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Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference June 4-7, 2017 in Williamsburg, VA

 

 

The Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference (EUFMC) is an educational conference for fleet representatives from investor-owned electric utilities, electric cooperatives and electrical contractors. Held annually at the Williamsburg Lodge and Conference Center in Williamsburg, Virginia, EUFMC 2017 will take place from June 4-7.

Click here to read more: http://eufmc.com/

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Kate Wade

DICA ProStack Cribbing

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Utility crews are often faced with setting outrigger-enabled equipment on sloped or uneven ground. ProStack Cribbing from DICA has been developed with an interlocking design that safely provides additional height under outrigger floats when setting up in uneven ground conditions.

ProStack Cribbing has three basic parts: a base outrigger pad, interlocking cribbing blocks and a high-friction top grip pad. The base ProStack Outrigger Pad is manufactured with a pyramid-shaped surface that interlocks with the cribbing blocks. On top of the base pad, operators stack layers of two 6-inch-by-12-inch-by-24-inch cribbing blocks with the pyramid-shape surface that lock into the base pad. Lastly, a ProStack Grip Pad is placed on top of the stack to protect the pyramid surface on the cribbing blocks and provide a high-friction surface for the outrigger foot.

ProStack is available in three cribbing kit options that include a DR36-2, DR42-2 or DR48-2 base outrigger pad, along with four cribbing blocks and one grip pad. ProStack individual parts also are available for purchase, including Cribbing Wedges, which can be used on sloped surfaces to establish a level foundation under the ProStack Outrigger Pad. http://dicausa.com/products/prostack-plastic-cribbing-blocks/

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Kate Wade

HUBB Fleet Savings Calculator

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HUBB Filters has created a new educational tool to help fleet managers compare their oil change costs and the potential savings they can achieve by switching to the HUBB filter program.

Designed for ease of use, HUBB’s Fleet Savings Calculator is located at www.hubbfilters.com/fleet_calculator and can be completed in less than a minute. Fleet managers simply plug in how many Class 1-4 or 5-6 vehicles they have in their fleet, along with the number of PMs scheduled per year, per vehicle. An instant cost savings analysis of what HUBB could save a fleet over a four-year period is presented.

Fleet field results collected by HUBB, along with independent oil analysis, demonstrate that HUBB can save a typical 2,000-vehicle fleet $500,000 over a four-year period.

HUBB has an 8-inch spin-on oil filter for Class 2-6 light- and medium-duty diesel engines, and a 3-inch filter for passenger cars or light-duty trucks that use a spin-on filter. www.hubbfilters.com/fleet_calculator

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Sean M. Lyden

The Final 3

Tim-King-Web

Each issue, we ask a fleet professional to share three keys to fleet success.

This issue’s Final 3 participant is Tim C. King, author of the book “Fleet Services: Managing to Redefine Success” published by SAE International (http://books.sae.org/r-447/) and former manager of fleet services for what is now NV Energy (www.nvenergy.com), an electric and gas utility in Nevada with over 1 million customers. King also will be a presenter at Utility Fleet Conference 2017 at ICUEE in Louisville, Ky., a fleet education event that will take place October 2-4 (https://utilityfleetconference.com/).

#1. Aim high.
“Require excellence with everything. Benchmark your service performance on organizations that thrive in the most successful industries – such as high-growth startups – not just other fleets. The goal is to consistently exceed expectations by achieving unexpected win-win results with all your customers.”

#2. Remember that successful fleet management begins by identifying all your customers.
“Customers define your success. So, all customers must be identified. These include your executives/owners and all internal recipients of services, external customers and ancillary customers, such as internal supporting services. This last group also includes external regulatory customers such as local, regional, state and federal regulators.”

#3. Be bold and lead change.
“Recognize you’re going to do things differently. For this level of success, you won’t be able to rely only on typical industry standards as a guide. By gaining a broader knowledge and perspective of customer service, learn to outgrow baggage such as history, culture, paradigms and similar other misperceptions. And realize success depends on process redesign, not just the normally required process improvement.”

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Sean M. Lyden

The State of the Fleet Telematics Market

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A lot has happened in the fleet telematics market the past year that could impact utility fleet operations. Major telecom firms have expanded their footprint in the fleet sector with Verizon’s acquisitions of Telogis and Fleetmatics, while AT&T has established key partnerships to provide branded telematics services such as AT&T Fleet Complete and AT&T Fleet Manager. And more and more telematics providers have inked deals with automakers in recent months.

