Trailer design delivers more than diesel for Iowa paver

Oct. 5, 2017

Successful contractors wrestle with a range of factors that impact profitability—weather, tight schedules, government regulations and labor issues, to name a few. For more than 70 years, Manatts Construction Co.—headquartered in Brooklyn, Iowa—has addressed those challenges. Manatts is a diversified construction firm specializing in concrete paving, asphalt paving and ready-mix concrete. Family-owned through three generations, Manatts has built a solid reputation for quality and customer service, and it works to live its mantra every day: “Safely do everything we do better than anyone else.”

The Problem

While much of the company’s work takes place on wide-open highways, its Des Moines, Iowa, metro division largely works in residential and industrial developments where space and access is limited, yet still requires a broad outlay of equipment. The highway jobs allow for easy access for large fuel trucks and trailers, but the company relied on much smaller 110-gal pickup-mounted fuel tanks for its metro division to navigate the tighter jobsites.

This required someone to constantly be on the road transporting diesel in the pickup, and it occasionally led to decisions about how much fuel to put into each machine before the driver would have a chance to get back with another tank.

The Solution

As a solution, the company opted for a 460-gal multi-tank trailer (MTT) from Thunder Creek Equipment that allowed it to keep bulk diesel on site in a compact trailer.       

“It eliminated a big headache off my shoulders, knowing that I had fuel on the jobsite and that I had time to get more fuel to replace what we took out,” said Rick Hudson, paving foreman, Manatts. “[It] saved us a lot of time. [It] saved us a lot of wear and tear on the vehicles going back and forth and not having to worry about, ‘is that piece of equipment about out of fuel?’”

Another significant advantage the new trailer provided was the ability to haul 460 gal of off-road diesel without requiring the driver to hold a HAZMAT endorsement.

“HAZMAT is a big issue for us—trying to keep that license current and make sure you have the HAZMAT,” said Curt Manatt, Metro Division general manager. “The fact they did the research and got that approved to be a non-HAZMAT trailer—that’s the first step.”

The ability to haul without a HAZMAT—important in a competitive labor market where talent with that endorsement is hard to come by—is achieved through a one-of-a-kind design where four separate 115-gal tanks are engineered into a single trailer, only joined when all four outputs of common manifold are opened.

“Anybody with a driver’s license can drive a pickup and go and fill it up,” Hudson said. “As long as we have a good driver with a driver’s license, they can hook up to it and take it to any location that we need.”

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