comes at a significant expense; each of the cooperative’s in-house technicians must be trained on all vehicle makes and models used by the fleet, as well as a range of different tasks.

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Sean M. Lyden

Do Automated Driving Technologies Promote High-Risk Behaviors?

On May 7, a Tesla Model S, with Autopilot engaged, slammed full-speed into a tractor-trailer that pulled out in front of it, killing the Tesla’s driver. The incident was billed as the first death caused by autonomous car technology and raised questions about whether the Tesla Autopilot – or any similar type of system, for that matter – is ready for prime time. This was a blow to an industry that has been touting self-driving cars as the answer to the over 33,000 people who die from motor vehicle crashes each year in the U.S.

Then, within days of initial reports, Reuters reported that there was a portable DVD player inside the vehicle playing a video at the moment of impact. The conclusion: Although the Tesla failed to “see” the truck, the driver didn’t see it either, presumably because he was distracted by watching a video.

This isn’t the only example of a Tesla driver pushing the limits of Autopilot. Despite the automaker’s warnings that Autopilot is not intended to be a fully autonomous system – and that the driver must be able to retake control of the vehicle at any time – there have been numerous YouTube videos posted by Model S owners, depicting them engaging in high-risk behaviors, including dozing off behind the wheel.

Could it be that an automated driving technology touted to save lives has actually created more opportunity for riskier behavior?

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Kate Wade

ARGO All-Terrain Vehicle

ARGO All-Terrain Vehicle

ARGO, a world-leading extreme vehicle manufacturer, has unveiled its new Lineman model geared specifically toward utility workers.

The ultimate all-terrain machine for those who require a durable, dependable job site transporter, the new ARGO Lineman provides customers in the utility industry with extra power, capacity, versatility and safety. Based off of the company’s heavy-duty XTI platform, the ARGO Lineman includes a number of custom improvements to get the job done.

A robust machine that has the load-carrying capacity and power to transport transformers, pull cables or bore footings on the most remote work sites, the heavy-duty Lineman can handle rocks, hills and sand dunes while carrying up to 1,340 pounds of payload.

And with add-on attachments ranging from cranes to augers to welding kits and hydraulic power supplies, crews can now bring their tool shop with them anywhere they go, turning their ARGO Lineman vehicle into an extreme terrain workshop. www.argoxtv.com

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Kate Wade

LIFTPLAQ Manhole Cover Remover

LIFTPLAQ Manhole Cover Remover

The LIFTPLAQ tool allows manhole covers and road stoppers to be removed in a safe manner. The mechanical assembly is fitted with a powerful magnet, connecting firmly to covers and road plates. It is ideal for personnel working on dry and wet networks and can be fitted with extensions to suit large manhole covers. The ergonomic design allows workers to lift covers with their backs straight and knees bent. There is no contact between the operator’s hands and the cover. The unit is easy to move and requires minimal storage space. www.liftplaq.us

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Kate Wade

ASA Voyager Rear Sensor System

ASA Voyager Rear Sensor System

With ASA Electronics’ new Voyager CVRPS14 Rear Sensor System, drivers of medium and large vehicles have the comfort of knowing what is behind them at all times. Newly released to the market, this system comprises four independent rear sensors spaced evenly along the back of a vehicle, giving drivers an accurate reading of the surrounding areas along with excellent range of vision.

When attached to a compatible display, the sensors will provide an audible and visual notification when an object is detected. The audible warning progressively beeps as objects approach the vehicle. The visual warning and real-time video can be displayed on any attached Voyager monitor or any JENSEN touch-screen stereo with a camera input.

Each sensor operates independently from the others, giving off four distinct, constant signals to alert the driver of objects currently behind the vehicle as well as objects moving toward or across the rear of the vehicle. www.asaelectronics.com

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Kate Wade

Geo-Boy Brush Cutter Tractor

Geo-Boy Brush Cutter Tractor

The Geo-Boy Brush Cutter Tractor from Jarraff Industries continues to expand its usage into diverse industries and applications. The Geo-Boy has been a mainstay for maintaining a wide range of transportation and utility rights-of-way, but the unit’s inherent capabilities have helped it become effective in such areas as land clearing and site prep, invasive vegetation species management, storm damage removal and cleanup, wildfire management and seismic mapping operations.

The Geo-Boy is available in wheeled and track configurations. Both models are ROPS and FOPS certified. With two Tier III engine options – 220 horsepower and 260 horsepower – the Geo-Boy is powerful, maneuverable and fuel-efficient. www.geo-boy.com

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