KRD Trucking, Inc.

Refuse Hauler Dumps Praise on Eaton's UltraShift® PLUS Transmissions

“Getting in and out of that landfill requires driving on several steep grades. [During a downpour], every truck with the exception of the UltraShift PLUS truck had to be pushed or towed with a wheel loader or dozer. Meanwhile, with that transmission, our driver was the only one able to maneuver throughout the landfill. The truck never missed a beat.”

Shane Schmidt
corporate fleet maintenance manager, KRD Trucking, Inc.

Background

Based in Lynwood, Ill., near Chicago, KRD Trucking, Inc. is a privately owned fleet that specializes in waste hauling. Over the years the company has assembled a list of customers that reads like a "Who's Who" in the refuse industry, including Waste Management, Waste Connections and Republic Services, which recently merged with Allied Waste Services, and others.

To handle just about any garbage, recycling or mulch hauling assignment for those refuse giants and many others, KRD now maintains facilities in 13 states and has a fleet of 337 late model Kenworth Class 8 trucks and some 600 trailers.

Shane Schmidt, corporate fleet maintenance manager, says his trucks typically haul garbage from transfer stations to landfills, and run about 98 percent of the time on paved highways and city streets, with the other two percent on severe, off-road terrain.

Klockow is currently working with seven of the local body builders, and describes his relationship with every one of them as a "partnership."

Of late, he adds, interest in hybrid applications has been growing with many of those partners.

"We are seeing more and more today the hybrid option coming into play," says Klockow. "Most of the interest, I believe, is driven by companies wanting to project a green image. The grant and incentive money is also becoming progressively more available."

Yet hybrid vehicles present a whole new set of challenges for Hill Truck Sales and Klockow.

"There's been a lot to learn," says the former service technician who moved to the sales side of the truck business only four years ago. "There are so many more details with which you need to pay attention. A hybrid vehicle changes the spec tremendously because I have many different options, different dash layouts, different transmission models, and different battery positioning. The chassis's real estate can get pretty limited, especially with a shuttle bus application."

But Klockow discovered long ago that telling the customer "I don't know" or "no I can't do it" are two very unacceptable answers. That, he adds, drives him to learn as much as he can about hybrids.

Challenge

It's that two percent, however, that has given Schmidt the most headaches when specifying new trucks throughout his 11-year career at KRD.

"We have always found it challenging when spec'ing new trucks, because when you put together a spec for the two percent you can't properly spec for the other 98 percent," says Schmidt. "The consequence is less-than-acceptable fuel efficiency."

He adds that the newer, lower emission diesel engines have also complicated the specification process, and that drivers with limited skills in shifting a manual transmission only compound the problem.

"With the way fuel prices are right now, we needed to look outside the box," says Schmidt.

Solution

Schmidt wasted little time in doing just that, and was one of the earliest Eaton customers to test the company's newest lineup of automated transmissions, the UltraShift® PLUS. Liking what he saw, Schmidt purchased 30 UltraShift PLUS Vocational Construction Series (VCS) transmissions.

"When you automate the transmission, it allows you to lower the gear ratios," says Schmidt. "That results in better fuel efficiency. Plus, with UltraShift PLUS transmissions, you also have the gradeability and startability that is needed for the off-road operation we encounter in landfills."

The UltraShift PLUS VCS model, with an overall ratio of 20:1, was designed with deep reduction gearing to best meet the specific needs of other vocations requiring on- and offroad driving. The transmissions also feature the highest torque capacity in the trucking industry – ranging from 1050 lb-ft [1424 Nm] through 2250 lb-ft [3051 Nm] – as well as world class start-ability and ratio coverage, and each has been manufactured with important driveline protection features such as stall prevention, engine over-speed protection, clutch abuse protection and auto gear selection.

Results

"I like now having the ability to drop my gear ratios from around 390 to 411 to a much more fuel-friendly 355 to 370 ratio," adds Schmidt. "That alone is getting us closer to the sweet spot that the vehicle manufacturer recommends without sacrificing maneuverability."

He notes that KRD drivers have also taken a liking to the new automated transmissions from Eaton.

He adds, "When you are driving in Las Vegas the traffic can be especially bad. People here are doing something crazy all of the time. That's when the automated transmissions are really sweet. That's because I can concentrate on the traffic around me and not have to worry about working the clutch, or making sure I'm in the right gear, or watching the RPMs. The UltraShift PLUS takes care of all that for me, and all I have to do is drive."

Adds Chase Tippit, maintenance manager at the KRD Las Vegas facility, "From what the drivers have been telling me, it is almost like driving a car. It's a lot easier for them. You just put it drive and relax."

Still in Las Vegas, Schmidt likes to recall an incident that occurred when the local landfill was hit with a rare down pouring of rain.

"Getting in and out of that landfill requires driving on several steep grades," he explains. "When the rain came down that day, every truck with the exception of the UltraShift PLUS truck had to be pushed or towed with a wheel loader or dozer. Meanwhile, with that transmission, our driver was the only one able to maneuver throughout the landfill. The truck never missed a beat."

Nor will Schmidt be missing a beat in making the UltraShift PLUS his standard specification for new truck orders.