UFP Magazine

Kate Wade

PreView Wireless Offers Blind Spot Detection

PreView Wireless Offers Blind Spot Detection

PreView Wireless utilizes Preco Electronics’ patented, pulsed radar technology to detect moving and stationary objects in an operator’s blind spots to significantly reduce accidents and save lives. By eliminating the need to run cables through the truck body, PreView Wireless reduces installation time by more than half while providing the best blind spot detection protection available.

To reduce your blind spot accidents by more than 75 percent like other Preco customers, contact the company for a no-obligation consultation and quote. www.previewradar.com

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Kate Wade

NAFTC Announces Fall 2015 Training Schedule

NAFTC Announces Fall 2015 Training Schedule

The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) has released its fall alternative fuel vehicle training schedule. The schedule includes courses for automotive technicians, including Light-Duty Natural Gas Vehicle Training, Compressed Natural Gas Vehicle Fuel System Inspector Training and Electric Drive Vehicle Automotive Technician Training. The schedule also includes the Hydrogen, Hydrogen Vehicle and Hydrogen Fleet Awareness Workshop. This workshop is for automotive technicians, fleet managers, municipalities and others interested in understanding hydrogen as a fuel source.

All classes feature a combination of classroom and hands-on training and will be held at the NAFTC headquarters in Morgantown, W.Va. Continuing education units from West Virginia University are available for all training classes.

Courses will be held on the following dates:
• Light-Duty Natural Gas Vehicle Training, October 19-21
• Compressed Natural Gas Vehicle Fuel System Inspector Training, October 22-23
• Electric Drive Vehicle Automotive Technician Training, August 17-21 and November 16-20
• Hydrogen, Hydrogen Vehicle and Hydrogen Fleet Awareness Workshop, September 22

Additional classes may be added. If you have a specific training need not addressed by the current offerings, please contact NAFTC to discuss customized training options. In addition to the sessions listed on the schedule, all NAFTC training sessions are available as contract training specifically for outside groups and organizations. These sessions can be hosted either at the NAFTC headquarters or your preferred location. http://naftc.wvu.edu/course_workshop_information/training_schedule

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Kate Wade

HDD Advisor Helps Simplify Tooling Configuration

HDD Advisor Helps Simplify Tooling Configuration

The Ditch Witch organization, a Charles Machine Works Company, has released the industry’s first Web-based Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) Advisor tool. Customers can use the advisor to quickly determine the right tooling configuration for their Ditch Witch or Vermeer directional drill string.

Historically, identifying the proper tooling for job sites was time-consuming, cumbersome and paper-intensive. The new HDD Advisor gives operators and dealers an intuitive tooling-product roadmap and quickly recommends configurations and solutions based on a few questions.

The new HDD Advisor also includes the option to save drill string configurations for future reference and streamline ordering of replacement parts. Operators can share their drill string configurations with their dealer of choice and print or email summaries from a PC or mobile device. www.hddadvisor.com

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Kate Wade

Bronto Skylift to Exhibit Truck-Mounted Aerials at ICUEE

Bronto Skylift to Exhibit Truck-Mounted Aerials at ICUEE

From September 29 through October 1, Bronto Skylift will show and demonstrate their model SI-197 HDT insulated aerial and their new S-173 XDT with Bronto Skylift +4 operating system in Booth N2054 at ICUEE in Louisville, Ky.

Mounted on a TOR 8x6 all-wheel-steer chassis, the SI-197 HDT is an insulated aerial capable of bare-hand work on power lines up to 765 kV AC and 560 kV DC. It features a full 197 feet of working height and 1,000-pound capacity from its standard 6.5-foot-by-3-foot platform. Horizontal outreach is 72 feet and – with 360-degree continuous turntable rotation, push-button outrigger deployment and automatic outrigger leveling – it can be quickly and easily set up to reach overhead work areas almost anywhere. Setup time from the setting of the jacks to full elevation is under 15 minutes.

The heavy-duty S-173 XDT is mounted on a 6x6 Peterbilt chassis and features a 173-foot working height, a 100-foot horizontal outreach and a whopping 1,400-pound capacity in a standard platform of more than 23 square feet. The S-173 XDT at ICUEE will showcase the latest in Bronto’s computerized operating and maintenance technologies and introduce enhanced remote data collection capabilities. www.brontoskylift.com

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Kate Wade

ToolHandz Mechanics Gloves

ToolHandz Mechanics Gloves

The newest addition to Revco Industries’ ToolHandz line of mechanics gloves is the GX1010-HB, a feature-packed glove for general workers and those who work in oil and gas. Finger guards help protect against bang-ups and pinches. Impact protection along the back of the hand helps guard knuckles and sensitive bones. High-visibility materials and contrasting fingertips contribute to the safety aspects of this product. Lastly, the design maintains as much flexibility as possible to help ensure comfort and regular use.

