Setting up your insulation truck the right way can help avoid frustration and increase production on the job. When setting up a fiberglass blow truck, keep in mind how much material and what tools needs to fit on the truck. Will you need heat inside of the truck and how much room should you allow for performing maintenance on the machine? Maintenance can cause a lot of heartburn, if not planned for when you install the machine. All of these things are extremely important considerations when setting up your truck to ensure it has a successful future.
Truck, van, or trailer? Vans and trailers are fine for smaller 1 job/day type retrofit operations, where you’re not installing a lot of material. Contractors doing new construction or blowing 3-6 attics/day can go through 200 bags or more of fiberglass blown-in insulation, so make sure to account for how much material you plan to install on a good day. If you go too small, you often wind up making unnecessary trips back to the shop, which becomes very costly. You want your installers installing, not driving back and forth to the shop every afternoon. A good way to make sure you are bringing enough insulation to each job is looking at every attic and measuring beforehand (as well as during the job). On the plus side, fiberglass bags are super dense and cover a lot more square footage per bag compared to other products. This allows you to maximize space in the truck. Understanding how many bags you plan to install in a full day, and the tools you will need, helps determine the size of the truck.
Even though most jobs are different, there are commonly used tools that should be loaded on the truck each day. While we’re on the subject, check out IDI’s handy tools and jobsite checklist. Certainly, tools like hammer tackers, foam guns, knives, plastic, and tape, don’t take up much room, but ladders, scaffolding, and blow hose can. Tools that are organized and stored in an easily accessible area is always best. When installers dig through a rat’s nest to get their tools, it drives down efficiency. Staples and supplies of any kind should be easily accessible. Dedicated tool storage next to a side door or built-in storage boxes mounted under the truck can help organize what can become chaos.
Now, let’s talk about the money maker, the blow machine. Placing the machine directly behind the cab helps when you are loading material, especially if you can load with a forklift. It is also worth saying again, remember to place the machine where it’s easy to perform maintenance. No one likes to do maintenance and if we make it harder, it’s even less likely to happen. If you leave enough space behind the blowing machine, it creates a great space to store the blow hose. Hose reels are also a good option, if you have the room, but they eat up valuable space you could be using for material. For gas or diesel machines, be sure to install the machine where the intake and exhaust are in different locations. This may require you to purchase an exhaust extension in order to provide enough distance between them.
When loading the truck, try to leave ample space for a crew member to get to the machine and load it. You want them to be able to get in and start working when you first arrive on site. It’s also a great idea to have a side door next to the machine. Not only does it make it easy for the crew to get to the machine and start blowing, but it also helps with cooling. Think of a nice August day, the sun beating down on the box truck. You are there next to a gas or diesel engine running all day in this box. That side door will provide some much-needed air flow and make for a happier employee.
Efficiency is key to making money. Returning to the shop for materials or digging for tools slows your crews down and eats into your profit. Always set up your trucks to maximize your crew’s potential. Contact your local rep with any questions you have about setting up a truck or for purchasing any important items to help improve your teams efficiency.