James Zambero has seen a lot of equipment in 32 years with O&G Industries. From roles in parts and purchasing, as maintenance director for 10 years and as vice president since 1996, he has worked with suppliers to ensure the fleet is ready to meet the company’s needs.

Headquartered in Torrington, CT, O&G Industries is a privately owned company now in its third generation of family management. One of the largest construction materials and services companies in the Northeast, O&G provides building and heavy civil construction services, and a variety of construction materials.

“We field 103 Oshkosh ready-mix trucks and 115 tri-axle dumps, primarily Kenworth models with bodies supplied by Universal Body and Equipment in Oakville, CT,” Zambero says. “Our dump trucks haul materials and construction equipment over on- and off-road terrain. When it comes to equipment, we need trucks that are built for our operation.”

Zambero’s knowledge of exactly what that entails has led numerous manufacturers to seek out his advice. About three years ago, Caterpillar came calling.

“Cat came to us and said they were getting into the on-highway vocational truck market,” Zambero recalls. “Their idea was to design a single platform that could be equipped with a variety of bodies. We told them that a cookiecutter approach would not work for us because our trucks have to be built for our needs, including considerations such as axle spacing.

“After our initial discussions,” continues Zambero, “Cat contacted us to see about sending a field engineer to work with our staff and drivers. He spent a lot of time getting a firsthand look at how our trucks are used. When Cat called again to see if we would operate one of six pilot models of its new CT660 on-highway truck, we were very interested.”

In September 2011, O&G took delivery of a Cat CT660. Equipped with a setback front axle and dump body, a 475-hp. Caterpillar CT13 engine and Cat’s CX31 automatic transmission, the truck has been running side-by-side with other units in the fleet.

“Most of our trucks have 15L engines and manual transmissions, so we were very surprised that the Cat 13L diesel and the CX31 transmission provided more than enough power for the roads we travel and the loads we haul,” says Zambero. “ The CT660 is also lighter than our other dump trucks. With the ability to haul 25.3-ton payloads, the Cat can handle as much as 1,500 lbs. more than some of our other units.” Initial fuel-efficiency comparisons are also favorable. “We’ve compared the Cat to other trucks hauling the same materials on the same routes,” Zambero says. “So far, the CT660 has consistently run at more than 5 mpg compared to an average in the high 4 mpg range for other units with automatic transmissions. We attribute some of that to the lighter weight of the 13L engine and to the faster gearing in the Cat 6-spd. automatic.”

O&G Industries will be operating the Cat CT660 for one year and sending information to the manufacturer as it considers features to incorporate in future generations of the trucks. Along with current 11L and 13L engines, a 15L engine option for the setback axle CT660 is planned for this summer. In early 2013, all three engines will be available in the CT680, a set-forward front axle model. The trucks are sold and serviced by Caterpillar dealers, including O&G’s dealer, H.O. Penn Machinery Co. in Newington, CT.

Founded in 1923 with two trucks and a steamroller, O&G Industries is still focused on meeting its vehicle and equipment needs. “We have to do our homework so we can buy the right equipment,” Zambero states. “Working with suppliers goes a long way toward making that happen.”