MICHEL GOHIER (MG) builds a dump sander truck body designed for year-round jobs such snow and ice control or hauling dirt.
"It is our main product and one that we export to the states," says Dany Poudrier, general manager of MG Ltee near Montreal in Laval, Quebec, Canada. "MG's dump sander body is used mostly for snow and ice control."
The manufacturer has about 10 dealers in the New England states, New York, and Pennsylvania. In southern New York, MG wants to expand its network of dealers, many of which sell to city, county, and state governments.
An increase in dump sander production was spurred by purchases from municipal governments, Poudrier says. State, county, and city governments typically ask for more custom features and options on truck bodies.
The dump sander and dump body options often purchased by municipal governments include drop sides, barn doors, electronic spreader controls, and liquid systems, he says. Tarp systems installed on truck bodies are manufactured by MG and are available with manual or electric controls.
Standard specifications for dump sanders include bodies made of 400 Brinnel steel, Poudrier says. Truck bodies made of 400 Brinnel steel that are less than 19 feet long do not require side reinforcements because of the strength of the metal.
Strong Steel Bodies As an option, sidewalls can be made of 400 Brinnel steel that does not require additional support, Poudrier says. Reinforcements are not installed unless requested by the customer because they only add weight.
The floor, sidewalls, tailgate, and front of dump bodies are made of 400 Brinnel steel, he says. Long sills are made of 240 Brinnel steel.
The conveyor on dump sanders is made of abrasion resistant 400 Brinnel steel. To break 400 Brinnel steel, MG has a 500-ton pressbrake that can bend a 20-ft piece. The company does all the metal fabrication needed to build its truck bodies.
"The 400 Brinnel steel is the hardest we can bend," Poudrier says.
After steel for dump sander bodies is sheared and bent, it is put in an extendable jig used to build bodies in lengths from eight to 15 feet. The jig has two hydraulic cylinders that extend it for building dump sanders of different lengths.
For the conveyor assembly, MG uses a different jig. The conveyor gear box assembly is preassembled.
The conveyor moves material to the front of the dump-sander body to a chute that deposits it ahead of the tandem drive axles. This helps provide improved traction to trucks used for snow control.
Dump Sander Hydraulics The conveyor chain is tensioned with a grease cylinder on each side of the chain. MG began building its own grease cylinders three years ago.
Grease cylinders are often used to tension the drive track on bulldozers. The cylinders have a grease zerk and may exert 800 lb of force on each side of the conveyor track on dump-sander bodies.
Dump sander and other truck body components not manufactured by MG include Mailhot hydraulic lift cylinders and Posi-Plus double-acting cylinders. The Posi-Plus cylinders tip the floor of the dump sander sideways to move material onto a conveyor.
The side of the dump-sander body that tips has double-wall construction. When the inner body is tipped, material slides onto a conveyor for spreading. The conveyor is covered when the dump sander is used only as a dump body.
The cylinders that tip the dump sander floor are controlled by a gear-flow divider to prevent torsion in the floor. The gear-flow divider splits the pressure and oil between the cylinders, ensuring the floor is tilted evenly by each cylinder.
"Without a gear-flow divider, cracking problems can occur in the floor," Poudrier says.
MG builds its dump sanders and other dump bodies in an 18,000-sq-ft shop. Dump bodies are built in sizes from three- to 20-cubic yards.
Truck Body Production Recently, the company built four 19-foot dump bodies made of 400 Brinnel steel. MG mounted one of the dump bodies on a Mack RD 600 chassis with two steer axles and tandem drive axles.
The company builds about 130 truck bodies a year, Poudrier says. The first year Poudrier's family owned the company, they built 65 dump sanders. Dump-sander bodies were first built by MG in 1979.
"Each year, MG slightly increases production," he says. "We don't want to grow too rapidly."
Since 1994, MG has doubled its truck body production, Poudrier says. Sales have grown about 20% annually since 1994 when Poudrier's family purchased the company from Michel Gohier's widow. Her husband died in 1993. Gohier's grandfather founded the company.
Poudrier's parents, Nicole and Bertrand, own MG and Posi-Plus, a manufacturer of aerial devices and hydraulic cylinders. They started Posi-Plus in 1980 in Victoriaville, Quebec, 120 miles east of Montreal. MG was purchased originally to service Posi-Plus aerial devices in the Montreal area.
"We evaluated the product and decided to keep manufacturing the MG dump sander," Poudrier says.
Changes at MG The new owners have made many changes since 1994, Poudrier says. Some of the changes included starting a parts department and putting a salesman on the road. Other changes included hiring an engineer and a draftsman because no plans existed for building dump sanders and other truck bodies.
"Everything was in the previous owner's head," Poudrier says. "No truck body plans were drawn on paper."
Now MG uses CAD Key three-dimensional software to design truck bodies, he says. All truck body drawings are three-dimensional.
"It's easy to see if you're going to have a problem with the design of the truck body," Poudrier says.