Manager: Jean Brunet
Title: Director of maintenance
Fleet: BFI Canada, Montreal District
Operation: Waste management via 60-vehicle fleet of trucks, tractors and loaders
Headquartered in Boisbriand, Quebec, on the north shore of the mighty St. Lawrence River opposite Montreal, this BFI Canada operation must provide high-quality service year-round to stay ahead in the competitive market for waste management that is Canada's second-largest city.
And it must do so for at least four months of the year in weather that is decidedly arctic. Montrealers can avoid the worst of winter by spending time in the famous “Underground City,” a subterranean maze of corridors and shops. But their trash still needs picking up above ground, in the icy cold.
“At four in the morning on a winter's day with temperatures of -30°C (-22°F) or colder, the oil (hydraulic fluid) we were using would become too viscous, heavy and thick,” says Jean Brunet.
“The drivers would start their engines and the driveshaf would break. Or when they'd start up and engage the hydraulic pumps, the PTO would come right off the transmission, because the fluid was not liquid.”
“When I informed our Petro-Canada rep about our problems related to oil viscosity,” says Brunet, “he suggested we try their Hydrex MV hydraulic fluid. “He said it could significantly reduce the number of equipment failures we were experiencing. And it was true, since we've not had one breakdown due to hydraulic fluids since switching.”
According to Petro-Canada, Hydrex MV is a premium, long life, anti-wear hydraulic fluid designed for year-round use in heavy-duty systems exposed to wide temperature extremes. The company asserts Hydrex MV will enable hydraulic systems to start even at temperatures dipping below -31°F.
“Right away I saw the difference,” reports Brunet. “Everything is much smoother [now]. When you release the clutch and the PTO is engaged, you can hear it working cleanly. The engine does not have to work as hard and it's easier on the vehicles, which means our equipment is protected better.
“Before switching fluids,” he continues, “in cold weather we had to replace driveshafts, PTOs and hydraulic pumps at a regular rate. Our repair costs have gone down by about $30,000, not counting the improvements in client service” due to less downtime.
“Losing time due to cold weather breakdowns is something we can't afford,” Brunet states. “If a truck breaks down somewhere, the driver is still paid, sometimes even overtime, and there's still the cost of a tow, parts, and so on. Plus the customer still hasn't been served. I had nothing to lose by changing to Hydrex and I'm glad I did.”
On top of gaining better winter performance, he says Hydrex MV has also enabled the fleet to significantly extend drain intervals for hydraulic fluids year-round.
“I started as a mechanic, then went to foreman and am now director of maintenance,” notes Brunet. “We've tried other brands before, but now use Petro-Canada products exclusively because they've helped us reduce downtime, save money and improve customer service.”
Maintenance Bay presents case studies detailing how fleets resolve maintenance-related issues in their own facilities.