Many of the Mack trucks used by Brundage-Bone, the world’s largest concrete pumping company, spend much of the day suspended in mid-air. The trucks, fitted with concrete pumps, are used on infrastructure sites that ready-mix trucks cannot access, including high-rise buildings, stadiums and bridges.
When pumping concrete, the trucks are stabilized by four outriggers, which lift some or all of the truck tires off the ground. The pumping equipment is then powered by the truck motor working at 1700 rpm. It is an extreme work environment that puts the vehicles in a classification that is worse than the “severe” category listed in service manuals. The truck’s position places unique strain on the suspension, steering and many of the components. Concrete is also abrasive and wears down components it comes in contact with. And the trucks are loaded to full capacity. “There is no loading or unloading of cargo. 100 per cent of truck hours and miles are completed at max capacity,” says Brundage-Bone Concrete Pumping President and CEO Bruce Young.
Meanwhile, uptime is essential. The pumping units are highly specialized, very expensive and few in number. “Eliminating any downtime is key to success, since there are limited back-up options if even one of the trucks is taken out of service,” says Bruce Young. Brundage-Bone needs specialized solutions for its more than 500 trucks. For example, the ability to put pressure on concrete is directly limited by the power output of the truck engine. So, even smaller vehicles in the company’s fleet have large engines. And because the trucks are used at different sites around the United States, they need to be adapted to cold climates and some of the country’s most stringent weight laws. For its part, Mack Trucks has invested heavily in uptime solutions tailored to the concrete pumping industry.
On the vehicle side, Mack Trucks has worked with Brundage-Bone to find specialized solutions to maximize payload and reliability. While, on the service side, Mack Trucks provides its customers in the concrete pumping business with dedicated service and support. Its support hotline is manned by professionals with extensive experience from the concrete industry. The team is also integrated with Mack Trucks GuardDog Connect telematics system, which monitors the health of vehicles. And instead of spending a lot of time communicating needs, goals and warranty information with local dealers, Brundage-Bone’s sales and support is managed nationally, while accessing service from 50 Mack dealerships across the USA.
BRUNDAGE-BONE HAS been using Mack trucks since its founding three decades ago. Although they have tried other brands through the years, the company keeps coming back to Mack. Most of Brundage-Bone’s 450 concrete pumping vehicles are Mack TerraPro Cabovers. But, as Brundage-Bone has developed its business to include a concrete recycling division, Eco-Pan, its vehicle fleet has diversified. The concrete recycling side of the business makes use of 60 Mack Granite flatbed trucks with knuckle booms, a vehicle configuration that is the product of Mack’s work with the company to design a new truck that maximizes payload. Now, Brundage-Bone is updating its fleet with mDRIVE, which they hope will help them recruit and retain drivers. Even though everyday reliability is the largest factor in choosing its vehicles, the truck as a working environment is becoming an increasingly important factor. “We’ve started to focus more on driver comforts,” says Bruce Young.