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Hydra Bed is the “Reel” Deal: ICUEE Exhibitor Spotlight

Since 1983, Hydra Bed has built a reputation of providing rugged hay handling flatbeds to the ranching industry. The company has also seen its agricultural equipment used by a number of utility and municipal customers.

Coming from this ranching and agriculture industry, Hydra Bed had a lot of experience with truck bed equipment and attachments. However, it wasn’t until 2013 when Marty Ferguson, of FS3 Inc, reached out to Hydra Bed officials about making a reel handling flatbed to better serve the utility industry. From there, as they say, the rest was history.

Meeting Utility Customer Needs: Take One

 Ferguson set out to design a bed meant to handle reels while not compromising the everyday functionality of the flatbed. After creating a prototype of what he had in mind proved to be unsatisfactory, Ferguson reached out to Hydra Bed to discuss a potential partnership. Knowing of the company’s success in the ranching industry, Ferguson was confident that he could work with Hydra Bed to create a top of the line reel handling utility product.

When Hydra Bed experienced a spike in demand of their ranching products in 2014, talks of a new utility product were delayed until 2016. Meanwhile, Ferguson had become a Hydra Bed dealer and was demonstrating the ranch version of the Hydra Bed with reel handling attachments to his utility customers. Seeing that the needs of his utility customers went beyond the capability of the ranching version, it was not a perfect fit.

As the ranching version of the Hydra Bed continued to come up short in the utility environment, demand for a new design grew.

Meeting Utility Customer Needs: New Design a Success

In February of 2016, the Hydra Bed product development team met with Ferguson to discuss specific needs and goals of a new utility design. According to Jay Russell of Hydra Bed, “The ag industry has served us very well during our history,” he said. “But there have been numerous discussions about market diversification. This seemed to be a very good fit.” With this in mind, and with the two parties sharing an obvious synergy, Hydra Bed formally partnered with Marty Ferguson and FS3 in 2016 and never looked back.

With the help of FS3, Hydra Bed’s development team designed and created the utility-based Hydra Bed Reel Lift and the Hydra Bed HydraWinder.

Products Enhance Customer Efficiency, Safety

The Reel Lift is an integrated reel transport flatbed that is meant to quickly and safely load and transport conduit or cable without the need for a reel trailer. It is operable by a one-man team and can transport reels weighing up to 5,000 pounds. When commenting on the cost efficiency of the Reel Lift, Russell said, “The crew can reduce costly trips to the jobsite because the truck can now tow equipment trailers loaded with boring rigs, excavators and a wide variety of other essential equipment.”

After releasing this product, Hydra Bed experienced incredible numbers and feedback. Seeing as Hydra Bed has long been known for a culture of solving problems and leading design, they decided to go a step further and apply that philosophy to the need of a safe cable retrieval system, resulting in the creation of the HydraWinder.

The HydraWinder is an attachment for the Reel Lift bed that is a bolt-on option that equips crews to safely and efficiently retrieve or payout cable and conduit from nearly any size reel. The self-stowing, “always ready to work and never in the way” design allows for quick adaptations from reel transport to the winder, controlling cable backlash and substantial efficiency and safety to busy jobsites.

Connecting with Customers at ICUEE-The Demo Expo

Since its introduction into the utility world, Hydra Bed has received and continues to receive phenomenal feedback on their products. Russell confirmed this praise by saying, “Enthusiastic customer response from the utility industry is establishing Hydra Bed as equipment designed to meet and dependably fill a specific need.”

One of Hydra Bed’s customers provided positive feedback saying, “Combining our Reel Lift Hydra Bed with a HydraWinder has eliminated a truck and trailer from the jobsite.” Their presence in the utility world is continually proving to be highly valued, desired and needed per their customers’ reviews, and there does not seem to be an end in sight.

Russell and his team at Hydra Bed are adamant that a part of their success came from the company’s presence at ICUEE 2017. “We cannot say enough about the benefits of going to ICUEE in 2017, we loved it,” he said. Considering that the HydraWinder attachment was not even on the product list in 2017, they are even more excited for this year’s ICUEE. “To say we are excited to go back this year is an understatement,” Russell added.

Kubota Introduces the B01 Series of Compact Tractors, the Ultimate in Flexibility and Ease-of-Use

Kubota Tractor Corporation today announced the introduction of the B01 Series compact tractors with the B2301 and the B2601. Combining Kubota reliability and power with unmatched versatility and intuitive, easy-to-operate design, the hardworking B01 Series is ideal for first-time operators and seasoned professionals alike.

