Author Archives: Bryan Bachmann

EZ Pack Front End Loader
Front End Loader Garbage Trucks: Then and Now

Front-end loaders make waste collection easy. They are extremely reliable and functional, making them an indispensable asset in the waste industry.

How did these garbage trucks start? Who invented them? In this article, we’ll talk about the history of front loaders and how they evolved over the years. You’ll know how and why front loaders came to be and what they are now.

The History of Front-End Loader Garbage Trucks

Front-end loaders may only be a few decades old but waste management is a much older industry. Waste haulers, or “scavengers,” were responsible for collecting and selling waste.

The first-ever garbage-collecting vehicles were horse-drawn carts — this was in the 1800s. It wasn’t until the early 20th century when the first garbage truck was introduced. These early trucks were efficient but not perfect. Poor sanitation was one of the major problems.

Except for the poor sanitation issue, the earliest garbage trucks were fairly efficient in waste management. However, the garbage collectors still struggled to lift extremely heavy garbage onto the pickup trucks. To remedy this, they released the first external hopper truck sometime in 1929. These trucks were a mainstay, yet they still required help from several men to manually load garbage onto the truck. This became a problem that needed a solution.

The Birth of Front End Loaders

In 1952, Phil Gentile and Samuel Vincen Bowles developed the first front-end loader truck, released in California. These models were equipped with a bucket attachment that was later modified to a forklift-style arm. Initially, only 10 trucks with this fixed bucket were created. They were used mainly for residential purposes and bulk collection.

Two years later, Bowles started manufacturing front loader garbage trucks that were designed with closed dump bodies. They were paired with a Pull-Type packer system. This pull-type system moved a blade from the front to the back of the hopper, making space for the next load of refuse. It would also compact the contents of the hopper as it filled. However, the patent on this design prevented it from spreading across the industry. Manufacturers instead employed “push type” packers, which featured rams mounted vertically ahead of the blade.

In 1955, Towner Mfg. of California designed another new front loader, called Nu-Way Pak Sanitary Van, that had a compaction rate of about 24,000 pounds. However, these models weren’t a hit on the market, because their container coupling method wasn’t compatible with the industry standards of the time. Only a few of them were sold and some were even used as movie props.

As companies in the refuse industry continuously improved these trucks, front loaders began to grow in popularity during the 1950s. Their main market was Southern California, where they became an industry staple. Bowles continued refining and updating his front end loader designs and even set the standard for West coast builders.

Important Innovations

There are a couple refinements in particular that secured a long-lasting place for FELs in the refuse industry. For example, bent arms, or Over-the-Cab (OTC) lift arms, were a game changer. The original arms presented several safety concerns. As the older style of arms lifted, they  moved directly past the doors of the cab. This motion could result in injury to the driver, damage to cab doors, or could even trap drivers within the cab.

Dempster, a manufacturer in the East, redesigned their Dumpmaster in 1957 and released the industry’s first OTC lift arms. This new model sported gooseneck shaped lift arms that completely cleared the cab doors throughout the container lift cycle. They also changed to a more efficient container coupling system. These arms had forks that engaged pockets on the sides of containers instead of the bottom.

Another one of the most important changes to FEL design was improvements to Cab-Over-Engine (COE) chassis. This innovation greatly benefited the refuse industry, especially front loaders. Cab over trucks made front loaders safer and more operator-friendly. New tilt-cab COE trucks had large windshields and forward seating, drastically improving visibility. This allowed drivers to watch their forks connect with containers. They no longer had to rely on another person to be their set of eyes, or to guess where to aim their forks, significantly increasing efficiency. These features made COE trucks a far better fit for front loader bodies. Once the 1960s introduced COE trucks with shorter bumper-to-back-of cab dimensions to the market, the conventional cab was almost entirely replaced by COEs for front loader use.

By the 1970s, front loaders were a hit country-wide.

