A U S T R A L I A’ S L E A D I N G T R U C K A N D E N G I N E M A G A Z I N E
ISSUE 39 February/March 2011 RRP: $7.95 (NZ $8.95)
CAT Swings into Oz
VOLVO FH600 KENWORTH K200
Up in the Air Australian ground support equipment manufacturer, Bliss-Fox, has continued its long association with Allison Transmission, selecting Allison’s 4500 automatic transmission for its new generation BlissFox F1-500. This pushback tractor was designed and engineered to handle the higher loads demanded by the arrival of the Airbus A380 at airports around the globe.
Bliss-Fox was the first manufacturer to design and build a specific Airbus A380-capable conventional pushback tractor. The impressive 70-tonne F1-500 unit, first supplied to Toll Dnata at Sydney airport in 2008, was used to push back the world’s first A380 commercial flight when Singapore Airlines flew into Sydney from Singapore in November that year. Bliss-Fox has been using Allison automatics in its tractors since 1970, with the torque converter providing the ability to manage the task of moving heavy aircraft such as the A380 and Boeing 747. The Airbus A380 has a maximum take-off weight of almost 570 tonnes, while the Boeing 747 has a maximum take-off weight of almost 400 tonnes, making them a major task to move around the airport aprons and taxiways.
Better Brew for Hino Moo Brew, Tasmania’s leading micro-brewery, has taken delivery of a Hino Hybrid 714 Manual to streamline deliveries. Finished in an all-black colour scheme with subtle gold lettering, the company plans to make the Hino even more eyecatching with some artwork on the black side curtains. Moo Brew produces about 130,000 litres of beer a year from its brewery at the Moorilla Estate winery, north west of Hobart. Capacity will almost double from early February with the opening of a second brewing facility at nearby Bridgewater, which will help Moo Brew meet growing demand. Meanwhile, in major fleet news, retail giant, Coles, has taken delivery of 32 Hino trucks in the vital first step of rolling out a dedicated fleet to handle its rapidly growing online grocery sales. The first batch of Hino 300 Series trucks hit the road in Western Australia during early November in the first stage of a rollout of Coles’ new in-house fleet. “Our online business is almost doubling every year, and we are now delivering tens of thousands of orders a week,” said Coles’ National Customer Delivery Manager, Peter Dixon.
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The new Hinos on the Coles fleet will be 614 Short Auto models, powered by a 4.0-litre common-rail direct-injection turbo-diesel engine developing 100 kW of power and 353 Nm of torque and matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. They are fitted with refrigerated bodies produced in Sydney by TRS (Transport Refrigeration Services). The trucks have a 1100 kg payload and can still be driven with a regular car licence, as the gross vehicle mass is under 4,500 kg.
Firing Up Navistar International Corporation has announced the delivery of approximately 17,000 vehicles to U.S. and Canadian customers in the past quarter. “To date, we have built and shipped more than 15,000 EPAcompliant 2010 vehicles, and we continue to build more than 100 EPA2010 MaxxForce® 13 engines every day,” said Daniel C. Ustian, chairman, president and chief executive officer at Navistar. The company also announced it has received more than 28,000 orders for EPA2010 vehicles to date (not including long-term, multi-year contracts), including 10,000 orders for the MaxxForce 13. Among those orders, the company also has more than 1,000 orders for the all new Class 4/5 medium duty International® TerraStar®. Navistar also advised that it has submitted certification to the EPA for its MaxxForce 15, and plans to submit for EPA certification of its MaxxForce 13 at 0.2 g NOx in the next few months, far ahead of when high volume production of the 0.2 g NOx-certified MaxxForce 13 would be required. Navistar Defense has also announced a $123 million delivery order for an additional 175 International MaxxPro Dash vehicles with DXM™ independent suspension. The order from the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command also includes parts for the company’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.
Christopher Adcock has joined ZF Services Australia Pty Ltd as the company’s new Managing Director.
Down on the Ground
For Perth-based owner/ driver, Big John Antulov, one of the main attractions to UD PK10 was the availability of an automatic truck in a range of chassis lengths to suit a 12-pallet tray (eight metres in length) with airbag suspension. “To get an equivalent automatic from some of the competitors you have to alter the chassis, and that means the UD will cost anything up to $25,000 less than a similar truck from a competitor brand. “The truck is used primarily for hauling bulk bags of soil, fertiliser, mulch, sand and blue metal for a landscaping supply company that covers the entire Perth metropolitan area, from Mandurah in the south to Lesmurdie and Mt Helena in the east, and Mindarie in the north. “The most amazing thing is how good the truck is in hilly operation, it just marches up the hills and the braking is particularly enhanced by the auto,” John said. “It is more economical than my old manual. With the automatic programmed, it is returning 3.5 km/litre,” added John.