So, what’s driving these trends? And how might they shape the future of telematics and connected fleets?

UFP spoke with experts from C.J. Driscoll & Associates, GPS Insight, Telogis and Element Fleet Management to get their market outlook.

Telecom Expansion
Why are major telecom firms expanding into the fleet telematics industry? Will this trend continue?

“With landline subscriber bases shrinking and the mobile phone market saturated with declining marginal value, the connected vehicle offers a new market opportunity that allows the telecom companies to capitalize on the need for the vehicle to communicate to the OEM, driver, surrounding infrastructure and other third-party services through cellular networks,” said Kimberly Clark, telematics product leader for Element Fleet Management (www.elementfleet.com). “It also allows them to expand and sell additional products, including in-car applications and infotainment solutions, as this technology becomes mainstream within new vehicles.”

Clark said that telecom expansion into the fleet market will continue for the foreseeable future and “benefit utility fleets through new innovation possibilities, increased pressure on direct OEM connectivity solutions and lower communication costs as part of their service offering over time.”

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Sean M. Lyden

Dominion Virginia Power’s Drone Program Takes Flight

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Unmanned aerial vehicles – also known as UAVs or drones – offer the utility industry the promise of lower costs and improved worker safety with regard to line inspections, storm damage assessments, and other tasks that are traditionally performed using manned helicopters and third-party inspection services.

And the market appears ripe for rapid expansion, as drone technology becomes more advanced and hardware costs continue to plummet. In fact, global annual revenue for drone and robotics technologies for transmission and distribution is expected to grow from $131.7 million in 2015 to $4.1 billion in 2024 – about a 30-fold increase – according to Navigant Research (www.navigantresearch.com).

But the U.S. market still has regulatory hurdles to overcome before utilities can deploy drones at a level where they can effectively realize the full business benefits of the technology. Federal Aviation Administration restrictions, such as having to maintain visual line of sight, have prevented utilities from being able to fly drones over longer distances and inspect large sections of power lines at a time – the holy grail for utility drone programs.

Yet despite these constraints, a growing number of U.S. utility companies, like Dominion Virginia Power, which launched its drone program in 2013, are getting into the drone business and seeing promising results. And there could be huge implications for fleet.

What exactly is involved with starting a utility drone program? How are these programs managed? And what’s the potential impact on fleet? Will drones replace certain types of ground vehicles? Will they eventually become fleet assets?

UFP recently spoke with Steve Eisenrauch, manager of transmission forestry and line services for Dominion Virginia Power and the leader of his department’s drone program, to explore these questions and more.

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Sean M. Lyden

Confronting the Human Dilemma in a Brave New Self-Driving World

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In his speech at the AutoMobili-D Conference in Detroit this past January, John Krafcik, the CEO at Waymo – formerly the Google self-driving car program – cited this compelling statistic: “Each year, more than 1.2 million people die on the roads around the world.”

He then put that number in context: “That’s equivalent to a 737 [airliner] falling from the sky every hour of every day all year long.”

Krafcik’s point is clear. Society would never tolerate having a major airline crash every day; so, how can it accept the same number of people dying in automotive crashes? If self-driving systems could prevent the vast majority of fatalities on the road, wouldn’t it be a moral imperative for society to adopt that technology?

That’s the argument that Krafcik, several Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and most automotive executives have been making in recent months as they present a vision of a “crash-less” society made possible by fully autonomous vehicles. After all, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94 percent of crashes can be tied to human error. Remove the driver, eliminate human error – right?

But despite bold predictions by industry executives and analysts that fully autonomous vehicles will be available for sale in the U.S. within the next four years, human psychological barriers could put the brakes on societal adoption of this technology.

How?

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Grace Suizo

3 Problems to Avoid When Spec’ing a Cable Reel Trailer

Felling-Web

When it comes to installing cables, pipes and the like, cable reel trailers can help utility and telecom crews boost productivity and efficiency so they can get more done in less time and for a lower cost of operation. That is, of course, assuming that they’ve selected the right equipment for the job.

Considering most cable reel trailers can last at least 10 years – or possibly even up to 20 if properly maintained – careful thought and consideration should be put into spec’ing the right unit prior to purchase. Not doing so could mean the difference between spending thousands of dollars or tens of thousands of dollars.

