Tag: Utility Trends


What’s New in Truck Bodies for Utility Fleets

Some of the industry’s leading truck body manufacturers are developing new products that equip your crews to get more work done, with less strain and greater safety. They’re incorporating more advanced lightweight materials in their product designs so you can reduce fuel costs or increase a truck’s legal payload without bumping up to a larger vehicle. And they’re offering more electrified options so you can cut engine idle – and your fleet’s carbon footprint.

Who are these body companies and what are some of the products and design enhancements they’ve recently brought to market to help you achieve your business objectives? Here are five new developments to watch.

What’s New: HyPower IM
Website: www.terex.com/utilities/

Introduced last fall, the HyPower IM is a plug-in electric power takeoff (ePTO) efficiency system that manages the chassis engine for the greater horsepower required to operate the boom. It does this by automatically switching from plug-in battery-stored power when the truck is idling to engine-supplied power when hydraulic controls are engaged.

“Throughout an eight-hour workday, on a typical trouble truck, the aerial’s hydraulic controls are engaged about one hour total run time. By allowing the hydraulic system to switch to engine power during those brief intervals, HyPower IM is still able to provide emissions efficiencies plus optimum hydraulic control function,” said Tyler Henderson, product development manager with Terex. “The transition is seamless. Operators will experience no lag time in hydraulic responsiveness.”

HyPower IM also enables the truck cab to be heated or cooled without running the engine, using the truck’s heating and cooling vents. A 4-kWh package is required for the cab comfort feature, while a 1-kWh package is sufficient for most trouble truck applications.

HyPower IM is currently available for Class 5 chassis, such as Ford, Dodge and GM trucks, used with Terex Hi-Ranger telescopic aerial devices, including the LT, LTM and TL series aerial devices.

What’s New: Utility Maintenance Truck
Website: www.dejana.com

Last year, Dejana introduced a new Utility Maintenance Truck designed for conventional cutaway van and medium-duty truck chassis-cabs as an alternative to traditional step vans, like the “bread trucks” that are built on stripped chassis.

The company says that the Utility Maintenance Truck offers low rear-entry step-in height that’s on par with most step vans, while providing more interior work and walk space. The company also says that a conventional chassis-cab for the Utility Maintenance Truck offers a quieter ride – with less rattling and noise from the cargo area – than a stripped chassis used for traditional step vans.

Dejana’s spec includes custom interior shelving, drawers and workstations; curbside front generator compartment with exterior access; a Cummins-Onan 5000-watt gas generator; drop-down rear step bumper; Rosco rearview camera system; Coleman 13500-BTU air-conditioning and heating unit for the rear work area; complete workbench on the street-side interior with aluminum drawers and cabinets; and a workbench with electric outlets and 12-volt charging stations.

What’s New: UltimateFX Composite Understructure for Service Bodies
Website: http://brandfxbody.com

BrandFX’s lightweight composite service bodies just got lighter, helping utility fleets increase payload capacity, improve fuel economy and reduce vehicle wear and tear.

How? In January, BrandFX announced the development of a new all-composite service truck body understructure: the UltimateFX. Traditionally, the understructure – which serves as the skeleton for the service body – has been built of conventional steel to ensure strength and durability. But with UltimateFX, utility fleets can reduce the weight of their trucks without sacrificing strength. That’s because, according to the company, the new composite understructure is lighter than aluminum and as strong as steel.

The UltimateFX understructure is designed for BrandFX’s Everlast service bodies, which are available for 40-inch, 60-inch and 84-inch cab-to-axle chassis, in either single or dual rear-wheel truck configurations.

What’s New: Fiberglass Mobile Service Crane Truck
Website: www.altec.com

In February, Altec introduced its new fiberglass mobile service crane truck for companies looking to perform their own service work. Modeled after the existing mobile service truck used by Altec Service Group, the truck features an integrated steel crane support structure, master body locking system, boom support and fiberglass shelving. The company says that the fiberglass truck body is strong and lightweight because it’s designed with Altec’s patented, integrated core material.

Options on the mobile service crane truck include electric-over-hydraulic controls, aluminum sliding bed cover, a mechanic’s work platform and drawer kits.

