Manager: Steve Hunter
Title: Transfer station supervisor
Fleet: Buncombe County Government
Operation: Regional waste hauler
Encompassing Asheville, NC, and the surrounding area, Buncombe County accepts waste from residents and commercial haulers at a transfer station, and then hauls it to a landfill with a small fleet of tractors and “ejector” trailers. Loaded to maximum GVWs, the combinations are backed up the active face of the landfill, where the loaded trash is pushed out for spreading by the landfill's equipment.
Especially on rainy days when the off-road surface gets soft and “soupy” from the constant traffic, the heavily loaded tires pick up “screws, nails, bolts and other stuff that floats to the surface,” says Steve Hunter, the transfer station supervisor. “We had 40 flats in a six-month period. If the flat came off the rim at the landfill, it could cost $500 to send out a service truck with a new tire. We'd also lose one to two hours, which is at least one load for that truck.” Even if the truck could make it back to the transfer station, the fleet still lost at least half an hour swapping out the flat tire.
The fleet of four tractor-trailer combinations was expected to handle 200 tons of trash a day, but it was hard to meet that goal when rain might mean three or four flats in just one day, according to Hunter. On top of that, the county was interested in increasing the transfer station's revenue by taking on more commercial trash.
“Our tire dealer suggested we try four tires with Goodyear's DuraSeal lining,” Hunter says. The proprietary technology is a barrier that seals itself when a screw or other object punctures the tread, even when the object is pulled out.
The first four Goodyear G287 MSA tires were put on one of the fleet's trailers over a year ago, “and we still haven't changed them,” says Hunter.
Given the success of that pilot program, the fleet began phasing out its old tires as they required replacement with DuraSeal ones. Today, flats are down by 75%.
“Occasionally, you'll get a bolt the size of your finger through a sidewall, and there's nothing anyone can do about that. But I'd say that well over 90% of my DuraSeal tires are still running without any flats,” Hunter says.
While the DuraSeal tires cost a bit more than tires without the puncture-sealing technology, the savings on flat service and tire replacement “more than cover that,” says Hunter. “They can be retreaded just like any other tire, and you still retain the sealing layer.”
Given the increase in productivity from the reduction in flats, the county went ahead with plans to expand transfer operations. Combining three new Mack Granite tractors (all equipped with DuraSeal tires) with more uptime for its original four trucks, the fleet is now moving 300 tons of trash a day, a 50% increase from the 200 tons a day it had been hauling. From Hunter's perspective, lower service costs and higher productivity are a pretty good payback for simply changing tires.
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