Vehicle fleets have been buffeted by the economic storm for the past three years. Historically, local recovery from recessions can last as long as 18-24 months following national economic recovery due to the lag in tax revenue collection associated with an economy in recession. In the U.S., the National League of Cities has expressed concern that the current downturn will last much longer in certain areas.
Fleet managers are taking various steps to address these economic constraints. And making the right choice on truck equipment and accessories — particularly in regard to a vehicle mounted air compressor — can assist fleets in addressing issues that are of particular concern. Fleet managers continue struggling to avoid the trap of making the wrong decision for what appears to be the right, “green” choice and choosing the right air compressor system can be part of this challenge.
Consider the following example:
A truck-mounted 2011 6L 300 hp diesel work truck utilizes 50 HP to produce 150 CFM and .01 g/hp-hr PM, the maximum allowable emissions per Environmental Protection Agency regulations. Meanwhile, a skid-mounted diesel drive with a 2011, 10 hp diesel engine utilizes 10 hp to produce 30 CFM at .3 g/hp-hr PM, which is the maximum allowable emissions per EPA regulations.
A job that takes 10 minutes with the truck-mounted 150 CFM air system will produce a total of .0833 g/hp-hr, whereas the same job with the skid-mounted 30 CFM compressor can take up to five times as long and produce a total of 2.499 g/hp-hr. This produces 30 times more, not including additional energy and resources required in the manufacturing process to build, and eventually dispose of, two engines instead of one.
A smaller, more fuel-efficient system does not necessarily mean green. Cost savings must take into account fuel, labor and the loss of resources. Most vehicle-mounted air compressors offer a variety of features that allow them to perform in extreme conditions while still addressing budgetary concerns and environmental impact. Not all air compressor systems have all the necessary features, or are reliable in those circumstances.
Given the range of services provided by public works and utility fleets, performing in extreme weather conditions — intense heat, severe freezes, dangerous snow events, heavy precipitation and strong winds — is considered mandatory. The public relies on public works and utility fleets for their safety in these extreme conditions. As such, fleets need to be able to rely on their vehicles, equipment and tools when these situations arise. Choosing the right vehicle-mounted air compressor can ensure reliability at these times as well as quick response while still addressing budgetary and environmental concerns. The types of vehicle-mounted air compressors available that could manage these conditions include: gas/diesel drive, PTO direct drive and PTO shaft drive, PTO hydraulic underdeck, underhood and hydraulic above deck.
When making a choice on a vehicle-mounted air compressor system, fleet managers need to take into account their key concerns — tight budgets and environmental impact — as well as the ability of the equipment to handle extreme weather conditions that are routine for a fleet. Longevity and reduced maintenance needs contribute toward improved budgets, while proper equipment functioning reduces the environmental impact.
Information provided by Lurene Haines, Vehicle-Mounted Air Compressors: www.vmacair.com.