What’s New: Walk-In Van with Hybrid-Electric Auxiliary Power for Underground Utility Maintenance
Website: www.spartanmotors.com/fleet-vehicles/

Last summer, Utilimaster introduced its new walk-in van, featuring hybrid-electric auxiliary power, designed for underground utility maintenance. The vehicle incorporates two key pieces of technology designed to make utility worksites greener, quieter and more comfortable for workers. The Odyne plug-in hybrid battery technology feeds auxiliary power to utility maintenance equipment, while an onboard air exchange system provides workers in underground vaults with cooled or heated fresh air from the vehicle.

The company says that the Odyne system enables utility maintenance personnel to operate tools and other equipment with batteries that provide up to 28 continuous kilowatt hours of power, without the need for a separate diesel generator. The hybrid battery-powered system also eliminates the need for frequent engine restarts to charge batteries, resulting in a quieter worksite and extended work hours.

“This plug-in hybrid system fits right into the green initiatives that have become standard practice at many utility companies,” John Forbes, president of Utilimaster, said in a statement. “Compared to diesel-/gas-powered generators, powering equipment with an electric system reduces greenhouse gases by 50 percent or more. Fuel and maintenance cost savings are significant, too – up to $10,000 per year.”


The State of Lightweight Material Technologies in Truck and Van Upfits

It wasn’t long ago when nearly $5 per gallon of gasoline and diesel was a reality, with most analysts predicting that this price, or even higher, would be the new normal for a long time to come.

And as fleets grappled with the impact of fuel cost spikes on their operating budgets, they began to look more earnestly into lighter-weight truck and van upfits – built with advanced lightweight materials, such as aluminum, fiberglass composites, plastics, advanced high-strength steel and carbon fiber – with the hopes of improving fuel efficiencies and uncovering other cost-savings opportunities in a volatile market.

This is because replacing conventional steel with lighter-weight materials wherever possible allows fleets to accomplish one of three objectives:
Achieve net fuel-efficiency gains. If you reduce the truck’s weight, without adding more payload, the vehicle requires less effort – and thus, fuel – to perform the same work.
Increase legal payload and productivity. If you take, for example, 1,000 pounds out of the construction of a truck body, that allows your crew to carry 1,000 pounds more in gear, parts and equipment per trip, while staying under gross vehicle weight limits pertaining to bridge laws, commercial driver’s license requirements or other Department of Transporation regulations, depending on the truck class.
Reduce acquisition costs. Selecting a lighter-weight upfit might enable you to downsize to a smaller, potentially less expensive chassis, without sacrificing net payload capacity.

But fast-forward a few years later and, as of press time, both gas and diesel have sunk below $2 per gallon in most of the U.S. So, does this mean lower demand for lighter truck and van upfits?

Not according to these four trends.

Trend #1: Greater Openness to Lightweight Materials in the Fleet Industry
“You don’t typically see fast, wholesale changes in our industry, either from the body manufacturers or from the fleets or consumers,” said Doyle Sumrall, managing director for NTEA – The Association for the Work Truck Industry (www.ntea.com). “That’s because mistakes are really expensive. And it takes time for customers to try something new and trust that these [lightweight] materials will work in the field and hold up in harsh conditions.”

But the spike in fuel prices in 2007 and 2008 pushed the industry to move faster into lightweighting, according to Sumrall. “There was a period there that when you filled up your vehicle, it made your eyes water. Five-dollar fuel was a true impetus for change. Those kind of seminal events tend to open your mind to look at new and creative ways to do things.”

Since that time, as more fleets have become comfortable with the performance of advanced materials in the field, this has helped create greater industry awareness of the benefits of weight reduction, spurring fleet managers to at least consider lightweight material options when spec’ing upfits – something they likely wouldn’t have done, say, 10 years ago.

Trend #2: GHG Phase 2 Standards
The upfit industry is about to get external pressure from the federal government to take weight out of their products.

That’s due to the Phase 2 greenhouse gas emissions rules, as outlined in a joint proposal by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Environmental Protection Agency. These rules apply to heavy-duty trucks – defined in this context as vehicles at or above 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight rating – and are expected to begin model year 2021.

While the Phase 1 ruling, in effect from 2014 through 2018, requires chassis manufacturers to create fuel-efficiency gains through powertrain improvements, the Phase 2 proposal takes a more holistic approach, addressing the factors that impact fuel economy with both the chassis and the truck-mounted body, as with vocational vehicles like bucket trucks and digger derricks.

