Spec'ing sleepers: Two distinct needs

Spec’ing sleepers: Two distinct needs

Freightliner sleeper“We have two distinct needs for sleeper equipped tractors in our operation,” says Jim Bullins, corporate fleet manager at Maines Paper and Food Service. “In both cases, we work closely with Fleet Advantage, our asset management, fleet business analytics and equipment financing provider, to tailor specifications to our fleet operation.”

Headquartered in Conklin, N.Y., Maines Paper & Food Service is the seventh largest independent food service distributor in the United States. The company’s fleet of more than 400 tractors and 500 trailers delivers frozen, perishable and dry products to national chain and local restaurants. Included are Freightliner and Volvo sleeper equipped tractors.

“In our operation there are team long haul routes, which can include 12- to 18-hour layovers, and shorter runs where single drivers need a place to rest,” Bullins explains. “In both of those operations, we also have to address new hours-of-service rules, so providing drivers with the best available sleeper options is something we routinely consider during the spec’ing process.”

Old and new

When it is considering new equipment choices, Bullins notes, Maines relies on recommendations by Fleet Advantage, which are based on past performance of existing models in the fleet, as well as new alternatives being offered by truck manufacturers. Ultimately, a committee of managers and drivers makes all equipment and specification decisions.

In most cases, Maines opts for standard sleeper offerings with specific options added. For example, long haul sleepers are equipped with front window curtains to provide drivers with a more restful environment. Recent additions have also included Thermo King TriPac Evolution auxiliary power units on all sleeper models, as well as cold weather packages to help maintain batteries during long idle periods.

“Our fleet goals are straightforward,” Bullins states. “For the Maines Paper and Food Service fleet, which has doubled in size in the past ten years, we are constantly seeking ways to simultaneously enhance driver comfort, reduce costs and always serve customers more effectively. By providing drivers with the best available equipment, we are able to deliver dependable customer service.”

Volvo sleeper

OEM Offerings

To make the most effective choices for their operations, fleets have a full range of sleepers to consider when spec’ing tractors. Among the latest OEM offerings and innovations are the following:

Freightliner Trucks offers a large selection of mid-roof and mid-roof extra-tall (XT) configurations for its Cascadia, Cascadia Evolution and Coronado models. Raised Roof sleepers are available from the OEM in the same tractors and in its 122 SD vocational model.

International sleeper International ProStar models can be ordered with 56-inch Low Roof or Hi-Rise sleepers, or 73-in. Hi-Rise or Sky-Rise sleepers. The variety of configurations can be spec’d with Deluxe, Premium and Eagle trim options, including various bunks and roof heights.

Kenworth Truck Co. has enhanced its 52-in. mid-roof sleeper offering for its T680 model. Included is an optional 28-in. wide upper bunk designed for regional haul applications that require a second sleeper berth while the vehicle is parked. The T680 52-in. sleeper is standard with a liftable lower bunk. A passenger swivel seat is also available as an option to expand living space.

Mack Trucks Pinnacle tractors are available with 48- and 56-in. flat-top, 60- and 70-in. mid-rise, or 70-in. high-rise sleepers for regional and long haul operations. Pinnacle sleepers feature separate heating and cooling system controls, a locking storage compartment under the lift-up bunk, and a mix of tall closets and smaller cabinets.

Peterbilt Motors Co.’s 80-in. sleeper for its Model 579 tractor joins 72-in. and 44-in. low roof offerings. The 80-in. model, the largest in the OEMs history, and the 44-in. model are fully detachable to allow conversions to day cab service. Features of the 80-in. sleeper include a 42-in. bunk, tower storage cabinets and a full-length sleeper access door.

Volvo Trucks Optimized Series of eight tractor models includes VNM 430 and VNL 430 flat-top and mid-roof sleepers, and VNM 630 and VNL 630 mid-roof sleeper options. The mid-roof design was developed for the Optimized Series to provide additional headroom for regional haul carriers, including tanker, bulk, refrigerated, dry and flatbed applications.

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