Equipment owners and fleet managers are driven by the bottom line. In the construction industry, that bottom line is affected largely by the total cost of ownership of the equipment deployed to do the work—and there are two elements at play here outside of purchase price and resale value:
- The actual cost of maintenance (both planned and unplanned).
- The percentage of uptime the machine has during the course of a standard day. Essentially, its productivity (i.e., a machine that performs productive work 9 hours out of a 10-hour day is more valuable over the course of its life than a machine that operates at production capacity 8 hours out of a 10-hour day).
Avoiding downtime is the key to productivity and profitability. New mobile solutions made available to the construction industry today help:
- Streamline both planned and unplanned maintenance to increase uptime.
- Help reduce the cost of the implements required to perform that maintenance.
- Lower the labor costs required delivering those fluids and maintenance tools to site.
New trailer solutions introduced within the last year—one dedicated largely to diesel fuel, and another dedicated to all of the fluids required to perform preventive maintenance activities—have made it simpler for contractors to get bulk fluids to the jobsite without requiring expensive service trucks, third-party wet hose services, or drivers with special licensing.
Bulk Diesel. The new Multi-Tank Trailer (MTT) from Thunder Creek, for instance, allows for the delivery and storage of between 460 and 920 gallons of diesel fuel without requiring the driver to hold a CDL or HAZMAT certification (there are some circumstances where larger trucks and fuel trailers will require the driver to have a CDL because of their weight—double check local and federal regulations). This is accomplished by storing the diesel in four, six, or eight completely separate tanks of 115 gallons that are only joined when each tank’s manifold is opened at the front of the trailer. The trailer can be easily hauled by a pickup truck or other work truck from site to site, or it can be positioned in a strategic location on larger sites where bulk fuel trucks can stop in to fill it up as needed. Equipment can then come to it, or it can be trailered around to each machine.
The trailer can also be outfitted with a 2-in-1 closed Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) storage (100 gallons) and pumping system, and a rear utility box that can house options such as a welder/generator/air compressor, integrated work bench, bulk grease system, and a storage area for other tools and materials.
This solution helps ensure uptime by providing consistent access to bulk fuel that the site and contractor control. This is especially important when working on large jobsites, remote sites, or when operating numerous sites across a region, where fuel delivery can be delayed due to time and distance, or third-party bulk fuel suppliers who may not be able to get a truck to the site as needed.
It also helps lower labor costs and address the issue of finding drivers with the proper CDL and HAZMAT certifications. Employees with those certifications are hard to find, depending on the region, and come at a higher hourly rate than standard labor. Using a fuel trailer that requires no CDL or HAZMAT ultimately allows the contractor to get that fuel to site at a lower cost.
It can also help eliminate redundancy in cost. By being hauled by a pickup truck or other work truck that was already scheduled to travel to a jobsite, it eliminates the need to send a separate fuel truck (and its associated costs of labor, fuel, wear, and tear) to that site.
Service and Lube. There’s a lot more to field service than fuel. It takes a broad collection of fluids and tools to perform maintenance work on a hectic construction site that would be best performed in a sterile shop. With that in mind, Thunder Creek introduced its newly redesigned Service & Lube Trailer (SLT) this spring. The SLT features a modular tank design that is capable of holding 440 gallons of fluid in up to eight tanks in combinations of 25, 55, and 110 gallons. This can include tanks for diesel fuel, oil delivery (engine or hydraulic), used oil reclamation, grease delivery, antifreeze, DEF, and other fluids based on field maintenance needs.
Because there is not an opportunity for diesel to be stored at a quantity exceeding 115 gallons in a single tank, this solution can also be hauled by drivers without CDL or HAZMAT designations. It can also be outfitted with the same DEF storage and pumping solutions, and the same rear utility box with the same options and functionality as the MTT.
More importantly, related to total operating cost, it provides much of the same functionality of a full-size, higher-horsepower service truck in a self-contained trailer that can be hauled to the site by trucks already traveling to that site.
This solution hauled by a pickup truck not only provides a lower initial purchase price than a full-size service truck (a contractor can buy a pickup truck and an SLT trailer for a lower purchase price that a larger service truck), but the lifetime owning and operating costs of a pickup and the trailer related to maintenance and wear and tear will be lower.
DRIVING DOWN OPERATING COSTS
These new solutions ultimately allow contractors to perform the same level of field fueling and maintenance, but on a schedule they control and using implements that will cost less over their lifetime than other solutions available on the market. This helps equipment owners ensure their equipment has greater uptime while helping lower lifetime service costs of that machine—which ensures that each piece of heavy iron is as profitable as it can be. ■
About the Author: Luke Van Wyk is the general manager with Thunder Creek Equipment. For more information, visit www.thundercreek.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions – July 2016
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