And one of solutions proposed by the government that impacts the upfit industry is weight reduction through the use of advanced material technologies in upfits.

“Body manufacturers and upfitters will likely be involved in the Phase 2 standards discussion; it won’t just be the chassis OEMs this time around,” Sumrall said.

Trend #3: Improvements in Advanced Adhesive Technologies
The future of truck bodies is not that there will be one material – whether steel, aluminum, plastics, fiberglass composites or carbon fiber composites – that becomes the market winner. It’s that there will be hybrid designs that incorporate multiple materials, factoring in the unique strengths and weaknesses of each material to build a product that achieves the optimal balance of weight reduction, strength and cost for the customer.

But joining disparate materials is a challenge. “A major problem with a vehicle made with different types of materials is where and how you join them together,” said David Warren, program manager, transportation materials at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (www.ornl.gov), the largest U.S. Department of Energy science and energy laboratory. “You can’t use the typical welding process. I can weld two pieces of steel together, but I cannot easily weld a piece of aluminum with steel. And if you’re not careful, you’ll also create a very bad corrosion situation when trying to combine dissimilar materials.”

According to Warren, one solution to join aluminum and steel, for example, is friction spot-welding (as opposed to torch welding), which uses a rotating tool to generate friction heat that softens the materials just enough for them to combine, without actually melting the materials and damaging the microstructures of the aluminum panel.

As other possible solutions, Sumrall points to advanced bonding technologies – such as high-strength structural adhesives – in lieu of welding, bolting or riveting. “The market for these technologies is growing, opening up the opportunity to put dissimilar materials together, like a steel skin with an aluminum or polymer interior,” he said. “This is not prolific yet, but it’s clearly a direction we’re heading in the industry.”

The bottom line: Advancements in bonding techniques and adhesive technologies will expand options for body manufacturers to achieve weight reduction in their product designs in ways that could be more cost-effective – and thus, more financially attractive – for customers.

Trend #4: More Lightweight Materials Use by Major Automakers
In 2015, Ford introduced its redesigned F-150 pickup, with the cab and pickup box built mostly out of high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloys to achieve a 700-pound weight reduction compared to the previous model. The upcoming 2017 all-electric Chevrolet Bolt will incorporate large amounts of aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber to reduce weight and improve energy efficiency to increase battery range to 200 miles on a single charge. And the BMW i3 electric vehicle is built with an all-carbon-fiber passenger compartment that the company says is six times stronger than conventional steel, at a fraction of the weight.

How does this impact the truck equipment industry?

As automakers incorporate more lightweight materials in their designs, this will eventually bring economies of scale that trickle down to truck equipment manufacturers, making advanced material technologies more financially viable for their products.

It also helps expand the service network to repair these materials. For example, repairing damage to an aluminum body panel has historically been expensive, requiring different techniques, tools and expertise than fixing a steel panel. But Ford’s expansive use of aluminum in the F-150 is forcing the vehicle body repair industry to increase training and capacity, helping drive down the cost of aluminum repairs.

And, the automakers’ increased adoption of advanced lightweight materials provides proof of concept that gives fleets greater confidence to try these materials in their own truck applications.

As Sumrall put it, “In the work truck world, we all go where the OEMs go. So, we’re seeing a lot more aluminum and more composite materials in truck bodies and equipment as well.”


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.

EEI Electrification Initiative
EEI announced its transportation electrification initiative in November 2014, during a White House event with U.S. Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz and former Counselor to the President John Podesta. According to Piro, who also sits on the EEI transportation electrification committee, the initiative seeks to achieve these four objectives:

1. Increase commitment to fleet electrification.
To date, more than 70 investor-owned electric utilities have committed to devote at least 5 percent of their total annual fleet acquisition budgets to the purchase of plug-in EVs and technologies.

2. Support employee adoption programs.
Provide incentives for employees to own EVs – such as preferred parking spots and employee purchase programs – and they will become enthusiastic ambassadors for vehicle electrification to their friends, family and the public.

3. Expand customer outreach.
Be a resource to customers. For example, help them run load/cost analysis to determine whether EVs make financial sense for their applications.