According to Mark Rapp, product manager for utility and telecom products for Felling Trailers (www.felling.com), the price of reel trailers varies greatly depending on weight-carrying requirements and the options the trailers are equipped with.

For example, a simple single reel trailer that can haul a 3,000-pound reel can start as low as $3,000, while a three-reel trailer – set up to haul 10,000-pound reels and loaded with options such as hydraulic payout/take-up assemblies and tensioning brakes – can be $65,000, he explained.

Donnie Bright, business development manager for Sherman + Reilly (www.sherman-reilly.com), had a similar response, noting that cost is influenced by the scope of work desired.

“Cost of ownership is very minimal if the cable reel trailer is sized and used correctly,” he said. “Keep your trailer properly maintained per the manufacturer's maintenance schedule. The life cycle will vary, but if properly maintained and only slightly abused, you should see a minimum 10 to 20 years of service on a quality-built trailer.”

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Sandy Smith

How Easy is it to Hack a Utility Fleet Vehicle?

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, hackers may be able to access a vehicle’s systems via a phone or tablet connected to the vehicle by USB or Bluetooth. The vehicle’s diagnostic port is another access point.

But a vehicle’s biggest vulnerability may be behind the wheel. According to a November 2016 blog post published by Promon (see https://promon.co/blog/tesla-cars-can-be-stolen-by-hacking-the-app/), a Norwegian firm that specializes in app hardening, the company’s researchers demonstrated just how easy it is to trick a Tesla driver into giving a hacker access to the car’s systems. Tesla, like many vehicle manufacturers, offers a remote app that allows the driver to unlock the vehicle. During the experiment, Promon employees:
• Created a free Wi-Fi hotspot.
• Developed an ad for Tesla drivers that offered a free hamburger at a local restaurant if the driver downloaded a particular app.
• Used the app to gain access to the Tesla driver’s username and password.
• Located the car and used the Tesla app – and the previously captured username and password – to access the vehicle.
• Drove away in the Tesla.

Get Ahead of the Curve
When UFP spoke with Matt Gilliland, director of transportation and facilities for Nebraska Public Power District, he indicated that cybersecurity in vehicles was not historically a fleet management “care about,” but change is definitely on the horizon.

“The connectivity of our fleet is very limited,” he said, before noting that NPPD uses telematics and GPS intelligence, and that the fleet contains a limited number of new vehicles with Bluetooth capabilities. All of those are potential entry points for hackers and cyberattacks. In 2016, 3.6 million vehicles were recalled to fix cybersecurity issues; that figure is double the number recalled in 2015, according to the NHTSA, and this comes before vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity has really taken off.

“Technology grows and advances so fast that a lot of utilities and fleets are going to find themselves behind the curve,” Gilliland said. “I think it’s going to be a significant concern and will maybe catch a lot of us unaware.”

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Fiona Soltes

Will Solar Drive the Future of Electrified Trucks?

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Several years ago, when gas prices were higher and an industry need arose to reduce costs and seek alternative solutions, conversations about harnessing the sun intensified. Combined with advances in electric vehicle technology, the possibilities of what manufacturers and fleets could do in this realm began to grow.

Solar power began to be used to extend the range of some electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. And a full-size electric pickup truck using solar to extend its range was introduced at the 2014 North American International Auto Show.

Given the evolution of solar power use in vehicles over the years, where are we today?

As it turns out, on a slightly different course than one may have assumed. Rather than focus on the use of solar to add range to electric vehicles, utility fleets are, for example, adding panels as components of larger energy management systems. Solar power may be used to recharge vehicle starting and auxiliary batteries. It also can supplement battery charging while a vehicle is being driven or while it’s stopped – a valuable feature where legislation may prohibit idling. Additionally, solar power paired with an inverter system converts DC battery power to AC household power to charge cordless tools, laptops, test equipment and other work truck loads that require AC power without draining the battery.

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Jim Galligan

Getting the Most Out of Your Tires

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As a utility fleet manager, you operate perhaps the most diversified vehicle fleet of any business, typically using all weight classes of trucks, from light- to heavy-duty, on the road and off, hauling aerial devices, digger derricks and a slew of other job-specific equipment on good pavement or through fields of debris.

Given these characteristics, getting the best value and performance from your tires may not be rocket science, but it does take planning, smart spec’ing and commitment to a maintenance program, according to tire manufacturers.

