Brains & Brawn

ROAD KING TECH. WATER DISPENSING This Montreal-based business is currently shipping RK3000 vehicle-tracking and management systems with its Ready Mix


This Montreal-based business is currently shipping RK3000 vehicle-tracking and management systems with its Ready Mix option, the RK8100 concrete controller, and Trac18 tracking software. The RK3000 controls the water valve on the mixer truck through information it receives automatically from the batching process. When the maximum water allowable has been reached, it closes the water valve automatically. If it is determined that more water is needed, the driver can request this from dispatching, and the engineer can add more water remotely. The system also interfaces with the client’s dispatching system feeding it information on the nine steps of concrete delivery. Currently, Trac18 software interfaces with the Marcotte, and the soon-to-be-completed Systech and Command Alkon batching and dispatching systems. The company also is currently working on completely automated delivery without driver intervention, which it expects to be ready in six to eight months.


The company introduced the first-ever side-curtain airbag driver protection system on a front-discharge mixer at World of Concrete 2007. The RollTek Side Roll Protection System, now available on the S-Series cab forward placement mixer, is part of a comprehensive Safety@ 360_ initiative designed to enhance safety for those in the ready mixed industry. Originally designed by LifeGuard Technologies in 2003, RollTek was integrated into the S-Series through a partnership with Oshkosh.

The protection system uses a roll sensor to detect a rollover by monitoring the vehicle’s roll angle and rate. Then, it triggers safety devices in a pre-programmed sequence. In the event of a vehicle side-roll, the system automatically tightens the seat belt to reduce driver motion; lowers the seat to its lowest position to increase survivable space; locks the seat down to eliminate movement; pre-tensions the seat belt to position the driver for contact with the side airbag; and, deploys an inflatable tubular side-curtain airbag that protects and cushions the head and neck and prevents excessive head motion. The airbag activates in a fraction of a second, and remains inflated for several seconds, giving the driver enough protection for the duration of the accident. The system also records crash data before and after a roll event, helping fleet owners better understand and address the reasons for a particular accident.

The Safety @ 360_ initiative encompasses manufacturer offerings leading up to RollTek, including the Eagle Eye obstacle-detection device to prevent collisions for trucks operating in reverse, and Trimble DriveSafe System, which helps train drivers as it measures accelerations during various mixer maneuvers.


Ready-mixed producers can now gain control of an important cost-saving function with the new optional Stetter Mixer Automatic Revolution Technology (SMART) Drum. Smart Drum automatically maintains the optimum drum rpm, relieving operators of the need to activate a constant speed device. In loading or discharge modes, operators control drum rpm. In over-the-road situations after the truck has reached a preset threshold speed, Smart Drum keeps drum rpm independent of engine speed. Using industry trip and distance averages, Smart Drum extends the life of the vessel by more than 2.5 years, according to Schwing America engineers. Other benefits include improved mix quality, enhanced stability because the center of gravity is held constant, and less horsepower draw with resulting fuel savings from fewer drum rotations. A cab-mounted light bar notifies drivers when SMART Drum is engaged. The overall low-profile design results in fast loading and smooth discharge during low slump controlled slipforming or high-volume paving. Models are available from 10- to 11-yd, capacity in conventional or booster configurations. Û


While rear-mounted cameras enabling mixer truck drivers to better view what is behind their vehicle are becoming commonplace, Florida Rock Industries’ Alan Weeks and drivers thought more could be done to improve safety. The focus of Weeks’ concern was the area along the right-hand side of the trucks, which contains a blind spot making both right turns and merging problematic. I bought a motor home recently, and that thing has camera at the rear, the right, and the left, he explains. I wondered if we could get a similar set up for the mixer trucks.

The company had a few trucks fitted with rear cameras, but when you have a merging accident, that’s big bucks. We needed an extra tool and asked the drivers how they would want this system to work, he says.

When Weeks, a 35-year veteran of Florida Rock, took his idea for a right-side camera mounted on the mirror support, management questioned why no other company had a similar set up. That’s doesn’t mean anything to me, Weeks says. I drove a truck, and to have that good a field of vision helps a great deal. And the response from drivers was overwhelming. With the second camera, there are no blind spots.

