‘Down Under’ test bed for Cummins

The all-new 13 litre Cummins engine is undergoing durability testing in Australia.

It’s official: The land ‘Down Under’ is now the centre for global field testing of Cummins truck engines. This has been confirmed by the current testing in Australia of an all-new 13 litre engine for global markets, and an enhanced 15 litre ISX power plant due for North American release in 2013.

“Australian operating conditions challenge product reliability and durability like no other market,” said Sean McLean, general manager – automotive products for Cummins South Pacific.

“The combination of high gross weights, high average speeds, frequent engine brake use and extreme climatic conditions is the ideal formula for accelerated reliability and durability testing.”

The 2013 ISX currently being tested in Australia is based on the existing 15 litre engine sold in North America which uses a combination of EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) and SCR (selective catalytic reduction) to meet US EPA ‘10 emissions regulations.

Unlike the dual overhead cam ISX engine currently sold in Australia, the North American version has a single overhead camshaft and common rail fuel system known as XPI that as the acronym suggests delivers extremely high injection pressures.

“The reworked ISX engine using a combination of EGR and SCR is a potential solution for the next round of emissions law inAustralia– ADR80-04 – which is likely to come into effect in 2016 or 2017,” McLean continued. “Depending on test results, this engine could well be released in Australia before the introduction of ADR80-04.”

On the other hand, the 13 litre engine is a completely new design using SCR for emissions reduction. It is the product of a 50/50 joint venture between Cummins and Chinese company Dongfeng and will be built in China. 

Two 13 litre units rated at 525 hp with peak torque of 1850 lb ft are currently undergoing local testing hauling B-double combinations.

“The global testing being conducted inAustraliais recognition of Cummins South Pacific’s engineering capability,” Sean added. “The technology available today for data monitoring also means it is easier for global testing to be carried out effectively in remote locations such as outback Australia.”



Daimler defies economic downturn

(L to R) Daimler Trucks boss Andreas Renschler, Daimler chairman Dr Dieter Zetsche and Bodo Uebber, head of Daimler Financial Services.

Flying in the face of current economic woes beseiging much of Europe and other parts of the world, Daimler AG has announced a record net profit for 2011 of €6.0 billion, eclipsing its 2010 result by €1.3 billion.  

“In 2011 Daimler Group achieved the best-ever results in its 125 year history for unit sales, revenue, EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) and net profit,’ stated Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG.

“In total, we made the anniversary year also into a year of success for Daimler. This performance shows that with its strong portfolio of cars, trucks, vans, buses and financial services, the Group is strategically very well positioned. We are now putting all our efforts into continuing this success and achieving our targeted rates of return on a sustained basis as of the year 2013,” emphasised Zetsche.

The excellent earnings for the year 2011 primarily reflect the very good situation of unit sales in the divisions. In 2011, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks and Mercedes-Benz Vans significantly increased their unit sales compared with the prior year in the major regions. Daimler Financial Services profited in particular from the lower cost of risk.

Special factors connected with the natural disaster in Japan resulted in total charges for the Group of €80 million. Insurance compensation has been taken into consideration in calculating this figure. Charges were also recognised from the impairment of Daimler’s equity interests in Renault (€110 million) and Kamaz (€32 million).

Daimler sold a total of 2.1 million vehicles in 2011, surpassing the prior-year figure by 11 percent, and each of its automotive divisions contributed to the increase. Group revenue rose by nine percent to €106.5 billion; adjusted for exchange-rate effects, this denotes a rise of 10 percent.

The net liquidity of the company’s industrial business amounted to €12 billion at December 31, 2011, up from €11.9 billion in 2010.

The generally positive business development led to an increase in the number of people employed worldwide to 271,370 as of December 31. This was 11,270 more than at the end of 2010. In Germany, the number of employees increased to 167,684, up from 164,026 in 2010.

