Explore the Expo

Make the most of your first visit to the Pumper & Cleaner show, and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions


I know I’m not the only one who’s going to the Pumper & Cleaner Expo for the first time. And I know men have their macho pride so they are uptight about asking questions. Not me. What should I look for? What is the best way to approach the show? What tips can you give me so I make the best use of my time?

Ruben Gutierrez

Albuquerque, N. M.


You are right; guys can get uptight when it comes to asking for help or guidance in anything. How many guys stop and ask for directions? Here are a few tips to hopefully enrich your visit to the show.

First, relax. The staff that puts this show together is incredible when it comes to customer service. We’re not plugging the crew of COLE Publishing because we need to make sure we get published every month. The people who work for COLE like their jobs, and it shows. If you’ve gone to the show for years, you’ve seen the same faces with the same smiles. Their goal is to make sure the show is worthwhile to you.

Second, check out the overall program. See what catches your interest. A full slate of seminars on Education Day, Wednesday, Feb. 25, are included in the price of admission. If there’s something that can help you be better at your job, then go for it. If you arrive early, then simply walk around and get your sense of direction. Find out where things are going to be, and if you can’t find those places, ask someone.


Third, when the exhibition opens, brace yourself. I know they call it the Pumper & Cleaner Expo, but it’s more like moving into “Pumper City.’’ The place will be buzzing with excitement and there is something for everyone. If you’re interested in vacuum trucks, you’ll see trucks aplenty. This is a great opportunity to see how manufacturers are building their trucks. Not all trucks are alike and some of the trucks will have features that you haven’t seen and may find useful.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The people in the booths who represent their companies want to answer questions. They brought their best stuff to the show, so ask away. If you have a camera, bring it and use it.

When it comes to the trucks, compare how various builders put together a truck. Look underneath. Check out how the tank is mounted. Is it solid-mounted or spring-mounted? A solid mount will show less mercy over time than a spring-mounted tank. A spring-mounted tank has the ability to float over the bumps, which may be a priority if you work in an area with poor roads.

Check out the connection between the transmission, the power take-off, the gearbox, and the vacuum pump. Is there a Sure-Flex coupler (known in the industry as a Woods coupler) from TB Woods Inc., in the line to save major repairs if the driver begins to drive with the PTO engaged? If you don’t recognize the various parts, don’t be bashful about asking the folks in the booth for help. They will know how the system is assembled.

Some manufacturers use plastic accessories, like primaries and secondaries, while others use steel. Ask them to explain their preferences. Some items are chosen because they function better, while others are selected because it keeps the cost down. Every manufacturer has a different approach.


No doubt, there will be a lot of aluminum vacuum tanks at the show. Check out how the various manufacturers design and build their tanks and exactly what types of aluminum they are using. Manufacturers even make tanks out of varying thicknesses of aluminum. They all look the same from the outside, so ask about each tank’s specifications, including its thickness, and find out why the builder decided on material thickness.

New technologies will show up in the cabs of a lot of trucks. More digital technology is finding its way into the controls of your vacuum system. Simple pushbuttons and better lighting systems make the operation of new trucks simpler and safer.

Finally, make sure to remember to enjoy yourself. The ideas on display for improving your business are immense and wide-ranging. The show is there for you, so make the most of it.


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