Severe Weather and Larger Vehicles Reshaping Utility Maintenance Operations

July 9, 2018
The escalation in severe weather across the country, coupled with the use of larger commercial vehicles has compelled utility fleet operations to reevaluate key systems in their maintenance shops.

The escalation in severe weather across the country, coupled with the use of larger commercial vehicles has compelled utility fleet operations to reevaluate key systems in their maintenance shops.

According to Alan Tye, owner, and president of Alan Tye & Associates, an exclusive Stertil-Koni heavy-duty vehicle lift distributor in the Mid-Atlantic region, “We have seen firsthand the rising number of powerful storms across the region causing widespread pressure on public and private utility companies. Their charge is to maintain 100 percent up time. That means vehicles need to be prepared and ready to deploy at all times.”

Tye noted that high-performance ultra-safe heavy duty vehicle lifts are playing a larger role in the process. “As a result,” added Tye, “we have seen our utility customers place an even greater emphasis on preventative maintenance.”

Tye’s company is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, and services Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Over the past two decades, Tye and his colleagues have seen how utility vehicles themselves have become highly specialized and even heavier. “What’s more,” he added, “the heavy duty vehicle lifts manufactured to service them have correspondingly had to up their game.”

That in turn has led Tye to grow and transform his business. More specifically, ATA has increased the size of its team — notably installation and service — and takes great pride in providing technicians with the latest software and tools that allow them to schedule their time efficiently to respond to all customer needs.

Tye stated, “The most popular lifting system for utility fleets is a set Mobile Columns Lifts, which are particularly portable and can be operated by a single technician.  In addition, with the latest advances in wireless technology, mobile columns can communicate with other columns in a set without interconnecting communications cables — making floor space easier and safer to navigate. Mobiles also have tremendous capacity — up to 40,000-pounds per column.”

Other widely used lifts include the ECOLIFT, an ultra-shallow, full-rise axle-engaging inground scissor lift, allowing wheels-free servicing; SKYLIFT, a true, vertical rise platform lift permitting drive-on capability and easy access from all angles; and DIAMONDLIFT, a high performance telescopic piston lift that can raise up to 105,000-pounds in a three-piston configuration.

Context for utility fleets is also key. “Frequently, these large trucks are deployed to emergencies where undercarriages can become caked with mud, salt, and other grime. The SKYLIFT water-resistant Wash Bay model features hot-dip galvanized platforms allowing the vehicles to be thoroughly cleaned, thereby keeping battery and engine systems cool and spotless — all contributing to increased engine efficiency,” Tye added.

The company recently attended the Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference (EUFMC) in Williamsburg, VA. There, ATA staff showcased Stertil-Koni wireless Mobile Column Lifts and participated in key discussions with industry leaders.

In conclusion, Dr. Jean DellAmore, president of Stertil-Koni added, “The power and utility marketplace knows full well that safe and speedy maintenance is even more pressing — in part due to extreme weather occurrences. Stertil-Koni, for its part, is dedicated to delivering the very best in state-of-the-art manufacturing, operator ease-of-use and safety to fleet maintenance shops across North America.  We are proud to have Alan Tye & Associates serving the dynamic Mid-Atlantic region.  The company has done a terrific job and is a true leader in our field.”

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May 3, 2012