the type of vehicle that works best for your operation.
Until such time as the Star Trek transporter becomes a
reality, we are faced with the challenge of getting the service to the
customer. Chemicals, equipment, tools, materials and personnel all have to be
transported to the service location.
As a business owner,
manager, supervisor or person in charge of purchasing company vehicles,
consideration of current and future requirements of the vehicle should be part
of the evaluation process.
be some truth to the urban myth of folks that literally work out of the trunk
of their car, but they are limited to the size of job they can pursue using
that methodology. Most professionals utilize a utility van (mini, maxi or
custom) or at the very least a pick-up truck to haul their equipment around
with. The preference is usually a van because it is enclosed, protecting the
contents from foul weather and the tailgate is lower than a pick-up truck,
which is safer when lifting equipment to load or unload. Additionally, cargo
vans can be modified or customized for intended use.
majority of cargo to be transported is supplies: chemicals, equipment, tools
and materials. Personnel are usually less of a problem because work crews are
generally made up of one to three technicians. On larger jobs that require more
technicians, it is not uncommon to use more than one vehicle.
and size of the equipment to be transported has the greatest impact on vehicle
selection. Think in terms of cargo space: How much will you be transporting?
What about weight, how heavy is it? A standard commercial equipment package
fits nicely in a standard minivan; however, it would be a poor selection if you
wanted to transport an automatic scrubbing machine. There are very strict laws
that govern how much weight a vehicle can carry; it is important to ensure that
your vehicle is in compliance with all laws in your area. Driving an overloaded
vehicle is unsafe and could result in catastrophe.
supplies get into the vehicle should also be considered. Most chemicals, tools
and materials weigh less than 50 pounds and can be loaded and unloaded by hand.
Equipment, on the other hand, is generally much heavier and may require the use
of a ramp, lift gate or rail gate.
be a single unit or folded units (one to two folds) and can give the technician
a means of loading equipment or carts that have wheels such as rotary floor
machines, wet vacuums and burnishers. They are weight-rated; as long as the
equipment is not too heavy it can be pushed into the van without much strain on
the technician. The angle of the ramp will vary depending on its length, which
can cause some issues when items are long.
heavier items, such as propane-powered equipment, are required, lift gates may
be incorporated. Lift gates generally have small platforms that fold under or
behind the vehicle and can be installed on some vans. They utilize a hydraulic
arm under the vehicle to raise and lower the platform. Because of the location,
the angle of the platform can fluctuate, especially under heavy weight. These
can be very effective for moderate load capacities.
gates can only be installed behind box trucks or vans because they raise and
lower utilizing rails that are mounted perpendicularly on the box. The
platforms are usually larger to accommodate larger loads and attached to the
rails by chain. The chains ensure the cargo is raised and lowered on a level
plane parallel with the vehicle. When transporting battery-operated equipment,
such as automatic scrubbing machines and burnishers, this is the safest way to
do it. It is important to ensure that the equipment is secure on the platform
before raising or lowering it; when transporting heavy equipment you should
always be thinking about safety.
of equipment in the van is one thing; keeping it secure during transportation
is another. Chemicals are liquid and equipment is bulky and heavy, but as long
as nothing is moving, no problem. Once in motion, however, these things can
move and shift about. This could result in chemical spills, dings and dents in
the vehicle or injury should an accident occur. Compartmentalization for
storage and secure anchor points to tie down equipment is the only way to keep
it in its place.
many van packages that can be purchased that enable the technician to secure
chemistry, tools and materials in a safe place. Even if the technician utilizes
and empty van, items can be stored in boxes or crates that can reduce the
potential of shifting. The main thing is to compartmentalize the smaller
objects that would otherwise just be floating around the back of the van.
van to ensure that it has adequate tie down points to secure heavier items.
When loading equipment, put the heaviest items as far forward as you can and
tie them down securely. Smaller and lighter items should be loaded in the rear.
Should you have to hit the brakes, you don’t want the heavy stuff traveling too
The vehicle is an integral part of the hard floor maintenance
business. Selecting the appropriate vehicle for the operation is simplified by
evaluating the true requirements it will be used for. The proper selection will
ensure a safe and effective means of getting everything you need to the job
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