What They Are Now

In the late 1990s, front loaders equipped with an over-the-cab arm controlled by a cylinder is the industry standard. It all started with an open body dump truck, but today front loaders are easy to operate and highly efficient. They are also more powerful now compared to what they were years back. Modern front loaders are ideal for use in residential and commercial jobs.

Front-loaders now have different technological features. Some can see and record trash weight by using on-board scales. With cameras, they can also see potential dangers to help reduce accidents.

Talk to us if you need more information about front-end loader garbage trucks and how they can benefit your business.

Contact Custom Truck Today

If you need assistance acquiring or renting front loaders or other specialized trucks for your heavy equipment, let us know. Our professional team location across North America can assist you with rentals, sales, parts & service, asset disposal and financing solutions with front loaders or other custom trucks that you need.

Get in touch with us today!


Palfinger T50 hook lift on a Peterbilt 348 chassis
Hooklifts: How to Load and Unload Containers

Hooklifts are a safe and versatile type of roll-off truck. They are simple and efficient to use for your container moving needs, but only if you know how to properly use them. Below are the step-by-step procedures of how to unload and load containers using a Palfinger T50 hook lift truck with an AeroForce tarp. These will vary depending on the particulars of the unit you’re using, but will give you the general idea of proper hooklift hoist operations for the Palfinger T Series.

Loading a Container

  1. Familiarize yourself with all safety procedures and operator manuals. This is a necessary first step before operating any piece of equipment.
  2. Engage the PTO.  The operator controls are on a pendant with 2 thumb switches.
  3. To begin loading, slide the jib all the way to the rear position. This will get the hoist out of dump mode and into load and unload mode.
  4. Use the switch to start bringing container onto truck
  5. Bring the jib back over center to begin loading the container. You can roll the truck underneath the container, or the hook itself will pull the container up and over and slowly forward. One of the biggest perks about these hooklifts is that the operator isn’t required to get in or out of the truck to do this. Before the container is on the truck, the sills must be lined up with the rear rollers and either guided on with the flanges or automatically lined up before the wheels of the container come off the ground. If it’s not properly lined up, the operator can drive forward and steer the container to line them up. The container then slowly transitions onto the truck from the ground, and the operator continues to bring the hoist down.
  6. The jib is now extended forward, and you can pull the container into the transport position.

Using a Tarper

Tarping the Container

  1. The AeroForce tarper comes with remote control. You turn the remote on by hitting B and A.
  2. Verify that there are no overhead obstructions before closing the container. The arms of the tarping system will go above the container, and you don’t want them to collide with anything.
  3. The buttons on the remote just correspond with what functions are written (up, down, forward, etc.). To close the container, raise the gantry, and move the arms to close the the tarp over the whole top of the container.
  4. Put the gantry back in the home position prior to travel. The remote automatically goes to sleep when you’re finished using it.

Removing the Tarp

  1. Once again, check that there aren’t any overhead obstructions.
  2. Using the remote, raise the gantry above the height of the container.
  3. Uncover the container by moving the arms.
  4. Adjust the pivot point to rest the arms back in the cradle of the gantry.

Unloading a Container

  1. Slide the jib all the way back to the home position. The jib pushes the container off when in the home position.
  2. This procedure is just the opposite of the loading process. The hook transitions over the center to the rear. The rollers then pivot to support the sills of the container.
  3. At this point, the hook lift truck can be put in neutral to place the container or you can drive out from under the container, depending on the ground conditions and where container needs to be placed.
  4. Once the container is placed on the ground, lower the hook. You are then good to drive away from the container and get ready for your next job!

Palfinger T50 Hook Lift Demonstration

If you have any further questions about the operation of Palfinger T50 hooklifts, or any other roll-off equipment, reach out and our experts will give you the guidance you need.


Hercules EZ Pack Front-End Loader
All About Front-End Loaders (FELs)

What is a Front-End Loader Truck (FEL)?

