UFP Magazine

Sean M. Lyden

Your Job Title Says ‘Fleet,’ But You’re Actually in Sales

Whatever position we’re in, we’re all selling something – an idea, a point of view or a proposal – whether we want to call it “sales” or not. That goes for fleet professionals as well.

In his book “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others,” best-selling author Daniel H. Pink put it like this: “Physicians sell patients on a remedy. Lawyers sell juries on a verdict. Teachers sell students on the value of paying attention in class. … Whatever our profession, we deliver presentations to fellow employees and make pitches to new clients. We try to convince the boss to loosen up a few dollars from the budget or the human resources department to add more vacation days.”

But far too many fleet managers believe a myth that’s putting their careers at risk: “My work should speak for itself.” The truth is that, even in fleet, perception is reality. And if you don’t intentionally shape the perception of senior leadership to match the reality of your work, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Think about it: Your fleet could be one of the top performers in the utility industry. But what if leadership doesn’t know what top performance should look like? All they see is that fleet costs keep going up. So, from their perspective, you must be bad at your job, right?

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Kate Wade

Peterbilt All-Electric Medium-Duty Model

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Peterbilt Motors Co.’s all-electric medium-duty Model 220EV joins the previously announced Model 520EV and the Model 579EV in the Peterbilt electric vehicle lineup. In all, Peterbilt will have more than 30 electric vehicles in operation by the end of 2019, with customers representing the refuse, regional haul and city delivery applications.

The zero-emission 220EV is powered by two TransPower battery packs with a total of 148 kWh and a Meritor Blue Horizon two-speed-drive eAxle. It features a range of 100 miles and a recharge time of one hour when using a DC fast-charging system.

Peterbilt will begin delivering the 220EV in the summer of 2019 and will put a total of six into service this year with a major customer. www.peterbilt.com

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Kate Wade

ATSSA’s 49th Annual Convention Puts a Spotlight on Roadway Safety

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For the 49th year, the American Traffic Safety Services Association will produce the ATSSA Convention & Traffic Expo.

The 2019 event – which takes place February 8-12 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida – is being billed as the premier roadway safety event in the U.S. It is expected to draw an estimated 3,500 roadway safety professionals and transportation officials from around the globe, who will have the chance to walk more than 200,000 square feet of exhibit space featuring the industry’s latest products and services. A wide variety of traffic safety solutions, roadway safety vehicles and heavy equipment, ranging from striping trucks to truck-mounted attenuators, will be on display. ATSSA’s New Products Rollout – which attendees can check out on the exhibit floor – also is back, this time with some changes from years past.

Beyond products and services, the convention is set to offer a variety of educational options, including hour-long concurrent sessions on February 11 and 12, for which attendees can receive continuing education units; Traffic Talks delivered by roadway safety experts and ATSSA staff on the exhibit floor; and ATSSA training courses available before the convention and expo begins. Visit http://expo.atssa.com/education.html to review the full education schedule.

Another highlight of the annual ATSSA Convention & Traffic Expo is attendees’ opportunity to meet and network with industry leaders, business professionals and peers. Among the special events planned for the 2019 event are the Chairman’s Reception, the Opening General Session and Breakfast, the New Member and First-Time Attendee Welcome, and the Circle of Innovation, Solutions Edition. The Opening General Session will feature several industry guest speakers, including John Corbin of the Federal Highway Administration and Amy Ford of the Colorado Department of Transportation. The Solutions Edition of the Circle of Innovation is new for 2019; according to ATSSA, the event will focus on solutions that state departments of transportation have implemented to improve safety.

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Kate Wade

Goodyear Storm Priority Program

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As utility crews and their trucks spring into action during and after hurricanes and other severe weather incidents, the risk of tire damage due to storm-related debris increases exponentially. During these times, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Storm Priority program helps get utility trucks up and running quickly so utility crews can continue their power restoration efforts.

Goodyear Storm Priority is offered through the 24/7 Goodyear-Fleet HQ Emergency Roadside Service program, which helps trucks that have been immobilized by tire issues return to service.