Mr Adcock joined the Australian operation from ZF Great Britain Ltd, where he worked as Director of Operations and, subsequently, Technical and OE Sales, since 2006. A qualified engineer, Chris began working for ZF in 1995. Recently, he has also been involved in shaping the new global ZF Services organisation through the merger of the former Trading and Sales & Service operations. Chris replaces Peter Duncan, who left ZF in May after almost 20 years of service. Chris is joined in Australia by his wife and two children, who have made the move from Nottingham in England, to Sydney. PowerTorque ISSUE 39
TWO COOL CATS W h e n PowerTorque first learned of the
plans for Navistar and Caterpillar to partner in a new joint venture there were more questions left unanswered than solved. In an interview with PowerTorque some two years ago, Navistar truck president Dee Kapur showed his concern over the existing market share of the company at that time in Australia. “We believe that the International brand is suffering from a random job of marketing, and we need to take charge and make some changes,” Mr. Kapur said. At the time it was believed that taking charge meant resuming control of its own destiny and separating the International brand from the Iveco Australia operation. As we now know, that separation came at a cost to the existing International dealer group and the creating of a joint venture between Navistar and Caterpillar to develop a new marketing company called NC2 Global. It’s well accepted that the Australian truck market is the most competitive and, also, the most diverse in the world. We have competition from Scandinavia, Europe, Britain, North
America, Canada and Japan all competing for market share, and, undoubtedly, soon we’ll have the Chinese and additional Korean truck makers adding their products to the mix. So, what future could there be for yet another new truck range marketed by NC2 Global and dedicated to establishing a new name, that of Cat Trucks? Fast forward through two years of negotiation, planning and market evaluation to early December 2010, when Ayers Rock became the centre of the global launch of the Cat Truck brand. Over 300 transport operators were hosted to the first official presentation of the Cat Truck products, in an impressive display, as they dined under the stars, virtually in the shadow of the iconic landmark of Australian and Aboriginal history. The Cat Trucks story is much larger than simply an explanation of how a new brand came onto the Australian market. As the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle have been slotting into place, it’s now possible to view the Cat Truck brand as a global product through which Navistar will be able to promote its brand of International, and capitalise on the strength and recognition of the Caterpillar name in all countries of the world. Caterpillar’s base in Tullamarine, near Melbourne airport, was selected as providing the ideal location for the first truck assembly facility anywhere in the world. Large pre-existing sheds, which originally housed fabrication of earthmoving and dumper equipment, were converted to create a start-up assembly plant for trucks. Existing overhead cranes simplified the exercise, and, with an injection of several millions of dollars into a refurbishment programme, NC2 finally had a centre from which to launch its global brand. Headed by 40-year-experienced veterans such as Ted Pulver, engineers from Navistar’s US production facilities shifted over to Melbourne. The world of marketing spin and creative advertising may be the domain of Generation Y these
Let the show begin, as Cat stret 20
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TWO COOL CATS
days, but when it comes to setting up a production line, you need experience, and Ted Pulver and his team have that by the bucketload. Assisted by local Cat engineers such as production Manager, Charles Farrugia, the NC2 team swung into action, installing the necessary handling equipment that could manufacture trucks and produce sufficient quantities of product prior to the national launch. As well as Ted’s responsibility to establish the facility, Charles had to create and train a production team that could manufacture at a level of quality that would satisfy even the most stringent examination. They did this knowing that when it comes to launching a new truck brand onto the Australian market, you have one chance to get it right. “We started with the aim of establishing an assembly line that could produce an average of six to eight trucks per day. Just prior to the Christmas shutdown we have boosted production to reach 15 trucks per day. That’s a great achievement for the team, and we’ve reached all our assembly quality goals,” said Charles Farrugia. There was a strong reason why production moved at such a fast rate. With the engine choice of Caterpillar C13 and C15 power demanding that, to conform to current exhaust emissions requirements at Euro 4 levels, the trucks had to be fitted with compliance plates by December 31st. With several hundred trucks completed before the December 31st deadline, the production level enabled NC2 Global to bring the Cat Truck brand to market nationally, with full supply of both products available through all associated Cat dealerships from launch. “We introduced the most stringent quality audit procedures, of any plant to make sure we have the absolute highest quality levels,” said Charles Farrugia.
