Volvo Trucks Australia will unveil its safest truck ever in front of over 500 local Volvo workers in the Queen Street Mall on Wednesday, May 15.
Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Graham Quirk, will officially launch the new Volvo FH, which was built in Brisbane at Volvo’s Wacol factory by local engineering and design teams.
Volvo Trucks Australia Vice President, Gary Bone, said the new truck boasts world-first innovations and will set the industry benchmark for safety in Australia.
“Volvo is the world leader in safety and technology and in preparation for this launch we’ve crash tested over 25 trucks and have run over 1000 simulations,” he said.
The FH features Volvo’s innovative I-See system, making it the first truck to remember hills to reduce fuel consumption.
“It has a built-in memory, which can store up to 4000 hills and acts like an autopilot that handles gear-changes and maintains truck momentum,” Mr Bone said.
“The I-See technology not only helps our customers by reducing their fuel costs, it also reduces our impact on the environment.”
Mr Bone said Volvo wanted to create a truck with the market’s best handling. “The Volvo FH is more like driving a car than a truck when it comes to precise response and directional stability,” he said.
“Several structural improvements give the new Volvo FH series a stable and flexible design, which we demonstrated in our ballerina stunt video last year.
“The ballerina stunt shows slackliner Faith Dickey walking on a rope between two trucks travelling at 80 km/h.”
Mr Bone said Volvo’s Brisbane factory had to undergo a major facelift to accommodate the production of the new truck.
“We had to raise the roof of the Wacol factory because the vehicle is a lot taller than previous models,” he said.
“With over 500 employees, Brisbane really is the home of Volvo Trucks in Australia, and last year we invested $9 million to prepare the production plant for this new model.”
Customer field testing was also a key part of the development of the new model.
“We’ve field tested more than 60 of these new trucks around the world, but due to the harsh climate and long distances that drivers contend with in Australia, we’ve conducted more test kilometres here than in any other country,” Mr Bone concluded. One of Volvo’s leading experts in road safety, Ulf Torgilsman, direct from the Crash Testing Laboratory in Gothenburg, Sweden, will also be in attendance at the launch event.
Recent recall notices from major manufacturers include:
Western Star Trucks “A certain number of our Dennis Eagle vehicles may have, during the course of having a modification carried out to improve steering geometry, not had the correct torque applied to the fasteners on the steering arms both upper and lower,” says Western Star Trucks. “If failure occurs to these fasteners, loss of control of the steering of the vehicle can occur. This condition may potentially result in loss of control of the steering of the vehicle potentially causing an accident. Letters are being sent to affected owners. Western Star Trucks says when you contact your selling dealer, refer to campaign number FSDE12. The recall will take a maximum of one hour and will be performed at no charge to you. 274 vehicles are affected.
Mercedes Benz Australia/Pacific Pty Lt There is an issue with the Mitsubishi Fuso Euro 5 Canter trucks fuel filter head. The campaign is targeting 2,387 trucks manufactured between 25.03.2011 to 26.09.2012. “There is a possibility that the fuel hose may detach from the fuel filter,” explains the recall notice. The recall notice says this may cause a hazard to other road users and may result in a fire hazard. A letter will be sent to affected owners. The fuel filter head will replaced and these repairs will be carried out free of charge and will take approximately one hour to complete. Affected owners can contact their local Mitsubishi Fuso dealer.
Scania Australia Scania Australia has issued a recall for the P,G and R series trucks with the chassis number list: 5310339, 5311510, 5312683, 5312683, 5313111, 5315650, 5315713 and 5315819. Scania says due to production deviation the tightening torque may be too low on the front torque rods of the front axle with air suspension. The possible affect is low clamping force on the joint may lead to screws shearing and the torque rods coming off. This will affect the ability to control the vehicle and may pose a hazard to the driver and other road users. “Contact our Scania workshops or Scania Dealers and make a booking to have the vehicle repaired,” Scania says.