4. Build an affordable plug-in hybrid electric pickup truck.
Pickup trucks represent the largest vehicle segment among utility fleets, but the cost of plug-in hybrid electric pickups trucks is still too high for widespread fleet adoption. To make a significant dent in utility fleet electrification, truck OEMs and EV technology providers must develop breakthroughs that make those vehicles more affordable.

Piro is a strong proponent of fleet electrification because he believes EVs can simply make good business sense for the utility industry, not to mention the EV market is quickly evolving. He said he personally owns a 2011 Chevrolet Volt that he estimates has saved him $1,200 in annual fuel and maintenance costs over the past four years.

The Data
During his EUFMC presentation titled “Fleet Electrification: Utilities Leading the Charge,” Kellen Schefter, manager of sustainable technology for EEI, provided some interesting data about the state of plug-in EVs in today’s utility fleets.

Following is the overall vehicle distribution by class for investor-owned fleets:
• Class 1-3 trucks: 48 percent
• Class 7-8 trucks: 18 percent
• General equipment: 16 percent
• Class 4-6 trucks: 14 percent
• Passenger cars: 5 percent

And here is the plug-in vehicle penetration to date for those investor-owned fleets:
• General equipment: 10 percent
• Passenger cars: 9.2 percent
• Class 4-6 trucks (ePTO): 4.5 percent
• Class 7-8 trucks: 2.8 percent
• Class 1-3 trucks: 0.3 percent

The total plug-in vehicle penetration rate across all vehicle segments in those utility fleets is 3.3 percent.

Notice from these numbers that there is a mismatch of fleet allocation and plug-in penetration. For example, at 48 percent, Class 1-3 trucks – light-duty pickups and vans – represent the largest vehicle segment of the investor-owned utility fleet, but that segment also represents the smallest number of plug-in vehicles at 0.3 percent. Passenger cars are the smallest vehicle segment at 5 percent but have the second-highest plug-in penetration rate at 9.2 percent.

The bottom line is that while utility fleets are currently buying more Chevrolet Volts, Nissan Leafs and similar vehicles, those purchases don’t make as much of an impact on the overall plug-in penetration rate because cars make up such a small percentage of a utility’s fleet.

Medium- and Heavy-Duty Opportunities
Medium- and heavy-duty truck segments – Class 4-6 and 7-8, respectively – are areas of opportunity that have experienced recent growth. Combined, they make up 32 percent of investor-owned fleets, with a combined plug-in penetration rate of 7.3 percent.

The growth in electrified medium- and heavy-duty trucks is driven by the increased fleet adoption of hybrid-electric ePTO technologies. The key players serving this space are Odyne (www.odyne.com), Efficient Drivetrains Inc. (www.efficientdrivetrains.com) and Altec’s Jobsite Energy Management System, or JEMS (www.altec.com/products/green-fleet). Current generation systems enable operators to run booms on battery power for about six hours. This saves significant money in fuel and maintenance costs by eliminating idle.

However, battery cost, weight – which impacts payload capacity – and size – which limits bin space – are still concerns that constrain wider fleet adoption. According to EEI’s transportation electrification white paper (available at www.eei.org/issuesandpolicy/electrictransportation/fleetvehicles/documents/eei_utilityfleetsleadingthecharge.pdf), the incremental cost for Altec’s JEMS is $24,300 on a Class 5 first-responder vehicle and $65,000 on a Class 7 large crew truck. But the trend toward slimmer, higher-output battery technology will drive lower cost and higher fleet adoption.

Even with the current high incremental cost, the reduction of idle time offers a compelling business case for plug-in technologies in aerial truck applications.

The Holy Grail for Plug-In Growth
The light-duty pickup is the largest vehicle segment for utility fleets, so it offers the biggest opportunity for plug-in growth. However, limited availability of affordable plug-in technology has made this segment a hard nut to crack.

The key player in this market is VIA Motors (www.viamotors.com), which offers a Class 2 pickup plug-in hybrid system equipped with a GM 4.3-liter V-6 engine and four-wheel drive. It gets about 40 miles in all-electric mode before activating the gasoline engine. According to Mark Kosowski, technical executive for Electric Power Research Institute, in his EUFMC presentation titled “Plug-In Hybrid Medium-Duty Truck Demonstration and Evaluation Program,” the VIA pickup achieves a fuel economy equivalent – in terms of relative fuel cost versus charge cost – of 127 mpg.