To access Goodyear Storm Priority during and after severe weather incidents, utility truck drivers call a dedicated line: 1-855-STORMHQ. Calls that come in through the line are given high priority and immediately routed to the 24/7 Goodyear-Fleet HQ Solution Center, where trained agents capture vital information, including the location of the caller’s vehicle. Goodyear agents will then locate and dispatch a service technician from the nearest Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Center or independent, authorized Goodyear commercial tire dealer to the truck. The technician will evaluate the vehicle’s tire situation and help return it to service quickly and efficiently.

Goodyear Storm Priority is available to utility fleets of all sizes, configurations and vocations. www.goodyeartrucktires.com

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Kate Wade

TravelCenters of America Dominates Driver Satisfaction Survey

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TravelCenters of America LLC (TravelCenters) – operator of TA, TA Express and Petro Stopping Centers travel center brands – recently announced the results of the 12th annual “Voted Best” survey. The survey was commissioned by TravelCenters and conducted by an independent agency in October 2018 to garner professional driver feedback on truck stop services and amenities.

Individuals surveyed rated their preference for TA and Petro versus the next closest truck stop brand. In the Overall Area, driver preference for TA and Petro was 6 to 1 for best truck stop experience and 7 to 1 for most comprehensive driver services. In the Employees Area, TA and Petro had the best employees 2 to 1 over the next closest truck stop brand; the best employee understanding of drivers 3 to 1; the friendliest maintenance and repair write-up staff 3 to 1; and the maintenance and repair staff most trusted to perform the job right 6 to 1. In the Fuel Area, driver preference was 2 to 1 for the quickest fueling time, and drivers said TA and Petro had the largest parking lots (6 to 1) that also were the easiest to maneuver (5 to 1).   

When it came to the Truck Repair & Maintenance Area, TA and Petro achieved high scores in categories including Most Complete Services (7 to 1), Most Competent Technicians (5 to 1), Most ASE Certified Technicians (8 to 1) and Best Roadside Assistance (4 to 1).

Other categories that drivers were surveyed about included Showers & Restrooms, Restaurants, Driver Comforts and Community Outreach. www.ta-petro.com

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Kate Wade

Polaris PRO XD Line

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Polaris Commercial has designed the all-new PRO XD, a breakthrough line of utility task vehicles (UTVs) purpose-built for work. The PRO XD line offers three diesel-powered models built to withstand the tough duty cycles and usage on the worksite, boasting industry-leading payload and towing capabilities and unmatched durability, serviceability and safety tailored to the commercial working customer.

The PRO XD provides payload of 1,930 pounds, towing of 2,500 pounds and world-class mobility that’s expected from a world leader like Polaris. Extensive research with rental, government and construction industry leaders showed that customer productivity and profitability in work environments that use UTVs are driven by vehicle durability, serviceability and safety – which is exactly what the PRO XD provides. The vehicle models are the two-passenger PRO XD 2000D, which is available in either two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and the four-passenger PRO XD 4000D, which is available in all-wheel drive. https://commercial.polaris.com

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Kate Wade

Hino Towing and Recovery Trucks

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This past spring, Hino Trucks announced the expansion of its product lineup with the introduction of the all-new XL Series. The Hino XL7 and XL8 models are powered by Hino’s legendary A09 turbo-diesel 8.9-liter inline six-cylinder engine boasting a B10 life of 1 million miles.

Production of the new Hino XL7 and XL8 trucks will start in early 2019, and the trucks will be assembled in Mineral Wells, West Virginia, at Hino’s new 1-million-square-foot state-of-the-art production facility. The Hino XL Series has been coupled with the versatile Century 3212 G2 that is designed with the capability of towing a wide range of vehicles, from passenger cars, vans, city tractors and motor homes. With multipositional rear jacks, dual 15,000-pound planetary winches and a 16-ton recovery boom, this unit was designed to handle a wide variety of recovery jobs.

