With a patent-protected product and nationwide licensing agreements, Blacklidge Emulsions is sitting pretty. The company’s unique emulsion product has revolutionized the paving industry as transportation departments around the country spec Blacklidge’s Trackless Track™.
After a paving firm grinds off an existing pavement layer, Trackless Track is sprayed on the remaining pavement – it’s the “glue” that holds asphalt in place. The product dries in 10 minutes (compared to a half hour for its competitors), so vehicles and equipment traveling on the new surface stay clean of the hot asphalt and their drivers are complaint-free. What’s more, pavers can start laying the new road with fewer delays. As the paver spreads the hot asphalt, Trackless Track is activated and the bond between the foundation and new road is formed.
To meet increased demand and move raw materials to its production facilities, then finished products from those facilities to contractors and job sites, Blacklidge Emulsion recently put into service eight Kenworth T880s, joining 12 more company tractors. The tractors were purchased through Truckworx Kenworth – Mobile.
“Kenworth’s T880 with the PACCAR MX-13 was the clear-cut winner in our evaluation of which tractor to order,” said Paul Johnson, director of logistics for Blacklidge Emulsions. “A key for us was fuel economy since we run so many miles (120,000 miles per tractor per year on average).”
To get real-world results, Johnson offered up a challenge to five truck dealers. “Let us rent one of your trucks and we’ll evaluate performance and fuel economy on a line-haul run from Gulfport to Tampa Bay and back (more than 1,100 miles round trip).”
Johnson provided key specs to the dealers – a 455-hp engine mated to a 9-speed transmission, and a mid-size sleeper. Each tractor was piloted by the same driver to eliminate driving variables. A fully-loaded trailer was hauled from Gulfport to Tampa Bay, returning empty to Gulfport.
“The T880 was the runaway winner and beat the second-place tractor by nearly 10 percent* in fuel economy,” said Johnson. “It also beat all of our existing fleet tractors by that number or better. We calculated we could save $6,500 in fuel per year with the T880. That’s huge.”
Making the decision easier was the monthly payment for the T880. “We asked each dealer to come back with payment numbers for a four-year, walk-away lease, plus extended warranties,” said Johnson. “Since the lease factored in purchase price, subtracting residual value, Kenworth’s high resale value came into play. What PACCAR Financial is giving us on the back end more than offsets any premium the T880 had on any of the competitive models. The monthly payment for the T880, through our finance plan with PFC, was lower than all others.”
Since the Kenworth T880s with 52-inch sleepers were put into service, Johnson said the fuel economy numbers have been very consistent with what the test vehicle achieved. “And fuel economy numbers should get better once the tractors are broken in,” he said
According to Johnson, the T880’s 52-inch sleeper gives the company flexibility and saves weight. “We can deliver in a 500- to 600-mile radius of our terminals, which cover the southeast,” said Johnson. “This gives our dispatchers the opportunity to utilize every tractor in our fleet regardless of distance. Our drivers may spend a night or two per week in the sleeper, but for the most part, they’re home every night. We really didn’t need a full apartment-sized sleeper, just a room with a bed and the 52-inch sleeper Kenworth offered is the right size for our operation.”
When delivering product to customers, Johnson said it’s normally a drop-and-hook operation – most times in construction areas. “We typically will drop a trailer (normally with up to 5,500 gallons of emulsion) and bring home one of our other trailers delivered earlier. If no trailer is there, we have a pump and PTO, which allows us to offload Trackless Track into our customer’s own vessel.”
Johnson said the new Kenworth truck model is making a visual impression on customers. “They look spectacular,” he said. “Image is very important to us. We manufacture and distribute a unique and patented product that is cutting edge. We think the new Kenworth T880s mirror that image.”
*Individual fuel economy improvement will vary depending on use, road conditions and other factors.