Breakthrough performance

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Courtesy of Waste Advantage Magazine

In 2009, Matt Wood, regional maintenance manger for Republic Services (Phoenix, AZ) asked himself a few questions: could lighter-weight trucks deliver enough savings in fuel and other costs to offset lost productivity? Is there a way to prevent drivers from overloading and damaging the lighter trucks? Could the trucks be built to last as long as their heavier counterparts? And, if all of this were true, could such a truck possibly be affordable?

Republic asked two preferred body vendors whether they would be interested in attempting to develop such a truck. Heil responded quickly—and with the best alternative. The decision was made to work with Heil Environmental (Chattanooga, TN) on concepting the lighter-weight trucks—and to find answers to the above questions. Making the final decision for Republic was a team consisting of Wood; regional managers Larry Allen, Troy Hintze and Brian Beaudrie; and Roy Svehla from Republic’s corporate office.

Republic and Heil spent about a year and a half developing the truck, and another seven months testing 15 Heil Half/Pack Freedom front-loading trucks in Houston. The results of those tests are now in, and virtually all the numbers confirm the performance and projected cost savings of the lighterweight models. The 15 test trucks also underwent recent structural inspections and passed those with flying colors.

“I would say the lighter trucks have exceeded my expectations,” Wood says. “I think it’s one of the coolest things we’ve done in a while, and long-term it’s the right way to go.”

Loading System’s Role
While lighter-weight trucks previously have been available, the Heil Half/Pack Freedom model separates itself through its load-control system, Wood says. The trucks cannot be overloaded because of patent-pending Heil technology. That new loading system—called the Heil Overload Prevention System, or HOPS™— convinced Wood it was time to test the lighter trucks.
“We had to have a way to regulate the payload,” Wood says. “Otherwise, drivers would continue with their old loading habits, and they could damage the new trucks. Controlling how much they could load was crucial to considering the lighter weight trucks. HOPS provides us with that control. Once that system was developed, we saw it was time to test the trucks.”

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