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San Jose Logging Ltd.

Logging fleet benefiting from Eaton's cutting edge transmissions

“It has been a very new and very good experience for us. We've had the transmissions for three months now, and we have been putting them through the paces in enough different terrains and the results have been excellent.”

Kevin Bernier, maintenance superintendent,
San Jose Logging Ltd.

Background

The Getz family has been in the logging business since 1957 when Dean Getz founded the company known today as San Jose Logging Ltd. Based in Williams Lake, British Columbia, the company takes its name from the nearby San Jose River, which meanders its way through the rugged Cariboo Mountains in the Central Interior of British Columbia.

His grandsons Darren and Dallas run the business today, with Dean's son Roger still active with day-to-day operations at the age of 72. Kevin Bernier is the maintenance superintendent.

Their fleet consists of three Kenworth T800 and four Kenworth T880 trucks, all with Cummins engines and Super B Train trailers. Trucks are typically replaced with new units every three years.

"We like to run the latest and greatest equipment," says Darren. "You have to when you are running the routes that we run, over all the different terrains, and the heavy loads that we pull."

Challenge

Payloads are always the legal maximum of 63,500 kilograms (140,000 pounds), with work days ranging from nine to 15 hours. Routes rarely exceed 200 kilometers (120 miles), which is not very far but every centimeter involves navigating some of the nastiest on- and off-road terrains and overall driving conditions in North America.

So much so, that navigating through frozen roads is often preferred over warmer roads.

"It has to be cold enough at night so the ground hardens," says Bernier. "So we favor running on frost that might be as deep as two feet into the ground. If it gets too soft it will kill the road base."

He adds that on average, 55 percent of the time his trucks are operating off-highway on service roads. Those conditions can be especially taxing on drivers who are always tasked with a host of responsibilities beyond just driving.

Most of the year drivers are responsible for making sure tires are chained, and once the trailers are loaded, wrappers must be placed around the cut timber and properly secured for the return run to a local mill.

"We are a stump to dump operation and haul all of our own wood," notes Bernier. "We do everything from set-up, to harvesting the logs to the proper lengths, to delivering the timber to its final destination.

" With one of his drivers having been with the company for more than 25 years, Darren went on to note that most of the company's seven drivers are "getting older now and the work isn't getting any easier."

Solution

Eaton automated transmissions are one new innovation that Darren says are helping San Jose with its aging driver pool dilemma.

He specified three 18-speed UltraShift® PLUS Multipurpose Extreme Performance (MXP) transmissions with his most recent new truck order.

With virtually no payload weight limits, the transmissions were designed for vehicles required to operate with extremely heavy loads in virtually any driving environment. The units have 18 forward and 4 reverse speeds and an overall ratio of 20:1.

The transmissions are part of the UltraShift PLUS Performance Series, all of which employ grade sensing, weight computation and driver throttle commands to make intelligent shift decisions for optimum performance. The fully automated, two-pedal transmissions can be paired with the highest torque engines available in the trucking industry.

The Performance Series also includes the 13-speed Multi- Purpose Highway Performance (MHP) transmission.

Built upon the highly popular Eaton Fuller® manual transmission platform, all Eaton UltraShift PLUS automated transmissions offer tailored performance and efficiency for virtually any application. All launches and shifts are automated with the use of a self-adjusting electronic actuator for fast, smooth engagements.

"We are always focusing on trying to be as efficient as possible," adds Darren, which is why he decided to make the switch from manual to automated transmissions.

Result

It's a decision he now says is one of the best he's made in recent years. Bernier agrees.

"It has been a very new and very good experience for us," says Bernier. "We've had the transmissions for three months now, and we have been putting them through the paces in enough different terrains and the results have been excellent."

Adds Darren, "We have to make sure we are getting the lowest cost per kilometer and with the UltraShift PLUS transmissions, we are getting a big boost in terms of fuel efficiency. I would say up to 10 percent on some days and we are still early on with the transmissions."

It's been long enough to convince the boss that UltraShift PLUS will be his transmission of choice for all future new truck orders. "We'll eventually have all seven trucks equipped with UltraShift PLUS transmissions," says Darren.

Bernier adds that his Roadranger representative has been especially helpful with making the transition to automated transmissions. He says he is a cut above most of his other suppliers.

"He is very knowledgeable and whenever we need him it is amazing how much he knows," says Bernier. "He has been up here several times and has been especially helpful with the drivers."

One in particular, Delbert Ritchey (the driver who has been with San Jose for more than 25 years), is perhaps more thankful than others for Roadranger assistance in making the transition to automation a smooth one.

Suffering from a torn rotator cuff that occurred several years ago, the labors of logging have been acutely hard on Ritchey.

"With the chains and the wrappers and the shifting I was always very, very sore at the end of the day," says Ritchey. "I never realized how much of that was attributed to shifting. I'm still doing the same things with the chains and wrappers but now that I no longer have to do all of that shifting, I feel better than I have in a long time at the end of the day. Now I just relax and put my arm on the arm rest."

"UltraShift PLUS is definitely a giant step forward for San Jose and my rotator cuff."