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UFP Magazine

Sean M. Lyden

Regain Your Focus

It’s easy to keep your focus when you have a rush of proverbial fires to put out. You know, like dealing with unexpected equipment breakdowns, handling complaints from business unit supervisors about delayed vehicle orders, or maintaining sufficient staffing levels in the shop during a pandemic as techs get sick or exposed and must stay out of work.

That’s because those issues are urgent. They’re emergencies screaming for your attention. And they won’t let up until you’ve solved them.

But what about when it comes to working on the important – but not urgent – projects or initiatives?

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Kate Wade

Andax Big Containment Pac

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Andax Industries has announced the introduction of the Big Containment Pac, a spill kit that can contain spills up to 110 gallons and fits in an 18-inch-by-15-inch-by-5-inch vacuum-sealed package that can easily be stowed behind truck seats or in other tight spaces.

The Pac includes everything needed to respond to a spill up to 110 gallons, including three 48-inch oil-selective Sorb Sox (mini-booms); 20 15-inch-by-19-inch oil-selective absorbent pads; a disposal bag and tie; protective gloves; and a 60-inch-by-10-inch-high pop-up containment pool with a carrying case and CO2 cylinder. 

In the event of a spill, the mini-booms and absorbent pads can be used to block off a storm drain or waterway while the inflatable pop-up pool can contain the bulk of the spill. The Big Containment Pac is a complete spill response system in one pilfer-proof package. www.andax.com

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Kate Wade

TradeUp Workforce Development Services

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Okos Partners LLC and Crane Industry Services LLC have announced the launch of TradeUp, a collaborative partnership program providing workforce development services for employers seeking skilled craft professionals.

Employers who participate in the TradeUp program first receive an assessment of their skilled labor requirements to see how that aligns with growth goals and the company culture. TradeUp then assists with recruiting and placement, career development, and safety culture and leadership training for employers in construction, utilities, manufacturing, and ports and terminal logistics markets. www.tradeupworks.com

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Kate Wade

Terex Hi-Ranger TL48

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Terex Utilities recently announced a new Hi-Ranger telescopic aerial device with superior jib capacities to meet the needs of trouble truck applications.

With an industry-leading side reach of almost 32 feet, the TL48 has a 500-pound bucket capacity plus a maximum material-handling capacity of 1,000 pounds. The key feature is when the upper boom is at a horizontal position, it still achieves 800 pounds of jib capacity with the inner boom retracted at 23-foot side reach and 26-foot working height, and 200 pounds fully extended at 32-foot side reach, where similar units have no material-handling capability. The product is offered with an end-mounted, cobra-style hydraulic articulating jib as well as side-mount bucket and jib configurations.

All TL units support ground access, making it easier to hand off tools, support personnel rescue and clean out debris in the platform. Like all Hi-Ranger telescopic booms, the TL48 is equipped with a rigid rectangular boom constructed from epoxy resin and bi-axial wound fiberglass filament. This process and design achieve consistency in insulating properties, size, density and strength-to-weight ratio of the boom. www.terex.com/utilities/en/product/hi-ranger-tl/tl48

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Kate Wade

Michelin Next-Generation Drive Tire

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Michelin North America Inc. is launching its next-generation on-/off-road drive tire optimized for exceptional traction, toughness and wear performance. The tire is designed for the construction, energy, concrete and logging sectors operating in mixed-use conditions.

The MICHELIN X Works D tire is designed to maximize safety, uptime and efficiency. Full-tread-depth lateral groove tread patterns provide optimum balance between stability for increased wear and improved rubber-to-void ratio for maximum traction. Teardrop sipes in the tire open as they wear, providing additional traction.

In terms of wear performance, the new Michelin tire has 15% longer life compared to X Works XDY.

Additionally, four steel belts at the crown of the tire protect from shock, impact and road hazards for enhanced durability and puncture resistance.

The new MICHELIN X Works D tire is available in the United States and Canada in 11R22.5 and 11R24.5 sizes in load range LRH. X Works D is backed by Michelin’s worry-free six-month road hazard guarantee. https://business.michelinman.com

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Kate Wade

FiberTech Outrigger Pads

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FiberTech Outrigger Pads are an ideal solution when extra rigidity is needed and weight is a concern. FiberTech Pads effectively spread outrigger loads and create stability for equipment such as mobile cranes, concrete pump trucks, high-reach aerial devices, rock crushers and mobile substations.