Front-end loaders are efficient and mechanized garbage trucks. They have hydraulic forks on the front. The forks lift up a garbage bin using slots on the sides. They then tip the bin over so the lid opens, and its contents are dumped into the hopper of the truck. Once the bin is empty, it is lowered back down onto the ground. Inside the hopper, the truck may also compact the waste to make more space. When the box of the vehicle eventually fills up, the truck carries the waste to a designated disposal site or recycling facility.

The beauty of this equipment is the automation of the trash collection process. It creates an efficient and cost-effective way for anywhere from apartment buildings to businesses to dispose of their garbage. This truck, therefore, is especially useful in ares with denser population, like large cities.

The History of the FEL

During the post-World War II era, many industries were experiencing a big economic and technological boom. People moved in large numbers into cities for factory jobs, and handling the increase in waste became a necessity.

The front-end loaders came to market in the 1950s. They were the automated solution to waste collection that met the needs of the day. Initially, they only serviced residential areas, but were quickly recognized as useful in commercial applications as well.

“With an almost simultaneous creation on both sides of the country, the philosophy behind the front load design saw two schools of truck bodies emerge: East Coast and West Coast,” writes Zachary Geroux in an in-depth historical article about FELs in Waste Advantage magazine. “The stricter weight laws of the West Coast forced builders to develop creative ways to maximize the legal load while the East Coast focused on a higher compaction rate due to the bigger population ratio and less stringent weight restrictions.”

Over time, front-end loading truck technology has continued to advance.

Types of Front Loaders

Commercial Front-End Loaders

At Custom Truck, you can find commercial front-end loaders. Commercial businesses usually have a container, between 4-6 cubic yards, that they put all of their garbage into. The containers are most often stored in enclosed outdoor areas, blocked off with gates.

These are picked up by a commercial front-end loader when it drives on its trash collection route. It pulls into the commercial area and lines up with the container. The FEL then stabs the container so its forks go into the pockets on the container’s sides. It raised the container to dump the contents into a hopper, attached to the truck behind the cab. When the container is empty, the truck sets it back down. The front-end loader then compacts the trash within the hopper using a push blade and hauls the load to a transfer station or a landfill.

Residential Front-End Loaders

This type of front-end loader has some alterations that tailor it to make residential garbage pick-ups. They can do anywhere between 800-1,400 of these runs per day, depending on the density of their route.


gloved hand holding black trash bag over a garbage bin for waste management collection
Waste Management During COVID-19: How You Can Help

The coronavirus has temporarily prevented us from a lot of our typical activities, but it definitely didn’t stop us from generating trash. If anything, our waste generation as a nation, typically about 2,072 lbs per person per year, has increased by up to 40% during the pandemic. Waste management companies are struggling to keep up with the rising volume of trash. They are doing everything they can to minimize risks for their workers on the frontlines while keeping our cities and neighborhoods clean.


People are confined at home during Spring cleaning season. This gives them more time than ever to go through old belongings that have been gathering dust for years. Food has become a preoccupation. Home cooking has increased, and so has alcohol intake. This causes more discarded grocery packaging and empty wine and beer bottles in the trash pile. Fewer people are recycling, and a lot of recycling and compost units have shut down due to COVID-19 anyway. Home disinfecting with wipes, sprays, and other cleaning products has become a continuous activity.


The growing garbage crisis has caused sanitation departments to call for citizens to be more responsible with the curbside garbage they put out. And there are many ways in which we can step up and assist waste management efforts in these challenging times.


