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Western Star 6900 XDs Up to the Task for Callanan Industries

Fri January 11, 2008 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Callanan Industries’s two Euclid 25-ton (22.7 t) rigid frame trucks were like the company’s Old Yeller. Each had served the company loyally since 1968.

Age was catching up to the trucks. Parts had become so hard to find that Callanan sometimes resorted to repairing them with used parts. Operators complained about how loudly they ran and how uncomfortable they were to operate.

Charles Machell, general manager of Callanan’s aggregate plant in Cropseyville, N.Y., needed to explore replacement options.

“At first, I considered purchasing articulated trucks,” began Machell. “But at times, our stockpiles get very high and safety, of course, is always a consideration. With an articulated truck I was concerned that when drivers drove to the top of the stockpile and went to dump their loads, they would be unable to see where their rear tires lay in relation to the edge of the stockpile, which definitely concerned me.”

Machell also believed that an articulated truck would be less stable than a rigid frame truck when unloading material — an instability, he worried, could cause the former to tip on its side.

After further deliberation, Machell and Callanan Industries decided to purchase two Western Star 6900 XD 40-ton (36.3 t) dump trucks from Tracey Road Equipment of Albany, N.Y. The trucks, though popular in other parts of North America, were first ones sold in New York State.

Callanan’s 6900 XDs are equipped with J & J Hardox dump bodies, also provided by Tracey Road Equipment and its sales representative, Don Rickard.

Since acquiring the trucks this past July, Machell said they’ve been in operation 11 hours a day, five days a week and have been “extraordinarily reliable and operated nearly flawlessly.”

The new 6900 XDs have matched capacity with Callanan’s holding bins, which has improved efficiency at the plant.

“Our quarry operates with a ’bin load-out system,’ which loads the trucks, which are then used to stockpile the materials,” said Machell. “This system, as opposed to other systems in which the material would be hauled from the crusher via conveyors to the stockpile, crushes the materials and drops them into holding bins. The trucks pull under the holding bins and receive their load of materials and then haul it directly to the stockpile.”

Stability and safety, two very important concerns Machell was looking to resolve as he shopped for replacements for Callanan’s two Euclids, have been addressed by the two 6900 XDs.

“The back of the truck is wider than the front of the truck, which makes it even easier for the operators to see the rear wheels of the truck as it approaches the edge of the stockpile,” said Machell. “The increased width in the back also improves the stability of the truck when dumping. Both trucks [6900 XDs] were specially equipped with many custom features, but the two dump cylinders and the larger hinge pins have particularly paid off and, again, increased the truck’s stability when dumping.”

As the company and Machell researched trucks, both knew that for the Cropseyville plant, they would need ones that had as short a wheel base (195 in.) as possible because of the tight turn radii that would be required of them.

“These Western Star trucks allowed us to shorten up the frame as much as possible and still give us the 40-ton capacity that we were looking for,” Machell said. “We had no particular concerns about the trucks holding up in this application, as they have already been used and stood up well in coal mine operations.”

Fuel efficiency has been yet another benefit the company has realized since purchasing the 6900 XDs.

“We were pleasantly surprised after purchasing the trucks to find that we were saving approximately 20 gallons of fuel a day, which at current prices relates to savings of about $1,200 a month,” said Machell.

Callanan’s operators haven’t been missing the old Euclids, either.

“These new trucks operate very quietly and run much faster than our old rigid frames. Our cycle time has decreased dramatically,” Machell said. “And needless to say, our operators are thrilled with the new trucks. The 40-year-old Euclids certainly offered nothing in creature comforts and ease of operation when compared with the new Western Star trucks. The drivers certainly enjoy these comforts, which allow them to stay in the truck for longer periods of time. The visibility is better, which also helps alleviate safety concerns.”

About Callanan Industries

Callanan Industries is a supplier of paving materials and construction services in New York State, providing a complete range of aggregates, asphalt paving, and ready-mix concrete products to state, federal, municipal, commercial and private customers.

The Cropseyville quarry serves Rensselaer, Albany and Washington counties and the company operates eight quarries in New York State.

Callanan Industries was founded by Peter Callanan in 1883 in South Bethlehem, N.Y., as an aggregate mining company. A forward thinking farmer and entrepreneur, Callanan pioneered the concept of a state highway system, and in 1895 won the first road building contract let by New York State.

In 1985, Oldcastle Inc. purchased Callanan Industries.

The materials from Callanan’s quarries are noted for being a high-friction rock, which is in high demand from area asphalt plants and concrete producers. This particular high-friction rock helps customers make spec. Callanan’s Cropseyville quarry produces approximately 500,000 tons (453,592 t) of product annually and has been in operation since 1951.

About Western Star

Western Star Trucks, a division of Freightliner, designs, manufactures and distributes heavy-duty custom trucks for long haul and vocational applications.

Founded in 1967, Western Star Trucks began with engineering and operations located at company headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, and production in Canada. To meet its customers’ growing demands for mining, logging and oil field heavy-duty trucks, the small Western Star plant would eventually become 250,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space and 50,000 sq. ft. of “just-in-time” warehousing. During the company’s growth in the coming years, improvements were made in efficiency and engineering as it manufactured custom-built Class 8 trucks for vocational applications.

In 2002, Western Star moved production to Portland, Ore. The new plant offered distinct advantages for Western Star from both a production and engineering standpoint, including the plant employees’ significant experience in building a wide range of custom trucks and the proximity to modern development and testing facilities. That same year, Western Star introduced the LowMax package. Available on several models, the LowMax features a sleek lower-profile stance and lots of custom stainless steel accessories. CEG

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