Iveco Trucks Australia Limited Iveco is targeting 74 Powerstar trucks made May to November 2012 in its recall campaign. It says with a steering wheel adjusted into the lowest steering position, the top of the intermediate steering shaft may foul with the upper steering shaft knuckle. “If the defect occurs, it may result in loss of steering control. This poses a hazard to the driver and other road users,” Iveco says. Iveco Trucks Australia will contact owners of affected vehicles. If further information is required contact your Iveco Dealer or Iveco Trucks Australia Limited on 03 9238 2200.
Volvo Trucks and Shell have agreed to cooperate globally on the introduction of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a fuel for commercial heavy duty trucks.
Based on Volvo’s new MethaneDiesel concept whereby LNG can be used in diesel engines, and Shell’s LNG expertise and infrastructure investments, the two companies will coordinate their activities and actively support the wider use of LNG in the transport sector.
“Shell is a key player in this market and we are one of the leading truck manufacturers, with an energy-efficient gas truck already available on the market. Together we believe that we can enhance and speed up the introduction of LNG to the transport business, both through own activities and by inspiring others”, says Lennart Pilskog, Director of Public Affairs at Volvo Trucks.
The collaboration agreement is underway and work has begun with the first stage focused on selected markets in central Europe and in the United States. The agreement is non-exclusive both ways. On-going or future cooperation and dialogues with other partners will not be affected by this agreement.
Gas for long haul transport
Natural gas is today used in compressed form (CNG) in city buses and smaller commercial vehicles. However, to be able to perform long haul assignments the vehicle must be able to carry a larger amount of fuel on board. This is made possible if the engine can run on LNG since the gas has a smaller volume in liquefied form.
The Volvo FM MethaneDiesel is equipped with the new methane-diesel technology and uses liquefied gas as its main fuel. The truck is already available in Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK and at present the market roll-out is expanding into Italy and France.
“We see considerable potential for our gas truck and will continue the roll-out in more markets along with the development of our production capacity and gas infrastructure. Using liquefied natural gas in a diesel engine is very energy-efficient, it is a new fuel option that could dominate for heavy duty vehicles for the foreseeable future,” concludes Lennart Pilskog.
Wider use of LNG will also facilitate the distribution of liquefied biogas (LBG) produced from renewable sources.
About natural gas and biogas
Both natural gas and biogas consist primarily of methane. When natural gas is combusted, it releases less CO2 than does diesel oil, and it releases no sulphur, heavy metals or ash into the atmosphere. Natural gas reserves are calculated to last longer than crude oil reserves. Biogas is climate-neutral and can be made from waste and other organic sources.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is natural gas that has been cooled to the point that it becomes liquid. It is mainly used in the production of heat and electricity, making it widely available already today. It is normally less expensive than diesel.
About the Volvo FM MethaneDiesel
Driving range is approximately 1,000 km on gas. Engine power output is 460 hp, torque 2300 Nm. Used in vehicle rigs with a gross weight of 40-60 tonnes. The engine uses diesel to ignite the LNG. The proportions are up to 75% gas and 25% diesel, depending on the type of transport and driving cycle. In the pressurised tank, the gas is stored at a temperature of between -130 and -140 degrees Celsius in order to keep it in liquid form. Can run on both LNG and LBG. Euro 3 and Euro 5 engines can also run on diesel only, which can be advantageous in situations when no LNG is available.
Leading Riverina transport contractor Deniliquin Freighters is operating two purpose-built Kenworth T909 A-Double roadtrains which haul 60 tonnes of export rice from SunRice’s newly reopened Coleambally mill in southern NSW.
The innovative A-Double two-trailer configuration, which is 36.5 m – 10 m longer than a regular B-Double, is a first for the state. The company was granted a special permit by the NSW Government’s Roads and Maritime Services. This enables the trucks to carry two 20-foot (6.1 m) TEU shipping containers of up to 30 tonne gross weights on specific routes from the mill to rail terminals in the region.
The permit allows the Kenworths to carry containers which are, for the first time, filled to capacity. That is around a 13 percent increase or 3.5 tonnes of milled rice per load more than trucks were permitted previously.
The new road limit load approvals, which were arranged following talks with NSW Roads and Ports Minister, The Honourable Duncan Gay, who played an important role for SunRice in ensuring maximum efficiency in the movement of rice for export, particularly from the recently re-opened Coleambally mill.