  • Hold back things that can wait until the coronavirus crisis is over. It will help ease the pressure on an overburdened system.
  • Don’t park in front of garbage containers on pick-up days. The job will take up more time for a one-person operation if your vehicle is obstructing the path. Every route has a budget for time.
  • Reduce your driving speed when you see a parked garbage collection truck. Collision with passenger cars is a main cause of accidents.
  • Keep trash carts facing the right way. When the automated arm of a garbage truck lifts and dumps a container, some of the garbage can remain caught in the lip of the lid and scatter on the street. Check for arrows on the container that indicate the side that should be facing the street.
  • Use bags to place your trash in. This makes hauling cleaner, healthier, and easier for waste management workers. Use good quality bags that will not fall apart when lifted.
  • Don’t overload trash bags. Carts over the 200-lb limit and trash bags over the 30-lb limit may not only hurt equipment but could also injure workers.
  • Know which items you can’t include in normal trash disposal (like paint, motor oil, fluorescent light bulbs, electronics, etc.). Take these to a hazardous materials drop-off center. 
  • Clean the handles and lids of trash cans and recycling bins that sanitation workers will physically pick up. This will help curb the spread of the virus among people who are visiting hundreds of homes very day.
  • Leave a small gift like a bottle of hand sanitizer with a note for your garbage collector to find. Or offer him a cool refreshment on a hot summer day. It’s nice to be appreciated for the great work they are doing and the risk they are taking to make sure our families are safe!


Hook Lift Hoist Roll-Off Truck
Hook Lifts or Roll-Off Cable Hoists? Which Option is Better for You?

For construction teams, garbage haulers, demolition crews and clean-out workers, roll-off trucks are an essential piece of equipment that offer incredible flexibility to pick up and drop containers in a manner that no fixed body truck can.

This ease of operation, however, can be further enhanced by the kind of hoist system you choose: hook lift or roll-off cable hoist. Both have advantages and disadvantages in the method they employ to load and unload containers, and in this article, we’re going to help you compare the two, so you know which one is better suited to your work needs.

Cable Hoists

Roll-off cable hoists are the most common hoists in use today. These trucks employ a winch and a cable to pull containers or other bodies up onto the truck’s bed.

Cable hoists are more suitable than hook hoist for unloading at sites with limited overhead clearance, inside or out, due to its lower angle unload capabilities. As the name suggests, cable hoists need to have nose rollers and rear wheels to allow the cable to pull them up on chassis.

Cable hoist roll-offs are designed to carry both inside and outside rail containers, which maximizes its usability. They are also versatile enough to work with any truck chassis, suspensions, exhaust systems and fuel tanks.

Generally speaking, cable hoists are more efficient when it comes to servicing heavier loads. Rather than lifting from back to front on the same geometric angle, the cable system pulls the weight up the rails, and being able to adjust the incline of the rails as the load is being pulled also means that the tension on the cable itself is significantly reduced.

If you’re working with containers of different lengths, the cable hoist design gives you more room for maneuver, as long as the container does not extend beyond the tail end of the rails.
Shop Roll-Offs and Hook Hoists


Hook hoist roll-off trucks have a heavy-duty truck chassis that has been fitted with a hydraulic lift hoist. Drivers back up to a container or body, connect the hook of the truck to a receiving hook on the container, and then lift it up onto the truck.

As these roll-off trucks are designed without truck-mounted winches and cables, hook hoists provide more accuracy in dropping containers in an exact position than cable hoist roll-off trucks. Hook hoists are also more suitable when maneuvering into and out of tight spaces.

Since hook lifts hoist containers right onto the bed of the truck instead of rolling them on, compatible containers and bodies don’t need nose rollers or rear wheels.

Hook lifts are extremely well-suited for a variety of industries, such as waste management, recycling, landscaping, construction and roofing.

They can haul many types of truck bodies or containers, which significantly cut costs for contractors, municipalities and others by reducing fleet sizes. It’s a mix-and-match system because hook hoists can do the work of several truck systems – all you do is add truck bodies or containers as needed. They offer convenient, ground-level loading and unloading of materials too.

But perhaps, the best attribute of all is that drivers can complete a pick-up or drop-off quickly and safely, from within the cab of their truck. (With the cable hoist, the driver must physically latch the cable onto the front hook of the box.) They don’t have to step out for the entire duration of the operation, which saves time and effort, every season, throughout the year.

This convenience improves operator safety, as they are far removed from moving machinery, and owner liability is reduced as well!


Galbreath WT-1216-EX Roll-Off on Ford F550
WT-1216/X And WT-2018/X Work Truck Series Roll-Off Cable Hoists: Light Options That May Just Be Right For You!

