Autocar announced it will deliver the first production of its model DC-64R conventional roll-off to WCA Waste Corporation (WCA) of Houston. In February 2020, Autocar gathered with WCA to inspect the vehicle and to celebrate collaborative efforts on the new DC-64R, the first, ground-up designed, refuse conventional truck.
At the time, Autocar president James Johnston spoke to the Autocar team and WCA leadership in attendance about the magnitude of WCA’s partnership with Autocar and specifically WCA’s impact on the DC-64R’s specific features and benefits for refuse and the product development process.
“The three C’s of a healthy business relationship are communication, compromise, and commitment,” stated Johnson. “WCA Waste was the right partner; we learned to communicate, to compromise, and to stay committed so that trust was established, and extraordinary results were created. This has been a long time coming.”
Bill Caesar, WCA CEO, also spoke addressing the Autocar engineering and production teams at Autocar’s Birmingham, Ala., assembly plant, which brought the DC-64R to life.
“It is an absolute honor to not only participate with Autocar, but to be the first owners of the DC-64R,” Caesar added. “I enjoyed every moment and appreciated how Autocar listened and took our feedback and input. It was an honor to participate at this level, and this truck is a great throwback to the tradition of Autocar. Because of Autocar’s track record supporting WCA for years uniquely, day-in and day-out with your ACX cabover product, we are confident in also now partnering with Autocar on your new DC-64R conventional product as well.”
Caesar announced an additional new truck order on the spot to the entire Autocar team and plant personnel.
In an unprecedented departure from refuse industry tradition, Autocar mounted the roll-off hoist body onto the DC chassis on the OEM production line. Autocar refers to this capability as the Power of One integration of the chassis and body.
Autocar Specialty Vehicle Group Managing director Eric Schwartz reflected on the DC-64R development process and the significance of Power of One integration of the roll-off body.
“This is VIN number one, the first DC off our assembly line,” said Schwartz. “It’s not just a custom-engineered truck for WCA—we do those every day—but, for the first time ever, it was built with a roll-off hoist integrated on the same truck chassis assembly line right here in our Birmingham plant.”
According to Autocar, the Power of One offers benefits to customers over the traditional body mounting process, which historically takes place after chassis production at the body builder’s site, or a third-party dealer. The traditional process, besides taking six to nine months order to delivery, at times includes post-production modifications.
The integration process is designed to protect the integrity of the OEM build, reduce production cycle time and achieve significant advances in safety and reliability by avoiding disassembly at the bodybuilder. In fact, data reported by truck operators for the first 90 days in service shows a substantial improvement in uptime and reliability and dramatic cost savings on unscheduled repairs and maintenance.
In addition to the Ultimate Power of One, engineering innovations debuted on the DC-64R include: 160,000 PSI steel frame rails—24 percent stronger and lighter than the rails on other trucks; and the new Always Up digital display, which was designed to direct technicians to root cause issues and to minimize driver distractions for operators.
Also, Autocar engineered in the recently launched Cummins X-12 lightweight engine package, coupled with the bulletproof Allison 4700 transmission is the DC-64R right powertrain for this application.
“This premium work truck is revolutionary in ways that will improve our customers’ productivity, safety, overall uptime, and wait time (shorter order to delivery), thus overall ROI,” Schwartz added. “The DC-64R is the direct result of the feedback, insights, data, and guidance we received from many select customer experts from across the industry. We could not have engineered a truck this innovative and specific to refuse without all their feedback which resulted in numerous creative ideas and industry improvements. We’re grateful for their help and proud to bring to this market a severe duty work truck that is honestly ‘customer-built’.”
Jason Saunders, vice president of fleet and procurement for WCA, was an active participant on the Autocar Refuse Product Development Advisory Board that met often over the years.
“We would not have developed a work truck from the ground-up so obviously meant for the refuse industry, if not for the hours of hard work and input from Jason Saunders, who often challenged our team to do more and offer better and specific to refuse application solutions,” Schwartz continued. “His DNA is all over the Autocar DC-64R.”