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Overdrive Staff | June 01, 2012

Lucky 13

Ozinga Ready Mix drivers report plenty of power, responsive shifting from Cummins-Westport natural gas-powered Kenworths.

Chicago-based Ozinga Ready Mix Concrete has replaced 13 mixer trucks working from its Chinatown Plant near downtown with Kenworth’s compressed natural gas-powered W900S mixers. “Since city officials are trying to reduce emissions from trucks that operate in downtown Chicago, we thought placing all of our new CNG trucks in operation there would have the greatest impact,” says Tim Ozinga, company spokesman.

The company’s CNG-powered mixers were delivered late last year, spec’d with the 8.9-liter, 320-hp Cummins-Westport ISL G engines, six-speed Allison 4500RDS automatic transmissions and McNeilus Bridgemaster mixer bodies.

The company has plans to install a time-fill fueling station at the Chinatown plant as it replaces more of its diesel-powered mixers with new Kenworth CNG-powered units.

“Drivers have told us that they’re responsive, shift fast and provide good power,” says Ozinga Fleet Manager Pete Huisenga. “They also tell us the engines are remarkably quiet and the truck interiors are very comfortable.” 

The price premium for CNG truck technology, Ozinga estimates, will be returned in 2.5 years, given that natural gas cost has been consistently around $1.50 less than the diesel gallon equivalent. For a company that relies on residential rehab and construction projects for 50 percent of its business, that might seem a risky investment, but Ozinga is positioning itself for the future.

“More and more homeowners and small businesses are looking to source their concrete from companies that can demonstrate a commitment to a greener operation,” says Ozinga. “Contractors are also looking for suppliers who can help them with improving their chances for meeting certification requirements for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System.” 

TALES OF TWO SUPER-HEAVY HAULS

1.5 million pounds up a 7% grade

Each load required three Mack Titans

In 2011, Perkins Specialized Transportation launched the biggest series of hauls in its history. The Northfield, Minn.-based 22-truck heavy-haul fleet transported four steam generators from a power plant in California to a long-term storage site in Clive, Utah. Each generator weighed in at 804,000 pounds and measured 47 feet long by 15 wide by 14 feet 9 inches high.

Each rig stretched 399 feet with a gross combination weight of 1.5 million pounds, or 750 tons. Rolling along 960 miles of roads and freeways that included a 15-mile trip up a 7 percent grade of Interstate 15 through California’s Cajon Pass, the hauls were the culmination of two years’ worth of planning. A trailer for the move occupied two lanes of highway in operation.

Scan this QR code with your smartphone to see a Mack video of the Perkins haul unveiled at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March, or search “Extreme Truck, Extreme Job, Perkins” on youtube.com.

Then there are the trucks. Three Mack Titans handled each load, two pushing and one pulling. Customized in Mack’s New Vehicle Options Center (popularly known as the Mod Center) in Macungie, Pa., two of the models featured 605-hp Mack MP10 engines, 4-speed auxiliary transmissions and rear-engine PTOs to run the hydraulics. Also: triple frame rails, 70,000-lb. planetary rear ends, customized front-frame extensions and modified interiors.

“We worked with the Mod Center to build a Titan of Titans, a tractor that can pull upwards of one million pounds – with some help, of course,” said Bob Nuss, president of Nuss Truck & Equipment, which sold the units to Perkins.

“That’s one of the reasons Mack is here,” said company President Neil Perkins. “The job requires the right tools and equipment. We have to plan exactly how the equipment will be spec’d. This isn’t something we want to do every time a new truck comes out. Mack was willing to make changes to the tractor that met the challenges of our business.”

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