Calfrac Well Services made a decision to convert its entire North American fleet to Cummins engines. "Looking at everybody's emissions strategies, we really liked Cummins the best as far as what road they were going down," says Kessler.
Some of the trucks have racked up 1,000 hours already without any major issues. "There was an initial calibration problem, and we were only seeing it with our trucks that were operating in Colorado at altitude," says Kessler. "We didn't notice it with any of the units that we had operating in Arkansas and Oklahoma." Cummins has since corrected this problem. "Excluding a couple of calibration issues, they have been stellar - no problems."
Despite working in tough environments, the trucks keep their cool. "There are no heating issues whatsoever, and that was pulling real heavy loads at altitude," says Kessler. "Fuel economy is about what we expect. To be honest, we really don't map fuel economy. We are not an over-the-road company."
Since the company spends a lot of time off road, it did fabricate a guard to protect the DPF. "We did build some brackets, with Kenworth's permission," says Kessler. "We were real scared about dinging the filter - it is expensive. And we were concerned about heat rejection.
"One of my major concerns with regen was the 840° F plus temps you are going to see, and potentially higher," he continues. This was addressed by having the electronic control module (ECM) programmed. "Part of my ECM standardization is we disabled any regens in PTO or below 5 mph. Anytime we are on location, a regen will not occur."
These trucks perform the necessary regenerations while travelling down the road. And this is invisible to the drivers. "I have asked them and to this day they have not been able to tell me if they have noticed a regen or not," says Kessler.
With idle time regulations being implemented in California and looming in several other states, Calfrac has taken a close look at its operating practices. "We have kind of changed our thinking and beat it into our drivers that if it is not required, it doesn't need to be running," says Kessler. "It has really changed our mentality toward how we utilize our equipment on location. We have equipped these new tractors with automatic startup so they can start up and warm up on their own and shut back down, which we think helps a little bit as far as driver issues and emissions."
There were many unanswered questions when Calfrac purchased its first 26 trucks with the '07 technology. "It has been a real learning curve for us, as well," says Kessler. So far, the trucks have proven up to the task. "There are no real maintenance obstacles," he says. And the company just placed an order for five additional trucks.
Little-Ton Sand & Supply hauls sand, dirt, stone and concrete to general contractors and demolition contractors in the six counties surrounding Indianapolis, IN. The company has been in business since the 1960s, and was purchased by Joe and John Littleton from their father in 1998.
The company was among the first to run Sterling Trucks in the Indianapolis area. "Our local dealership started selling Sterling the same year we took over the business," says Joe Littleton. Since the brothers took over, the company exclusively runs Sterlings, with 60 Set-Back L-line trucks and seven Acterra models.
Eight of the current trucks have the '07 emissions-compliant engines. The smaller Acterra trucks are fitted with the Mercedes MBE 900 engines, while the L-line models are powered by Mercedes MBE 4000 engines. Little-Ton Sand & Supply initially made the switch to Mercedes power during the introduction of the 2004 emissions regulations. "We haven't had any troubles with them," says Littleton.
Littleton admits he was concerned about the new technology as the deadline for the '07 emissions-compliant engines approached. "I was a little worried, because when we would go to the truck trade shows, nobody could tell you anything," says Littleton. But the fears proved unwarranted. Littleton has not noticed a performance difference between the previous generation trucks and the models with the '07 technology.