Wash rack helping D F Hammonds run lean in Memphis
Mar 1, 2010 2:54 PM, By Charles E Wilson
D F Hammonds continued...
The carrier assigns drivers to tractors specified for efficient and environmentally friendly operation. “We've been a (Environmental Protection Agency) SmartWay program partner since 2008,” Denny says. “It has made us more aware of emissions and fuel economy. These are factors that our shippers also are looking at.”
All 28 of the carrier's tractors are International ProStar conventionals, and D F Hammonds Navistar International products for many years. “I have a long-time relationship with Diamond International, our Memphis-area International dealer,” Denny says. “Diamond International was very instrumental in the success of our company.”
Most of the tractors have 51-inch sleepers, which are comfortable enough for one or two nights a week on the road, according to Denny. New tractors delivered at the beginning of 2010 are powered by International's new Maxxforce 13 engine with advanced exhaust gas recirculation emission control. The engine is rated at 435 horsepower and is paired with a 10-speed Fuller transmission.
“The new engine is working well for us, and it has a good weight-to-horsepower ratio,” Denny says. “We were buying Cummins engines for many years, but all of our new trucks going forward will have the Maxxforce engine.”
A number of steps were taken to reduce the weight of the new tractors. This includes specifying Fontaine stationary fifthwheels and selecting as many aluminum components as possible, including air tanks, wheel hubs, and brake drums. The carrier downsized fuel tank capacity to dual 100-gallon tanks.
Weight savings also comes from the tires. The fleet runs Bridgestone and Michelin widebase tires in the drive- and trailer-axle positions. The carrier also is testing a new Continental widebase tire.
On the trailer side, D F Hammonds has standardized on non-code foodgrade tanks from Walker Stainless Equipment Company. “With Walker's frame and cradle support, we're able to spec a 12-gauge tank, which means more payload,” Denny says.
Most of the tanks are straight round, but the fleet does run a few double-conical units. Most have a 5,200-gallon capacity. Tank components include a three-inch outlet, foodgrade Runo pressure-relief vents, and hydraulically powered Ibex product pumps.
“We have product pumps on most of our trailers, but that may change in the future,” Denny says. “Some of our customers now have their own pumps at delivery locations, and we have been able to remove pumps and hardware from some of our trailers. We believe this is a positive development. The pump system weighs about 500 pounds, and we gain that much additional payload with the change. There is also less potential for product contamination.”
Product handling equipment on the trailers includes foodgrade Goodyear hoses with a 150-psi rating. Product hoses have stainless steel fittings. Running gear includes the Hendrickson Intraax air suspension and aluminum wheel hubs, and brake drums.
As successful as the carrier has been with liquid sweeteners, the management team believes some good diversification opportunities lie ahead. The fleet and in-house tank cleaning capability give the carrier significant flexibility.
“We're looking at some dry bulk opportunities, and we see some expansion possibilities for edible oils and other foods,” Hank says. “We have a new website under development that we believe will help us expand our customer base.”
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