With cameras and in-cab monitors supplied by Safety Vision, the system can also calibrate distance with a series of dots on the monitor screen. Weeks adds that the unexpected benefit of the cameras is better night vision. The cameras intensify the light at nighttime to the point where it almost seems like night vision, he says. There’s also a speaker system set up so the driver can hear someone behind him who might be guiding the vehicle backwards.

After a successful trial run on three or four trucks, Florida Rock decided to have the cameras mounted on all new trucks at the same time the mixer drums were installed. Although Florida Rock is not having older vehicles retrofitted with the camera set up, the company’s latest order of 70 Mack Trucks are being shipped upon completion to McNeilus for drums and cameras. The trucks are being distributed across each of Florida Rock’s five home state divisions (Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Sarasota).

In the cab, a single, dash-mounted monitor shows the rear view when the vehicle is moving forward or in reverse, but when the driver signals to turn right, the view from the right-side camera is activated. We tried a split-screen option at first, says Weeks. But it was too confusing and small. It’s better to have one larger image to look at.

According to Weeks, the early results were evident. At our last company meeting, we had no accidents reported for the trucks that were using the dual-camera system, he says. There’s no way this can’t help.


Accidents incurred by dangerous climbs to the top of a tanker can raise injury rates and insurance costs. The Automatic Manway Cover was designed to keep drivers on the ground while they prepare to load product. The cover is operated remotely from the ground or the cab, and can be installed on new or existing equipment. The Automatic Cover weighs less than 100 lbs. and seals directly to the trailer ring using a standard cover and gasket, with no welding required.


The Fleet Resource Manager has been tailored to meet the specific mobile resource management requirements of businesses engaged in a variety of vocational applications, including mixer, dump, municipal service and related operations. The construction package uses an in-vehicle device that records the movement of vehicles by relaying a GPS-based location information via wireless networks of servers. The package also takes advantage of an in-vehicle, text-messaging device that enables two-way communication between drivers and dispatch. Additional features now bundled with the new construction package include field service and route compliance reports, which measure planned versus actual route and work times.

Additional features of the package include:

  • Determining all vehicles’ locations, accurate arrival time estimates, and immediately determination of actual arrival times.

  • Accessing pour times, wash times and return-to-plant times.

  • Accessing fault codes and gather important engine, transmission, anti-lock brake systems (ABS) and cab information. The system is also be capable of generating accident reconstruction reports.

Maps, reports and other displays can be used from any location with internet access. Online technical support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and phone support is also available nationwide. Options include APIs that enable integration with existing applications; direct data that allows for the streaming of data to corporate data bases and applications; extended data storage for one year; satellite modem capabilities to retrieve data when vehicles are out of wireless coverage range; vehicle diagnostics to monitor engine and other vehicle information to minimize downtime and repairs.


By combining the properties of its patented SynGuard with an anti-abrasion chemical, the company has developed a simple process that coats the inside of steel or composite drums with a surface boasting 100 times the anti-stick properties of Teflon, the manufacturer notes. The process Û known as Fusion Û bonds with composite or steel to create a barrier that will not allow concrete to stick to the internal drum walls and fins. The immediate results include less water needed for washouts, maximum discharge, no added weight due to hardened concrete on the interior surfaces, and no damage to the fins due to concrete becoming detached during normal operations and top-side revolutions. Long term, product developers contend, SynGuard means no more chipping hardened material from the drum Û an expensive and dangerous process.

Fusion adheres to the interior surface of the drum, hopper and chutes; will not break down with any mix design; and will not fall into the mix solution. Lab results show that the process lasts up to 2,000 yd. of delivered material. It has been tested successfully with design mixes from 2,500 to 10,000 psi; will not interfere with compaction test results; and, is safe for all pours, including department of transportation jobs.

Producers will be able to order mixers from certain OEMs, including Indiana Phoenix and Shumaker Industries, pre-treated with Fusion at the factory. When a new application is due, producers can re-apply on site. The mixture can be sprayed, mopped or sponged on inside the drum or dome without entry. No mixing, heating or special drying equipment is required. Û Environmental Manufacturing Solutions, 877/ 424-6979,


To provide a better ride and handling for customers, this company will be offering two new options on its WorkStar and PayStar Series trucks. The Bendix ABS-6 Advanced with RSP stability system will provide core antilock braking and an ABS-based traction control and stability system. The Hendrickson Primaax Suspension will give drivers less truck vibration for driver comfort and improved truck longevity for 100 percent off-highway usage.