Due to Daimler’s success in 2011, the Board of Management and the General Works Council have agreed that the workforce’s performance will again be rewarded with a high performance participation bonus. In Germany, each eligible employee of Daimler AG will receive an amount of €4100 at the end of April 2012.

Freezex trials UD GK 400

In a bid to maximise efficiencies across its truck fleet, refrigerated haulage specialist Freezex has been trialling a single-drive UD GK 400 prime mover in its local distribution operation. So far, it’s all good news.   

Focusing on the storage and local distribution of perishable foodstuffs, Freezex operates a 20-strong truck fleet from its MarsdenPark (westernSydney) cold storage facility. With the help of sub-contractors and an affiliate network, the company delivers over 500 pallets of products to more than 80 destinations daily.

According to the company’s co-manager Ben Howard-Bath, the acquisition of a semi-automated GK 400 prime mover was essentially a trial of the single-drive prime mover configuration. Yet even at this early stage it’s shaping up as the prime mover of choice for the business in the future.

“Comfort, cost and manoeuvrability are the big things for us,” Ben commented. “Lower registration costs when compared to a tandem drive prime mover, and fewer tyres to wear out. And the manoeuvrability of that truck is awesome; you can get into really tight driveways because it basically ‘turns on a dime’.

“This first truck has been a trial for our business, and it’s really paid off.”

Ben and his brother Luke co-manage the Freezex business, and their typical hands-on approach saw Ben get behind the wheel of the UD for its test period. Accordingly, one of the stand-out features of the prime mover is the nine-speed semi-automated (ESCOT II) transmission.

“The creature comforts are great,” he enthused. “In particular, I appreciate the semi-automated transmission because it just makes the job that much easier. It also broadens the field when we are looking to put on new drivers.

“We haul dairy products over to the northern beaches and there are quite a few hills on the way. It makes a massive difference to the comfort of your day when you don’t have to push the clutch in at every change.”

While this particular unit is the first new UD to join the Freezex fleet, the company commenced a fleet renewal program four years ago and says the rewards have been flowing ever since.

“We have moved away from running old gear with the associated big repair bills and it has transformed our business,” Ben explained. “It’s certainly put paid to regular mechanical breakdowns and down time.”



Recall for Freightliners with DD15 engine

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has posted a recall notice on behalf of Mercedes-Benz Australia/ Pacific regarding a potential electrical fault with Freightliner Coronado and Argosy trucks fitted with Detroit Diesel DD15 engines.

According to the ACCC notice, on Freightliners equipped with DD15 engines the bolt attaching a rubber isolator to a support bracket may come loose and back out, potentially contacting an unfused starter cable and creating a short circuit.

The potential problem is said to involve 175 vehicles powered by the DD15. Cummins powered trucks are not affected by the recall.

A letter has been sent to owners of the affected vehicles who are urged to contact their nearest Mercedes-Benz dealer as soon as possible so the fault can be rectified.



Saving fuel with Allison automatics

Northern Sydney-based bus operator Veolia Transdev – Shorelink Buses (VTSB) has reported a marked reduction in fuel usage since adding three new Cummins-powered Iveco buses fitted with Allison T375R automatic transmissions to its fleet.

The three buses – a Euro 4 unit delivered in late 2010 and two Euro 5 versions that arrived in February 2011 – have each covered around 150,000 km working double shifts seven days a week, with only scheduled maintenance taking them off the road. Over that period the company estimates the trio has reduced its overall fuel usage by around 6000 litres.

According to Tony Ralph, general manager of VTSB, the purchase of the new Iveco buses equipped with Allison transmissions came after an exhaustive market analysis.

“We go through the exercise every few years of looking at all the brands of buses, analysing features, benefits, maintenance, fuel consumption and capacity, amongst other things,” Tony said. “We also study the various body builders to ensure we can source the best overall package, and consider the needs and wants of our mechanics as we research the ease of maintenance, service intervals and cost of replacement parts for each variant.”

