We love seeing customer success stories. Redbank Transport - family-owned like us - vows to stick with Eaton Automated Transmissions and is addressing maneuverability, fuel efficiency and driver comfort and safety.
Source: Eaton Success Stories
Redbank Transport is a family-owned, 65-truck fleet that specializes in moving aggregates and other construction materials throughout the tristate area of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. About 50 owner-operators are also involved in the day-to-day operations.
According to Dave Jackson, who describes himself as the co-owner, secretary, occasional driver, and wearer of many hats for Redbank, the company provides transport and hauling service for both commercial and residential customers. Jackson’s brother and two sisters also help manage the company that was founded by their father, John B. Jackson, Sr.
All agree on Peterbilt as their preferred nameplate to haul coal, fertilizer, road salt, construction materials and demolition debris. Hauling services include dirt removal, scrap metal transport, steel-bed dump trailer service, and moving sand, gravel and limestone.
They are also all in agreement where to buy those trucks – Peterbilt of Cincinnati, which is part of The Larson Group of dealerships with 17 locations in seven states. Like Redbank, the dealership is a family-owned business that Jackson says, “Has always provided us with the comfort of knowing we will be treated like family.”
Vehicle and driver demands at Redbank are much tougher than those encountered with a typical linehaul or over-the-road fleet. Inclement weather can make it especially demanding. In fact, says Jackson, it can be downright dangerous at times.
“We do a lot of off-road work,” adds Jackson, “and a lot of the time we are trying to get into a place where it just rained all night. It can get quite soft.”
“I’ve experienced it myself because I like to drive on occasion and test the equipment. Backing up on a hill and going around curves to get to where parking lot engineers say a curb is needed can be challenging. You need to get to the right gear in order to be able to do that successfully.”
Like most fleets, fuel efficiency is also important to Jackson.
“In the dump truck market we are loaded both ways most of time averaging up to 350 to 400 miles a day because the quarry is located so far away from town,” he says. “While good fuel consumption is not as important as it used to be because of the low cost of diesel today, it is still something we want to see to help us remain profitable.”
Profits also depend on making sure Jackson’s drivers are as comfortable as possible to deal with those distances, as well as those onerous conditions.
“Most of our drivers are paid on a percentage basis,” notes Jackson. “They are not just sitting around waiting for the clock to strike quitting time. They are out there hustling. The performance of our equipment is a huge issue.”
Jackson has been a longtime proponent of automated manual transmissions (AMTs) and first experimented with the design in 2012 to help satisfy his maneuverability, fuel efficiency and driver comfort requirements when purchasing four new dump trucks. That first order was placed with Eaton and he hasn’t looked back since that initial purchase.
He is now running eight dump trucks with Eaton UltraShift PLUS VCS models, four sleeper equipped trucks with UltraShift PLUS VHP models and two day cabs with UltraShift PLUS MHP models.
UltraShift PLUS transmissions have proven to be useful in vocational trucks, especially dump and heavy haul fleets, while providing a cost-saving alternative to torque converter automatic transmissions. Additional highlights include:
- Fully automated two-pedal design (no clutch pedal);
- Electronic Clutch Actuator (ECA) for smooth engagement;
- Safety features, including auto neutral and Intelligent Hill Start Aid, which prevent roll-back and roll-forward while launching on grades using foundation wheel brakes;
- Automatic, Manual and Low modes that offer drivers full control;
- Creep Mode, Urge To Move and Blended Pedal features for enhanced low-speed maneuverability;
- Excellent ratio coverage; and,
- Numerous PTO mounting options.
“When we first looked into Eaton AMTs it was because we wanted to improve our fuel mileage,” says Jackson. “We like the results and we are now seeing about 5.67 miles per gallon, which is a big improvement from what we were getting. That may not sound like much to the average guy, but the dump truck folks know that’s good.”
Back when Jackson initially spec’d the Eaton AMTs, he said he had some drivers with some “soreness issues and bad knees.” They now welcome jumping into a cab with no clutch pedal and the ease of operation with Eaton transmissions.
As for maneuverability, Jackson says working with his Roadranger® representative has helped with some fine tuning of the gears on the transmissions to the point where every truck that is now equipped with UltraShift PLUS is performing exactly as he wants.
“The best part is having so many options to have these transmissions do whatever it is you want,” says Jackson. “You can’t beat the versatility of these transmissions and you can’t beat the support we’re getting from our Roadranger representative to help accomplish that.”
He went on to describe his rep as a “hero,” who in the past has gone out of his way to meet drivers out on the road to provide quick, on-site assistance.
That kind of support, as well as the performance of his UltraShift PLUS transmissions, are why Jackson now says, “Eaton will absolutely be a part of our future new truck orders here.”