Imagine the toughness and durability that Galbreath roll-off hoists are so well-known for – but built into a more compact and light-weight system.

Galbreath (a Wastequip brand) is recognized as the premier hoist and trailer brand in the industry, offering cable hoists, hook hoists, trailers, trail hoists and container handlers for the waste handling, recycling and scrap industries.

With the company’s incredible knowledge and expertise in the development of state-of-the-art roll-off hoists, they understand market needs and customer pain points better than anyone. Most hoists available in the market, for example, are just too much size and power for smaller applications. To fulfill the need to serve people like you who could use a less unwieldy piece of equipment for your everyday needs, Galbreath has introduced the WT-1216/X and WT-2018/X work truck series cable hoists.

They are `miniature’ options, if you will, of Galbreath’s original 8-inch main frame single axle cable hoist, making them perfect for landscapers, general contractors and private waste haulers who need less power and easier maneuverability.

At Custom Truck One Source, we’re getting a lot of feedback from our customers about these two models, and here are 7 attributes that may just be what you’re looking for as well:

  • Both iterations can transport loaded containers and equipment up to 20k lbs. and 18 feet in length.
  • With a durable 6-inch main frame, these new hoists feature electric over hydraulic controls using a wireless remote control. What this does is it makes containers in tough-to-reach or congested metropolitan areas so much easier to locate.
  • Taking a variety of truck chassis into the reckoning, these models are extremely compatible pieces of equipment. The new cable hoists are bolt-on ready and very easily installed with no welding required. This ease of installment saves both time and money.
  • The hoists come standard with externally mounted secondary manual controls, BOC (back of cab) mounted steel tank w/ dual sight/temp gauge, adjustable bolt-on rear apron and split bumpers and dual 4-inch lift and winch cylinders.
  • The hoists are tarp system ready, with a mounting platform that is compatible with Pioneer and other tarp brands.
  • Customization is entirely possible with user-friendly engineering layouts to ensure the best fit for each customer, as well as a host of options — including toolboxes, back-up cameras, fenders, expanded light packages, auxiliary front stops and a side-mount oil tank.
  • Safety features include an automatic spring loaded (pass over style) front safety lock, in-cab ¾-inch flashing LED hoist up warning light, back-up and hoist alarms and dual safety/maintenance props.

The WT-1216/X and WT-2018/X roll-off trucks have been thoroughly field tested in hauler operations to over 4,000 cycles and come with a standard one-year hoist and two-year limited hydraulic system warranty.


For more information on the products, please click HERE. Or get in touch with us for more information on specs and financing by clicking HERE.


Roll-off Trucks
3 Factors to Consider When Buying a Container for Your Roll-Off Truck

Roll-off trucks are the workhorses of several industries. Construction companies and demolition crews need them on a daily basis to haul debris from jobsites. Garbage management companies need them to shift waste to landfills. Scrap dealers need them to transport scrap material from one location to another. With an open, rectangle container set on wheels that moves and tilts, roll-off trucks have multiple applications and are an indispensable piece of transport equipment that was first designed in the 1930s by George Dempster for his family’s construction business.

If you are looking to buy a container for your roll-off truck, here are 3 factors that will help you choose an equipment that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Roll-offs can carry an incredible amount of cargo, and there are several sizes to consider.

A 12-yard dumpster is 3.5 ft tall and 15 ft long. A 20-yard dumpster is 4.5 ft tall and 23 ft long. A 30-yard dumpster is 6.5 ft tall and 23 ft long. A 40-yard dumpster is 8.5 ft tall and 23 ft long.


ICUEE 2019


Do a careful analysis of both your current and future needs to find one that makes the most economical sense for you.