Black Stallion GX1010-HB ToolHandz mechanics gloves are available through independent welding and safety distributors nationwide. www.blackstallion.com

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Kate Wade

Thunder Creek FST Series Trailers

Thunder Creek FST Series Trailers

Thunder Creek Equipment’s all-new FST Series trailers are available in 500-, 750- and 990-gallon diesel capacities with a 100-gallon DEF tank and an optional field-installed rear utility box. The new FST Series combines the best of Thunder Creek’s fuel, DEF and service transportation technologies into a single design while retaining the company’s focus on craftsmanship with heavy-gauge steel, patented/patent-pending designs and premium options that allow contractors to spec each trailer to meet the demands of their work.

The rear utility box is 55 percent larger than previous designs and can be installed on any FST Series trailer at any time, allowing owners looking for basic fuel transportation to later build out their own mobile service trailer as their needs evolve. Options include a three-in-one welder/generator/air compressor, an auxiliary oil tank, a Worksight light tower and a Field Max tire kit.

All Thunder Creek trailers are built with a low profile and baffled fuel tanks, making them suitable for traveling both on the road at highway speeds and off-road on large job sites. www.thundercreek.com

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Kate Wade

Rugby HD Rancher Body

Rugby HD Rancher Body

The all-new Rugby HD Rancher Body from Rugby Manufacturing is ideal for heavier-duty construction and landscape applications as well as oil field operations. Designed for maximum durability, the HD Rancher offers several enhanced features including an upgraded 3/16-inch tread plate floor, 7-gauge formed cross-members with 12-inch spacing, 12-gauge bulkhead sheet and 3/8-inch tie-down rail. The HD Rancher is also available with a B&W Turnoverball Gooseneck Hitch that allows a flat surface with no cutouts in the floor. Five models of the new HD Rancher are available, ranging in length from 9 feet 3 inches to 12 feet.

Rugby Manufacturing – a leading designer and manufacturer of Class 3-7 dump bodies, landscape bodies, platforms and related truck equipment and accessories – backs each of its bodies with a three-year warranty. www.rugbymfg.com

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Kate Wade

McNeilus Advances CNG Systems and Services

McNeilus Advances CNG Systems and Services

McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing Inc. has introduced significant enhancements to its industry-leading NGEN CNG Systems and Services. The NGEN fuel delivery system now features improved capabilities, with optimized internal diameters that offer up to 30 percent improved fill times. The fill time compares favorably to that of traditional diesel fuel. Streamlining the design has reduced the number of plumbing components by 25 percent and the number of connections by 50 percent.

NGEN systems also offer continuous-protection thermal pressure relief devices (PRDs) on all configurations that span the length of the tank and system, increasing protection against localized thermal events. Typical PRD configurations contain more high-pressure plumbing and have less thermal sensing surface.

Additionally, for enhanced serviceability and reliability, O-ring face seal (ORFS) fittings have been integrated where possible. ORFS fittings can be tightened to proper torque values, mitigating assembly and reassembly errors. www.ngencng.com

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Kate Wade

Knapheide Commercial Truck Toppers

Knapheide Commercial Truck Toppers

New commercial truck toppers are now available from The Knapheide Manufacturing Co. The KnapKap line of products is the most comprehensive selection of commercial-grade truck toppers in the industry and includes fiberglass, aluminum and steel models. The wide selection of KnapKap models appeals to numerous vocations including telecommunications, utilities, pest control and construction.

This latest product launch expands on Knapheide’s commitment to be the leading provider of commercial vehicle solutions. The full KnapKap line is available through Knapheide’s vast North American distribution network. www.knapheide.com

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Kate Wade

ECCO Utility Bars

ECCO Utility Bars

ECCO has entered the LED utility bar market, offering 16 different models spanning a range of styles, sizes and beam patterns.

Suited to a wide range of applications from utility vehicles to tow trucks, ECCO utility bars feature the latest LED technology, extremely bright white light output, more than 50,000 hours of maintenance-free life expectancy and minimal amp draw. Rugged aluminum housings and polycarbonate lenses rated to IP67 for intrusion protection make the lamps well-suited for even the most arduous applications. Options include a choice of flood, spot or flood/spot combination beams, single or double rows of LEDs, lengths from 8 to 49 inches and high-intensity 10-watt models.