In addition, the patented design of the Hino XL Series with a Miller Industries 16-Series LCG (Low Center of Gravity) carrier lowers the deck height 5 to 6 inches over conventional carriers. The lower height allows for the transport of taller loads, such as forklifts or manlifts, that may be overheight on a conventional carrier, as well as providing better stability during transport.

The Hino XL Series will be offered in a host of straight truck and tractor configurations with a GVWR range of 33,000 to 60,000 pounds and GCWR up to 66,000 pounds, with max performance of 360 horsepower and 1,150 pound-feet of torque. www.hino.com

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Kate Wade

Jarraff Quad-Track Brush Cutter

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Jarraff Industries has unveiled a new version of its recently rebranded brush cutter, the LineBacker (formerly Geo-Boy). The new LineBacker brush cutter features a four-quad-track undercarriage, an industry exclusive feature. The new quad-track configuration provides users with unparalleled mobility in the most challenging terrain. 

Jarraff Industries Director of Engineering and R&D Jake Schmotter said, “When it comes to heavy-duty brush cutters, arborists and ROW contractors have always been forced to make a choice between the low ground pressure and traction of a track machine, or the road-ability and flexibility of tires. The new quad-track brush cutter offers the best capabilities of a track and tire in one machine.”

In addition to the new quad-track configuration, the LineBacker offers an innovative touch-screen control center that gives the user unmatched operational input. The unit’s Cummins 260-horsepower, 6.7-liter Tier 4 diesel engine meets all EPA regulations, while improving overall fuel efficiency and roading speed. www.jarraff.com

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Kate Wade

Stertil-Koni High-Lift Wheel Dolly

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Confronted with growing requirements for added safety and performance in heavy-duty vehicle maintenance facilities, one relatively low-tech solution is emerging as a key player.

Meet the high-lift wheel dolly that, according to a recent review of best practices across North America conducted by heavy-duty vehicle lift leader Stertil-Koni, is enhancing ergonomics and versatility on the shop floor. 

Here’s how: The crane arm offers efficiency and stable ergonomics when lifting disc brakes, brake drums, fuel tanks, toolboxes, calipers and many other heavy parts.

Moreover, when it comes to lifting big wheels, the WDA-500 model is more than up to the challenge, with a capacity of 1,100 pounds. That comes in handy when a technician is removing large wheels that often can weigh up to 500 pounds each. The crane arm on the WDA-500, which is fitted with a 360-degree pivoting hook for greater range and flexibility, easily swivels aside to allow wheel removal operations to be completed without straining the technician.

The WDA-500 can accommodate wheel sizes from 10.63 to 51.18 inches. The dolly stands 47.17 inches high with a width of 45.28 inches and a length of 33.30 inches. Lifting height is 28.23 inches. It weighs 220 pounds. The high-lift wheel dolly also can be used with mobile column, platform and inground lifts. https://stertil-koni.com/vehicle-lifts/accessories-and-shop-equipment/shop-equipment/wheel-dollies

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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

Grounding Utility Fleet Trucks

There is probably not a fleet mechanic or fleet manager who has not heard something about grounds for trucks. But for all the talk about grounding trucks, including rules and commentary, there is very little consideration for how grounding connections are made to a vehicle. Unlike most every other procedure in the utility industry, there are no OSHA guidelines, consensus standards or best practices for connecting the truck to the truck ground. There are rules requiring grounding of trucks, but there are no best practices, procedures or methodologies for connecting grounds or ground attachments to trucks to allow grounding. So, that’s what we’re going to discuss in this installation of “Focus on Fleet Safety.”

