Ozinga Ready Mix

Chicago, IL

Ozinga Ready Mix Concrete Inc. operates its truck fleet with eyes wide open to the present and the future. A subsidiary of Ozinga Brothers Inc., a concrete company founded in 1928 now in its fourth generation of family ownership, Ozinga Ready Mix runs about 500 ready-mix trucks and related service vehicles out of 33 plant locations and several other terminals. The fleet delivers ready-mix concrete to construction firms, public projects and homeowners in the Chicagoland area as well as into northwestern Indiana and southern Michigan.

Ozinga had not purchased any mixer trucks after 2006 due to the weak economy.

That changed in the fall of 2011 when the company felt the “time was right,” advises Tim Ozinga, co-owner and director of communications for Ozinga Ready Mix Concrete. When the fleet decided to order 14 new units for its fleet of Kenworth, Mack and Oshkosh trucks, Ozinga didn’t just replace aging equipment— it typically operates a mixer truck for 10 years—but eyed the purchase from every possible angle.

“Before spec’ing the trucks, we looked at everything that we wanted to accomplish,” says Ozinga. “We wanted to contribute to reducing our country’s dependence on foreign oil, improve our company’s environmental image by cleaning up emissions from our mixers and reducing their noise output, and lower our fuel costs.”

Considering that list of near-term and beyond goals, the fleet opted to buy its first trucks fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG). That order of 14 trucks plus 16 more purchased this year are all Kenworth W900S models fitted with McNeilus Bridgemaster mixer bodies. The mixer trucks are powered by 8.9L Cummins Westport ISL G engines and spec’d with 6-spd. Allison 4500RDS automatic transmissions.

“Since we were aware that city officials were working to cut emissions from trucks that operate in downtown Chicago, we placed all of our new CNG trucks in operation there to have the greatest environmental impact,” points out Ozinga.

“These trucks also run quieter than comparable diesel-powered units and customers have commented positively about that,” he continues. Ozinga says the lower noise output is a significant benefit when delivering concrete in residential neighborhoods as well as at public sites in the city.

There is yet another green dividend from the new trucks. “More and more homeowners and small businesses are looking to source their concrete from companies that can demonstrate a commitment to a greener operation,” Ozinga remarks.

While the fleet’s environmental impact was a key driver in selecting the CNG-powered KWs, so was the potential for natural-gas power to drive down Ozinga’s fuel costs and further its goal of helping cut down on the use of imported fuel.

“The cost of natural gas has been consistently less than diesel for us, from $2 to $2.50 less per diesel gallon equivalent,” points out Ozinga. As a result, the fleet expects fuel cost savings to repay the added cost of CNG technology engines on each of the trucks within 2.5 to 3 years.

“These trucks have been so successful,” relates Ozinga, “that if the business climate continues to improve, our hope is to over time transition the whole fleet to CNG.” Ozinga Ready Mix’s own CNG time-fill fueling station came on line early this year and was opened to outside fleets in September. The fleet plans to add more stations at its highest- volume locations.

“We’re always looking to do things better and stay ahead of the curve,” Ozinga adds. “Our CNG efforts reflect how we strive to be a leader in our industry.”


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