Oct 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By David A Kolman
“That's why we must have dependable equipment, and why we've always had cold plate truck bodies,” says Lawrance. “Maintaining product quality and delivery deadlines can't be compromised.”
As the mixed fleet of route vehicles complete their lifecycles, they are being replaced with similarly spec'd equipment.
Lawrance has gone with International 4300 DuraStar conventional model trucks with a GVWR of 33,000 pounds. These are spec'd with a 255-hp International DT 466 diesel engine governed at 60 mph.
“The DuraStar is a driver friendly truck that's easy to operate,” he says. “It has a great ride and handling characteristics, plus it's easy for technicians to work on.”
Lawrance chose the DT 466 because “it's a proven, durable, long-life engine with a wet-sleeve architecture that makes it totally rebuildable in the chassis. The engine is pretty well goofproof for a long time.”
For the first time, Lawrance spec'd the route trucks with Allison automatic transmissions. This change was made because “today's automatics provide some advantages over manual transmissions, such as better fuel economy, increased productivity, and reduced maintenance. Our drivers really love them.”
The new standard insulated body for the fleet is a 20-foot cold plate body from Hercules Manufacturing. Designed with one curbside door and a sliding-swing combination rear door, the bodies are heavily insulated with 5 inches of polyurethane insulation in the floor and walls, plus 6 inches of polyurethane insulation in the ceiling.
Aluminum dairy flooring has been used for weight savings and to eliminate upkeep of older style steel treadplate floors. All hardware has been spec'd as stainless steel for reduced maintenance.
Each body is spec'd with three Grote LED interior lights, “which provide extremely bright light throughout,” notes Lawrance, and door activated light switches. The LED exterior lighting package includes a unique design of the rear top marker lights to provide an additional stop and turn feature for increased visibility and safety.
The Hercules Manufacturing bodies are upfitted with a 3,500-pound capacity Leyman LHLP Hide-A-Way liftgate with a large aluminum platform that tucks under the truck's rear.
“The nice thing about these liftgates is that they lower evenly to the ground so the loads remain stable,” Lawrance notes. “The platforms have a tapered lip so that hand trucks or carts can be easily rolled on and off.”
This body-liftgate combination “saves an overall vehicle weight of up to 1,800 pounds, depending on competitors' body styles,” adds Hercules Manufacturing sales manager James A “Chip” Honse Jr. “This can represent a significant annual savings in fuel costs, plus the extra savings of reduced wear and tear on the chassis components.”
Maola Milk and Ice Cream uses cold plate refrigeration systems because “they're much cheaper to operate and they last a lot longer,” says Lawrance. “Unlike mechanical refrigeration units, which have a lot of moving parts, cold plates have very few, so the reliability is improved for extended system life.
“With cold plates, you just have to plug them in. They're basically foolproof. We very seldom have problems with them.”
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