All models feature 12-24 VDC operation and two pivot-mounting options, and are backed by a three-year warranty. www.eccolink.com

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Kate Wade

Convoy Technologies’ Videomatics

Convoy Technologies’ Videomatics

Convoy Technologies’ Videomatics is a cloud-based software and hardware system that integrates telematics with live and recorded video from around and inside a vehicle, which can be accessed for playback to smartphones, tablets or PCs. The system is designed to assist fleet owners and managers in their efforts to promote commercial driver safety, security and productivity. Videomatics software provides instant access to vehicle location tracking, monitoring and alerts, plus live and historical video with analytics from within and surrounding a vehicle. Types of event information offered include speed, G-shock (impact and vibration), GPS coordinates, geofencing, route deviation, mapping and positioning of an entire fleet. Continuous, event-driven or scheduled video recording is user selectable. www.convoytechnologies.com

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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 Dale Collins, CAFM, the fleet services supervisor for Fairfax County Water Authority (Fairfax Water), headquartered in Fairfax, Va. Collins manages approximately 270 vehicles and two maintenance shops in Fairfax County, with a total of 10 bays and five vehicle lifts.

#1: Get to know your fleet and how each vehicle is used.
“Learn as much as you can about how the vehicles and equipment are used by communicating directly with the operators. Also, develop a strong working relationship with your procurement folks and do whatever you can to help them help you get what your fleet needs.”

#2: Join an association, like NAFA.
“The fleet industry is very unique, and most fleet professionals are more than willing to help out and share their experiences. If you’re having a problem, chances are that someone else has encountered the same difficulty and can offer advice. Attend meetings and educational events so you can become your organization’s fleet expert.”

#3: Don’t get overwhelmed by Big Data.
“It seems like today there’s an ability to track almost everything under the sun and give it a value, which can waste a lot of your time. Spend some time learning what’s important for the fleet operation and any reports desired by the executive staff. Data is only useful when it tells you something; that’s when it’s useful information. Until then, it’s just data.”

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Sean M. Lyden

Utilities Push Toward Fleet Electrification

Utilities Push Toward Fleet Electrification

Despite the recent trend toward lower fuel prices, vehicle electrification is a hot topic right now among utility fleets, as highlighted at the recent Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference (EUFMC) held in Williamsburg, Va. The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), an association of investor-owned utilities, is leading the electrification effort and, according to some fleet managers we spoke to at the conference, many public utilities are following suit.

The EUFMC general session opened with a keynote address delivered by Jim Piro, president and CEO of Portland General Electric, who said that from the utility CEO perspective, expanding the electric vehicle (EV) market is a strategic initiative to increase demand for a specific utility product – electricity.

Piro went on to say that the challenge for electric utilities is slow growth in retail loads. If this trend doesn’t change, utilities may be forced to ask regulators for a rate increase, and such requests usually don’t go over well with the public. So, how can utilities increase retail demand and keep rates affordable?

The solution, Piro said, is to promote transportation electrification.

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Sean M. Lyden

For Fairfax Water, Preventive Maintenance is Customer Service

For Fairfax Water, Preventive Maintenance is Customer Service

A utility fleet is ultimately responsible for serving the public. So when a vehicle breaks down and delays an emergency crew’s response to a water main break or downed power line, that reflects poorly on the utility’s customer service – and on the fleet manager’s performance.

How can utility fleets reduce the risk of unexpected and costly downtime, especially when vehicles must be ready to respond in crisis situations?

The solution is timely preventive maintenance (PM), said Dale Collins, CAFM, the fleet services supervisor for Fairfax County Water Authority (Fairfax Water). “It’s so much easier and cheaper to maintain a vehicle than repair it after the fact. You’ll eliminate the downtime and the inconvenience, not only for your end users but also for the departments you’re serving.”

Collins started at Fairfax Water (www.fairfaxwater.com), Virginia’s largest water utility, as an entry-level mechanic in 1997. After quickly moving up the ranks, he was appointed to head the fleet department in 2006 and is now responsible for managing approximately 270 vehicles, ranging from sedans to Class 8 dump trucks, plus another 140 pieces of miscellaneous equipment, such as trailers and excavators. He also oversees the operations of the water utility’s two maintenance shops, which have a total of 10 bays and five vehicle lifts.

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Sean M. Lyden

Prevent Overloading with Onboard Scales

Prevent Overloading with Onboard Scales

Overloading trucks and trailers can be an expensive habit. It puts the safety of operators and the public at risk, increases fines and leads to premature wear and tear on vehicles. But when you can’t physically inspect drivers’ loads throughout the day, how do you ensure your trucks are operating at a safe weight?

One solution is to install onboard scales, which help operators immediately determine whether loads fit within the allowable weight capacity of a truck and/or trailer.

