Being the Joneses

A well-equipped, highly efficient and comfortable pipe inspection vehicle helps give a Utah contractor an extra step on competitors
Being the Joneses
Twin “D” invested in this CUES camera inspection truck, which includes a Summit K2 video inspection system and OZII camera with full pan-and-tilt fuction. (Photo courtesy of Twin “D”)

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The way brothers Mark and Dave Denny see the world of municipal sewer maintenance, it’s better to be the Joneses than to try keeping up with them. The brothers, co-owners of Twin “D” Inc. in Layton, Utah, recently bought their seventh inspection camera truck from CUES.

Sewer cameras face harsh conditions, Mark observes. “There’s real value in buying new equipment. People say they can’t afford a $200,000 camera van, but the real question is: Can you afford the downtime associated with an older piece of equipment?

“Downtime has a price. You get upset customers, fall behind schedule and lose quality time in the pipe. New equipment also is very important for us because you have to keep up with technology, which is changing all the time.”

 

Fast setup

Built on a 2011 Dodge 4500 chassis with a 16-foot box body from America’s Body Co., the Evolution Series truck carries a Summit K2 video inspection system with Granite XP software; an OZII camera with full pan-and-tilt function, 360-degree rotating head and 40:1 zoom capability; wireless handheld controllers; an Ultra Shorty 21 self-propelled camera transporter that can inspect 6- to 24-inch pipes; and 1,500 feet of cable, 500 feet longer than standard. The brothers ordered the longer cable because it helps reduce setup and breakdown times and boosts productivity.

“The time you need to set up the video equipment is nonprofit time because you’re not getting paid for the camera unless it’s crawling down the pipe,” says Dave. “If you can eliminate 15 minutes of setup time and get paid for 1,500 feet instead of 1,000 feet of inspection, you’re inspecting one-third more footage per setup, and your profitability goes up significantly.”

In addition, the longer cable allows crews to access remote locations where they can’t set up a truck over a manhole. For example, the company inspects earthen dams and reservoirs where crews must park atop a dam, then carry a cable to the bottom.

 

Stingy on fuel

The truck gets almost twice the mileage of the unit it replaces with a fuel-efficient 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engine. It also has a more fuel-efficient diesel generator made by Onan Corp. (a Cummins subsidiary) that is also quieter for working in residential neighborhoods or at night.

Creature comforts also boost productivity. Along with heating and air-conditioning, the truck offers a regular cab in place of a walk-through cab, providing more comfortable seating and a quieter environment. There’s also a mini-kitchen with a microwave oven. These comforts are important because crews cover all of Utah and part of southern Idaho and Wyoming.

“Some of our customers are 325 to 350 miles away,” Dave notes. “So the truck in effect has to serve as a mobile office. Our guys often work in cold weather, too, so if they’re comfortable in the truck, they’ll stay out in the field, instead of warming up in, say, a coffee shop. Overall, I’d say our crews are 10 to 15 percent more productive because of the truck’s comforts, plus the longer cable and minimal downtime.”

Dave also believes that if a vehicle is comfortable and new, crew members take more pride in it and take better care of it. “It’s good for them and the company,” he says. “There’s more cost at the start with new equipment, but it pays dividends in the long run through better productivity and profitability.”



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