Bob Nitti knows all too well how difficult it is to avoid getting flat tires on roll-off container trucks that haul construction demolition. The owner of Lightning Disposal in Eagan, MN, says that before trying out Goodyear's DuraSeal tires on the rears of one of his 12 roll-offs, the truck was averaging two flats a week.
Almost a year into the trial with DuraSeal technology, “not a single tire has been taken out of service due to a flat,” Nitti reports. “Our drivers make between six and ten runs a day to various landfills. They are constantly driving back and forth over construction waste materials, which include plenty of sharp objects that can puncture tires like nails, rebar and broken porcelain.”
Nitti notes the Goodyear Unisteel G287 MSA tires with DuraSeal technology worked out so well on the test vehicle that in November he had the tires put on four additional units. This month, he's also taking delivery of a brand new Sterling roll-off container truck whose tires will have already been switched to DuraSeals at the dealership.
Nitti's roll-off fleet is all heavy-duty straight trucks spec'd with tandem axles, except for one quad-axle unit that's used for hauling steel and heavier weights, and two tri-axle units, which he says gives them even more flexibility with weight when needed.
“We also shuffle 1,100 dumpster containers of varying capacities from 10 to 40 cubic yards,” Nitti advises. “Our primary customers are roofing contractors, home builders, and construction companies.”
Lightning Disposal provides service to customers in the St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN, area and surrounding communities. Nitti's experience in the business comes from both his grandfather — who founded Nitti Disposal in 1949 — and his father, who took over the business in 1980, then sold it ten years later.
Bob Nitti started his own company in 1993 with one truck and 15 containers. Today he has 13 drivers working for Lightning Disposal, one for each of the roll-off trucks, plus a flex driver who fills in wherever needed, including driving a garbage truck for another of Bob's businesses, Nitti Sanitation.
“We don't have the same problems with flats on our five garbage trucks as we do with the roll-offs since they dump directly onto concrete as opposed to the construction demo sites,” Nitti points out. “That's why we haven't put the Goodyear tires with DuraSeal technology on our garbage fleet.”
He says that in the summer, when the construction waste hauling business is as its peak, it's not unusual for his company to have 25 flat tires a week with regular tires. The busy season for Lightning Disposal lasts from about April 1 through the first snowfall or December 15th, whichever comes first, Nitti advises.
Goodyear's DuraSeal technology, he explains, is a gel-like compound built into the inner lining of the tire. “If a nail goes into the tire, the substance will make a seal around it, or if the nail comes out, the gel will fill the hole.” DuraSeal can seal tread punctures repeatedly so tires never come off the truck for repair before they are due for retreading.
Nitti estimates his company is saving approximately $900 a month in tire repair costs and another $350 per month in lost productivity for each tandem truck outfitted with the Goodyear DuraSeal tires. “We're in a very competitive business,” he says. “There are about 90 roll-off operations in the Twin Cities, and with a slow-down in the economy over the past two years, there isn't much room for growth, so we have to hang on to what business we have and to be as cost-efficient as possible. The savings with the Goodyear DuraSeal tires are tremendous over a year's time.”
With the busy season fast approaching, Nitti says his goal is to get the remaining seven roff-offs in the fleet running on Duraseal technology as soon as possible. “The payback on these tires is really quick,” he says. “It doesn't take many flat tires to make up the price difference between regular and DuraSeal technology tires. In fact, over a very short period of time, it would actually cost us more to keep up with the repairs on our regular tires.”