Broadbent Bulk Services (BBS) has called on the expertise of leading trailer manufacturer Freighter to design and build A-double combinations capable of delivering vast productivity improvements operating under PBS (Performance Based Standards).
Having started as a bulk grain container packing facility servicing south-east Queensland and northern NSW, Toowoomba-based BBS moved into road transport following the acquisition of Findlay Bulk Haulage in March 2007. The subsequent ability to offer the full logistics service has seen demand for its services skyrocket.
To effectively meet this demand, BBS operations manager Shane Noble was drawn to the idea of the A-double combination.
“I’d seen an A-double combination running with a steerable dolly, but discovered the steerable dolly made the price exorbitant,” Shane said. “So I thought there must be a better solution and went about finding a manufacturer who shared this view.
“Several companies I approached weren’t willing to go through the PBS approval process and just wanted to sell me another trailer ‘off the shelf’,” he continued. “Eric Ey at Freighter Maxi-CUBE, on the other hand, was only too happy to help and managed the whole process from start to finish.”
“Our engineering team had told us that a steerable dolly didn’t really change the performance of the A-double trailer combination,” commented Eric Ey, Freighter Maxi-CUBE’s westernQueenslandarea manager. “In fact, changing from a steerable dolly to a regular dolly eliminated a few problems for us such as excessive tyre wear and poor performance on rough roads. To us, the steerable dolly seemed to be an unnecessary and ongoing expense, so it was just a matter of waiting for the right customer willing to put the theory into practice.
“BBS came to us wanting two sets of A-double skels without steerable dollies,” Eric continued. “That was the first challenge, but we already had our idea for a solution to that. The second request was to use a Kenworth T909 prime mover. A lot of people said you couldn’t use a bonneted truck to haul an A-double, so Shane’s request gave us the opportunity to prove two industry myths wrong!”
The Freighter engineering team went to work on creating a workable solution for BBS, designing a lightweight trailer set incorporating a regular dolly instead of a steerable dolly and using wider axle spacings on both the skels and dolly to cater for the bonneted prime mover.
“Of course with PBS applications you have to factor in more than just the trailer configuration,” Eric added. “The truck weight and specifications are involved too, as well as reaching certain benchmarks with regards to performance, such as acceleration ability, ability to maintain speed up a hill, swept paths, frontal and tail swing, amongst other things. Our solution got through the entire approval process without a hitch.”
The end result was a light tare A-double with a regular dolly that can carry two full 29 tonne containers and still fall within the 79 tonne gross weight limit specified for the route between Toowoomba and the Port of Brisbane.
“On a higher mass route they could haul two 32 tonne containers which is a huge load by any measure,” Eric enthused. “What’s more, roll stability is just as good with the regular dolly as with a steerable dolly, without the added cost.”
When the PBS process was completed and the trailers delivered, Shane Noble couldn’t have been happier.
“The trailers are a huge success,” he lauded. “Not only are they achieving the payloads we were hoping for, but the final price was even more affordable than we’d envisaged.”