“The B01 Series pays tribute to Kubota’s long history of delivering quality and value to our compact tractor customers,” said Jacob Sherman, Kubota product manager, compact tractors. “This new Series is the essence of flexibility and ease-of-use, with many features such as the Swift-Tach front-end loaders with one-lever quick coupler, and drive-over mid-mount mower decks. This series truly offers a compact tractor that can handle real work, every day, easily and effortlessly.”

Whether mowing lawns, working light construction or landscaping, the B01 Series has an operator-friendly compact tractor for the job. The B01 Series models include the B2301 and B2601, and both are equipped front to rear with a wide range of industry-leading innovative features that provide comfort and efficiency for maximized productivity. Both models feature the Goodyear® R14T crossover tire, with a new hybrid tread design that is just as versatile as the new B01 Series tractors. The Goodyear R14T, made by Titan International, Inc., is exclusively offered on only the Kubota B01 Series compact tractor in that horsepower category.

Easy-to-Attach Features Ideal for Operators of All Levels 
The new B01 Series’ must-have features result in compact tractors that all owners can operate confidently. The easy-to-use, single lever quick coupler allows for swift and easy attachments without mess from hydraulic oil spillage. The single lever quick coupler is compatible with the LA435 Swift-Tach Loader, which operators can remove in less than 70 seconds, all without having to leave the operator platform.

The B2301 and B2601 models deliver 20.9 and 24.3 horsepower, respectively. Liquid-cooled Kubota engines that combine Kubota’s E-TVCS (three-vortex combustion system) offer power, high torque, cleaner emissions, and lower noise and vibration. The 3-Range hydrostatic transmission equips the B01 Series with smooth shifting and powerful performance for heavy-duty loader usage. Smooth and dependable HST transmission allows for increased maximum speed and easy-to-use range selection, optimizing power output to meet operator needs.

The new Kubota B01 Series does it all with ease, comfort and style.

Implements for Every Job 
From the popular, versatile Swift-Tach front loader to a variety of mowers, the B01 Series is performance-matched with a variety of implements and attachments – truly making it a tool of many trades. Additional implements include Kubota’s driver-over mower deck, landscape rake, a post hole digger, rear-mount snow blower, and BH70 backhoe, among others. Optimized for overall versatility and flexibility, the B01 Series is designed to work with a large variety of easy-to-use implements to increase operator productivity.

Kubota’s new B01 Series of compact tractors is available now at authorized Kubota dealers nationwide.

Summary Description of B01 Series
Kubota Tractor Corporation introduces the B01 Series of compact tractors, the B2301, Kubotaand B2601. The B01 Series offers owner-friendly versatility and ease-of-use, with Kubota engines delivering top-of-class power and fuel efficiency. The B01 Series’ single-lever quick coupler allows for swift and easy attachments that do not require operator dismount. The B01 Series is compatible with a variety of attachments and implements suited for any job, including drive-over mower decks, Swift-Tach front loader, rear-mounted snowblowers and a full line of industry-leading performance-matched implements.

TRIP Reports: WISCONSIN MOTORISTS LOSE $6.8 BILLION PER YEAR DRIVING ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES – UP TO $2,300 PER DRIVER. LACK OF FUNDING WILL LEAD TO FURTHER DETERIORATION, INCREASED CONGESTION AND HIGHER COSTS TO DRIVERS

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Wisconsin motorists a total of $6.8 billion statewide annually –up to $2,321 per driver in the state’s largest urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge, and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Wisconsin, according to a new report recently released by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research group.

The TRIP report, Wisconsin Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,”finds that throughout Wisconsin, one-half of major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor or mediocre condition and nine percent of locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The report also finds that Wisconsin’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce.

Driving on roads in Wisconsin costs the state’s drivers $6.8 billion per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the cost of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Eau Claire, Green Bay-Appleton-Oshkosh, Madison, Milwaukee, and Wausau areas.  A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area, along with a statewide total, is below.

The TRIP report finds that 31 percent of Wisconsin’s major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor condition and 19 percent are in mediocre condition. Seventeen percent are rated in fair condition and the remaining 33 percent are in good condition.  Driving on rough roads costs the state’s drivers $3.1 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs, or an average of $747 per driver, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“Until state elected officials are able to agree on long-term, sustainable transportation funding, Wisconsin will be unable to meet mounting needs on our local roads and state highways,” said Daniel J. Fedderly, executive director of the Wisconsin County Highway Association.  “The current funding system causes us to be reactive, responding from one crisis to the next.  We would much rather be working proactively on a shared sense of vision that can move our communities and state forward, and represent our citizens across Wisconsin.”