The Bendix system continuously monitors a variety of parameters and sensors to determine if the vehicle is reaching a critical stability threshold. When that situation develops, the stability program will automatically intervene to assist the driver. It can selectively apply vehicle brakes, as well as de-throttle the engine. Other features include a traction control system that makes adjustments based on vehicle orientation and the driver’s throttle output, and Core ABS, which prevents wheel lockup to help drivers maintain steering control while braking.

The Primaax air ride suspension system allows for a smoother ride and improved product life cycle time by helping to isolate the chassis and cab from the harsh shock of off-road terrain. It provides a stable suspension base for high center-of-gravity loads and applications. This feature results in increased wheel articulation, integrated stabilizer, quick-align system that simplifies axle alignment, and less vibration transmitted to the cab and chassis.


Trimble Mobile Solutions of San Jose, Calif., and West Chester, Ohio-based RS Solutions have announced the availability of the ReadySlump system with the TrimFleet Ready Mix solution in factory and aftermarket mixer truck installations. A truck-mounted process control that can measure, adjust and document concrete slump throughout the delivery cycle, ReadySlump was developed by RMC Industries’ Florida operations, which enlisted RS Solutions to commercialize and support the system. RMC predecessor, Cemex USA, has adopted ReadySlump for phased installation across its ready mixed businesses, and is one of five producers through which RS Solutions has deployed 2,500 units to date.

McNeilus Cos., with whom Trimble has an established alliance, will handle Ready-Slump and TrimFleet interface on factory installations; Trimble or RS Solutions’ third party installers will handle aftermarket installations. The integrated TrimFleet and ReadySlump shares job ticket information, vehicle location, status monitoring, driver messaging and ready mixed process control. TrimFleet is also integrated between the producer’s dispatch system and the concrete truck. The combined systems provide producers real-time management and quality control of concrete in transit.

The integrated solution will allow the Ready Slump status system to address the industry-wide problem of improper concrete mixing and inaccurate concrete slumps that can lead to higher mix costs, rejected loads, inconsistency and inferior-product quality claims. Û


While many bypass filtration products focus on removing solid contaminants from engine oil and hydraulic fluid, the OPS-1 Refiner System, from Oil Purification Systems Inc., extends the process a step further by removing of liquid contaminants as well. It was this aspect of the system that inspired mid-Atlantic regional dry bulk carrier F.T. Silfies of Nazareth, Pa., to run six months of data analysis with OPS and two other systems on 10 of its vehicles beginning in March 2006.

With such cement clients as Essroc, Hercules, Buzzi Unicem, Keystone, Lafarge, St. Lawrence, and Lehigh shipping to concrete and bagging customers like Roanoke, Eastern Concrete Materials, Nitterhouse, and Atlanta Concrete, Silfies management is always looking for a way to get the competitive advantage and keeps its vehicles on the road for as long as possible.

Silfies installed the system on a variety of 2006 and 2007 Mack Vision trucks that received degrees of usage in the course of a day or week: three day-run trucks; three that could feasibly run 24 hours per day; and four day-to-day vehicles, which averaged about 14 hours of use per day. The test results were so definitive that Silfies has since announced that it is installing the systems on all of its 225 bulk cement tanker and flat bed (bagged cement) tractors.

Cement and concrete dust eats up the engine, explains OPS Product Director Tom Bock. Our interest is keeping that from happening for as long as possible on any internal combustion engine that has oil pressure. Some companies only want us to extend the time between oil changes by 3,000 or 4,000 hours, while others want to get the maximum use out of every oil change.

The management at Silfies fell into the latter category. With regular oil changes occurring on each vehicle at about every 25,000 miles, the company’s maintenance team wanted to extend that to a targeted 100,000 miles. We initially installed the OPS on five units. We pulled samples after 15,000 miles, and the oil looked as pure as the day it went in, says Silfies President and CEO Randy Sheeler. Then we pulled at 30,000 miles Û just as pure. And while our target is 100,000 miles, we expect to exceed that number.