“Many of our production assembly team are qualified tradesmen, and they’ve provided over 100 suggestions for improving the production build quality as we’ve been growing our ability,” said Charles. “We now have the opportunity to look at increasing our local sourcing to include fuel tanks, air shields and deflectors, tyres, batteries and other components. Currently we import cabs fully trimmed from the US, but, in 2011, we shall be establishing a cab trim line within Tullamarine,” he added. Immediately after Christmas the production line will be substantially changed to enable efficiency improvements to be made prior to resuming production. This fits in with the plans of NC2 Global to expand the available range towards the last quarter of 2011, and introduce follow-up engine ranges of MaxxForce 13 and 15-litre engines to achieve Euro 5 compliance. These will be painted yellow to continue the Cat tradition. The MaxxForce engine range uses EGR only, as its chosen path for exhaust emission compliance, and NC2 Global believes that decision will be well received by transport operators that enjoy North American power and performance, but don’t want to move to the SCR treatment level that requires Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF/AdBlue). From March 2011 NC2 Global will start launching the Cat Truck brand in other markets, such as Brazil and South Africa, prior to rolling out the brand in additional countries, including North America. As mentioned in PowerTorque (December), some of these markets will be featuring the additional choice of Cummins engines, but this option has now, supposedly, been dismissed for Australian application, at least in the near future.
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FORWARD The Coronado is now officially on the order books and for Freightliner it signals time for a sharper focus
you’ve been following the fortunes of Freightliner you would be well familiar with the changes taking place in the product line imported through head office in Mulgrave. The Global Financial Recession we had to have as the flow-on result from the United States economy was also responsible for the demise of the Sterling brand and a restructure of product both for North America and our shores. In Australia, the heavier end of the Freightliner marque will now include the Coronado nameplate as a direct replacement for the Freightliner CST 120 and the Columbia 120. The initial perception of a large stainless steel radiator gives a strong clue as to why the introduction of Coronado was necessary to participate in high horsepower and high torque in a land where ambient temperatures can often top the 50 degree Celsius mark. High summer temperatures and high gross weights such as in road train operation equate to high heat production from an engine, especially in the light of new emissions legislation demanding new technologies such as Exhaust Gas Recycling. Putting hot air from the exhaust back into the engine intake means that more importantly than ever, it’s necessary to expand the radiator and cooling system to cope with the increase in engine operating temperature. Australian truck manufacturers can go one of two ways to lower engine operating temperatures. The first choice is to move to Selective Catalytic Reduction which demands the 24
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addition of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF/AdBlue) for the exhaust aftertreatment or it means a larger and more efficient radiator core, often with a twin pass cooling system, to manage the temperature upshift. Engine manufacturers in Europe and North America are already one step ahead of us in terms of the adoption of SCR technology and the DEF solution. But for some truck marketers in Australia this technology option is seen as a deterrent to sales and demands an unwanted price hike to cover the additional engine hardware costs. So, in an effort to control price rises and to maximise sales against current technology demands you’ll find Aussie truck buyers going SCR with European trucks and some Japanese manufacturers such as UD, while North American suppliers will be hanging onto EGR for a further two years until new legislation again demands an upgrade to SCR and DEF. Since our preview of the Coronado in the last issue of PowerTorque we now have all the information on the range to be available from the second quarter of 2011. Into the engine bay for the first time comes Detroit Diesel with its new 15-litre offering. Available in power options of 500 hp, 530 hp and 560 hp options, the new Detroit Heavy Duty Engine Platform (HDEP) will go toe to toe with the mighty Cummins products running with horsepower ratings of 485 hp, 500 hp, 525 hp, 550 hp and 600 hp, all fully ADR80/03 compliant.