A fleet’s first step toward tire value is to determine its goals, said Bill Walmsley, product category manager with Michelin Americas Truck Tires (www.michelintruck.com). What do you want in your tires? Durable, trouble-free service and long, even wear? Additional features? Regardless, selecting the best tire for the application is key. Walmsley suggested that fleets start by looking at the same tire size they currently have on their equipment by wheel position and then explore available options in that size to meet the specific conditions under which the equipment will operate. “This might entail specific load-carrying requirements, weather conditions or environmental issues, such as off-road products or tires which operate well in field or snow conditions,” he said.

Calibrating the balance between load and appropriate tire pressure is critical, but it also is easy since every tire manufacturer publishes load and inflation charts for their tires. The only way to make sure the calibrations are correct is to know the loads being carried and use the charts, Walmsley said.

“Tires are designed and optimized to carry a desired load at a specified pressure. Proper pressure for the maximum load being carried is very important. Underinflation and overinflation for the loads being carried will affect tire and casing life and performance,” Walmsley said.

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Sean M. Lyden

The Future of Utility Fleets is Here … Are You Ready?

As a utility fleet professional, you have to wear numerous hats – engineer, purchasing agent, manager, IT person, recruiter, counselor, accountant, salesperson – and are constantly bombarded with “fires” to put out, leaving you with little time to think about your future.

But as you read about and see the rapid change going on in the industry, you’re realizing that you need the time to start thinking about how to adapt. Emerging technologies like self-driving systems, the internet of things, connected vehicles, artificial intelligence and drones are already here and just beginning to make an impact on how fleets – and fleet professionals – do business, setting the stage for major industry disruption in the next three to five years.

And as more and more older fleet workers and technicians get ready for retirement, there’s a looming shortage of younger workers who are willing and qualified to fill the gap, raising the stakes for utility fleets as they compete for technical talent and expertise.

So, what if there was a three-day boot camp during which you could set aside everything else and focus your energy and attention on learning and thinking about the strategies, tactics and leadership tools that can help you successfully navigate the challenges ahead?

Now there is, and its name is Utility Fleet Conference 2017.

UFC 2017 is an intensive three-day fleet education event from October 2-4, 2017, produced by Utility Fleet Professional magazine (www.utilityfleetprofessional.com) and co-located at the International Construction & Utility Equipment Exposition (www.icuee.com) in Louisville, Ky.

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Kate Wade

Air-Weigh LoadMaxx Trailer Scale

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Air-Weigh has released the next-generation LoadMaxx Trailer Scale. The new scale combines the best of previous LoadMaxx and Quickload trailer scales into one trailer scale with two options: LoadMaxx base model, and LoadMaxx with ComLink.

The updated LoadMaxx scale continues to offer the same great features customers have come to love about previous-generation scales, including an icon-based touch-screen display; built-in LED alarm lights; dual-point calibration and high-precision pressure sensor for weight accuracy; compensation for temperature and altitude change; PIN-protected calibration; and English, Spanish and French language options.

The ComLink option now available for the LoadMaxx trailer scale enables drivers to view steer, drive, trailer, GVW and net payload on an in-cab LoadMaxx tractor display. Tractor/trailer weight information can also be sent to the fleet's management software via the built-in data communication interface. When used with the Bluetooth-compatible LoadMaxx Tractor Scale, weight data is also available on any smartphone or tablet through Air-Weigh’s LoadMaxx App. www.air-weigh.com

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Kate Wade

Sherman+Reilly PT-3000 Puller/Tensioner

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Sherman+Reilly, a Textron Inc. company, has launched the new PT-3000, a single-drum, multipurpose distribution puller/tensioner capable of pulling up to 3,000 pounds overhead and up to 7,500 pounds underground.

Addressing overhead and underground applications, the unit offers a suite of accessories that make the PT-3000 a true workhorse. The frame is outfitted with a curbside motor mount for pilot line winding that utilizes Sherman+Reilly’s Spider System, an integrated set of special equipment, reels, rope and accessories for fast and easy installation of pulling lines with distribution class conductors.