He added that while the Iveco buses equipped with Allison transmissions and Cummins engines emerged from the analysis as the best option, the company’s drivers were initially apprehensive about the change.

“Early in the piece there was some resistance from the drivers, but they’ve since commented that the Cummins powered, Allison-equipped Ivecos are far more responsive and smoother shifting than other buses in our fleet.

“The biggest factor for Shorelink has been the 10-15 percent improvement in fuel economy from the new units, which are recording average fuel consumption of around 42 litres per 100 km compared with an average of between 47 and 50 litres per 100 km from other newer buses in our fleet,” Tony Ralph concluded.



Tony takes the prize

Gilbert & Roach general manager Gary Melrose (left) with Tony Virag and his new SS ute

A recent promotion put on by Kenworth and DAF dealers Suttons Trucks and Gilbert & Roach has seen first time DAF buyer Tony Virag become the proud owner of a brand new Commodore SS V8 ute.

Admittedly, odds for the win were pretty good since entry to the competition was gained by the first 50 purchasers of a new Kenworth or DAF truck from either of the Sydney based dealerships (or G & R’s  Newcastle branch) between February and the end of June last year.

A contractor for waste management company SITA, Tony’s right of passage into the draw came in the form of a new DAF CF75 eight-wheeler fitted with a front bin lifter and compactor body. Featuring a 310 hp MX engine stirring through a six-speed Allison auto, the new unit replaced an 8×4 ACCO that had served its owner faithfully for a decade.

Tony was unable to attend the cocktail party where the draw took place due to work commitments, but was understandably over the moon to be subsequently told his name had been drawn from the hat.

As it turns out, the quietly spoken Tony is a full on petrol head who races cars at various tracks around the state. He plans to put his new ute to good use hauling the race car between meets.

“I’d like to thank Suttons Trucks and Gilbert & Roach for putting up such an awesome prize for the competition,” Tony enthused. “Purchasing the DAF for my operation was a smart business decision, but winning this ute is definitely the icing on the cake.” 




The Road Ahead visits Nowra Show

The Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) travelling truck safety and industry exhibition, The Road Ahead, will open its doors at the Nowra (NSW) show on February 10 and 11 this year.

The Road Ahead is a semi-trailer filled with displays informing viewers about the trucking industry including industry careers and, most importantly, how to drive safely around trucks. More than 65,000 people have visited the exhibition since it was launched in 2008, with plenty more expected over the course of the Nowra show.

A regular visitor to schools across Australia, The Road Ahead exhibition aims to improve road safety around trucks through education.

According to the chief executive of the ATA, Stuart St Clair, “In most incidents involving trucks and cars the car driver is at fault, often because they are unaware of the disparity in vehicle dynamics such as braking and handling between the different sized vehicles. Through The Road Ahead program, we aim to teach everyone how to drive safely around heavy vehicles.”

One such important tip is that the ‘DO NOT OVERTAKE TURNING VEHICLE’ sign applies at roundabouts too, as trucks will often need to use both lanes of a roadway when negotiating smaller roundabouts.

“We have a local community that would benefit from the education provided by The Road Ahead,” said James Thomson, president of the Nowra Show. “With heavy vehicle traffic on local roads set to increase with the upgrading of the Manildra ethanol plant, it becomes increasingly important that our young and inexperienced drivers in particular can receive information on how to coexist safely on the roads with heavy vehicles.”

To find out more about The Road Ahead, visit www.roadahead.net.au.

Hino adds free sat nav to 300 Series

Hino Australia is offering the added bonus of free satellite navigation and reversing camera in every new 300 Series light-duty truck purchased between February 1 and April 30 this year.*

The Hino-Navteq truck-specific sat nav and sound-enabled infrared night vision reversing camera – normally plug-in options for Hino’s market-leading multimedia unit – are being included as part of a special 300 Series promotion.