In a standard 6x4 configuration, the Coronado has a GVM of 24,000 kgs and can be rated for 106,000 kgs GCM for general highway use. Tare weight is equally impressive and according to a company spokesperson we can expect a starting point with Coronado of 7,857 kgs. Part of the tare weight saving undoubtedly comes from the aluminium cab and one-piece fibreglass bonnet. The grille is completely stainless steel except for the winged bonnet handle which is in chrome-plated aluminium and what Freightliner calls its Texas bumper bar, which is available in either chromed steel or polished aluminium. Headlamps feature a free-form reflector for higher light performance and daytime running lamps are standard, in line with changes to European legislation. The bonnet tilt is spring assisted; requiring an effort of only 20 kgs and the full cab assembly is mounted 50 mm higher and set back 50mm to aid engine and transmission cooling. The windscreen is a curved two-piece design with a 24 degree slope to improve aerodynamics and the stainless steel sun visor comes with built-in LED marker lights. Freightliner claims the cab interior width is up to 150 mm wider than some competitors at the windscreen and 200 mm wider at seat level. Thereâ€™s also a choice of interior trim finishes between studded vinyl and cloth together with the use of Oregon burl wood trim and accents on the dashboard. Aluminium door frames with steel inner reinforcement are fitted with a twin seal system aimed at keeping dust and noise at bay and door glass is power assisted. PowerTorque ISSUE 39
Scania’s R620 is everything a V8 line haul truck should be. Words by Chris Mullett
almost as though Scania likes keeping some things close to its chest. The R620, for example, looks much like the R500 or R560, the difference to the onlooker being a simple badge change on the lower right hand side of the grille.
We ran from Scania’s Sydney retail and service centre at Prestons, near the junction of the M5 and M7 Freeways, and headed 400 km South to Tarcutta, simulating a typical B-double trailer switch that’s favoured by many operators, including national fleets such as Australia Post.
But, the difference to the driver is immense, and it’s all down to power and torque. With 620 hp (456 kW) produced at 1,800 rpm, the expectation is that this cabover is going to easily run with the B-double brigade, and it does this task admirably. However, the key to its success is the immense torque output available from this V8 engine, all 3000 Nm of it, rated from 1,000 through to 1,400 rpm.
With our trailer set kindly loaned by DECA Training, at Shepparton, and containing just about every technical advantage possible in the trailer industry, including roll stability, ABS and electronic brake actuation, the rig grossed under maximum GCM, but came in off the weighbridge at the Southern Cross Truck Terminal at 50.04 tonnes.
We have to point out that there’s not much amiss with the torque outputs of the 500 hp at 2,500 Nm, nor the 2,700 Nm of the 560 hp version of the V8. It’s just that when long distance and driver fatigue starts to take a significant role in your fleet planning, the option of moving up in the V8 rankings to the current company flagship is not only a question of power and torque, it’s a question of fuel economy.
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Before heading out of the yard, we took advantage of Scania’s technology during the pre-trip vehicle check, which is another example of the sensible use of electronics. Stand behind the trailer, press a button with a light globe emblem on the vehicle’s remote key fob and the truck starts its own lighting check as you stand and watch. The system check cycles through all lighting options from parking lights, indicators and brake lights as the driver views the prime mover and trailers from the rear. It’s quick, easy and accurate and you are left wondering why this feature isn’t included by all manufacturers. We’ve already mentioned the power and torque of the V8 in the R620, so we’ll move straight on to the transmission, which in this case was the 12-speed Opticruise. Up until now this automated manual transmission has included a clutch pedal that’s used purely for starting and stopping the vehicle. Once on the move all changes happen under the control of the ECM (Electronic Control Module) or by the driver manually selecting individual gears through clicking up or down on the right-hand steering column stalk. The updates in specification for 2011 will see the demise of the clutch pedal entirely, with a two-pedal alternative becoming common throughout the range. Added to the transmission, in this application, was the Scania retarder, which is controlled by a five-position movement on the right-hand column stalk that also controls gear ratio selection. This works in conjunction with the engine exhaust brake and generates a maximum braking force of 304 kW at 2,400 rpm.