But the VIA truck comes with a very steep price tag. The EEI white paper pegged the purchase price of a VIA pickup in 2014 at about $75,000. As a frame of reference, a comparable gas-only truck costs under $30,000.

The key question here is, what are the light-duty truck OEMs doing in this space? GM has built a hybrid truck but not with plug-in technology. Are the major automakers pursuing factory-equipped plug-in hybrid truck offerings?

There’s been talk of Tesla building a pickup truck, but the company’s limited distribution and service network may not adequately be able to serve the fleet market. If there is an OEM who can get the e-truck technology to market the quickest, however, you have to imagine it would be Tesla.

This will be an interesting space to watch in the near future.


19 Exciting Utility Fleet Products and Services for 2015

Product: Ultra Pad Safety Edge
Company: Bigfoot Construction Equipment
Web: www.outriggerpads.com

Bigfoot Construction Equipment offers the all-new Ultra Pad Safety Edge, which helps to prevent the outrigger from slipping off the outrigger pad. Call 888-743-7320 for more information.


JJ Kane 1

Product: Auction Services
Company: J.J. Kane Auctioneers
Web: www.jjkane.com/construction-utility-equipment-cars-trucks

J.J. Kane Auctioneers is a nationwide auction company that conducts 40-plus absolute public auction sales each year. They make it easy, connecting sellers and buyers both face to face on-site and live online, with Internet bidding. Sellers include electric cooperatives, utilities, manufacturers, contractors, lending institutions, governments, rental companies and more. J.J. Kane specializes in utility, power-line, underground and construction equipment, and fleet vehicles. In addition to physical auction sales, the company offers its Live Off-Site service, enabling sellers to participate with equipment from remote locations. Live Off-Site allows sellers to be a part of the excitement created by a live physical auction sale, when transportation costs or logistics are a factor. J.J. Kane can provide a turnkey solution, handling every aspect of the sale process.


Al Asher

Product: TSE Cable Scrapper
Company: Al Asher and Sons Inc.
Web: www.alasher.com

The TSE Cable Scrapper is Al Asher and Sons’ latest product innovation for 2015. Formerly known as OK Champion, the industry has long recognized the Cable Scrapper as the go-to product for salvaging underground cable up to 4-inch diameter. The machine will pull, cut and load cable all day long in one continuous operation, saving countless man-hours and extra equipment. Now you can purchase the TSE Cable Scrapper with remote radio controls for the bed winch, which will digitally and effortlessly record pulling torque and speed. Enhanced hydraulic circuitry improvements also are available to promote longevity and reduce heat and wear in the system. Asher stocks units for sale or rental throughout the USA.


International Truck

Product: International WorkStar Truck
Company: Navistar/International Truck
Web: www.internationaltrucks.com
The International WorkStar is one of the most durable and versatile trucks in the utility industry, built on the same battle-tested truck platform as the International MaxxPro MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected) armored vehicle. It brings the strength and rugged capabilities to work power lines in any environment, with the smarts of Diamond Logic to operate efficiently and keep your team safe. Ease of Diamond Logic integration with utility equipment means that features such as boom operation alerts, remote engine controls and remote battery shutoffs are all factory-built options. The 2016 WorkStar is also offered with the industry-leading Cummins ISB6.7, a recognized platform that delivers renowned efficiency, reliability and performance.



Product: LED Stryker
Company: Golight Inc.
Web: www.golight.com

The new LED Stryker from Golight offers tremendous intensity and clarity with minimal strain on the vehicle’s electrical system. The LED upgrade boasts a 50 percent increase in intensity compared to its halogen counterpart. By utilizing P-Vex lens technology coupled with the cutting-edge LEDs, the LED Stryker is able to generate a peak beam intensity of 320,000 candela. Additionally, the hot spot – the most intense portion of the beam – comprises nearly 70 percent of the beam circumference, three times that of a comparable halogen unit.

The LED technology utilized in the new Stryker model generates nearly four times as many lumens per watt as a traditional halogen light source. Such efficiency means that the LED Stryker delivers more light while reducing the amp draw by half. Plus, the LEDs are incredibly durable with a rated useful life of 50,000 hours.



