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Kenworth and T880s Meet the Challenge of Charah Solutions

Wed August 05, 2020 - National Edition

When Charah Solutions challenged Kenworth to meet its tough truck application specifications, the result was a success for its operations.

"We had a wide range and mix of manufacturers' trucks at different sites. I saw the need to come up with a better solution than anybody else had offered before," said Gavin Nawrocki, fleet manager of Charah Solutions. "Kenworth advertises that they make the World's Best trucks and I challenged them to do that."

Founded in 1987 and based in Louisville, Ky., Charah Solutions is a leading provider of environmental and maintenance services to the power generation industry. The company handles millions of tons of ash annually, which dramatically reduces the amount of ash sent to landfills and provides valuable recycled material.

Today, Charah Solutions has operations in more than 50 coal-fired and nuclear power generation sites across the United States.

"Cookie cutter trucks won't work on our sites because of the off-road conditions we are faced with every day. We recognized we needed a severe duty, rigid frame truck that you could not just go to the dealer lot and buy. It would have to be engineered for us," Nawrocki said.

"I shopped around at all the different manufacturers and approached our local Kenworth dealer, [Palmer Trucks in Louisville]. We decided on Kenworth because they were the only company willing to engineer a truck specifically for us…for our application and our needs," he said.

"Like everybody else, we want to haul as much as we can. We knew our target goal was 40 tons on these trucks. So, for example, we had to have some super heavy duty rear ends, among other specifications. Kenworth was the only company that could do that at the factory level and not have to go aftermarket with a lot of add-on things," he said.

Today, Charah Solutions operates more than 100 Kenworth trucks. The lineup is led by 50 Kenworth T880 dump trucks — including some with PACCAR MX-13 engines. The T880s also are specified with Allison 4500RDS 5-speed automatic transmissions, PACCAR front axle and Meritor rear axles. The company expects delivery of 23 more T880s this year. The fleet also operates four Kenworth C500s and a dozen Kenworth T370s.

"We haul anywhere from 41 tons to about 46 to 48 tons a truck, depending on the weight and whether we are hauling wet or dry material," said Travis Guillot, a Charah Solutions site supervisor at the company's site in Lena, La.

"We used to haul at this location with five trucks. It would take us from 15 to 20 loads per truck a day, and we worked six days a week. Since we went to the Kenworth C500, we're down here to about 10 loads per truck and operating five days a week, 10 hours a day. It cut down our hauling time big," Guillot said.

"We're keeping up with the production at the plant, and minimizing the usage of our equipment, too. This material can do some damage when it gets wet and sticky. The C500 has been handling it."

"Absolutely what we wanted and what we needed. The Kenworth T880 and C500 have exceeded our expectations. Our maintenance costs have been dramatically reduced. Driver retention has gone up. The Kenworths perform," Nawrocki said.

"Kenworth advertises that they make The World's Best trucks. I challenged them to do that…and they did," concluded Nawrocki.

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This story also appears on Truck and Trailer Guide.

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