Scania’s engines in the R-Series are now using Selective Catalytic Reduction with DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid/AdBlue), so from now on you’ll find an additional tank of 75 litres, for the DEF, nestling alongside the 300-litre offside fuel tank. A 670-litre fuel tank is fitted to the nearside of the chassis. With its 7,500 kg rated front axle, the tyre selection for this prime mover was for 295/80R22.5 on both the steer axle and the drive axles. The axle ratio choice is between 3.42:1 and 3.07:1, with our truck featuring the former, and all axles featured disc brakes. The braking system also matched the specification of the DECA Training B-double with its disc brakes fitted throughout. Easy access through the wide opening door and clearly defined steps brings you into the Highline cabin. This level of luxury is now available as standard on all R-Series, 16-litre V8 versions, and optional on the 13-litre, six-cylinder versions. There’s plenty of storage locker room above the windscreen. With two single bunks, the top bunk can be folded skywards to give more space and access to the lower bunk, which is now wider, at 900 mm, and features a pocket sprung mattress with a length of 2,040 mm. Curtains track around the inner edge of the side windows and the windscreen, and whilst walking around within the cab the seats can be slid forwards, easily, through stepping on a side release while standing. You certainly don’t have to fumble around in the front of the seat squab to find a release lever. There’s some well thought out design inclusions for storage on the centre console and in pockets in the dash, and, with a non-slip rubber mats, things likes pens and wallets won’t roll off. Although the CB radio is mounted above the windscreen, the mike handpiece is mounted on the console, keeping everything neat and tidy without cords dangling from the roof. Under the centre console is a pull-out drawer large enough to accommodate an A4-sized folder. There are 12V and 24V outlets in the side of the dashboard end near the passenger seat. There are also four cupholder spaces, two large plastic drink bottle holders in each of the doors and a new roller blind for the driver’s door window that cuts annoying side light from the sun.
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to ks As c t u tr rke se a e in e m h C th of ge n an o ti ch c u ill d ro a w it t in ali w e Th str no Au e k w
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to trade shows overseas in recent years will have noticed an increasing presence of Chinese companies exhibiting their products. The exposure of Chinese manufacturing started with businesses making parts and accessories, but this situation has rapidly changed to the display of complete vehicles, with a product range that seems able to multiply, almost from week to week. Australian truck buyers will soon be exposed to a new brand in truck manufacturing, that of JAC. The cynical might claim that JAC stands for â€œJust a Copyâ€? and dismiss its importance out of hand. However, those who have looked at the product range more closely will realise that whether the brand development is based on copying or originality, the outcome will be the same. JAC, and other Chinese manufacturers following on behind, will radically change the way we do business in trucking.
The White Motor Corporation will shortly commence importing JAC truck products into Australia, and, as our feature on WMC shows (on page 80), there’s every reason to believe its chosen path of distribution through established dealerships will quickly give JAC the presence it desires on the street. WMC started discussions with JAC regarding the approval of ADR (Australian Design Rule) compliance back in 2009, and with approval now underway, we’ll be seeing JAC products launched onto the market in Australia and New Zealand by the second quarter of 2011. In terms of total product, JAC already produces similar total truck volumes to those of all Japanese truck makers combined. The company desire to take on the world markets is a corporate directive, backed by the Chinese Government, which in the majority of cases is the major shareholder in the company. And, as any student of Chinese personal freedoms is only too aware, when the Chinese Government issues a directive, it’s best to conform. Chinese car and truck makers are today building for export and not just for domestic consumption. In some cases, the existing products are undoubtedly too basic for Western European consumption. But, in other examples, the product quality has been raised by the creation of two different production lines, and finished build quality is considerably higher than indicated in the domestic product. It’s not unusual to find one production line for domestic consumption and the other for export, with longer build times, benefitting from increased attention to quality of assembly, panel fit and finish and sophistication. With almost 28,000 employees, JAC is a leading manufacturer of light medium and heavy-duty trucks and produces a car range that encompasses sub-compact, compact, medium, SUV and MPV categories. It produces its own
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Adaptability is the key to survival in rural transport. PowerTorque profiles Cecil & Sons Transport of Poowong, Victoria
easy to make the mistake of believing that profitability only comes from focusing on your core business, and strongly avoiding any attempt to diversify into new areas. While that premise might be fine for a company shifting high volumes of freight on a specific route, it can be a recipe for disaster if your operating base is in the centre of a rural community. A locally owned transport business can survive where larger conglomerates would fail to make a profit by being able to deliver great customer service to the local area. This may require some diversification on the part of the local transport operator, but the outcome is a variety of income options and, hopefully, consistent employment. Cecil & Sons Transport of Poowong, near Drouin in East Gippsland, Victoria, is a typically versatile transport supplier for a rural community, running rigid tippers and dog trailers to cart sand, aggregate and quarry products, but also having the capability of diversifying into earthmoving, excavation and grader work as an alternative. Geoff Cecil, the founder of Cecil & Sons Transport, has now turned 85 years of age. But that hasn’t stopped him from taking an occasional turn at the wheel of one of the company’s older tippers, a Mercedes-Benz 1418. Seemingly, with no intention to retire completely, he’s still keen to get out on the road if there’s some local work to be done, while the rest of “the boys” are out on other jobs. In talking to PowerTorque, Geoff reminisced about the days when he started work. Trucks have obviously always held a fascination for him, as illustrated by the tales of him being seen driving a truck around town anytime after he reached the age of nine. “I started driving trucks officially back in 1945 in Poowong, carting milk and also wood through the East Gippsland area. In 1948 I bought my first truck, a Bedford, but at various times I also owned a Maple Leaf and a Chevrolet. In 1958, I bought a Ford tipper and a Bedford. At that time the milk industry went to bulk transport, so I changed to carting sand. Back in 1958, we also diversified a little into running a local school bus and charter operation, which is today run by our daughter Raylene.