Product: Rigid Access Mat
Company: MUD-TRAKS
Web: www.mud-traks.com

MUD-TRAKS’ strongest, most rigid access mat – designed to move heavy vehicles over wetland-like ground conditions – is light enough for men to handle in the field. It is made from solid fiberglass with an internal grid structure that channels tire load over an area more than 15 times larger than a comparable-sized poly mat. It is rigid enough to bridge a 20-inch span while supporting 10,000 pounds of tire load.

This innovation comes in three distinctive model strengths: Lawn Mat for vehicles up to 35,000 pounds, Off-Road Super Lite Mat for vehicles up to 60,000 pounds and Off-Road Super Mat for vehicles that weigh 100,000-plus pounds.

The mat’s advantages include strength, longevity, ease of handling and safety. It has numerous applications in the utility and heavy construction industries; is not affected by chemicals, temperature or water; and does not conduct electricity.



Product: Revolution Series Stringing Equipment
Company: Sherman+Reilly
Web: www.sherman-reilly.com

Sherman+Reilly designed its Revolution Series equipment around operator safety, ergonomics and environmental comfort. With a 14,000-pound pulling capacity, the Revolution Series P-1400X Single Drum Puller is a transmission-class drum puller with a first-of-a-kind drum engagement system utilizing lateral sliding sides and drum support rollers for simplified pulling and reconductoring operations. The P-2000X Bullwheel Puller offers a new design that provides a smooth 20,000 pounds of control for the steel hard line with the use of its twin hydraulically driven bullwheels. Both machines utilize automatic horizontal levelwinds that permit overhead rope retrieval with precision control.

The Safe-Zone Cab is an important feature of these pullers. The cab employs a floor-to-ceiling polycarbonate front window for maximum visibility while providing superior protection against impact.



Product: AT40GW Aerial Device
Company: Altec
Web: www.altec.com/products/aerials/telescopic-articulating/at40gw

Altec’s AT40GW track-driven aerial device has a 43-foot working height and 30-foot side reach to provide versatility in small or congested job sites. The telescopic/articulating boom design offers access to the platform from the ground. A 34-inch retractable track allows the device to easily maneuver in and out of gates and other narrow passageways by reducing the width of the machine. The unit comes standard with a walk-behind remote control for easy operation. A 180-degree platform rotator provides more flexibility in confined spaces to give the operator the best possible vantage point. For convenient transport, the 1,000-pound cargo deck accommodates transformers, tools and other components.

The AT40GW is available with an ISO-Boom, which allows the unit’s second stage to be fully retracted while maintaining dielectric integrity and meeting OSHA guidelines for minimum approach distance. With a Category C isolating fiberglass boom, the operator can work safely regardless of the upper boom extension.



Company: Polaris
Web: www.polaris.com/en-us/commercial/fleet-sales

The new RANGER ETX is an on-demand four-wheel-drive vehicle featuring a 31-horsepower, electronic fuel-injected (EFI) ProStar engine with an internal counter-balance shaft for smooth, low-vibration power. The dual overhead camshafts and a four-valve cylinder head work with the advanced engine management system to precisely deliver the fuel charge for impressive power and instant, predictable throttle response, while the lightweight, efficient transmission captures every ounce of power to deliver it to the ground. Like all ProStar engines, the design reduces internal friction, which dramatically reduces noise and significantly increases efficiency. The addition of EFI on this entry-level model assures easy starting, improved run quality and elevation compensation to ensure reliability normally found on higher-priced models.



Product: Aerial Lifts
Company: VERSALIFT/Time Manufacturing
Web: www.versalift.com

With more than 50 years of innovation, exceptional quality and hard work, VERSALIFT’s legacy of success has been marked by talented employees, notable clients and innovators. The company – a global leader in aerial lifts – continues to adapt to changing markets in an ever-changing world, with a clear commitment to quality though unequaled innovative design and manufacturing.

Time Manufacturing strives to build the safest, most efficient and hardest-working machines to get the job done. Its product line has grown to encompass models for every market. With more than 300,000 square feet under one roof, its manufacturing facilities comprise one of the premier factories of its kind in the world. Through vertical integration, Time monitors and maintains the quality of all products from the initial purchase of steel all the way through final testing. Whether it be a 29-foot man lift or a 108-foot material handler, there is a VERSALIFT to get the job done.


