Since 1962, the James A. Rogers Excavating company near Little Rock, Arkansas, has been providing developers with site preparation, planning, and earthmoving services. The continued success and growth of the company has led to more jobsites spread further apart—which creates all new challenges for two of the most important tasks that face heavy equipment fleet managers: greasing and fueling.
“We do small dirt work and multi-million-dollar jobs,” says David Miller, preventative maintenance lead and self-described grease monkey, James A Rogers Excavating. “This market’s booming. We have been awarded more jobs in recent years and even hired about 30 new employees last year. Right now, we’re hitting our goals, and we’re expecting to perform well beyond our goals. Obviously, with more jobs you need a bigger fleet of equipment and that means a lot more fuel. We have eight service trucks at any one time with either 100-gallon fuel carrying tanks or 62-gallon tanks, and they were really struggling to keep up.”
THUNDER CREEK SOLUTION
With the cost and limitations of adding more service trucks to the company’s existing lineup, they began exploring other options. They decided to purchase a Thunder Creek 920-gallon Multi-Tank Trailer (MTT920).
As Miller recalls, “The Thunder Creek trailer arrived about the same day I did. On my first day on the job, I did a quick tutorial and I hit the road. We really didn’t have a choice. We had a lot of machines working and we couldn’t keep up with fueling.”
Thunder Creek Multi-Tank Trailers allow business owners and fleet managers to haul bulk diesel to their jobsites without requiring a CDL or HAZMAT endorsement from the driver (Miller has neither). This is made possible by isolating diesel in eight separate 115-gallon, DOT-compliant non-bulk tanks. Tanks are joined by a manifold to a common pump, creating complete isolation during transport and controlled dispensing of fuel at the jobsite. Each trailer is built to maintain a low profile and is configured to provide optimal balance and a smooth ride at highway speeds, as well as in the most rugged, off-highway conditions.
Each trailer can be outfitted with an optional utility box that houses additional tools such as air compressors, greasing systems, and more—and the front compartment is designed to handle Thunder Creek’s exclusive 2-in-1 diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) storage and dispensing system.
“I currently don’t have a CDL,” says Miller who also does not carry a HAZMAT endorsement. “That was my first concern when I interviewed. But, with the Thunder Creek MTT 920, we’re at 115 gallons of fuel per tank, which is under the 119-gallon threshold. Just to make sure, we filled the trailer up completely and put it on a scale. It’s under the [CDL] weight limit, which is great for someone like me with just a regular driver’s license. I can get the job done without having to worry about any extra qualifications. It’s also great for a lot of business owners, because the demand for workers is extremely high right now.”
GREASE AND FUEL
Miller put more than 12,000 miles on his truck and trailer in the first four months the company owned it—and it has been front and center in keeping the company’s equipment fueled and greased.
“On some of our bigger jobs, things can get busy,” says Miller. “At one job I’m thinking of, we started with a D-11, 330, 336, and a 380 all moving on the same site. I was dumping 600 gallons of fuel every day and filling a 1,000-gallon tank that was there. I would make a run once a day (no matter what) and sometimes twice a day. To keep machines moving at full potential, I had to be on my toes.”
The focus is also not just on the big equipment—each site includes countless pieces of compact equipment that are critical to uptime, even if they take lower quantities of fuel.
“There are also lots of jobsites where we have small equipment running and there aren’t enough service trucks to fuel them,” says Miller. “Every one or two days, I swing by those jobs and fill up the smaller equipment.”
CRITICAL FOR UPTIME
The rear utility box with air compressor and 35-pound greasing kit has also been critical for the company’s fleet management activities. While built primarily for fuel, the Thunder Creek trailer helps considerably in daily tasks critical to keeping equipment up and running—especially in hot and dusty Arkansas summers.
“I’ll get set up and they’ll bring me a piece of iron,” explains Miller. “The operator will jump off, grab the fuel, I’ll grab filters. I’ll blow filters. They’ll usually put the filters back in as I’m greasing the equipment. So, me and an operator basically attack it. I think the most I’ve done is 27 to 30 machines in a day. It was a good day. And then some days I get 10 to 12 just depending on my traveling. So, with the amount of equipment we have, you could do this every single day and it still takes you three days to touch the machine again.”
GOOD DEEDS TOO
It has also helped Miller serve as a good Samaritan from time to time.
“I actually was pulled on the side of the road to change the tire for somebody one day,” he says. “There was an older couple pulling in—they needed a tire change. So, I used my Thunder Creek to do a tire service. It was funny because I wasn’t trying to get caught, but I got caught, and the boss drove by and snapped a picture of it. I said ‘Sorry, boss.’ He’s like, ‘No, I wasn’t mad at you—that was awesome.’”
Whether pumping thousands of gallons of diesel over the course of a busy day or helping save the day for local elderly couples in need of a hand—the addition of the Thunder Creek MTT 920 has only helped James A Rogers Excavating do good.
“It would take at least two employees all day to fuel the same amount with service trucks. I can do the same work in a single day with the Thunder Creek. It only took me about 45 minutes to read the manual and understand what I needed to do. The trailer is very user-friendly. It looks complex, but it works with common sense. Plus, it looks great with the truck. I love it.”
About the Author:
Cole Walker is a territory sales manager with Thunder Creek Equipment. For more, visit thundercreek.com/equipment/daily-fluids/no-hazmat-fuel-and-service-trailer.
Modern Contractor Solutions, September 2023
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