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UFP Magazine

Kate Wade

FRAM Oil Filters

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FRAM, a market leader in filtration products, has launched its new, innovative FRAM Titanium and FRAM Force Oil Filters. FRAM Force and Titanium filters are the latest filter technologies in a long line of oil, air and cabin air filtration products available for vehicle service professionals and DIY-ers. 

FRAM Titanium is a super-premium, high-flow synthetic oil filter engineered to provide the most advanced level of oil protection for up to 20,000 miles. The technology behind this performance is FRAM PowerFlow, an innovation that allows for higher directional oil flow to ensure full media performance and filtration. These filters include the FRAM Perfect Seal Gasket that ensures a positive and lasting seal in high-heat and high-pressure engine environments.

FRAM Force is a premium, synthetic blended oil filter engineered to provide extended oil protection for up to 15,000 miles. It is designed for real-world driving conditions, including stop-and-go traffic, extreme temperatures, hauling and towing. In addition to offering increased dirt-trapping and dirt-holding capacity, the FRAM Force filter accommodates all oil types, installs easily, provides consistent oil flow in extreme temperatures and delivers superior startup engine protection. www.fram.com

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Kate Wade

Polaris GEM Strengthens Customer Support

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Polaris GEM and its dealers have re-engineered the customer and rider experience to accommodate the world’s current situation. Together, they’ve launched new accessories, grant assistance, financing and leasing, contactless support and virtual shopping to keep professionals moving forward. To meet customer demand, Polaris has continued to manufacture vehicles in the U.S., and service support lines are open. 

To help support GEM customers, Polaris is launching divider kits that enable the operator to minimize direct contact between occupants riding in a GEM. Polaris engineered the kits with clear, marine-grade vinyl for durability and minimal impact on visibility. The dividers separate driver and passenger sides of the vehicle, as well as each passenger row, front to back.

Polaris has a history of helping organizations that serve our community and recognizes the important role grants play in funding. They’ve strengthened this commitment through a grant assistance program geared toward state and local government as well as educational customers. Visit https://bit.ly/PolarisGrants for more. 

Electronic forms of shopping, service and support have always been available but are even more so now with an increased emphasis on expanding alternatives to in-person options. The Polaris.com/Commercial website continues to be a resource for customers. https://polaris.com/commercial

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Kate Wade

LockNClimb Ergonomic Ladder Stand

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Servicing utility trucks has never been faster, easier or safer than when using LockNClimb’s new rolling platform ladder. The 44LNCTRKENG is quickly maneuvered by one person on hard rubber wheels and positioned over the truck tires or against the truck body. Durable rubber padding on the back of the ladder protects truck finishes and allows direct contact. Yellow safety handrails promote using three points of contact when ascending and descending the ladder. The wide, slip-resistant service platform affords even weight distribution, providing a comfortable working surface and helping prevent foot thrombosis.

LockNClimb ladder stands are made one at a time by skilled craftsmen in the USA and have been engineered to exceed all applicable OSHA and ANSI standards. The ladders have less than a 1% damage rate during continual use for three years in the demanding truck maintenance environment. For more information, call (620) 577-2577 or watch a short video at https://vimeo.com/442115980. http://locknclimb.com

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Kate Wade

Terex Utilities Launches New E-Commerce Platform

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Terex Utilities has launched a new e-commerce platform to support all customers and give them the type of online shopping experience today’s buyers have come to expect.

This new e-commerce platform offers one-stop shopping for tools and accessories used in the utilities industry and beyond. Many of these products had previously only been available through a traditional catalog. Hundreds of products can be ordered, from climbing equipment to traffic safety gear to Terex auger tools. New customers can self-register for an account, place orders by credit card, view order status, track shipments and see invoices.

For existing Terex customers – including rental partners and dealers who previously had access to an e-commerce platform – the new platform comes with a host of new and upgraded features. Online parts manuals for many of our units are now browsable from this website and allow for simple click-to-cart functionality. In addition, parts are searchable by keyword, part number and category, making part identification or discovery easier than ever.

For existing Terex account holders, request online access at https://parts.terex.com/. For new customer and retail sales, browse the catalog at https://myparts.terex.com/. www.terex.com/utilities

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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

Arc Flash and Face Masks

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

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

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

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Sean M. Lyden

What’s New in Digging Machines for Utility Fleets?

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

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

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

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

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

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Sean M. Lyden

6 All-Electric Pickups in the Pipeline

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

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

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

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

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Gary L. Wollenhaupt

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

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

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

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

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

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Sandy Smith

Mistakes to Avoid When Spec’ing Cable Reel Trailers

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

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

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

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

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

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Grace Suizo

Selecting the Right Fuel Card Program for Your Fleet

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

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

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

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

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Max Chesnes

How is the Coronavirus Pandemic Affecting Fleet Rightsizing?

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

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

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

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

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

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Sean M. Lyden

Shop Talk: Verizon Communications

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

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

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

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Sean M. Lyden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kate Wade

Rock Mills’ Lifter and Lifter PLUS

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

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

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Kate Wade

Hino Ultimate Confidence Initiative

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

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

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

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

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Kate Wade

PRO-VISION Hybrid HD DVR

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

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

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

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

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Kate Wade

Atlas Copco XAS 188 Air Compressor

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

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

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

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

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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

The ABCs of Grounding Mobile Equipment

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

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

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

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

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Sean M. Lyden

New Developments to Watch in Telematics

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

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

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

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

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Sean M. Lyden

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

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

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

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

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

Why? Popham points to four trends.

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