With crush ratings up to 600 psi and rated capacities up to 170,000 pounds, FiberTech Super Duty Outrigger Pads (formerly FiberMax Heavy Duty) are an economical, high-performance load distribution solution. FiberTech Pads can be used alone or as part of a multipad setup.

At least 13 layers of quad-axial continuous glass fibers and vinyl ester resin give FiberTech Super Duty Outrigger Pads exceptional structural strength and stiffness. A 1-inch-thick FiberTech Pad weighs 25% less and delivers the same load distribution performance as a 3-inch-thick SafetyTech Super Duty Outrigger Pad.

High-visibility yellow FiberTech Outrigger Pads are nonconductive, waterproof and chemical resistant. They feature DICA’s patented Hi-Viz TuffGrip Handles to simplify handling. FiberTech 36-inch, 42-inch and 48-inch diameter sizes are standard stock products. Other sizes are available upon request. https://dicausa.com

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Kate Wade

JLG and Oshkosh Corp. Partner with Microvast

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JLG Industries Inc., an Oshkosh Corp. company and leading global manufacturer of mobile elevating work platforms and telehandlers, has announced a planned investment by parent company Oshkosh Corp. in Microvast, a global provider of next-generation battery technologies for commercial and specialty electric vehicles. This new partnership, in combination with the company’s existing electrification supply chain partners, will continue to strengthen and advance the development of industry-leading electrified solutions across the JLG product line, including boom lifts, scissor lifts, low-level access lifts, vertical access lifts, stock and order picker lifts, towable lifts and telehandlers.

JLG has been at the forefront of the industry’s movement toward electrification, having offered electric products since the mid-1990s when the company launched its first electric boom lift. Recent electric product introductions include the industry’s first all-electric scissor lift, the AE 1932 DaVinci model.  

Oshkosh agreed to make a $25 million private investment in public equity in Microvast, which announced a merger with Tuscan Holdings Corp. on February 1, 2021. Oshkosh and Microvast also entered into a joint development agreement highlighting future battery collaboration and integration. www.jlg.com

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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

Understanding Radio Frequency Energy Exposure

Are you concerned about cellular antennas? Decades of research on cellphones and cancer have not found a link between the two, but that hasn’t stopped some communities from creating laws and public service campaigns regarding protection of the public from cellular system threats. What these actions have done is created a sense that the risk exists, leading to much concern and confusion for the public. There are risks, and they are not to be ignored, but many of them are misunderstood.

As communications technology continues to develop, its next iteration – 5G – is already here. The idea of 5G is better coverage using smaller, low-power, overlapping range with multiple antennas. This is the same technology used in large offices and hospitals to overcome the cellphone signal shielding caused by buildings. The buildings have numerous low-power, overlapping antennas that ensure cellular signal communications. The communications industry needs more mounting locations, and utility poles are the obvious answer. 5G is more of a physical hazard than a radio frequency (RF) hazard because it includes a powered cabinet on the pole wired to the antenna above, creating more congestion on the structure for climbers. I receive lots of questions and rightly so because line personnel are finding themselves looking at antenna installations where they have never seen them before. 5G is very low energy compared to other RF emitters but should not be ignored. Most of the 5G hazard is the antenna at the top of the pole, which can be anything from a 30-foot light pole to a 60-foot transmission pole. The obvious precaution, as with any antenna, is to not put yourself in the antenna beam. So, a 360-degree 5G antenna is like any 360-degree antenna: Don’t put your body in the beam.

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Sean M. Lyden

What’s New in Truck and Van Upfits for 2021

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The past year with the pandemic has been anything but normal with sporadic nationwide lockdowns, supply chain challenges and vehicle production delays. But there’s one thing we can still count on: Truck and van body manufacturers and upfitters are continuing to bring new products to market that equip your crews to get more work done in less time at lower operational costs.

Some companies have released new products with lighter-weight materials that increase a truck’s payload without bumping up to a larger vehicle. Some have added more versatile storage options to enhance accessibility and ergonomics for improved worker safety. And others have launched products that increase fuel economy and help fleets hit their sustainability targets.

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Gary L. Wollenhaupt

Fleet Management Gets Smarter with Remote Diagnostics

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If the last time your utility bought medium-duty trucks was eight to 10 years ago, the advancements in remote diagnostics available on new vehicles could be a game-changer for fleet maintenance.

