Walk in a Technician’s Shoes — Switching to the EnPak® All-In-One
January 9, 2014
A Brandeis Machinery & Supply field service technician shares his experience transitioning to the Miller® EnPak all-in-one system.
Service Tech Q&A
Field service technicians like Kevin Conner typically run air, electricity and hydraulics off their truck's power take-off (PTO). When noise and frequent maintenance issues became a problem, Conner’s employer — Brandeis Machinery & Supply — decided to install the Miller EnPak power system, an integrated power source that runs pneumatics, hydraulics and power tools with the truck turned off. The result? Brandeis noted a 55 percent reduction in idle time and 36 percent reduction in engine hours.
Miller sat down with Conner to talk about his experience with the performance of operating functions and overall operator environment.
Q: Have you always wanted to be a mechanic? How did you get your start?
A: I like taking things apart and putting them back together. I got started doing it on go-karts and minibikes and it just went from there. I'm lucky enough to do it for a living.
Q: Your truck has a Stellar 10,000-pound crane and compressor that ran off the truck’s PTO. What did you think of switching out your old equipment for the EnPak?
A: My very first thought was that's a really novel idea to have a hydraulic pump that runs the crane in a separate unit, and that I'd just like to get my hands on that and see how that works.
Q: What kind of air tools do you use, and how did the EnPak perform with them?
A: My air tools consist of everything from die grinders, air drills, air grinders, 3/8-inch impact wrench, 1/2-inch impact wrench, 1-inch drive impact wrench. I notice a significant increase in the volume of air available with the EnPak, especially using a 1-inch drive impact. You no longer have to wait between fasteners for the air to build back up.
Q: What’s your favorite feature on the EnPak so far?
A: There are some smart features built into the way that EnPak generates air. When I'm just using cleaning air in a small quantity, the compressor kicks on and stays at an idle and keeps up just fine. Then, if I use a 1-inch impact and it sees that big drop in air pressure really fast, it will kick up immediately instead of waiting all the way down to the cut-in pressure. With the old system, as soon as you hit cut-in pressure and you start building air, the truck idles up to 1,200 rpm and noise level obviously goes way up. There is also a certain amount of fuel being used there. It's a lot more efficient to make air at an idle. And the way that the compressor is driven is a lot smarter, more efficient way to make air (compared to hydraulically off the PTO).
Q: Before the EnPak, you ran your crane off your truck’s PTO. How has switching to the EnPak affected your crane operation and capabilities?
A: We still have full control capabilities, and one nice new feature we've incorporated is an inching (low speed) feature where, if you're under 20 percent of the trigger function, EnPak doesn't even idle up.
Q: How has the EnPak affected your jobsite environment in terms of noise?
A: The truck, the compressor and the PTO — you put all three of those together and it's just a constant hum. The noise reduction of having the truck shut off is significant. The sound level and quality are such that normal conversation between mechanics is easier. Over the course of the day, it makes a big difference in frustration level and fatigue level. For me, the noise reduction is the biggest advantage in the field. The exhaust fumes are also quite a bit less, it's not even noticeable.
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