Traffic congestion in Wisconsin’s major urban areas is worsening, causing up to 41 annual hours of delay for some motorists and costing the state’s drivers a total of $1.9 billion each year in lost time and wasted fuel.

Nine percent of Wisconsin’ bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components.

Traffic crashes in Wisconsin claimed the lives of more than 2,800 between 2012 and 2016. Wisconsin’s overall traffic fatality rate of 0.95 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.18.  The fatality rate on Wisconsin’s non-interstate rural roads is nearly two and a half times that on all other roads in the state (1.43 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.61). The financial impact of traffic crashes costs the state’s drivers $1.8 billion annually.

The efficiency and condition of Wisconsin’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $580 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Wisconsin, mostly by trucks, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges. Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to relocate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system. The design, construction, and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Wisconsin support more than 64,000 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy.

“Driving on deficient Wisconsin roads comes with a $6.8 billion price tag for the state’s motorists,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Adequate funding for the state’s transportation system would allow for smoother roads, more efficient mobility, enhanced safety, and economic growth opportunities while saving Wisconsin’s drivers time and money.”

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has a series of four community meetings scheduled for September (a 5th meeting is unscheduled at this point) “to discuss concepts to control pollution from large freight facilities including seaports, railyards, and warehouses/distribution centers.”  Each meeting is a chance for residents to talk with CARB staff about current regulatory actions and the “development of new concepts to reduce the air pollution and health impacts from freight.”  This work is a required part of CA’s freight-air pollution control program efforts.  By next March, CARB needs to have the “concepts for an indirect source rule,” (emphasis added) i.e., think how ozone precursors are controlled and how/whether such approaches might work across huge industrial/commercial landscapes.
*  Last October, in Cleveland, US DOE held a “scoping meeting” for a wind turbine project in Lake Erie, called “Project Icebreaker,” developed and sponsored by a local group called LEEDCo – Lake Erie Energy Development Corp.  Importantly, that meeting started a required environmental assessment (EA) process.  On Friday, ten months later, DOE proposed funding to “support the development of a wind demonstration project consisting of 6 turbines in Lake Erie approximately 8 miles off Cleveland, Ohio.”  A draft EA is available for review, comments are due by 10/10/17.  This is an important move, for reasons way beyond energy and how it’s generated.
*  Environmental Update employees in Columbia, SC, were told they can put their feet up on their desks, lean back and take a power nap when it gets dark during today’s eclipse.  Columbia reportedly will experience the longest period of totality for a metro area on the East Coast: up to 2 minutes and 36 seconds of complete darkness.  (Big question: can you operate an electric car during the eclipse?)  The eclipse peaks between 1-3 pm when mighty Mr. Sun is forced to peek from behind tiny Mr. Moon, an event that always piques our interest. C’mon now, lighten up! *:D big grin
Tom Ewing
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Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

 FAA’s regulatory reform advisory committee submitted initial recommendations to agency staff.  Seems like there ought to be some good ideas in the mix – after all, the draft is 154 pages containing over 300 individual suggestions to repeal, replace or modify regulatory language.  This is a rough draft listing all of the ideas from committee members.  Next steps: further review and working towards consensus on changes FAA can make to provide near-term regulatory relief consistent with the goals in the President’s Executive Order seeking a long term strategy promoting safe and efficient transportation systems.
*  Nothing to see here, folks – keep moving… Some concerns/comments sent from citizen John Doe re DOT’s regulatory reforms.  Mr. Doe identifies himself as a highway engineer, working for a consulting company, with 20 years experience: ** Multiple standards result in far too many personal preferences and design changes and sometime higher costs. ** Property owners with political connections get preferential treatment, e.g., one state recently spent $80 million on an interchange that could have cost $50 million but a Big Guy knew the governor and he wanted a “non standard” interchange to remain near his business. ** State pension issues are leading experienced people to bail out; inexperienced staff left behind cause design and construction problems.

*  The National Coal Council’s (NCC) June Newsletter cites a report from a group called GCube Underwriting, Ltd, a “renewable energy underwriter,” based in London.  GCube cautions that “resource risk” – a lack of wind or low wind speeds – will be the most pressing concern for the wind energy sector “for a number of years.” Low wind speeds are reportedly hurting the performance of wind farms in numerous markets. In fact, GCube writes that resource risk has now surpassed mechanical and electrical breakdowns as the top potential cause of financial loss.  I sent an email to GCube asking for their full report… No reply yet.

Tom Ewing
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