R & D Trucking has a fleet of 27 dump trucks, including five newer Doosan MT41 articulated dump trucks.
While the coal-fired electric-generating facilities in West Virginia provide power to that state and several other areas as well, they are also the economic engine driving many of the businesses associated with the industry.
“With five power plants within 30 miles, the impact on my company is significant,” said Rick Buzzo, owner of R & D Trucking of Morgantown Inc., Granville, W.Va. “A few years ago, when one electric company pulled out, we thought the area would really suffer. Then a new seam of coal was discovered and another company came in.”
Power Plant Construction
One firm that hires R & D Trucking is an excavating company that does work for power plants. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations require the plants to address the discharge of wastewater into lakes, rivers and other waterways. As a result, truckloads of material, such as gravel, ash and clay, are moved to create ponds that store wastewater from coal combustion. R & D has a fleet of 27 dump trucks, including five newer Doosan MT41 articulated dump trucks, available to do this type of work.
“Normally one of these projects begins every other year, but due to the new EPA regulations, these efforts are high priority,” Buzzo said. “They usually last from one to two years. However, we are often limited to six or seven months of work because of the weather.”
Stopping ability is, of course, one of the most important aspects of the work, which takes place on mountain terrain often 1,000 to 1,500 ft. (304 to 457 m) from top to bottom.
“The excavation company is a production outfit, so my trucks are constantly moving in a circle,” Buzzo said. “They have 800- to 1,200-ton excavators that fill a truck with three or four bucket loads and you are quickly on your way again, back down the mountain. This goes on for five 10-hour days and one 8-hour day each week.”
Needless to say, Buzzo needs a top-notch fleet of trucks to keep up with the grueling pace. In the last two years, he added the MT41s, purchased from Gibson Machinery, the area Doosan ADT dealer with stores in Neville Island, Penn. (Pittsburgh), and Oakwood Village, Ohio (Cleveland).
Doosan ADTs Pass the Test
“Due to the high cost of labor, the company that hires us for the power plant work wanted me to look at a larger size of truck,” he said. “I had been using 30- and 35-ton units, but they suggested I look in the 40-ton range. I knew nothing about Doosan before I tested the MT41s on a fast-paced production job. The results were impressive — they had power, moved quickly and didn’t break down. The company that we were working for gave the Doosan trucks a ’thumbs up.’”
Buzzo, who has been in trucking since 1975, saw some features on the Doosan units that were very appealing for the type of work he does.
“When a pond is built, it looks like a big bowl with drainage pipes installed all the way around it,” Buzzo said. “[The] articulated dump truck I was using was not cut out for this type of work. The suspension system was often damaged. The MT41 has a much better suspension system. It has no problem maintaining contact with the ground.
“The Doosan trucks are lighter and shorter than our 35-ton trucks, which means they are easier to move around,” he said. “Being able to transport them on a lowboy meant we did not have to purchase a new semi-tractor and trailer.
“My drivers report that the cab on the MT41 is much more comfortable than our other trucks,” he said. “When you sit in there for 10 hours a day, a wider, roomier cab is important. So, too, are the low noise levels and low cabin vibration levels.
“I really like the power of the MT41. Although speed is not our biggest requirement, we need them to go up to the top of the hill and not bog down. With some of our older trucks, you don’t always have the feeling that you are going to make it to the top.”
Buzzo said that his trucks take on a full range of jobs from easy to difficult.
“Working inside a power plant is very easy on the trucks,” he said. “You cannot drive more than 7 mph and you will always have a spotter with you. A truck working inside will likely get about 15 loads a day. They won’t want to overload you because nothing is supposed to spill. Outside is a different story. They want you moving all the time, carrying about 100 loads a day. The pace is fast.”
When working in the mountains, Buzzo said his drivers have to have “their nerves in place and confidence in their equipment.” By adding Doosan ADTs to his fleet, he is confident that both concerns will be addressed.
This article was reprinted with permission from DoMORE Magazine Winter 2012 issue.