Today, every OEM offers some level of remote diagnostic capability in their commercial trucks. Those diagnostics use onboard electronic sensors and connections to monitor and communicate components' performance and status to fleet managers in real time. There are aftermarket solutions that provide a deeper level of management capabilities as well.

The original telematics technology captured the diagnostic trouble codes or fault codes generated by a vehicle's onboard diagnostics required for emissions control beginning in 2005. As the technology and regulations developed, manufacturers deepened the level of information available from transmissions and other components.

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Sean M. Lyden

An Electric Pickup to Watch: The Lordstown Endurance

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A major bottleneck to large-scale fleet electrification is the electric pickup truck – because you can’t buy one right now.

That’s about to change.

Brands like Tesla Cybertruck, GMC Hummer, Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 are expected to launch a full-size all-electric pickup starting this fall to mid-2022.

But these models, at least initially, are being built with the high-end retail customer – not fleets – in mind.

So, does this mean fleets have a few more years to wait for a product that will be practical for work truck applications?

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Grace Suizo

Spec’ing the Right Truck-Mounted Air Compressor for the Job

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Today’s utility fleet managers have numerous options to choose from when it comes to truck-mounted air compressors. But how do you go about spec’ing the right one for the job?

One of the biggest mistakes that utility fleets make is using bid specs from previous years, according to Dean Gary, national sales representative for VMAC (www.vmacair.com), which designs and manufactures mobile air compressors and multipower systems.

Ralph Kokot, CEO of mobile power solutions provider Vanair Manufacturing (https://vanair.com), agreed. “Don't assume what you put on your truck last time is what you should put on this time,” he said. “Before you start working on a bid specification for your fleet, reach out to the experts for guidance. Advancements are happening every day that increase ROI and productivity for your fleet.”

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Sandy Smith

Integrating OEM Telematics into Your Fleet

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Jessica Lauer, fleet analyst for Detroit-based DTE Energy, is responsible for overseeing metrics for the company’s 3,700 Class 1-8 vehicles. That’s not always easy to do, particularly with some of DTE’s Class 5-8 vehicles. Problems have occurred after telematics devices were installed on the assets but before they were driven by the business units.

“It may be weeks before I can see [a vehicle],” Lauer said. “I may have missed an ignition event, so I have to wait until the business unit drives the vehicle to see if the device is reporting correctly. It just causes issues.”

She doesn’t have the same challenge, however, with Class 1-4 vehicles these days. Lauer said that’s because she uses the Ford Telematics system, which comes built into a Ford vehicle when it’s delivered.

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Sean M. Lyden

Leadership Strategies: Negotiating as if Your Career Depends on It

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What’s a common trait among highly effective fleet professionals?

They’re skilled negotiators.

They get the best terms when purchasing vehicles, equipment and service. They persuade senior management to protect – and increase – their annual fleet budgets. And they gain top priority from OEMs to quickly address and solve critical equipment issues.

So, as you look for ways to advance in your fleet career, what can you do to take your negotiation game to the next level?

Consider reading “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It” by former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss.

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David Cullen

SoCal Edison: Taking a Hands-On Approach to Running Battery-Electric Trucks

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Even for an electric utility, converting to battery-electric trucks is no flip of a switch. At Southern California Edison, changing over from diesel to electric is a step-by-step process to determine how best to reduce harmful exhaust emissions from its commercial vehicles.

Rosemead, California-based SCE is steadily working toward the goals set by its parent, Edison International, to electrify 100% of its light-duty passenger vehicles, 60% of its forklifts, 30% of its medium-duty vehicles and pickup trucks, and 8% of its heavy-duty trucks by 2030.

Edison International estimates that by “pursuing its fleet electrification goals, it will save more than 620,000 gallons of fuel annually and eliminate close to 6,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year.”

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Sean M. Lyden

Developments to Watch in Self-Driving Trucks

Just three years ago, the media was all abuzz about how a brave new self-driving world was right around the corner.

Today, the media and industry analysts have slow-rolled their predictions as technology companies and automakers still grapple with developing autonomous driving systems that are ready for prime time on a large scale.

As it turns out, humans still have the edge in making decisions in a wide range of challenging driving situations that continue to hamper the robots. 

But less hype does not necessarily mean a lack of momentum for vehicle automation. And self-driving technology developers and automakers have been making notable progress in recent months – especially in the heavy-duty truck segment. 

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Kate Wade

CURT QuickPin Trailer Coupler

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CURT, supplier of a complete line of towing products and the leading manufacturer of USA-made custom-fit trailer hitches, has introduced a revolutionary new trailer coupler that completely does away with the traditional latch design.

