PreView WorkSight Blind Spot Radar

MDU Success in Utility Vehicle Safety Story

MDU Success in Utility Vehicle Safety Story

Major Western Utility Company Integrates Radar and Video to Maximize Safety

With a service area spanning eight Northern and Pacific Northwest states, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. keeps a lot of drivers and trucks on the road. They install and repair electric and gas utility lines in cities, suburbs, and in the countryside, often in extreme weather conditions. To help their drivers operate more safely, Montana-Dakota has been systematically upgrading its trucks with Preco Electronics’ PreView® Radar side and rear detection systems. The results include fewer rear-end and side blind zone collisions, improved safety, and lower installation costs.

Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. values safetyMontana-Dakota Utilities Co. began searching for a better solution to its large-truck safety systems due to issues they were having with the existing technology’s failure-prone operating system.  According to Kim Hodges, who oversees the company’s fleet maintenance and repairs, they looked at a number of replacement solutions, including one that involved mounting four sensor buttons on each bumper. Concerned that the sensors would be too easily damaged in the course of a normal workday, he kept looking.

Fewer Sensors, More Powerful, Durable and Dependable

PreView WorkSight Blind Spot Coverage Radar“Instead of using those four exposed sensors, we started installing Preco’s PreView Radar systems,” Hodges says. “Preco put its sensors into one ruggedized box. The sensors don’t get damaged, and the system is dependable. We’ve been using Preco for several years and haven’t seen anywhere near the number of issues we had with our old system. And installing one sensor instead of four reduces installation time and cost.”

“Installing one sensor instead of four reduces installation time and cost.”

“Once we saw the value Preco’s radar systems, we took the next step and installed the PreView Plus solution that integrates radar and cameras.”

“Preco systems work very well, which says to me that they’re on top of their technology,” says Hodges.

Integrating Visual and Audible Warning Systems

PreView Plus Camera and Monitor Vehicle Safety System“Once we saw the value Preco’s radar systems, we took the next step and installed the PreView Plus solution that integrates radar and cameras.”

The PreView Plus system integrates a camera and monitor with its PreView Radar system. PreView Plus supports as many as 4 cameras and 24 sensors per vehicle to provide up to 360-degree object detection. The in-cab mounted monitor provides drivers with visual information, color coded indicators and audible alerts.

With the radar and camera-plus-radar systems in place and fully operational, Preco benefits Montana-Dakota by helping it prevent costly damage to people, property, and fleet equipment; reduce maintenance and repair costs; and teach drivers to become more alert and proactive—without incurring extra training costs.

Future-Proof Safety Systems

As can be seen with the increasingly sophisticated collision-avoidance systems now standard on many passenger cars, it’s clear that vehicle safety regulations for heavy-duty trucks will evolve as well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking very closely at a wide range of technologies from crash avoidance to data collection, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, and speed limiters.

“Preco systems work very well, which says to me that they’re on top of their technology,” says Hodges. “As vehicles change and safety regulations evolve, I’m confident that Preco will stay on top of these changes.”

Customer Profile

Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. was created in 1924 to bring energy to small farming communities along the border between Montana and North Dakota. With a motto of “in the community to serve,” the company now provides retail natural gas and/or electric services to more than 384,000 customers spread over 168,000 square miles, a service area equal to 5.5 percent of the entire continental United States.

Name
Email
Review Title
Rating
Review Content
PreView WorkSight Blind Spot Radar

Honolulu Disposal Success Story

Honolulu Disposal Success Story

Honolulu Disposal Service Keeps Citizens Safe, Drivers Accident-Free With PRECO Electronic's PreView Radar Systems

The combination of frequent storms, tourists, hungry rodents, and corrosive ocean air poses a challenge for all truck fleets operating in Hawaii. But for Honolulu Disposal Service’s garbage disposal trucks, the challenges can be even greater. Its trucks typically operate in bad weather and early morning hours when visibility is poor. They navigate busy, narrow urban streets and alleys. And despite all of their warning signs and sounds, these hulking vehicles seem to go unnoticed as people make their way home, to work, and to the beach. Given these factors, the responsibility for safety lands squarely on the shoulders of Honolulu Disposal’s drivers. To help its drivers operate as safely as possible, Honolulu Disposal equips its trucks with cameras, and with PRECO Electronics’ PreView Radar systems.