Sheeler estimates that at $250 per oil change and four changes per year per unit, the OPS will save his company about $225,000 annually just on oil changes. This doesn’t take into account labor and downtime, or the cost of each OPS unit, but it’s hard to argue with those numbers, he adds. Our mechanics were the most skeptical. They know how hard these trucks run. But when the oil analysis came back, and they saw the purity of the oil, they were impressed.

Sheeler also mentioned that he was concerned about the added weight such a system might put on his vehicles, but at about 11 lbs., these fears were alleviated. The system includes two filtration chambers, each 4 _ 9 in. and weighing only 5 lbs.

In the system’s first stage, the filtration unit removes particulates (solid contaminants) down to 3 microns, eliminating the 5- to 10-micron-sized particles that cause the majority of engine wear damage. In the second stage, liquid contaminants (mainly water, fuel and glycol) are removed by the OPS-1 evaporation chamber. Clean, filtered oil then returns to the engine. On the technical side, Bock explains that oil doesn’t actually break down; it gets contaminated. Our system reduces water, which reduces acid, he says. With the acid neutralized [thus, restricting corrosion, oxidation, and sludge and viscosity breakdown], a driver can use the oil a lot longer. OPS also takes out minute particles of diesel fuel, which gets washed back into the oil pan.

Bock says that all OPS packages are slightly different, depending on the fleet type. We offer customized layouts based on truck and engine specs, although the filter is usually placed on the frame rail, he adds. The system’s hoses are universal and work with all standard fittings. The filter is easy to access. The evaporator needs to be at least 12 inches from the oil pan and as vertical as possible. The return is a half-inch line.

Perhaps the OPS’s biggest selling point is that the company allows potential clients to test units on some of their vehicle for six to nine months to see if it satisfies their needs.

F T Silfies Inc will begin its trial of the OPS-1 Oil Refiner System on several of its 2006 and 2007 Mack Vision trucks. Û


The latest generation of the LG Alert has been released. The patented early-warning training device is designed to assist drivers in recognizing when they are approaching the safe operating limits of their vehicle. This version of LG Alert provides both axial display as well as G-Force indicators to vehicle operators. The ability to provide visual indicators for axial, as well as lateral, provides additional vehicle dynamics feedback to the operator, thereby improving operating safety. This new model also meets the requirements of SAE specification J1455 for environmental operating conditions for commercial vehicle electronics. A new housing design for the lateral display will enable the product to be used in harsh climatic conditions, including dust, sand, and severe terrain.


Tire over-inflation is a major cause of road, tire and vehicle damage, since high tire pressure concentrates vehicle weight to a small contact surface area, company engineers note. Reduced tire pressure, on the other hand, creates a longer footprint and distributes the vehicle weight over a larger contact surface area. Maximum tire pressure is only required when a vehicle is at highway speeds with a full load. When a load is reduced, the pressures also should be reduced. Also, road crowning causes unequal load sharing on dual tires with unequal tire pressures, resulting in irregular tire wear and increased stress to the road and vehicle.

The Tireboss tire pressure control system ensures equal tire pressure at all times. The system electronically controls tire pressures from the cab of the truck while the vehicle is in motion. Each system can be programmed to suit customer configuration and specific haul cycle requirements. All systems come with standard built-in safety systems and continuous tire pressure monitoring. The system benefits fleet owners by reducing maintenance costs and fuel usage, while improving dust control and safety on roads.


For consistent mix quality delivered to the job site, the 2007 FDB6000 six-axle front-discharge mixer features an optional electronic slump meter, which more accurately monitors concrete consistency inside the drum. The electronic monitor is GPS capable, so users can gauge slump from the batch plant. In addition to the meter option, the 2007 FDB6000 features the Interlube greasing system. Most points on the truck requiring lubrication Û including the axles, trunnion rollers, chute and suspension Û are automatically greased during operation. The FDB6000 includes a lighter-weight drum design that maximizes concrete payload capacity. An integrated P7300 straight drum-drive gearbox delivers more efficient and reliable drum rotation than the right-angle drives found on previous models. New pusher axles on the FDB6000 reduce truck weight, resulting in more payload. The truck’s standard 11-yd. mixer boasts a 46-in. paving-style drum opening for better low-slump concrete discharge and more consistent high-slump material flow. An Allison RDS 4500 Gen IV transmission is fully integrated into the vehicle. An on-board 120-psi water tank eases washout and cleanup.