Sherman+Reilly has added an optional hydraulically actuated Pad Mount Transformer Attachment in the underground package to address tough approach angles and allow for optimized setup for underground pulling applications. www.sherman-reilly.com

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UFP Webmaster

NAFA Institute & Expo, April 25-28, 2017 in Tampa, FL

 

NAFA’s annual Institute & Expo is the largest event of the fleet management industry! The perfect opportunity to increase your networking power, I&E is the largest community of fleet professionals who attend year after year because they experience I&E’s hands-on value.

Learn more at http://www.nafainstitute.org/

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Kate Wade

DewEze Releases Battery-Powered Electric System

DewEze Releases Battery-Powered Electric System

Reduce, reuse and recharge with the battery-powered electric (BEH) driven system by DewEze Hydraulics. Known for its innovative roots, DewEze continues that tradition with the release of this BEH package for medium-duty truck applications.

The steel-constructed cabinet houses a 12-volt motor, two 100/110-amp class batteries and a charge monitoring system to power hydraulic needs. This green technology offers a turnkey solution for no-idling regulations that improves noise reduction, decreases operator fatigue and reduces costs for utility fleet trucks.

The BEH power house is available in two packages: Lithium Ion at 200 amp hours and AGM at 220 amp hours. The DewEze-designed package – 24 by 16.5 by 11.5 inches – conveniently fits into any tail shelf frame rails. www.deweze.com

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Kate Wade

BrandFX Launches UltimateFX and UtilityFX

BrandFX Launches UltimateFX and UtilityFX

BrandFX, a leader in lightweight composite work truck bodies, launched the all-new UltimateFX and UtilityFX at the NTEA Work Truck Show 2017. The UltimateFX is the industry’s first all-composite body and understructure for the work truck market. The UtilityFX is the all-composite body for cutaway work van applications.

A crash test video was screened at the event, revealing no permanent deformation or structural damage to the UltimateFX body/understructure after a simulation of a frontal crash in excess of 30 mph.

Like other advanced composite bodies from BrandFX, the UtilityFX was built to withstand up to 20 years of continual use. The engineered space in the UtilityFX allows for an increase in mobile operation efficiency by providing optimal access to all storage areas and organizational compartments.

Both products use advanced composite construction that is lighter than aluminum, designed to withstand the same rigors and working conditions of a steel body, and ultimately corrosion and oxidation free. The UltimateFX and UtilityFX are the first of their kind on the market. www.brandfxbody.com

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UFP Webmaster

Mid-America Trucking Show 2017 in Louisville, KY

 

The Mid-America Truck Show is the largest annual heavy-duty trucking industry event in the world. Held each year at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, KY. The show attracts 70,000 attendees and 1,000+ exhibitors from throughout the United States and abroad.

Learn more at http://www.truckingshow.com

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UFP Webmaster

Work Truck Show March 14-17, 2017 in Indianapolis, IN

 

The Work Truck Show, held March 14-17 this year in Indianapolis, is North America's largest work truck event and your once-a-year chance to see all of the newest industry products, choose from dozens of industry-focused training courses, and gain access to technical engineering representatives from hundreds of exhibiting companies.

Learn more at http://www.worktruckshow.com/

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Kate Wade

Fleet-Ready Truck Solution from XL Hybrids

Fleet-Ready Truck Solution from XL Hybrids

Utility fleets have been seeking a reliable, fleet-ready plug-in hybrid electric pickup truck for years. XL Hybrids Inc. will begin production of its new XLP plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) upfit solution in the fourth quarter of 2017. XLP, rolling out on the Ford F-150, will be an industry-first, Fleet-Ready solution offered as a ship-thru upfit on half-ton pickup trucks. The system will provide a 50 percent improvement in miles driven per gallon for major fleets across the U.S., as well as significant reductions in CO2 emissions.

Benefits for utility fleets include a PHEV pickup truck with immediate applications across a wide range of drive cycles; based on proven technology with 40 million road miles; plug-in technology to meet EEI mandates for investment in fleet electrification; by adopting PHEV pickups, utility fleets set an example for rate-paying constituencies, encouraging them to use the increasing number of public, utility-installed vehicle charging stations; allows utility fleets to use the increasing amount of charging infrastructure being installed; and increases sustainability by offsetting fossil fuel use to reduce CO2 and NOx emissions.

NV Energy and DTE Energy are among the newest utility and municipal fleets who say they intend to purchase XL Hybrids’ XLP PHEV system. They join previously announced fleets San Diego Gas & Electric Co., Liberty Utilities and Hawaiian Electric Co. www.xlhybrids.com

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