By 1972 I had decided to let the boys run the business and they continue to run everything today. I still drive locally but the business is their responsibility,” added Geoff. With his wife, Mavis, Geoff still lives alongside the yard housing the fleet, which has now grown to nine trucks, plus one school bus. With his Mercedes-Benz 1418 tipper in the shed, the business world today is a direct contrast to the time when sand had to be shoveled on and off the back of the truck for every collection and delivery. “The cartage of goods is no different but trucks have got so much bigger,” said Geoff. “It’s a big change from a single-axled rigid with a tray back, and, of course, in my day there was no air conditioning. If you got too hot you opened a window,” he added. 1. Geoff and Mavis Cecil 2. The Western Stars in the fleet feature Cat C12, C13 and C15 engines plus the Detroit Diesel Series 60. 3. Adam, David and Brian Cecil (L-R) PowerTorque ISSUE 39
Ivecoâ€™s PowerStar grows appeal and reputation
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Choosing the perfect prime mover has always been a subjective decision. The operator may have a preference for North American engines in favour of those from Europe. They might have had a bad experience with an early automated manual and vowed never to try an AMT again, believing that a gear lever should be an integral part of every vehicle.
And even when the choice is narrowed down to taking engine supply from one continent, the arguments still rage on. Should the engine be painted red, yellow, grey or, now, blue? Is it time to consider a cabover, or is a conventional the only way to go? The human mind is a fascinating, complex collection, where decision-making is hopefully the result of the evaluation of all available, relevant data, before making a final selection. But, because of human prejudices, sometimes the decision not to buy appears to be made simply because the buyer didn’t like the personality of the seller, and has nothing to do with the product.
so much so, that, in June of 2010, the same Iveco, Cummins and ZF combinations scored the PowerTorque Technology and Innovation Award for Excellence. When your core business is running a truck fleet and a sand quarry, you’ve got enough on your mind without deviating from the task at hand. So, when truck purchase time comes around, and you find the truck you want at the price you like, with the paperwork you don’t like all completed, then all you have to do is concentrate on your own business and, of course, sign the order form. Performance Based Systems bring an operator various weight advantages, but there are limitations to those advantages by way of the dictation of the route to be travelled, if you want to capitalise on the weight advantages. Craig Wallace, General Manager of Hamelex White, has taken on the responsibility of providing an increasing level of service to operators looking at running their equipment under PBS requirements. Rather than leaving the paperwork requirements solely to the purchaser, Hamelex White has gathered considerable experience, in the demands of local authorities, from customers seeking PBS approval. The result is an additional service provided by Hamelex White, in conjunction with the truck sales division, of the supplying truck dealership aimed at simplifying the purchase and approval process. Dave Derham, of Derham Transport, has recently taken delivery of two new rigid tippers and quad-dog combinations mounted on a PowerStar ISX, and supplied through Iveco dealer Adtrans of Laverton. The PowerStar ISX, in 6x4 configuration, is powered by a Cummins 15-litre producing 550 hp (410 kW) at 2000 rpm, with peak torque of 2508 Nm (1850 lbs ft), rated at 1,400 rpm. Fitted with diff ratios of 3.73:1, the PowerStar comes with an Iveco 7.5 tonnes rated front axle with three-leaf parabolic spring front suspension, Meritor RT46-160GP rear axles with Hendrickson Primaax PAX 460 rear suspension.