Bronto Skylift

Product: S 150 XDT Aerial Work Platform
Company: Bronto Skylift
Web: www.bronto.fi

Bronto Skylift’s S 150 XDT truck-mounted telescopic aerial work platform is especially well suited for the rental market. It’s a lighter-weight, compact aerial that is road-legal in all states, so it can be driven to almost any work site, quickly set up and elevated to overhead areas in a matter of minutes. Mounted on a CAT chassis, it features a 152-foot overhead working height and a telescopic, articulating platform boom that provides 100 feet of horizontal outreach for increased up-and-over capabilities. With 360 degrees of continuous turntable rotation and a 1,400-pound platform capacity, workers are able to carry tools and equipment to access almost any elevated work site.



Product: T370 Medium-Duty Conventional Model
Company: Kenworth
Web: www.kenworth.com

Kenworth Truck Co. is expanding its axle offering for its T370 medium-duty conventional model, adding 18,000-pound and 20,000-pound front axles this spring. The new offering will enable the truck to serve more construction, utility, fuel and tanker applications. The T370 is built to deliver exceptional value over the long haul, and these new options will expand an ever-growing vocational use of the truck.



Product: Hydraulic Beavertail
Company: Kiefer Manufacturing
Web: www.kiefermfg.com

Kiefer Manufacturing offers a heavy-duty steel, self-cleaning hydraulic beavertail on most of its industrial flatbed trailer line models. The hydraulic beavertail option takes away the need to lift heavy ramps. Fingertip operation of the hydraulic ramps is done through a key fob, or with a lever that is permanently mounted inside a conveniently located storage box.

The newly designed hydraulic beavertail has an 8,000-pound lifting capacity. The wiring system is housed inside a 10-mil polyester sleeve for durability and longevity.



Product: Garage Management System
Company: ARI
Web: www.arifleet.com/services/in-house_garage_maintenance/

ARI’s Garage Management System (GMS) provides fleets the ideal balance between in-house control and outsourcing convenience by helping to manage technicians, vehicle maintenance and parts inventory while simultaneously consolidating all vendor-in/vendor-out data. From mechanics’ hours to automatic routing of repair approvals and comprehensive repair history, GMS manages it all, and it can even feed data to integrated payroll or ERP systems.

The GMS module integrates all maintenance-related data in one place, allowing fleet managers to track, analyze and manage fleet activity to achieve the lowest possible total cost of ownership. By using GMS as part of a multifaceted maintenance program, fleets will experience cost savings through a more efficient repair process while also making it easy to increase patronage of external shops, balancing vendor mix.



Product: Cobra-Style Jib
Company: Terex
Web: www.terex.com

Available on all 24-inch-by-48-inch platforms, the Terex cobra-style jib is engineered with hydraulic articulation and extend, enabling operators to achieve a greater range of motion and increased productivity. It boasts a low, 16-inch profile, as well as a 600-pound platform capacity and 1,000-pound maximum lift capacity, which can be realized with the work line extended farther from the basket shaft than other jibs allow. Operators can easily rotate the cobra-style jib thanks to an additional bearing at the bottom of the jib. This rotation offers lineworkers more versatility at the pole, enabling them to easily line up with work as needed.

This jib also incorporates a poppet valve feature, which helps enhance safe work practices because it prevents the unit from damaging itself during operation.

The Terex cobra-style jib quickly retracts and conveniently stows out of the way. With the jib in the stowed position, the truck’s boom can still utilize its full range of motion, down to -40 degrees.



Product: Hino 338
Company: Hino Trucks
Web: www.hino.com/trucks/story_1212.php

Reliability is the key to success behind the Hino 338 model. This Class 7, 33,000-pound GVW model is equipped with the award-winning Hino J08 series engine rated at 260 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque. It also features a standard six-speed fully automatic 2500RDS with Shift Energy Management transmission from Allison Transmission, while 3000RDS and 3500RDS options are also available.

The Hino 338’s available 120,000-psi frame is strong and rigid enough for the high torque loads utility bodies demand. An available 14,000-pound front axle also adds to the durability that customers have come to know from Hino. All Hino Class 6 and 7 models offer a clean cab-to-axle, making the body upfit much easier and also allowing for more equipment in the rear of the vehicle.


