In a world inundated with not only higher levels of waste, but increased complexity of its removal as well, Scranton Manufacturing's line of New Way™ refuse trucks and equipment have continuously brought clean, practical, and durable solutions over the years to the waste removal industry, a sector characterized by its dirty jobs. Steve Engelhardt reports.
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Scranton Manufacturing has its headquarters nestled in Scranton, Iowa, a town with a population of 550 residents. “Our vehicles are sold around the United States, but can also be found in many other parts of the world, from Russia and Dubai, to South American locations like Ecuador,” says Jim Ober, Vice President of Operations for New Way Trucks, adding, “it may be hard to imagine that these vehicles came out of a place as humble as Scranton, but we’re very proud of our duel-based nature of a company that has small town roots yet with a global ambition.”
The company has been around for over 40 years, cofounded by current CEO John McLaughlin. Beginning as an agricultural manufacturer, they focused on producing customized bail feeders and livestock gates for farmers before shifting into the development of standard grade garbage trucks, and then further evolving through the incorporation of front loading and automation into its vehicles’ capabilities in the early 90s.
“We hit a tough time with the agricultural industry in the 80s, and, after finding an individual looking to get out of the garbage truck manufacturing business, we found our next step,” says Ober, continuing, “by the 90s we had acquired the innovation and skill to further enhance our trucks through front loading and later automation, and from there, the business has been steadily growing to the point we find ourselves today; as one of the international leaders in supplying high quality refuse trucks to the various waste and waste removal markets.”
Heavy Duty Vehicles
Ober says that the main product offered under the New Way brand has been their rear loader, in which they have five different models: Cobra, King Cobra, Cobra Magnum, Diamondback, and the Viper. “Our trucks range from 6 to 43 yards of cubic space, allowing our products to cover a wide spectrum of needs in the garbage and recycling businesses,” he says, adding, “given the potential hazards of the waste removal sector, which is ranked as the 6th most dangerous job by Forbes, our customers can be confident that they are getting a vehicle that has the capacity and structural reliability to get the job done in a safe manner.”
And yet, while their rear loaders, particularly their Cobra Viper, represent the most volume in sales for them to date, he says demand for their automated side loaders has been surging in recent years. “You see the growth in ergonomics and the need to improve efficiency out of workers, and with the garbage and recycling industries, more people are shifting to automated trucks from manual-based units as a result,” he says, adding, “And it makes sense, with our automated side loaders, they are able to pick up 50 percent more than a rear loader can, and does so through the smooth control of a joystick, rather than having to lift what could add up to be thousands of pounds a day.”
Scranton Manufacturing’s automated side loader is called the New Way™ Sidewinder XTR, and has become the company’s top seller over the last year, a trend Ober doesn’t see stopping anytime soon. “The Sidewinder is characterized by ergonomic in-cab controls with a frame-mounted arm that features a gripper in line that is further strengthened through heavier steel and hardware than most other models, creating a product that is both technologically and materially superior.”
Ober says that the success of their products like the Sidewinder stems from their continuous investment into innovation. “Our engineering side has grown dramatically over the last few years, to the point where we can draw up our models in a digital program, conduct tests such as the finite element analysis, and see which parts and systems work best in the environments our trucks are going to be used in.” He says that on top of product development, the company also uses its engineering aptitude to come up with solutions to current needs expressed by their customers in the market. “Whether we’re drawing something up from scratch, or receive a request for an improvement in a specific area by one of our customers, we will go to our engineers regardless of the issue and see if it’s something we can make a reality.”
Aside from innovation and engineering, central to Scranton Manufacturing’s success is, to put it simply, their manufacturing. Headquartered in Scranton, Iowa, the company runs its production through its fabrication department and its four dedicated assembly lines, along with a few additional sites down the road responsible for prepping, painting, and mounting. “Inside our facilities you’ll see automated saws, drilling and milling machines, and high definition plasma and brake presses,” he says, adding, “we also do cleaning, wiring, and can mount a completed body onto almost any chassis such as, Mack, or Ford.”
This past June, the company also announced an expansion project of their facilities, a move characterized by 56,000 additional square-feet of floor space and the creation of 75 local jobs. “While others may still be recovering from the economic downturn and trying to get back to their previous levels, our recent success has our foot firmly on the gas pedal,” he says, adding, “this new facility will be responsible mainly for welding assembly and painting, and will increase our overall capacity by 50 percent, taking us to another level as a company.”
Adding to Scranton Manufacturing’s ambitious pursuit of further growth, is their recent unveiling a brand new vehicle, called the ROTO PAC™, based around the removal of municipal solid waste and organics. The vehicle is a fully-automated side-loader organics collection truck and represents the first mobile compactor with a leak-proof truck body that packs with the rotary action of an auger instead of a traditional packing panel. “One of the big trends in the waste industry right now is the effort to divert organics from going into landfills and instead preserving them to be converted into re-usable resources, like energy and land feed,” Ober says, continuing, “There’s never been a machine dedicated to this procedure before and because of this, we feel the product will provide a number of benefits to those involved in this growing business.”
The truck provides a position of growth for the New Way brand, and by extension Scranton Manufacturing, while also bringing reliability and a service to users that they didn’t have access to before; a ‘Win-Win; situation. And that’s exactly how Scranton Manufacturing goes about its business each and every day. Ober concludes, “We know that if we bring a quality product to the market, maintain a positive and engaging partnership with our customers, and foster a skilled and efficient workforce, the rest will take care of itself.”