New Penn Motor Express
Castrol Dieselall Goes the Distance with New Penn Motor Express, Inc.
For New Penn Motor Express, Inc., on-time delivery is not just a slogan it is a way of life."Our customers choose New Penn Motor Express because we have built a reputation for providing fast and reliable service," said Rod Coupal, director of maintenance. "We take the commitment of making on-time deliveries very seriously and many of our maintenance programs and services are chosen with that goal in mind."
New Penn Motor Express began in 1931 as New Penn Fast Motor Express with two trucks and a revolutionary concept — next day delivery service between their Lebanon, Pa. base and New York City, N.Y. Today, New Penn Motor Express is a well-known, regional less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier that provides dependable next-day service through a network of 23 terminal facilities located in the Northeastern US, Quebec, Canada and Puerto Rico.
New Penn utilizes a fleet, which includes over 800 single and tandem axle tractors and straight trucks, 1,600 dry vans and heated/insulated trailers and 250 pieces of miscellaneous vehicles such as forklifts, service trucks and jockeys. Since most of New Penn's deliveries are overnight service, vehicle maintenance is a high priority and one of the reasons New Penn partnered with Castrol Heavy Duty Lubricants Inc.
"New Penn has been a Castrol customer for over 15 years and I value our open door relationship," stated Coupal. "We have always used Castrol Dieselall in our vehicles but, a few years ago, we switched to a single supplier relationship. We now purchase all our greases, gear lubricants and engine, transmission and hydraulic fluids from Castrol," he said.
Coupal has overseen New Penn's 14 maintenance shops and 72 maintenance personnel for the past eight years. Satellite shops do regular preventive maintenance but major engine work and overhauls are performed at New Penn's rebuild shop at their corporate office in Lebanon.
Optimizing Tractor LifeNew Penn purchases all their vehicles new and cycles each vehicle through a series of services, beginning with line haul, until they reach 10 years or 600,000 to 650,000 miles.
"New Penn does not purchase local or pick-up and delivery units," explained Coupal. "We downgrade our line haul trucks to the city after they reach 450,000 miles of service. The downgraded unit typically spends time in a city like Baltimore, Md. and finishes its life in New York or New Jersey before we sell it."
Coupal continued, "New trucks are sent right to the road because we get optimum service from them and it helps us meet our delivery and maintenance goals. We determined that after 600,000 miles both line haul and city service, the unit is ready for overhaul or retirement," said Coupal. "We could probably run the tractor further, but we concluded it would not be cost effective to do so. Recently, we had two units that met the mileage requirement for retirement but were not ten years old. Therefore we had to overhaul them."
New Penn's maintenance team did a bearing roll out on two engines: a 1994 Cummins M11 280 HP and 1995 Mack EM7 250 HP. The Cummins engine had 703,124 miles of service and the Mack engine had 685,606 miles on it. Each unit had only spent about 150,000 miles in New Penn's city fleet.
Coupal actually welcomed performing the overhauls. "I felt that these two tear downs were a good way to randomly 'take the pulse' of our fleet and proactively research ways to keep failures from occurring, and see if we could extend our miles beyond 600,000," said Coupal. "When I saw the bearings and cranks from these two engines, I was amazed at their excellent condition. I called Castrol to come in and take a look."
Upon inspection of the bearings, Sam Whiting, field services engineer for Castrol, commented on their cleanliness and minimal amount of wear.
"For such a long service life, these bearings looked practically new. Only a few had begun to wear through the overlay and into the copper on the thrust side, and the pattern was uniform across the surface of the bearings. Cavitation erosion was minimal, no hard debris was present and scratching or pitting was almost completely absent," Whiting remarked. "We have more than a few customers who would have rolled them right back in and squeezed another quarter million miles from them."
New Penn had only used Castrol Dieselall in these two engines and performed service intervals at approximately 24,000 miles. Coupal feels that Castrol Dieselall has made a difference in the maintenance of New Penn's fleet.
"I have a great relationship with my sales rep Jim Dobrowski and the training and technical support I receive from Sam is unparalleled," said Coupal. "I like the fact that I have a separate technical person to help me and my staff with maintenance and lubrication challenges. Sam visited all of our shops to train our mechanics on using Castrol SHL 00 for wheel ends. The one-on-one information exchange is very important to us," he said.
Keys to SuccessCoupal acknowledges several items that have contributed to New Penn's successful preventive maintenance program. He advocates an "open and honest relationship" with his staff. Weekly maintenance meetings via conference call keeps the group informed about issues that need to be resolved. Information from these meetings is sent to all maintenance personnel in a memo each week.
Coupal also has any parts that are removed from a vehicle sent to him for inspection. He feels you can learn more from the old parts of a vehicle than from any computer-generated report. But, that does not mean Coupal discounts the use of technology. New Penn utilizes a state-of-the-art computerized maintenance program. New Penn has used Castrol Labcheck Plus used oil analysis to continually monitor the health of their equipment since 1994 and has made used oil sampling a priority since 1999. Coupal carries a handheld Palm Pilot, which he uses to download engine data directly from each unit and transfer to a spreadsheet report.
Two years ago, New Penn decided to extend service intervals on engines from 24,000 to 36,000 miles. Used oil samples, taken at 18,000 and 36,000 miles, showed no significant increases in wear and both Castrol and Mack saw no problems with leaving drain intervals at 36,000 miles. City trucks still remain on a 90-day service interval.
Coupal said that seeing two engines in such good shape was very reassuring for him. He plans to tear down two more engines for inspection in the near future.
"I feel Castrol's sales and technical support, their used oil analysis program and their quality lubricants like Castrol Dieselall have contributed to the success of our maintenance program. They are definitely a valuable partner for New Penn."