Another major factor in putting off a purchaser can be the amount of paperwork the thought process of new truck buying can generate. If it’s too hard, or the buyer is too busy, the decision will stagnate. So, when you’re convinced, as a salesperson, that you have the right product, but your customers are just too busy to look at what you are offering, how do you take a step forwards from the rest of the sales pack? The answer for Mick Zielinski, of Melbourne’s Adtrans Truck Centre, is to team up with the paperwork specialists at trailer and body builder, Hamelex White, and organise the paperwork for PBS accreditation on behalf of the customer, thereby making their life easier and your sales targets achievable. The right truck for the customer, on this occasion, was a pair of Iveco PowerStars fitted with Cummins ISX engines and ZF AS-tronic automated manual transmissions. It’s a great match of North American muscle and European intelligence,
This is the Active Day Cab version with easy access and a totally flat foor inside the cabin. The transmission is the fully automated ZF AS-tronic 16-speed gearbox, which Iveco calls the Eurotronic II, with selector for drive and reverse located within a small instrument cluster on the top of the dashboard. Fitted with Hamlex White all aluminium bodywork, both the truck and trailer feature a wind back tarp system provided by Camilleri Tarps of Hallam. The roll back covers can be manually operated or electrically powered with remote control. The tipping equipment is operated through an electronically controlled power take-off, which operates under parameters controlled by the central electronic engine management system of the vehicle itself. PowerTorque caught up with second of the two identical PowerStars as it was being finally prepared for delivery at Adtrans. “One of the specific requirements we have from Derham Transport is to programme the ECM for the PTO so that it comes in at engine idle and will only rev to a maximum of 1,400 rpm,” said Mick Zielinski.
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The Middle of
you thought that running a transport fleet was a fairly challenging business, then consider the plight of the removalist. Not only is it of paramount importance to have a modern, efficient and well maintained fleet, you need a workforce that is fit and healthy, capable of lifting and loading, sometimes unconventionally shaped, prized possessions, and also sufficiently caring that the cargo arrives at its destination in perfect condition.
“All freight heading to the East Gippsland area came into Melbourne by rail, and my grandfather started to provide a local delivery service,” said Adam.
According to Adam Wyke, Managing Director of Australian Moving Logistics, being located in the town of Moe in East Gippsland is a perfect location.
“Yallourn is now Australia’s second largest open cut mine and is adjacent to the Yallourn Power Station to which it supplies around 18 million tonnes of high moisture brown coal,” he added.
Although often suggested that Moe as an acronym stands for Moccasins on Everyone, Adam is convinced that it stands for Middle of Everywhere, perfect for heading east or west to the major train and sea terminals that form the backbone of his company’s distribution system. Adam’s grandfather, George Wyke, settled in Moe back in 1953, and, at that time, the major industry was centred on open cut coal mining.
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“The town of Yallourn, near to Moe, was effectively dismantled, with demolition commencing in the 1970s and completed in 1982. The town’s population was relocated to Moe, Traralgon and Morwell. This was initiated to obtain the coal deposits beneath Yallourn.
As the local area attracted more workers to the coal and power generation industry, George Wyke turned his attention to the removalist industry, with Adam’s father, Tony, taking over the running of the company, which in those days was known as Wyke Removals. “We have a current fleet of 14 vehicles and have recently established our own depot in Darwin, which is run by my brother Matt,” said Adam.
THE MIDDLE OF EVERYWHERE
where As a removalist, there’s value in the right location. PowerTorque profiles Australian Moving Logistics
Images by Marcel Voss Photgraphy and Motoring Matters.
“What makes our operation different is the way we use our transport fleet to move containers to the nearest railhead, rather than running pantech’s from location to location. We have our own specially designed containers, and we send them by rail. This means we always have our fleet of vehicles and staff ready for new work and don’t have to send them on long distance trips where we lose their availability,” he added. A rebranding of the company name, to Australian Moving Logistics, has enabled the company to focus on projecting a national, rather than localised image. In line with this new image, the company has also embarked on a programme to update its fleet of vehicles. The current fleet is of mixed make and includes three DAF CF rigids running with 360 hp DAF engines in two CF75s and a 430hp DAF engine in the CF85, a Volvo FL12 rigid with a 460 hp Volvo 12-litre matched to an I-shift transmission, plus Mercedes-Benz, Hino and Isuzu eight-tonners. “Nine out of ten drivers prefer the automated manual transmissions because of their easier operation and reduced fatigue while driving,” said Adam.