Honolulu Disposal Safety Technology

Ask Roy Eccleshall why Honolulu Disposal invests in PRECO’s collision mitigation systems, and he recites his simple mantra, “Safety, safety, safety.” As the company’s Executive Vice President of Maintenance and Facilities, Eccleshall says that keeping people safe comes down to minimizing the impact of human error, whether on the part of his drivers, other vehicle drivers, bicyclists, or pedestrians.

“Our goal is to be proactive, not reactive, about avoiding human mistakes,” Eccleshall says. “We decided about four years ago to give our drivers new tools to help them know what’s happening around their trucks. That’s when we started adding Preco’s wired, and then wireless, radar systems to our fleet.”

Patented, Color-Coded Protection

PRECO’s PreView Radar systems use a patented radar technology to detect both moving and stationary objects around vehicles. The system uses visual and audible alerts to warn operators of potentially hazardous conditions.

“We’ve used on-board cameras for years. But the problem is that cameras only tell the drivers that something is near the truck—not how near it is. The PRECO system gives my drivers a better understanding of exactly how close those things are.”

When the PreView WorkSight® Wireless system senses an object within the detection area, it notifies the driver with an audible alert and a visual warning on an in-cab display unit. These short seconds of advance notice can mean the critical difference between accidents and close calls.

“When the dashboard-mounted warning lights turn from green to yellow, drivers know to become very cautious,” Eccleshall says. “When the lights turn from yellow to red, the driver immediately stops the truck, gets out, and sees what’s going on.”

He says his drivers have to exercise particular caution when driving and backing up their trucks through downtown Honolulu’s famous Waikiki Beach. Tourists busy strolling to the shops and beaches just don’t seem to pay attention to large vehicles and back-up alarms—even, he says, “when I changed the beeps to quacks.”

“Our goal is to be proactive, not reactive, about avoiding human mistakes” – Roy Eccleshall

“When the dashboard-mounted warning lights turn from green to yellow, drivers know to become very cautious,” Eccleshall says.

“PRECO reduced our typical per-truck installation time by more than 60 percent. When you multiply that across a fleet of more than 200 vehicles, that’s a lot of savings.”

“In the end, it’s not about the money. It’s about safety.”

Ruggedized and Wireless for Expected—and Unexpected—Challenges


Honolulu Disposal Collision MitigaitonEccleshall says he likes the fact that the radar sensors are ruggedized to resist harsh environmental conditions including dirt, mud, rain, snow, and ice. Originally from Canada, he was all-too-familiar with these challenges. Moving to Hawaii, he soon found more.

“I didn’t know rats could be so destructive,” he says. “A garbage truck could be full of all kinds of good food, but all the rats seem to want to eat are electrical cables. It doesn’t take long at all for them to chew through the cables and disable the collision warning system.”

He was understandably thrilled when PRECO released its new PreView WorkSight Wireless radar system. Not only did the wireless solution prevent rodents from putting his trucks out of service, it also eliminated the need to install more than 75 feet of warning system cabling per truck, and dramatically reduced installation time.

“PRECO reduced our typical per-truck installation time by more than 60 percent. When you multiply that across a fleet of more than 200 vehicles, that’s a lot of savings. Plus the wireless system eliminates the problem we’ve been having with salt corrosion. As tightly made as electrical cables are assembled these days, we still have problems when the salt works its way into the cable couplings, corrodes them, and shorts them out. WorkSight Wireless makes all of that go away.” Continue reading “Honolulu Disposal Success Story”