  • The kind of material you transport is another factor that will play into your decision. For example, if you are going to shift heavy material like, say, glass or metal scraps, you’ll probably need a smaller container to stay within the weight limit. To further illustrate this, here’s a quick comparison of material weight (cu/yd in lbs). Dirt: 2050 lbs; gravel: 2565 lbs; sand: 2970 lbs; concrete: 4050 lbs. And so on.
  • Think about the location where you’re going to park. Would you have sufficient space to maneuver the equipment? Also, do you need parking permits? Municipalities have different sets of regulations and permits regarding dumpsters on both open streets and private property. Be sure you know them beforehand.

Need more help with a roll-off truck purchase?

Contact us at Custom Truck One Source! We’ll help you analyze your business needs, understand your options and answer any questions that you may have.


Roll-off Truck Containers
Roll-Off Dumpsters: Which Size is Right for You?

You may need to buy or rent a roll-off dumpster, but what size will be most economical and efficient for the jobs you have in hand?

Well, it’s a tricky call because several factors – such as amount of debris, type of debris and price point – come into play here.

So let’s talk about your choices and what they mean because we want you to make the most practical decision about a roll-off container acquisition that you won’t regret at a later date.


There are 4 sizes for you to choose from: 10 yards, 20 yards, 30 yards and 40 yards.


  • A 10 yard roll-off container is: 12’ L x 8’ W x 3.5’ H
  • A 20 yard roll-off container is: 22’ L x 8’ W x 4’ H
  • A 30 yard roll-off container is: 22’ L x 8’ W x 6’ H
  • A 40 yard roll-off container is: 22’ L x 8’ W x 8’ H


  • 10 yard: 10 cubic yards
  • 20 yard: 20 cubic yards
  • 30 yard: 30 cubic yards
  • 40 yard: 40 cubic yards


A common challenge when acquiring a roll-off dumpster is gauging the type of debris you expect it to carry. Debris that is somewhat uniform in size (such as old roofing shingles) is easier to quantify. Others, such as demolition debris, is much more difficult because the material will be random and irregular.

However, the guideline below should give you a reasonably good idea about which roll-off dump truck is right for you – based on your needs.

Common Uses For A 10-Yard Dumpster

Suitable for small-scale or household projects, such as removing:

  • 250 sq ft of decking material
  • 1,500 sq ft of single-layer roofing shingles
  • Basement or garage debris
  • Small kitchen or bathroom debris

Common Uses For A 20-Yard Dumpster

This is the most popular size in the market because both pricing and load capacity of a 20-yard dumpster is advantageous. Suitable for larger clean-up projects, such as removing:

  • Flooring and carpet from larger residences
  • 400 sq ft of decking material
  • Debris from bigger home remodeling projects
  • 3,000 sq ft of single-layer roof shingles

Common Uses For A 30-Yard Dumpster

Suitable for complete residential cleanouts and commercial construction projects, such as:

  • New home construction
  • Garage demolition
  • Extensive home remodeling projects

Common Uses For A 40-Yard Dumpster

As the largest size, a 40-yard dumpster is well-employed in large-scale demolition and construction projects, such as:

  • Commercial roofing projects
  • Commercial landscaping and excavation
  • Large water and fire remediation projects


It’s also important to consider the style of container, whether it be bathtub or rectangle. Bathtub style does not have corners for material to stick in, and are nestable, meaning you can ship more of them on a truck. Because the bottom sides are rounded, they can be taller to achieve the 20 yd., 30 yd., etc., making them tougher to load from the side.


  • Resist the urge to settle for the cheapest dumpster you can afford. Carefully consider your hauling needs before deciding on one. Anything that is too small for the project you have at hand will end up costing you more because of extra rounds of loading and unloading.
  • Do not over-fill a dumpster. It is considered a road hazard, and trying to lessen the load afterwards will cost you both time and money.

Remember that dumpsters are usually measured from the outside of the container walls. * WasteAdvantageMagazine


Need to buy or rent a roll-off truck?

Custom Truck One Source has you covered!

We’re America’s first true single-source provider of specialized truck and heavy equipment solutions and we’re standing by to help you!

Call us at 844-282-1838 or email us at [email protected].