SunRice’s Coleambally and Deniliquin mills had been closed almost five years earlier due to severe droughts which decimated Australian rice crops. Today, SunRice has had its second consecutive year of full rice production, with a harvest of more than 963,000 tonnes. That’s a dramatic turn-around compared to its low of just 19,000 tonnes in 2008. To meet the increased capacity, it reopened the Deniliquin mill in early 2011, followed by the mill in Coleambally in November 2012.
Deniliquin Freighters has been contracting to SunRice since the transport company was established in the mid 1970s and, since 1999, it has been one of the company’s key road carriers from the rice mills in the Riverina. In addition to managing a large team of contractors, the company maintains its own fleet of 10 Kenworth prime movers which distribute SunRice finished rice to wholesalers and retailers throughout mainland Australia. It also handles haulage of milled rice between the three mills as well as the export containers carted from Coleambally.
Deniliquin Freighters’ Managing Director, Russell Tait, said he worked with SunRice to find a more efficient transport solution for the Coleambally mill since it was the only one not located near a rail terminal.
“The closest rail terminal to Coleambally is in Tocumwal – that’s a 256 km round trip which our trucks need to make several times a day,” he said. “We spent 15 months working with Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to try to find a cost-effective transport solution. The special RMS’ permit achieved that. It enabled us to implement a new transport configuration that increased payload capacity to 60 tonnes at CML (concessional mass limits) weights.
This was important to ensure efficiency at the re-opened mill, and it’s become a win-win for everyone. The A-Double roadtrain substantially lowers the overall cost of transport and provides SunRice with significant productivity gains. It also benefits the local community and the state with less trucks on the road,” Russell explained.
Deniliquin Freighters purchased its Kenworth T909s from award-winning dealer, Graham Thomson Motors in Shepparton. The T909 is a versatile model which suits almost any application where the front axle weight is critical.
Kenworth custom built the prime movers to the exacting requirements of the Coleambally mill operation. This included making provision on the chassis for the installation of a dual-wheel, lift-up Hendrickson pusher axle in front of the drive axle. When employed, the pusher axle enables the vehicles to carry a heavier payload that is spread more evenly across the axle groups.
Rated to a GCM of 106 tonnes, each truck is powered by a Cummins ISX EGR engine, generating 600 hp and 2050 lb/ft of torque. The truck features an 18-speed Eaton UltraShift Plus FO-22E318B-MXP automated transmission with Hill Start Assist to prevent rolling backwards on an incline. It also includes Meritor MFS73 front axles (7.3 tonne capacity) and Meritor RT46-160GP rear axles (21 tonne capacity), and rides on Kenworth’s Airglide 460 eight-bag rear suspension. The model has also been fitted with Kenworth’s Aero 50-inch integrated sleeper, Front Under-run Protection System (FUPS) bumpers as well as the Kenworth Electronic Brake Safety System (EBSS) Level 1, including ABS, automatic traction control (ATC) and drag torque control (DTC).
The T909s pull two, low-profile, drop-deck skel trailers by Vawdrey, which are linked by a tri-axle dolly. The 36.5 metre, Kenworth A-Double roadtrains operate two shifts, five days a week, from 3 am until midnight, and one shift on Saturday, from 3 am until 1 pm. Each truck makes five round trips in a full day. Four deliveries are made to the Tocumwal rail terminal, which is a 256 km round trip, and one is made to the Deniliquin terminal, a 330 km round trip. The trucks also make three trips on Saturdays.
Every week, the Kenworths haul in total 112 shipping containers with a combined payload of close to 3000 tonnes of milled rice. The containerised rice is sent by rail to the Port of Melbourne, where it is exported to various countries throughout the Pacific.
Russell looked at a number of Kenworth models before deciding on the T909. He said he chose it based on several factors, including its longer wheelbase, which allowed for the pusher axle, and provided better steering for the lengthy rig.
“The A-Double roadtrain is a major step forward for NSW transport, particularly regional agribusiness. But the 13-axle configuration, the long operating hours and the often hot Riverina conditions would tax most trucks. That’s why I didn’t seriously consider any other brand – only Kenworth.
