Potential Savings, Payback Worth Investment of EnPak®
By Spencer Hinson, president, Lodi Equipment
A mechanic’s truck is a substantial and important investment to anyone whose job it is to guarantee the uptime of heavy equipment in the construction industry. Here are a few factors to look at when deciding to go with a traditional PTO set-up versus Miller Electric Mfg. Co.’s new EnPak Mechanic Series diesel-driven air compressor, hydraulic pump and generator.
Truck Engine Wear
Diesel engines are not built to idle at low RPMs for long periods of time. Unfortunately, the traditional mechanic’s truck setup with a PTO puts excessive idle time on the truck engine. One of my customers takes the following approach when determining the value of a used service or mechanic’s truck with a PTO: If the truck has 100,000 miles on it, it actually has the wear of a 200,000 mile truck on its engine and transmission. By eliminating the PTO and using an EnPak, you still retain all the functionality of your tools, and eliminate that extra wear and tear on your truck’s engine. Also, the service intervals will be properly reflected based on mileage rather than an excessive number of engine hours. Your truck will last longer while allowing you to do the same amount of work.
Fuel costs – regardless of recent fluctuations in the economy – are a major expense to anyone involved in servicing heavy equipment. While every application is different, the typical mechanic who idles the truck all day long could save thousands of dollars per year in fuel by switching to EnPak. Fueling is also simplified since EnPak is plumbed directly to the truck’s diesel fuel tank. There is no need to check and fill two separate tanks.
Benefits of Refurbishment
A number of our customers get more than one life out of a service body and crane by removing the equipment, refurbishing and installing on a new chassis. Frequently, the cost of a refurbishment is less than half the cost of a new body and crane. The EnPak creates an opportunity to replace the heavily used items – compressor, generator, hydraulic pump – with a single, advanced technology unit. You get all the savings advantages that come along with this new technology at a substantial savings.
Truck Bed Space
The EnPak is designed to mount either across the bed or on top of the side-pack. Since the stand alone air compressor is now eliminated, the mechanic can free up bed space by mounting the EnPak on the side-pack. For a mechanic who typically chooses a 14-ft. body and places an engine-driven welder/generator in the load space, he might now be able to use an 11-foot body. That switch might save them $3,000 or more and provide a shorter, more maneuverable truck. In addition, cabinet space is increased since the old stand alone welders are typically mounted with the controls accessed through the front cabinet. Welding machines used with the EnPak are small, lightweight machines that can be stored almost anywhere on the truck.
Truck Cost and Payback
Taking out the cost of such components as a PTO, pump, stand-alone air compressor and generator, and adding in the cost of an EnPak adds roughly $4,000-$8,000 to the cost of a mechanic’s truck (depending on what type of welder is specified). With heavy usage, the payback can be relatively short term from fuel savings alone. In addition, a longer chassis life can be factored in to the analysis providing significant savings. Lastly, with all the regulations on truck engine emissions and idling, it just make sense to shut off your truck engine – and turn on your EnPak.
Spencer Hinson is the president of Lodi Equipment in West Sacramento, Calif. and serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA). Lodi Equipment is a truck equipment distributor. The company installed the first EnPak at Peterson Tractor Company in 2008. All dollar figures given in this article are given as examples and are non-binding.