For fleet managers to effectively facilitate the grounding of trucks, we need to understand the purpose of grounding and why it fails to do the job expected. Actually, the job expected often is the bigger issue because it may not be what you think. Grounding a truck does not directly protect workers from electrical shock, nor does it eliminate a shock hazard. Grounding trucks has one purpose: to cause immediate operation of a protective device. The protective device is the circuit breaker through which voltage and current are delivered to the electrical system. A truck is not an electrical conductor – it is a mechanical device, meaning that to ensure that current flow across the truck is sufficient to cause operation of the circuit protective device, an electrical connection must be employed to bypass the vehicle’s nonelectrical isolation from ground. Nonelectrical isolation refers to mechanical interfaces of bolted parts, the rubber tires and the outriggers on earth. Current has to pass these mechanical barriers to initiate circuit-breaker operation. In an electrical contact with a truck, the circuit breaker feeding the system in contact with the truck may not trip. As often happens, the circuit will continue to feed current into the vehicle, resulting in fire as well as a continuing electrical shock hazard to any person near the truck. So, the purpose of grounding is to create a good path for electrical current to flow. That good path causes a higher current to flow, resulting in fast tripping of the breaker feeding the electrical circuit. Fast tripping minimizes the damage to the electrical system and the truck.

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Sean M. Lyden

Storytelling for Fleet Safety

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If you’re rolling out a new fleet safety initiative, you can expect some pushback from crews in the field or technicians in the shop. That’s a given because people tend to resist change.

But what if you could improve the odds that your message will get past that resistance and be more memorable and impactful – that it will actually change behavior?

You can … by telling stories.

Think about it. Even if your organization equips vehicles with all the latest safety systems and provides extensive driver training, you can’t be with operators every day, 24/7, to make sure that they remember to follow through on company policies. But a good story will stick with those employees, reminding them of lessons learned, long after it has been told.

So, what makes storytelling a powerful leadership tool to increase your influence? Why do stories work? Here are three reasons.

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Dan Brenden

Using Technology to Eliminate Aerial Device Overloads

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Knowing bucket capacity and understanding how to read a jib load chart are two critical elements of aerial device operation. While both tasks are fairly straightforward, it is crucial to stay within the allowable capacity of the unit. The platform capacity and material-handling capacity provided by the manufacturer are not recommendations – they are absolute maximum capacities that ensure the machine is not overloaded. Overloading equipment can result in overturning or boom failure. Equipment damage also may occur, resulting in costly repairs and a shortened usable life for the aerial device.

A fully equipped lineworker with PPE plus tools and materials for typical line maintenance can quickly add up to 700 pounds or more for distribution work, and upward of 1,000 pounds for transmission work. Bucket capacity is identified on the ID plate and inside of the basket on most aerial devices. In addition, be aware of dual-rated buckets with different capacities based on configuration and use as a material handler; these types of buckets are available from some manufacturers. Before climbing in, lineworkers should verify that their weight – in addition to the platform liner, if used, and all of their tools and equipment – doesn’t exceed the bucket’s capacity.

“Don’t forget to account for boots, harness, tools and any components you may add to the bucket once you are elevated,” said Kyle Wiesner, aerial products engineering manager for Terex Utilities. “Tools such as phase lifters, crimpers, hydraulic drills or chain saws all add up. Weight of personal clothing can change with the weather, so don’t forget to recalculate come winter. If a component is in the bucket while work is being performed, that weight needs to be factored in as well.”

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Sean M. Lyden

Going Sideways: Technology that Protects Crews in Rollover Incidents

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It was early 2017.

A crew for Oklahoma City-based Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) was traveling on the highway in a Class 8 digger derrick when the unforeseen happened.

There was a truck pulling a trailer ahead of them when, suddenly, the axle broke off that trailer and began hurtling, with wheels still attached, toward the digger derrick.

As the OG&E driver swerved to avoid the incoming debris, his truck flipped onto its side before coming to a stop.

“The driver was okay, and the passenger broke his hand, but it could have been a lot worse,” said Paul Jefferson, fleet manager at OG&E, who oversees about 2,000 of the utility’s fleet assets.

His crew was indeed fortunate. In fact, rollover crashes account for 55 percent of all commercial truck driver fatalities, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

“The driver did a great job by setting [the truck] down on the shoulder of the road,” he said. “If they had gone any farther, they would have hit the embankment.”