According to Hino Australia’s Alex Stewart, the no-cost addition of these special features makes the 300 Series even better value.

“The 300 Series is already one of the most user-friendly and comfortable trucks on the road, and these extra accessories only add to its appeal and safety,” he said. “With safety of utmost importance at Hino, we’re making the most of technologies that improve a driver’s ability to conduct their job more effectively.”

The unique Hino-Navteq navigation system can be tailored to suit each individual truck or load, with the ability to input critical data such as the truck’s height, weight and dangerous goods classification. The system then calculates a route that avoids low bridges, weight-restricted roads and dangerous goods-restricted areas. It can also direct the driver using any one of 17 different languages.

The reversing camera is displayed on the multimedia unit’s 6.1-inch high-definition LCD display, and can be optioned with up to two additional cameras offering split screen viewing if required.

Hino Australia became the first truck manufacturer in the world to include a digital audio broadcast (DAB+) multimedia unit as standard equipment across its entire range last year. The multimedia unit features the large 6.1-inch high-definition LCD touch-screen, DAB+ digital radio and conventional AM/FM radio. It also includes a CD and DVD player, USB and SD input, Bluetooth™ audio streaming and hands-free phone with voice and one-touch dialling.

* Terms and conditions apply. See www.hino.com.au for more details.


Stobart orders 1000 Scanias

Leading British trucking firm, Eddie Stobart, has in partnership with A. W. Jenkinson Forest Products signed a joint-procurement agreement with Scania in the UK for the supply of 1000 trucks. The deal mirrors the order placed by the two haulage operators in 2010, which at the time represented Scania’s largest ever supply agreement in the UK.

With the entire order scheduled for delivery between March 2012 and December 2013, approximately 300 units are expected to enter service this year. As with the previous order, the vehicle mix will comprise mostly R-series prime movers but will also include a number of the smaller G-series units.

Eddie Stobart, part of Stobart Group, is one of the most recognised road haulage fleets in Britain. The company currently operates a fleet of some 2280 units with a focus on optimum vehicle utilisation in order to maximise efficiencies and environmental benefits.

“This agreement reflects our ongoing satisfaction with Scania and the levels of support provided by the company’s dealer network,” Stobart Group chief operating officer William Stobart said. “Scania’s focus on ongoing development will allow our company to continue providing sustainable distribution and the usual high levels of service to its customers.”

According to Hans-Christer Holgersson, managing director of Scania (Great Britain) Limited, over the past two years the partnership between Eddie Stobart, A. W. Jenkinson and Scania has continued to strengthen.

“Winning such a significant repeat order not only demonstrates that our products meet the operational needs of these two high profile customers day-in, day-out, it also underlines the capabilities of our service organisation when it comes to providing a comprehensive range of back-up services on a relatively large geographical scale.”

A.W. Jenkinson Forest Products and its subsidiaries haul over two million tonnes of green waste, roundwood, chips, sawdust, bark and other timber by-products each year, collected from forestry sites, sawmills and other wood processing industries throughout the UK. The company is the largest supplier of woodchip and bark products in Great Britain.

In 2011, Scania’s share of the UK heavy truck market was 14 percent and its combined bus and coach market share amounted to 8.1 percent.



‘Tangles’ to host 2012 NatRoad conference

Max ‘Tangles’ Walker has been engaged to officiate proceedings at this year’s NatRoad conference to be held at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast from August 2nd to 4th.

A man of many talents, ‘Tangles’ is a former Australian cricketer, AFL player and architect. These days he is best known as a media commentator, motivational speaker and author of 14 books including seven number one best-sellers.

Max’s wit and humour, as well as his keen professionalism, promise to add volumes to NatRoad’s premier event this year.

Key topics to be covered at the conference include the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, the Road Safety Remuneration Bill 2011 and the New Model Work Health and Safety Laws.

For more details and regular updates, check out the NatRoad website at www.natroad.com.au.