The CURT QuickPin trailer coupler is the first of its kind, engineered to answer the problem of complicated hinging components on a traditional latch-style coupler. Instead of a latch that is prone to rust and wear, QuickPin uses a single hitch pin to secure the coupler onto the ball. The simple pin design provides a secure vehicle-trailer connection while reducing stress, frustration and the time it takes to hook up your trailer.

The QuickPin coupler is currently available to fit standard 2-inch-diameter balls, and it can be purchased in three different trailer tongue widths: 2-inch, 2.5-inch and 3-inch. To make installation easier, QuickPin also comes with pre-drilled holes to fit most existing bolt configurations. www.curtmfg.com/quickpin

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Kate Wade

Insulated Z-45 Boom Lift from Terex Utilities

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Terex Utilities has announced the new Genie Z-45 Substation Utility Boom (SUB). The Z-45 SUB is a purpose-built mobile elevated work platform. It is designed for substation work and other applications where an insulated device is needed but use of traditional bucket trucks is prohibitive due to size and maneuverability. Traditional all-steel aerial work platforms do not provide dielectric protection and have inherent differences of potential from the chassis ground to the boom tip that require specialized work practices and grounding.

Featuring a fiberglass jib section and fiberglass platform with swing gate, the Z-45 SUB complies with the ANSI A92.2 standard for Category E insulating rating of 20 kV, as measured between the boom tip and chassis. The standard fiberglass platform comes with floor grating and optional cutouts for increased visibility, access and water egress.

The Z-45 SUB has zero tail-swing and 355-degree rotation in tight quarters, self-propelled control, and up-and-over capability of the boom to give utility workers greater positioning flexibility. Operators can precisely position the boom with fully proportional drive and boom functions. The Lift Guard Contact Alarm provides a secondary warning designed to reduce crushing hazards. If an operator is caught between the controls and another object, a breakaway cable activates to disable lift and drive functions and trigger visual and audible alarms. www.terex.com/utilities/en/product/substation/z-45-sub

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Kate Wade

HydraBed Reel Management System

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Industry-leading utility hydraulics manufacturer HydraBed has introduced a new version of its popular Reel Lift lifting unit, the ReelLift Reel Management System, a full-capability solution that performs all the major functions of reel and cable handling. Enabling utility workers and contractors to reduce their reel and cable handling time by up to 50%, the new ReelLift system combines the functions of reel pickup and transport with semi-autonomous hydraulic cable payout, retrieval and figure-eight deployment in one compact, truck-bed-based package.

Featuring an industry-best 5,000-pound reel capacity, the ReelLift system eliminates the need for a dedicated reel trailer while enabling a cable crew to transport and position reels of telecom wire, fiber-optic cable and other reel-based connective media, and then precisely pay out, retrieve and even create figure-eight patterns via its variable-speed, easy-to-use controls. Thoughtful features include a contractor-tested, quick-release axle security latch, a built-in 20,000-pound-rated tow hitch and an unmatched five-year structural warranty.

The ReelLift system is available through its national dealer network as a turnkey solution customized to fit most popular chassis cab truck models, or it can be factory-installed at HydraBed’s Sabetha, Kansas, location. www.hydrabeds.com/utility

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Kate Wade

DPL Telematics Launches AssetCommand Max

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DPL Telematics, a leading provider of advanced asset monitoring and telemetry technologies, recently announced the release of the AssetCommand Max Tracking System, an advanced solution for wireless monitoring and remote tracking of off-road equipment, as well as over-the-road trucks, to increase productivity while reducing fleet costs. The rugged device tracks runtime, trips, geofences, curfews, rollover and service schedules while empowering managers to remotely disable their assets.

The AssetCommand Max allows owners to remotely monitor their assets accurately from an intuitive, internet-based software package and mobile app. The unit is the first telematics product of its kind to feature a remote starter disable/enable; tilt and rollover detection; IP 67-rated and UV-stabilized design; tamper detection; little to no sky view required; internal backup battery and antenna; wireless, two-way communication; and a month-to-month agreement.

The AssetCommand Max reports usage metrics such as runtime, odometer, movement, ignition status, speed and battery health. The platform also includes an intuitive service module for scheduling by runtime, odometer or calendar and notifying whichever threshold is reached first. The easy-to-use solution is an effective tool to reduce service costs, maximize uptime and eliminate manual errors. www.dpltel.com

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