Groeneveld restructures top management

The Netherlands based Groeneveld Group – a leading supplier of automatic lubrication and oil management systems – has reshaped its management structure with the aim of facilitating further global growth.

A board of management has been established with Henk Groeneveld as president, Ron den Engelsen, manager of strategy and business development, and Sjaak van Boxtel, head of finance and administration.

In addition, Ron den Engelsen has been appointed managing director of Groeneveld Transport Efficiency, a company specialising in the development, manufacturing, marketing and sales of automatic lubrication systems, Oilmaster oil management systems and Greensight active safety systems.

Henk Groeneveld, in the position of managing director, will head Groeneveld’s IT division GreenCat which specialises in transport management systems and telematics solutions, with a strong position in Benelux, France and Germany.

“We have ambitious growth plans, both for product development and for further global growth,” Henk Groeneveld said. “With this new management structure, together with two dedicated management teams, we are well positioned to support our growth ambitions.”

Henk looks back on a successful 2011, the year in which Groeneveld celebrated its 40th anniversary and also realised significant growth in turnover and profit.  






Hino makes FUPS a standard item

Front-under run protection is now standard on almost every model in the Hino on-highway range.

Hino has significantly enhanced its safety reputation with the standard fitment of a front under-run protection system (FUPS) on all on-highway versions of its 500 and 700 series trucks.

The FUPS bar is incorporated into the truck’s standard bumper and is included in all 500 series and 700 Series on-highway trucks from late 2011 production.

FUPS is already part of an extensive safety package including dual driver airbags, ABS braking and vehicle stability control on wide cab versions of Hino’s new 300 series light- duty truck. However, with the standard inclusion of FUPS on its 500 and 700 series models, Hino claims to be the first manufacturer in Australia to offer a front under-run protection system across all three categories of trucks – light, medium and heavy-duty.

In the case of its medium and heavy-duty models, Hino’s FUPS is certified to both Australian Design Rule ADR 84 and European Safety Standard UN ECE-93.

According to Hino Australia product planning manager Daniel Petrovski, “The advanced crash structure of FUPS has been subjected to extensive testing by Hino engineers, including computer-aided design simulations and physical destructive testing at Hino’s safety centre in Japan.”

“Hino takes road safety very seriously, and we’re particularly committed to offering the best available safety features on our trucks when and where we can.”



Front-under run protection is now standard on almost every model in the Hino on-highway range.

New truckstops for the Pilbara

Craig Mitchell (left) and Jon Italiano have formed a business partnership to build a network of new truckstops in the Pilbara.

Craig Mitchell, the former owner of Western Australian trucking firm Mitchell Corp, and business partner Jon Italiano are launching a network of roadhouses under the Outback Travel Centres (OTC) banner in the Pilbara region of northern WA.

“Frankly, there are some roadhouses in Western Australia where you wouldn’t be game to use the toilets, let alone buy a meal for yourself or your family,” Craig said. “As a former driver, and someone who employed more than 500 drivers, I have a fair idea of what will work in these locations.

“Oil companies have invested very little in full service truck stops in Western Australia over the past 25 years,” he continued. “They seem to be investing more in unmanned remote filling stations, which take revenue from and put additional pressure on the existing full service facilities and do nothing to improve services for long distance truck drivers or the travelling public.”

The first two Outback Travel Centres are existing properties being redeveloped in Newman and Carnarvon at a cost of more than $36 million. When completed they will offer full refuelling facilities, restaurants, convenience stores, WiFi access and quality rest rooms and shower facilities. The centres will also operate motel style accommodation, with 150 rooms being built at the Newman OTC.

The company is currently finalising negotiations to acquire land for two more OTC facilities in Karratha and Port Hedland.

The facilities and services offered by Outback Travel Centres have been modelled on the operations of the Pilot Flying J service stations across the United States. This company operates more than 550 travel centres or truckstops across North America, catering for professional truckers and other drivers.

“Those guys have refined their offering over 30 years,” Craig said. “They do a great job at catering for long distance drivers with quality, clean facilities and a broad food offering.”



‘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