This was an eye-opening experience for Jefferson and his team. After all, even when you equip your trucks with stability control and advanced collision-avoidance technologies, and your drivers consistently follow safety best practices, there still are incidents like this that your people won’t be able to avoid.

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Jim Galligan

Tips for Spec’ing Impact Attenuators

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Highway construction and maintenance worker fatalities have been on a steady decline for decades thanks to improved safety measures in and around worksites, including the use of following vehicles – also known as shadow vehicles – with truck- or trailer-mounted impact attenuators.

These highly visible vehicle buffers add another layer of protection for road and highway work crews by absorbing the impact of a crash from an errant vehicle. However, the industry has recognized that the current safety guidelines for these truck-mounted attenuators (TMA) and truck-trailer-mounted attenuators (TTMA) are outdated for today’s heavier vehicles and faster highway speeds, and new crash rating guidelines are due in 2020 (See “New TMA Guidelines Effective January 2020” sidebar). But in the meantime, industry executives offered several guidelines to consider when spec’ing a TMA or TTMA for today’s conditions.

The effectiveness of a TMA truck – its stopping power – depends on three core elements: the attenuator itself, the braking force of the TMA truck and the ballast used to increase the truck’s weight if necessary, said Samantha Schwartz-Lenhart, marketing and business development manager with TMA supplier Royal Truck & Equipment (https://royaltruckandequipment.com).

Attenuators – the actual buffers – are measured by their test level (TL) ratings. A TL-2 attenuator, for example, is qualified and tested to stop an impacting vehicle of a certain weight at a speed of 70 kmh (approximately 45 mph). A TL-3 attenuator is rated for 100 kmh (62 mph). “TL-3 is the maximum test level rating currently available on the market, and is the top tier for what is required when operating on highways where the average speed of traffic often exceeds those speed ratings,” Schwartz-Lenhart said.

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Fiona Soltes

Hydrogen Fuel Cells Still Packed with Promise

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In the transportation sector, fuel cell technology has long been on the brink of breaking through for a variety of medium- and heavy-duty applications. We’re still not quite there yet, the experts say – but the promise continues.

“Increasingly, the toughest remaining challenges for heavy-duty fuel cell trucks relate to the hydrogen fuel they run on,” said Jon Leonard, senior vice president at Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (www.gladstein.org), a clean transportation and energy consulting company. “Like compressed natural gas vehicles, most fuel cell vehicles run on compressed hydrogen [CH2] that must be carried onboard the vehicle using heavy, expensive, high-pressure tanks. Although this presents tradeoffs on cost, range and other factors, onboard CH2 storage is robust and proven.”

Other challenges include the high cost of the hydrogen fuel and its limited availability due to a paucity of hydrogen fueling stations. “Moreover,” Leonard added, “the limited number of existing hydrogen stations are largely geared for light-duty vehicles like the Toyota Mirai, Honda Clarity, etc. The only hydrogen stations that can accommodate heavy-duty vehicles are mostly found on transit properties.”

All the same, there is forward movement. Light-duty fuel cell vehicles manufactured and sold by the likes of Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz are proving their worth – and inspiring the promise of other, heavier-duty applications in the future.

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Sandy Smith

Utility Fleet Ergonomics: A Continuing Challenge

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Workplace ergonomics have been on employers’ radar for 20 years, but even now, ergonomic-related injuries remain a costly expense – one that’s growing due to an aging workforce, current worker shortages and inexperienced industry newcomers.

“As the age composition of the workforce changes, that does affect industry,” said Eric Bauman, principal technical leader and program manager for the Occupational Health and Safety Program at the Electric Power Research Institute (www.epri.com). “Now that early Baby Boomers have retired and the middle Boomers are retiring, the industry has been hiring new workers who tend to be less experienced. We’ve seen an increase in injuries in this younger age group.”

The primary causes of employee accidents haven’t changed much in the past two decades. “It’s the slips, the falls, the trips,” said Mark Stumne, director of truck and upfit at Element Fleet Management (www.elementfleet.com).

