Trucks customized to a contractor’s specific application can help crews and equipment work at full capacity while avoiding missed deadlines, voided warranties, and unnecessary capital outlays.
A decade or two ago, pit and quarry operators may have had the luxury of maintaining their equipment fleet at centralized locations, supplemented with handheld greasers or cans of oil on-site. However, that’s no longer true.
As bids in the business are now highly competitive and margins are low, successful managers must track work cycle times as never before. In most cases, that means accurately estimating how much dirt each operator will move from a dig site to, for instance, a haul truck.
Any interruption of the work cycle, such as a hydraulic hose break in a front loader, could cost thousands of dollars per day, per incident. For this reason, efficient, on-site preventive maintenance and repair—in the form of lube, fuel, water, and maintenance trucks—are now essential.
Not only must increasingly complex and expensive equipment be properly maintained according to stringent warranty requirements, but it also must be done efficiently. Simply missing a maintenance interval, for example, could make a company liable for a $50,000 or more engine replacement, if needed.
Machine downtime or idle operators and crews waiting for fuel or service is a cost that comes directly out of the contractor’s profit. In order to meet deadlines and ensure revenue, equipment must be operating. Effective maintenance requires daily monitoring or at least a check once per shift. Simply stated, if scheduled maintenance is not incorporated, equipment will run out of fuel or breakdown.
All preventive maintenance (PM) equipment doesn’t suit all contractors equally. In fact, the prevailing mentality is to find an off-the-lot or standard lube, fuel, water, or maintenance truck. While appearing to be a good idea, this solution often causes more problems than it solves.
The reason: construction and earthmoving contractors have individual needs and one-size-fits-all solutions simply don’t address these unique needs. Instead, customized solutions designed specifically for each owner’s application are required to produce the best maintenance at the lowest cost.
Type and quantity of machinery varies at each jobsite and for each company. Obviously, a road contractor needing thousands of gallons of water to cool asphalt on milling equipment will have vastly different maintenance requirements than a contractor readying a site for residences or commercial buildings.
Often, proper maintenance demands a unique combination of elements—such as fuel, lube, and water capabilities—to keep equipment running smoothly and project deadlines on target.
The number of factors to consider in properly outfitting preventive maintenance trucks is nearly endless: weight distribution, terrain driven, tank and pump capacity, reel length, weather and temperature requirements, storage areas for filters and waste products, as well as the need for extra lights, generators, cranes, air compressors, pressure washers, and other special gear. Trying to find a standard, off-the-lot lube, fuel, water, or maintenance truck that has all the elements needed is a virtual impossibility.
No two contractors have identical maintenance needs because equipment, crews, and applications vary. Lube, fuel, and PM trucks have to perform efficiently every day to keep operations running smoothly.
Stock or standard PM trucks do not fit the specific needs of every contractor and more often than not require excessive maintenance themselves. Reliability, dependability of the PM truck is essential to a cost-effective, responsive maintenance program. Poor workmanship of fuel and product tanks, inexpensive product pumps and reels, and dispensing system leaks result in lost engines, final drives, and hydraulic failures which cost money. Choice of the proper PM truck is therefore a financial decision. A pay me now or pay me later choice.
Elliott Machine is that choice for PM, lube, and fuel service. Elliott Machine specializes in providing custom solutions based on individual consultations with each client. These consultations are designed to elicit exactly what is needed and wanted for each application so the final product matches the needs of its owner.
No matter the size of the fleet, Elliott Machine will furnish the right equipment. Whether it is a lube skid or trailer for a spread of 25 pieces or three lube/fuel units for a fleet of 150-plus pieces, Elliott Machine is ready to answer.
Elliott Machine will provide a unit in compliance with DOT regulations and ensure proper weight distribution to avoid state weight restrictions and federal road use tax.
For efficient lube/fuel use, one of Elliott Machine’s exclusive features is a hydraulic dispensing system that delivers from 9 to 12 gpm of up to three products simultaneously, with a single touch of an electric-powered master switch that controls the load-sensing, pressure-compensated system.
Hydraulic or pneumatic fuel pumping systems can deliver up to 90 gpm of product and, for safety, fuel tanks offer flanged heads and baffles, full-length and roll-over protection.
TRUCK PER CREW
As equipment manager for Superior Paving, a highway construction contractor based in Gainesville, Virginia, Chris Griffith attends to the maintenance of more than 200 pieces of equipment, from pavers and rollers to milling equipment and dump trucks. To meet their diverse maintenance needs in service of the crews that use them, Griffith also turned to Elliott Machine. Each crew has its own truck tailored to its specific application. For example, the asphalt crew’s truck carries 150 gallons of diesel fuel; 1,500 gallons of water; 30 gallons each of hydraulic oil and engine oil; and a truckbed-mounted air compressor to run a jackhammer.
“Every truck we’ve got is designed for our needs and the crew running it,” says Griffith. ■
For More Information:
Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, California. For more information about Elliott Machine, call 419.468.4709, or visit www.elliottmachine.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, March 2014
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