How do onboard scales work? Air-Weigh’s LoadMaxx system (www.air-weighscales.com) measures change in pressure within an air suspension and then converts the scale’s measurements into comparable on-the-ground weights displayed on an in-cab digital gauge. For axles with leaf-spring suspensions, LoadMaxx uses a deflection sensor that measures the flex in the suspension to determine weight.

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Sean M. Lyden

The Impact of Soil Conditions on Digger Derrick Auger Selection

The Impact of Soil Conditions on Digger Derrick Auger Selection

If you don’t have the optimal tool for the job, you might still be able to get the work done. But it often requires more time and effort to perform the task and shortens the life of the tool.

That’s especially the case with augers. An auger is like a drill bit, attached to the boom of a digger derrick and designed to drill into the ground to dig holes in which to set poles. The properly spec’d auger empowers your crews to dig holes as quickly and efficiently as possible.

And one of the major factors in selecting the right auger is the soil type, whether it’s loose dirt, sand, mud, rock or extreme rock. So, here are four important items to consider to ensure your augers are best suited for the various soil conditions your crews may encounter.

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Cheryl Knight

The Business Case for Natural Gas Vehicles in Utility Fleets

The Business Case for Natural Gas Vehicles in Utility Fleets

As utility fleets continue to search for cleaner-burning vehicles that operate more efficiently and use lower-cost fuel, the business case for natural gas vehicles (NGVs) is becoming clearer thanks to advancements in vehicle technologies and evolving infrastructure.

And yet, the recent decrease in oil prices – which is being driven, in particular, by a slowing global economy and increased supplies of shale gas in the U.S. – has left some people wondering about the future of NGVs. Do they still offer an economically viable solution for utility fleets? How will the decrease in oil prices impact initiatives to switch to clean-energy vehicles?

“Despite the current low cost of oil, natural gas still enjoys substantial cost savings compared to gasoline and diesel,” said Matthew Godlewski, president of NGVAmerica (www.ngvamerica.org), an organization dedicated to the development of a sustainable market for vehicles powered by natural gas or biomethane. “Utility fleets that have already begun to make the switch to natural gas and have seen its economic and other benefits firsthand are continuing to stay the course.”

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Jim Galligan

Assessing and Enforcing Distracted Driving Policies

Assessing and Enforcing Distracted Driving Policies

Policies that prohibit employees from using cellphones or being otherwise distracted while driving are so common today that it would be hard to find a utility company without one.

In fact, in 2011 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration banned the use of all hand-held mobile devices by commercial vehicle drivers. This includes anyone driving a vehicle heavier than 10,000 pounds during interstate business, not just heavy-duty truck drivers with commercial driver’s licenses. Penalties can range from driver disqualification to fines for both the driver and the carrier. Additionally, as of press time, 14 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cellphones while driving.

The real issue for utility fleets, and for any company with vehicles for that matter, is how to measure a policy’s effectiveness. How do companies know if their policy is working?

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Cheryl Knight

In-House Vehicle Maintenance vs. Outsourcing: What’s Right for Your Fleet?

In-House Vehicle Maintenance vs. Outsourcing: What’s Right for Your Fleet?

All utility fleet operations have to make one especially critical choice – whether to handle vehicle maintenance in-house, hire an outside vendor to take care of the work or use a mix of both. And it’s not an easy decision to make. There are many factors to consider, not to mention the wrong choice can lead to real problems such as increased vehicle downtime and higher operating costs.

“It’s not a cookie-cutter solution,” said Dave Fisher, a 28-year fleet industry veteran and fleet manager with PNM Resources, which includes subsidiaries Public Service Company of New Mexico and Texas-New Mexico Power. “Managers need to ask what the vehicles are worth. In-house maintenance can oftentimes provide far superior quality and less downtime, but outsourcing can cost less.”

Fisher oversees close to 1,300 utility vehicles: approximately 900 on-the-road vehicles and 400 trailers and pieces of equipment. Vehicles are used for anything from meter reading to transmission and distribution work, and include light-duty vehicles, medium-duty trucks with service bodies, small buckets and cranes, aerials and more. PNM’s vehicle maintenance program consists of both an in-house component for large trucks and big equipment and an outsource component for light-duty vehicles.

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Sean M. Lyden

Managing Assets, Leading People

As I meet with utility fleet managers, a common thread keeps emerging from our conversations – that highly effective fleet professionals are also great leaders.

This is because the job is about more than managing assets; you also have to work with people to get things done.

Take telematics, for instance. From strictly an asset management perspective, telematics can be a powerful tool to reduce fuel costs by tracking driver performance. But if drivers perceive the technology as Big Brother to catch them doing something wrong, this negatively impacts their morale and productivity. So, how do you manage a telematics deployment in such a way that operators become more receptive to the technology?

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