“Buying automated manual transmissions is now part of our purchase strategy, and that’s one of the reasons why our latest purchase is a MAN TGS 26-400. “It’s a specification that’s actually ideal for the removalist business, with a 10.5-litre, six-cylinder engine at 400 hp, a 12-speed ZF AS-tronic automated manual transmission, and airbag suspension. “This has the full ECAS (Electronically Controlled Air Suspension) system through which we can raise and lower the chassis height. This is particularly useful for two reasons: Firstly, we can adjust our loading height to suit the location where we unload or load, but secondly, it enables us to lift the rear of the chassis if we encounter steep access problems over deep drains or gutters. “The DAF models we use have the Hendrickson Air-Glide air suspension, and, although you can dump air out of the bags, the control system doesn’t enable you to lift the chassis height above standard running level. This is a disadvantage when compared to the MAN ECAS system.
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bus and coach market has always behaved in a rather gentlemanly fashion. With many companies operated as family businesses, common rivalry has never stopped them from communicating well between each other, as evidenced by the success of industry associations and their attendance at regular maintenance conferences. In recent years, there’s been a slight, but subtle, move towards the offshore manufacturing of bus and coach bodies. But, as we enter 2011, the bus and coach industry looks set to face some major changes as Chinese manufacturer Higer enters Australia. Although PowerTorque usually concerns itself with trucks rather than the bus and coach industry, the introduction of the Higer Bus range is likely to have a major impact on coach fleets and even the daily commute of those Australians who take the bus to work.
In profiling the Higer operation in China, it’s important to understand the sheer scale of its operation. Higer is currently the world’s third largest manufacturer of buses and coaches, between six and 18 metres in length, and China’s largest exporter of buses and coaches. Putting this into perspective, the forecast for China’s total annual commercial vehicle production in 2010 is approximately 3.3 million vehicles, and, of this total, the bus and coach segment is expected to peak at 290,000 units. Higer’s current production level is 22,000 buses and coaches per year with 3000 of those earmarked for export. The Higer brand name was established in 2007 as the company, which is 90 percent owned by the Chinese government, expanded from its links with the local manufacturing of King Long buses and coaches. Bus and coach manufacturing actually started back in 1998, but it was perceived necessary to re-brand with the Higer name to establish distance between products destined for the domestic market and emerging third world markets from the more sophisticated products for Europe, the US and Australia.
Higer is already selling its bus and coach products on our market, currently supplying fully-bodied buses and coaches built on the Scania chassis as the result of a joint venture (JV) the company has established with the Swedish manufacturer globally. The product range is extensive, and as well as buses and coaches, Higer is also developing car and light commercial vehicle ranges. If there’s a perception that a market for a particular product exists, Higer is keen to develop something suitable, usually within lead times as short as two years.
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THE CHINA SYNDROME As Raymond Man, Higer’s Deputy Director of Overseas Sales, explained to PowerTorque, “We build for export. The difference being is that our current product range does not determine what you get. It all depends on what you want.” The scale of the Higer operation is vastly different from that of a typical Australian bus and coach builder. For starters, since the original company was founded in 1998 the company has been growing at a rate of 50 percent each year. A joint venture with Scania signed in 2007 changed Higer’s level of technical sophistication and product build quality, taking it upscale to suit the more demanding buyer in export markets. Consequently, while it takes Higer just three weeks to build a route bus for the Chinese domestic market, the added sophistication and higher expectation of buyers in the export markets has resulted in an expansion of that build time out to six weeks. For Australian buyers, that means a total order to delivery time of 16 weeks, a lead time that is unheard of in relation to local Australian manufacturing.
engines and Allison transmissions, using engines sourced from Cummins in China matched to transmissions from the US. Higer is unusual in relation to many of the other Chinese bus and coach builders in that it also manufactures its own range of chassis, a direct contrast to those companies that restrict their activity to that of bodybuilding alone. Walking through the Higer production plant provided a sudden induction into Chinese mass production. Typical gal-tube frames were assembled in four-sided jigs, and then, what’s best described as a swarm of welders would attack every joint almost simultaneously. With upwards of 15 welders working inside, alongside, or on top of each bus or coach body, the scene was like fireworks night. Showers of sparks, workers tapping welds, the grinding off of surplus material and the constant hammering, all contributing to the speed of assembly.
And don’t think that market penetration in Australia will depend purely on the company’s association with Scania. Alternative engines and driveline options include Cummins
Australia’s bus and coach market is facing radical change as China re-writes the rulebook PowerTorque ISSUE 39
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