Put the Haul Truck’s Canopy on Rails
BY Sandy Lender
For the 2017 paving season, we dive into an essential area of project management for asphalt professionals: safe and timely delivery of hot-mix or warm-mix asphalt (HMA/WMA) to the paving site.
During this eight-part series, you’re getting some back-to-basics best practices to share with veteran and new haul truck drivers, in addition to new tips, ideas, and case studies with logistics and technology that will enhance your bottom line. Producers have streamlined processes at the plant; contractors have nailed down best practices in the work zone. Now it’s time to harness the potential you’ve been missing when it comes to mix delivery and haul truck fleet management.
This sixth installment looks at one idea to keep the tarp in good repair and help control mix temperature during hauling. When you exit the loadout area at the asphalt plant, you will want to immediately cover the new load of material to hold heat. Independent driver Steve Murray of Steve Murray Trucking in Hooksett, New Hampshire, shared the good idea he uses to make this process quick, easy and safe.
As you can see in the pictures on these pages, the tarp system Murray uses is one on rails that holds the tarp close to the truck body. When the canopy is closed, it almost “seals” the truck bed closed, forming a sort of “container” that holds the perishable mix and its heat inside.
By using a canopy that’s on rails, Murray has eliminated the flapping and tearing of tarps that hang above the mix, and has eliminated the passage of air or wind that gets in under the tarp. That wind cools the top of the mound(s) of material, creating a shell of hardened mix. A shell of cooler material represents temperature segregation for the paving crew to deal with; it can also represent chunks of material segregation.
While several tarping systems now feature remote functions that let the driver move the tarp to cover and uncover the load without leaving the safety of the cab, Murray prefers the Slide-n-Go cover system from Cramaro of Stuart, Florida, because it doesn’t have tall arms that could get tangled in overhead tree branches, wires or street lights in the work zone. The Cramaro Slide-n-Go cover system is retracted in increments and closed with the push of a button from inside Murray’s cab.
Keep in mind, if you do exit the cab to manipulate a tarp, you must wear your personal protective equipment. Make sure the safety vest is clean and bright. Wear a hard hat to protect yourself in the event of an emergency. If you have safety gators, make sure you wear them to give yourself that extra flash of safety yellow that will alert everyone to that fact that you’re out of the truck. If you have a tarp that requires manual manipulation, stay aware of your surroundings at all times and don’t dilly-dally. You’re not on a break. You’re getting the tarp in place, or out of the way for dumping, and then getting yourself back to the safety of the cab.