Bauman agreed. “Sprains and strains showed up in the first year or two in our industry injury database as the largest single category of injuries,” he said. “It’s continued since 1999. Sprains and strains are something we can do something about, and this industry has supported ergonomic research since then.”

Despite the seeming intractability of these types of injuries, there are myriad products available in today’s marketplace designed to help alleviate them. Where is a fleet to start?

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Grace Suizo

Choosing the Right Vehicle Lift for the Job

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Prior to purchasing a new vehicle lift, a fleet manager must understand exactly what is needed for their shop.

According to Steve Perlstein, sales and marketing manager for Mohawk Lifts (https://mohawklifts.com), fleet managers “need to do their homework in order to make an educated decision.”

So, what are some of the most important items to consider? UFP recently spoke to vehicle lift experts to find out.

Identify Your Needs
Maintenance is among the top factors fleet managers should think about before they buy, advised Doug Spiller, heavy-duty product manager for Rotary Lift (www.rotarylift.com).

“The best lifts will require minimal maintenance while offering years of safe, reliable service,” he said. “One of the first questions a fleet manager should ask themselves is, what vehicle maintenance am I going to perform, and will this lift help me do that faster, better and easier than I do it today?”

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Sean M. Lyden

Respect

In a pre-show call for a fleet industry podcast, the interviewer asked me to talk about UFP and our audience to get insight into the range of topics we might discuss during the episode.

I shared what I’ve learned from speaking with many of you over the past four years. After I finished, the interviewer responded, “That’s amazing how much [utility fleet professionals] are responsible for and how much they must know compared to other types of fleets.”

He nailed it. Exactly.

As a fleet manager in the utility industry, there’s a high level of sophistication you bring to the job that’s not required in many other sectors. That’s because you have so much more on your plate than what you would deal with, say, managing an urban delivery or pharmaceutical sales fleet, where you may have a handful of vehicle types you’re working with – box trucks, pickups, vans and sedans.

But in the utility world, it’s a whole different realm. You’re managing road vehicles, trailers, off-road equipment and all-terrain vehicles. At some utility companies, even aviation assets, like helicopters and drones, are managed by the fleet department.

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Kate Wade

Sherman + Reilly Tool Monitoring Smartphone App

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Emerson has announced the launch of the Sherman + Reilly i-press battery tool monitoring smartphone app.

The new i-press app allows crews to track their Next Generation Sherman + Reilly Battery Tools. Using the simple navigation display, workers can view the battery charge, last service date, last five pressure measurements, tool temperature and number of cycles completed with a connected tool. Users can create a project within the i-press app to save and combine crimping operation data and track tool performance. When the project is complete, an overview report is generated and sent as a PDF.

In addition to the new i-press app, Sherman + Reilly will continue to provide factory service solutions for battery-powered tools from their locations in Rockford, Illinois, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Professional service experts provide preventive maintenance, comprehensive assessments and certified tool testing to quickly get tools back in safe working order.

The new i-press app can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play. www.emerson.com

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Kate Wade

Cooper SEVERE Series MSD Truck and Bus Radial Tire

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Cooper Tire has expanded its Cooper SEVERE Series truck and bus radial (TBR) tire line with the introduction of the new Cooper SEVERE Series Mixed Service Drive or MSD, a premium drive tire for demanding mixed service applications. A deep 32/32nds tire, the Cooper SEVERE Series MSD is designed to handle the toughest off-road conditions, while delivering long, even wear that fleets require on the road.

Triangular tie-bars in the outside shoulder help to promote traction throughout the life of the Cooper SEVERE Series MSD, while also mitigating heel-toe wear. Designed to reduce total cost of ownership, the highly engineered, durable casing includes stone ejectors to ensure multiple retreads beyond the original tread life.

The Cooper SEVERE Series MSD is offered in two sizes – 11R22.5 (LRH) and 11R24.5 (LRH) – which are now available for shipment. www.coopertrucktires.com

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