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Evaluate tailgates, water tanks to maximize uptime

By |  December 17, 2021
Photo: Philippi-Hagenbuch

While tailgates are not standard on rigid-frame haul trucks from any manufacturer, aftermarket options are available. Photo: Philippi-Hagenbuch

Aggregate is one of the most commonly used resources in the world, with demand for it growing because of increasing infrastructure developments.

Aside from the roads people drive every day, roughly 44 percent of all aggregate is utilized in other public works projects such as dams, buildings and sewer systems. With this in mind, it is more important than ever for aggregate producers to ensure hauling efficiency and find new ways to maximize productivity and uptime.

Adding tailgates and water tanks to an operation’s truck body, for example, can dramatically improve efficiency, safety and help producers save money in the long run.

Tailgates

While tailgates are not standard on rigid-frame haul trucks from any manufacturer, aftermarket options are available from manufacturers specializing in off-highway truck customization.

For being a relatively simple piece of equipment, tailgates can have a significant impact on how – and how much – material loader operators will fill. Underhauling is common and often unintentional, but it can result in loads that are 10 to 15 percent below rated capacity. That’s an unaffordable amount in this high-demand market.

Many aggregate producers found that adding a tailgate to their haul trucks makes a substantial impact on their overall hauling efficiency. For example, five 70-ton capacity trucks hauling aggregate could provide an additional benefit of up to $16,300 per day with the addition of tailgates, when factoring in increased production, extended tire life and reduced haul road maintenance.

And while tailgates increase the volume of hauling material, that is just the tip of the iceberg regarding the benefits they can offer producers to improve efficiency and safety. Unique tailgate design allows loaders to safely dump materials in the middle of the body, rather than near the front, improving loading target, weight distribution and overall truck stability.

Water trucks

Another factor that can significantly improve the efficiency, safety and speed of output in aggregate production is the use of water trucks.

Although water trucks appear basic in application and design, several factors have a significant impact on efficiency, from the challenges of water movement in the tank, the tank’s overall volume and its center of gravity, to the steel used in the tank’s construction. All of these factors impact uptime, maintenance, efficiency and safety.

Square water tanks can hold a 20 percent higher volume than traditional round tanks and maintain a lower center of gravity to ensure stability and safety. Round water tanks often create the problem of water shifting the center of gravity of the truck by surging back and forth in the tank during use, resulting in an unbalanced, unsafe and inefficient way of transporting water from point A to point B.

With the right water tank that is outfitted uniquely for end users, aggregate producers don’t have to worry about losing money over things they don’t need or having to repair equipment every time it falls short.

Considering the steel construction of the water tank is another commonly overlooked factor. Choosing a lower-grade steel will result in premature rust and corrosion, reducing a tank’s overall life and equipment longevity. It’s important to source a water tank made of high-strength steel and, if it will be used with highly acidic or corrosive water, a tank that is made of corrosive-resistant steel that is specifically milled for acidic environments.

Conclusion

With increased demand for aggregate materials, the clock keeps ticking for the projects that need to be completed while infrastructure investments around the world continue to increase, leaving aggregate operations with no time for downtime. Working closely with equipment manufacturers to tailor a hauling fleet to an operation’s specific requirements is essential to maximize productivity and profits.

Josh Swank is vice president of sales and marketing at Philippi-Hagenbuch.


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