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Auto Salvage Company Uses Wheel Loaders in Unique Way

You won't find this technique in any manual.

Thu August 01, 2013 - Midwest Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

More than 3.5 million vehicles a year are deemed a total loss, originating from places such as insurance companies, car dealerships, rental car companies, fleet lease companies, donations, and law enforcement agencies.

Because there is a huge market for these vehicles or the parts they contain, companies like Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA), one of the largest salvage auto auction companies in North America, bring buyers and sellers together to give these vehicles new life. Hyundai Construction Equipment, Americas Inc. is helping make the logistics of these transactions as smooth as possible.

When a vehicle comes to IAA, the salvage experts have a very precise process to get it into inventory, displayed on a sale pad when it’s ready for auction, and then prepare it for transport once it is sold. At its Kansas City branch, IAA depends on a fleet of Hyundai HL757TM-9 wheel loaders to make this a very efficient process.

"Our business is timeline driven, and we have to transport a vehicle very quickly from drop zone to inventory to sales pad," said John Williams, manager of IAA’s Kansas City branch. “We need machines that are quick and consistent.”

Two years ago, IAA was looking for a new solution in wheel loaders and contacted The Victor L. Phillips Company (VLP), a heavy equipment sales and rental company headquartered in Kansas City. Sales Representative Rob Maggard sold IAA’s Kansas City branch its first Hyundai HL757TM-9 in 2011, and today the branch has three of these models. Due to the success with these machines in Kansas City, IAA branches in Minneapolis, Michigan and Ohio have also purchased HL757TM-9’s.

Hyundai’s TM (Tool Master) line of wheel loaders is appropriate for jobs requiring special attachments, such as forks, log grapplers or hay handlers. IAA’s operators attach forks onto the HL757TM-9’s to lift, carry, and place vehicles, whose weights range from a few thousand to 10,000 lbs. (4,536 kg), without causing any further damage to them.

IAA also has a sweeper to clean debris from the parking lot and a bucket for snow removal. "We can change attachments quickly, and really appreciate how our company, VLP and Hyundai were all able to partner on these machines and their attachments," said Williams. "Plus, these wheel loaders are great for the tight spaces we often times operate in."

All three HL757TM-9’s run eight hours a day, five days a week. Each one touches approximately 100 vehicles every day, and operators put around 75 mi. (121 km) on each one during a standard work day. "This is the only application of Hyundai loaders in the country that we have heard of," said Rob Maggard.

IAA operator Keith Miller, who has operated loaders and other heavy equipment for 25 years, said "Hyundai is the best machine I’ve ever driven," Miller appreciates the performance, precision, fast cycle times and smooth ride of the Hyundai HL757TM-9 fleet. These loaders are powered by a reliable, fuel-efficient, low noise Cummins Tier-III QSB6.7 engine (170 gross hp [127 kW]) electronically controlled for optimum fuel to air ratio and clean, efficient combustion. Operators benefit from the flexibility of three engine modes (power, standard, or econo) which range from full power to reduced fuel consumption.

In addition to performance, Miller enjoys the comfort of the HL757TM-9 especially the tilting/telescopic steering column, easily adjustable to best suit the operator’s comfort level. That feature comes standard, as do the comfortable seat, powerful climate control system, AM/FM stereo with MP3 and USB capabilities, and 5.7 in. (14 cm) wide color LCD screen that allows the operator to easily and efficiently control the machine.

At IAA, machine maintenance is a huge priority. "We need to have all three of our loaders running all day, every day, to get the job done. If a machine breaks down, that will stick in your head, and that just hasn’t been the case with Hyundai," said Williams. Miller and the other wheel loader operators at IAA start off every morning doing routine maintenance checks, made easier by the HL757TM-9’s conveniently located coolant and transmission oil site gauges, and ground-line access to fuel and oil filters, grease fittings, fuses, and other machine components. The HL757TM-9 is equipped with long life hydraulic filters with 1,000 hours service intervals, and Hyundai certified hydraulic oil can last up to 5,000 hours before changing.

Another valuable maintenance tool for IAA is Hi-mate, Hyundai’s proprietary remote management system that provides operators and dealer service personnel access to vital service and diagnostic information via an online portal. VLP’s service department monitors IAA’s three HL757TM-9’s, alerts IAA when the machines are due for routine maintenance, and then finds convenient times to come and work on them.

"We really appreciate how the VLP and Hyundai work in partnership with us to keep our fleet well maintained," said Williams. "We experience minimal down time because of Hyundai’s Hi-mate technology combined with the superior service we get from VLP."

Williams also is very impressed with Hyundai’s warranty. "These machines can be very expensive to fix. Hyundai’s warranty of three years or 3,000 hours on the entire machine, and five years or 10,000 hours on the machine’s structure, is something I didn’t see from the competition."

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