GPS Insight

Product: GPS Dispatch and Custom Forms Applications
Company: GPS Insight
Web: www.gpsinsight.com

GPS Insight’s new capability to send optimized routes to drivers’ smart devices is the latest effort to simplify dispatching. You can now dispatch stops and/or routes via email or text message to each driver on a daily basis. For those customers who want to forgo Garmin integration, but need a better way to dispatch drivers, they can still do so. Also, drivers can now leverage directions used by the mapping apps on the smart device and do not need to be logged into another telematics app to be dispatched.

Garmin electronic custom forms were just added to the GPS Insight platform to improve the way businesses manage their mobile workforce from the field without all the paperwork. The forms are filled out on a Garmin and sent over the air to the back office for real-time data analysis. Utilities can use this function to expedite billing, improve productivity, track different types of completed services, perform job costing analysis and more.



Product: PriorityStart HD
Company: BLI International
Web: www.prioritystart.com

PriorityStart HD is a totally automatic battery protection system that disconnects at 11.7 volts – stopping a dead battery – and then reconnects with a simple load change. The HD unit handles heavier loads, 60 percent increase to 1,600 starting amps and 400 continuous amps. The increase to the contact disc, gears and holding nut has strengthened the load capability and reduced the stress from heavier loads. Other improvements include increased points of connection, brighter top LED for easy viewing, motor/gear shielding strengthening operation and modified top post that easily accepts side-mount installation.



Product: YS3 and TA9000 Tracks Series
Company: Mattracks
Web: www.mattracks.com

Mattracks has introduced its new series of TA9000 tracks. The products expand Mattracks’ current Track-tor-Assist lineup of conversion systems for the agriculture market, commercial market, and extremely large machinery and equipment with axle loads from 10 to 20 tons. Track widths in the TA9000 series are 15 inches, 20 inches, 24 inches and 30 inches.

The YS3 track has been designed to expel snow and ice with minimal ice buildup, and the heavier framework has been designed for increased load-carrying capacity. The offset road wheels reduce vibration and noise, and increase efficiency, fuel economy and track tread life.

Trending Now

Among the resources available to fleet managers in our industry are shows and conferences that offer unique opportunities to gather valuable information. These events are also a window into the most pressing concerns and topics of interest to fleets.

At The Work Truck Show 2012 in Indianapolis, a record-setting 10,408 attendees and 563 exhibitors provided just such an opportunity. Showcasing Class 1-8 trucks, chassis, bodies, components and accessories, more than 120 of the exhibiting companies launched at least 140 new products, including alternative fuel systems, which are featured elsewhere in this issue.

The Work Truck Show was also the site of the Green Truck Summit where technical experts, government officials, industry leaders and early adopter fleet managers came together to unveil recent developments in sustainable technologies and new commercial truck applications.

Also a record event with 772 attendees, The Work Truck Show event was coupled with a Green Truck Ride-and-Drive featuring 21 commercial vehicles that incorporate advances in hybrid technology and alternative fuel applications, including CNG, propane, battery-electric, extended-range electric, ultra-clean biodiesel, bi-fuel CNG, series and parallel electric hybrids, and hydraulic hybrids.

As we go to press we’re getting ready to attend the NAFA Institute & Expo where fleet professionals will be on hand to network and see the latest services and products available for their operations. They will also take part in more than 65 educational programs and hear from several key speakers.

Next up we’re attending the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference (EUFMC), which continues to attract record numbers of fleet executives from investor-owned electric utilities, electric cooperatives and electrical contractors from across the U.S. and Canada, as well as representatives of equipment and service suppliers. The annual exhibition at EUFMC features more than 75 displays where fleet managers can meet with 250+ representatives from more than 95 manufacturers and service providers.

EUFMC is also a perfect example of how close cooperation between fleet managers and suppliers is mutually beneficial. The conference is an opportunity for manufacturers to share product ideas with customers, and for fleet managers to make their wishes and concerns known so better solutions can be developed. The sharing of best practices is also a hallmark of EUFMC, which includes roundtables where fleet representatives and suppliers can exchange information and discuss mutual concerns.

Staying in the loop can be a full-time task for today’s already busy fleet executives. Thanks to industry associations and their active members, however, it is that much easier to see what’s trending now, and to learn as much as possible in a short amount of time about the solutions available to address the industry’s most pressing needs.

Seth Skydel

Utility Fleet Professional

360 Memorial Drive, Suite 10, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 | 815.459.1796


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