CNG Case Study

Environmentally Friendly Customer, Customer Friendly Supplier Team Up to Make a Real Difference in Winnipeg

CNG is the next big step in Emterra Environmental’s mandate to become an even stronger leader in environmental responsibility. With Heil as their partner, they will get there even faster.

Rudy Frank

Emterra Environmental (Burlington, ON) takes the “environmental” portion of its name seriously. With more than 400 trucks, 800 employees and 14 material-recovery facilities throughout Manitoba, Ontario, and British Columbia and serving about 10 percent of the entire Canadian population, the company’s General Manager of metro Vancouver, Nevil Davies, did his own comprehensive research as to which supplier could best help Emterra to switch from traditional diesel-powered vehicles to CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) units that operate more cleanly, quietly and, ultimately, economically. All to support Emterra’s overall corporate sustainability effort to dramatically reduce the environmental impact of its collection of waste and recyclables.

To put it simply, we cold-called Heil Environmental,” begins Paulina Leung, Emterra’s Business Development Manager. “We liked everything we could find related to their proven CNG program, especially how seamlessly their fuel-delivery service was integrated between a chosen chassis and the Heil loader body.”

But it wasn’t just Heil’s (Chattanooga, TN) promise to lower Emterra’s fuel and maintenance costs, reduce idling noise and cut down on emissions that captured the Canadian solid waste giant’s attention. “To say that the Heil response was timely and attentive is a vast understatement,” continues Leung. “Their rep was on the ground in Vancouver within days to see first-hand our requirements so that he could accurately propose just which Heil products would best suit our objectives.”

The Ideal Solution

But that sales call was just the beginning of Heil’s coordinated approach to satisfy Emterra’s search for the ideal CNG solution. Within days, the world’s premier maker of ultra-durable, exceptionally productive mobile refuse collection vehicles, had arranged for several members of the Emterra decision-making team to actually tour not only the Heil design and manufacturing facility in Fort Payne, AL, but to also visit a few current Heil customers, including like titles in Pasadena, CA, who managed a similar field fleet.

Heil made sure we also spoke directly with the equipment operator so we could learn the good and, frankly, the not-so-good points about all the equipment purchases we were considering for the city of Winnipeg and additional projects,” states Leung. “Right there, that kind of unlimited access gave us a strong feeling that we were dealing with a company that would stand 100 percent behind everything it sold to us.”

There were a few other key factors in Heil’s favor as well. First of all, for more than 100 years, the company has been an unparalleled one-stop resource for virtually any type of refuse collection vehicles, whether they are front loaders, rear loaders, side loaders, and multi-compartmental styles. Its sales activities (direct and also through a nationwide dealer network) are completely backed by the waste management industry’s most trusted service organization. “Heil has done hundreds of CNG installations matching ours,” says Leung. “Their process, their history, their products, their desire to make things right all contributed to our choice. We have no margin for error when we undertake our extremely tight municipal contracts. Heil, from our very first interaction with them, made it clear that they not only could deliver to our timeframes and specifications, but that they also wanted our business. They carefully listened to our needs—and then their passion to work closely with us became clearly evident.”

Selecting the Equipment

For use in Winnipeg, where temperatures sometimes drop to 40° (Celcius) below, Emterra selected some 60 Heil bodies, a mixture of Rapid Rail® continuous-pack automated side loaders and PT 1000™ high-performance rear loaders. All on Crane Carrier chassis, giving Emterra the world’s largest fleet of CNG waste and recycling trucks for a truly cold-weather climate. But, just to be safe, some retrofitting was commissioned. “We added extra-large driers to our fueling station and large block heaters to all the Heil units,” says Leung. “It now comes down to how well CNG performs in a Winnipeg winter. In a way, our order is a learning experience for Heil, too. To date, there have been no proven successes—by any CNG equipment supplier—in such frigid environments. We do know one thing, though: no matter what, Heil will stand behind its merchandise.”

The Heil Rapid Rail® side loader, with a lift capacity of 1,600 lbs. and a lift cycle time of just eight seconds, features a patented paddle packer that continuously sweeps (and, thus, cleans) the hopper so that the operator never has to pause between stops to activate the loader arm. That means far less downtime and greatly improved productivity. In addition, there’s never a need to clean behind the packer blade, either—a great convenience for the vehicle’s driver. And there are no shoes, guide tracks, or guide rails to ever wear out.

The unique paddle mechanism results in low cost of maintenance, low cost of ownership,” claims Leung. “Plus, its arm has an extended reach (96 inches), an ability to maneuver in very tight spaces, and a wonderful overall track record.”

Heil’s PT 1000™ rear loader, with compaction up to 1,000 lbs. per cubic yard and a class-best packing cycle time of 15 to 17 seconds, comes equipped with an industry-renowned 3-cubic yard hopper and reloads in a blistering five to six seconds.

Adds Tom Binder, Heil’s Western Regional Manager: “Fer-Marc Equipment, our Canadian dealer, did an extraordinary job demonstrating the superior payload capacities and low-maintenance benefits of Heil’s Rapid Rail and PT 1000 loaders to Emterra. Fer-Mac’s support, from the initial inquiry to the actual deal, enabled Emterra to make a confident equipment choice.”

The Next Step

We don’t just talk the ‘green’ talk—we actually walk the walk,” concludes Leung. “CNG is the next big step in our mandate to become an even stronger leader in environmental responsibility. With Heil as our partner, we’ll get ‘there’ sooner versus later.”

Rudy Frank is 35-year veteran of authoring B2B case studies. Rudy is VP of Branding and Marketing Communications at Mirage MarCom, a Marketing Strategy and Tactics agency in Monroeville, PA.  He can be reached at (412) 372-4181, ext 130 or e-mail

For more information, on Heil, contact Jennifer Shaffer, Corporate Manager, Marketing Communications, at (423) 855-3488 or e-mail