There’s Money in Your Service Trucks – EnPak Helps You Find ItBy Joanne Costin
Article Date: 11-01-2009
Copyright(C) 2009 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
Miller Electric’s EnPak Mechanic Series saves on fuel and maintenance, while extending truck engine life.
Think about it. For every minute your service trucks are running at idle to power an air compressor, generator, or hydraulic pump, you’re paying for fuel and maintenance on a vehicle that’s going nowhere. “These trucks typically idle about 50 percent of the time,” said Rick Beeson, director of business development for Miller Electric’s Power Products Group. Beeson believes the company’s EnPak Mechanic Series offers a better way to give mechanics what they need, while reducing fuel and maintenance costs for dealers.
"The objective of the Enpak is to turn off your truck, turn on your Enpak," said Beeson. "We’ve taken all the functions of a mechanic’s truck and integrated them into one little power pack so you can turn off the seven-liter engine and run our little one-liter engine while performing all functions, typically at an enhanced level."
The idea emerged in 2003 when the company was doing market research on its line of welding products. "Our initial attempt was to build a better Bobcat [welding machine] but then through our market research, we came to realize that they didn’t need a better Bobcat, said Beeson. "So we basically started from scratch and built what the end-user needed, not what we had."
"The ability to run air, hydraulic and power tools with the truck turned off is really what sets this apart from anything else on the market," says Chris Wierschke, product manager for EnPak.
Do the Math
A fuel savings calculator on the EnPak Web site (www.enpak.com) enables dealers to calculate their own fuel savings by entering in their truck engine model, fuel costs, working days and duration they run under various operation conditions. Compared to a truck with a 325-hp engine, EnPak provides up to a 30 percent fuel savings. And if fuel costs continue to rise with an improving global economy, it will only add to the product’s value proposition.
While the initial cost of EnPak compared to a traditional PTO setup is higher, Beeson reports that the fuel savings-based payback period is typically two years, and often under a year. EnPak will soon have a total lifecycle analysis that takes into account other factors such as maintenance cost savings and asset life extension.
"You need to look at maintenance cost savings because you are maintaining a one-liter engine not a seven-liter engine," said Beeson. A traditional PTO setup puts excessive idle time on the truck engine. According to Beeson, a field truck with 100,000 miles on it actually has the wear of a 200,000-mile truck on its engine and transmission. Because EnPak runs on its own 27-hp Kubota diesel engine, it can reduce hours on the truck’s drive train by up to 60 percent.
While the cost savings are substantial for dealers, the environmental benefits are worth noting. Reduced idling time means lower overall emissions, but an added benefit is that emissions are directed up and away from the mechanic’s work area versus a typical mechanic’s truck with a PTO where the exhaust pipe empties out into the work area. Adding a product like the EnPak Mechanic Series to a mechanic’s truck might be a cost-effective way to provide a meaningful employee benefit.
Engine noise is reduced by up to 10dB compared to a typical PTO system due to EnPower technology that adjusts engine speed to load requirements. "We monitor load on the engine and we run the engine as slowly as we can at all times," said Beeson. "The engine ends up running at idle for the most part, which is what really drives reduced emissions and sound, and also extends truck engine life."
An optional EnVerter is an electrical power converter unit inside the EnPak that creates 60 hertz/120 volts of pure sine wave power at all speeds, 300 watts at 1800 rpm, and 2,400 watts at all other speeds. Mechanics can use it to power computers, work lights, battery chargers and tools. "A computer typically requires super clean, super pure power," said Beeson, "and that is what the EnVerter provides."
Ease of Use
EnPak shares both the truck’s fuel supply and battery for added convenience. And there is no need to retrain mechanics because they can continue to use the crane manufacturer’s remote.
The EnPak remote panel is located at the back of the truck, right where the mechanic needs them. Operators don’t have to climb in and out of the truck to turn EnPak on. The remote panel provides diagnostics for engine and air compressor functions such as fuel usage and engine RPM.
More cargo room and less weight are also a benefit when you compare a traditional PTO setup with EnPak. "You have taken two space-consuming pieces off the truck and replaced them with one unit," said Beeson. Some dealers may then opt to purchase a smaller 11-foot truck; particularly if they are in an urban setting.
New or Retrofit
According to Beeson and Wierschke, there are a number of ways to get EnPak on your service trucks. First, you can specify it on a new truck, while saving yourself the cost of the PTO option, a separate engine-driven welder generator and a hydraulic air compressor. Second, you can install it on a one- or two-year-old truck, retrofitting it with EnPak on the current chassis, and extending the life of the chassis. "The payback profile is different," said Beeson, "but it is still very attractive." The last option involves a complete retrofit, which typically means a brand new PTO and air compressor. In this situation installing an EnPak may prove easier because you won’t have to rewire the air compressor or PTO unit. "With the EnPak you can place that machine on the back of their new retrofitted truck and they are ready to go," said Wierschke.
In recent years products similar to the EnPak have hit the market, only to prove themselves unworthy. As a result, Beeson reports that some dealers approach the product with caution and want to know what makes the EnPak different. "We tell them it’s the components. It’s a Kubota engine. It’s a Miller generator. It’s an Eaton hydraulic pump and it’s a Miller-warranted air compressor," said Beeson. The product’s engine has a 2,000-hour warranty.
"We have a reputation in the field to maintain. It took us three years to develop this and it works," he said.
The EnPak team is eager to have dealers put their product to the test. Visit www.enPak.com to learn more, or to contact your local dealer for a demonstration. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll find the cash.
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