“We have used a variety of American and European models since the 1970s, but for the past 11 years, I have only purchased Kenworths. It just makes sense. They are engineered in Australia for Australia’s toughest environments. And they are custom built in the factory to our specifications. If we used any other brand, it would have been much more difficult and time consuming, with no guarantee it would be the best vehicle for the job. With Kenworth, we get exactly what we need without any compromise,” he explained.
Russell says the T909 has proved to be the ideal model for Coleambally job.
“I needed a strong, powerful truck to handle the work but, because we are carting heavy containers with a set weight, I needed a light prime mover to ensure we stayed within the permit limits. The T909 has a surprisingly light tare weight and it’s economical to run. They’re real workhorses and yet they’re so comfortable to drive. We work them long and hard, and they haven’t missed a beat.
“The beauty about the T909, in fact all Kenworths, is their flexibility. If the Riverina went back into drought, we could remove the pusher axle and turn the T909s back into bogey drives and they would join our other Kenworths doing linehaul work. We run a variety of models which are configured as single trailer, B-Double and roadtrains. It all depends on the needs of SunRice and our other customers. Our Kenworths are versatile, and that allows us to react quickly to changes in the market,” he explained.
Russell said another important reason he continues to buy Kenworths is the often overlooked dealer service.
“Graham Thomson Motors is an excellent dealer – we have been buying Kenworths from them for years. They have very knowledgeable and long-term staff, who understand our business, and always give us prompt service and advice. In fact, they played a key role in the development of our A-Double roadtrains,” he added.
Scania showed its wide range of active and passive safety systems at the VTA Drive Day in an eye-catching and innovative way; the Scania Safety Vest.
Scania has long been a leader in the delivery of active and passive safety systems for the benefit of drivers and operators in Australia.
To highlight the Scania safety story, the company presented a G 480 prime mover in a unique and eye-catching Day-Glo hi-viz Safety Vest at the VTA Drive Day, complete with an integrated front under-run protected bumper that uses a highly visible and impressive red and silver design incorporating reflective stripes, similar to that used by a major Scania customer in Europe.
“We have dressed a static display prime mover in an XXXXL-sized graphic Safety Vest as a bold statement of Scania’s commitment to driver safety,” says Ron Szulc, Scania Brand and Communications Manager.
“Just as the hi-viz safety vest worn by many drivers on a daily basis helps to signify their presence and provide a degree of safety, in what can be for many, potentially hazardous working environments, so the Scania prime mover, with its many safety features acts as a safety vest for the driver on the road.
“Scania has a strong and long-standing focus on providing a safe and comfortable workplace for drivers,” he says.
“This starts with an all-steel safety cab that exceeds the tough Swedish impact test standards that are themselves more stringent than the ECE R29 Cab Strength regulations. It includes class-leading driver visibility, easy cab access on stepladder-like steps, a highly adjustable driver’s seat, comfortable and wide bunk and an effective air conditioning system. We also have excellent sound insulation in the cab, which also helps to reduce fatigue on a long day’s drive.
“Scania fits a driver’s airbag to the collapsible steering column of each truck sold in Australia. Seat belt pretensioners are standard, along with Traction Control, Electronic Brake System, which incorporates an Anti-lock Brake System. We also provide four hours of vehicle optimisation instruction with every new delivery, via our Scania Peak Efficiency Programme. This bolsters driver and road safety, as well as ensuring the vehicle is driven in the most fuel efficient manner, reducing wear and tear, and thus benefiting the operator’s profitability,” Ron says.
Scania also offers the ability for customers to specify additional modern electronic driver safety features such as Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Departure Warning, while Electronic Stability Control is available on 6×4 configuration vehicles as well as 6x2s and 4x2s. Scania has also just begun delivering vehicles in Australia fitted as standard with a new H7 super bright halogen headlamp that offers a wide dipped beam.
A new Daytime Running Lamp System has also been deployed in these clusters. Scania customers may also option Xenon headlamps as found on many European luxury cars. For 20 years, Scania has been offering the market the Scania Retarder, an auxiliary hydro-mechanical braking system that puts up to 3500 Nm of braking torque in the driver’s hands, leaving the service brakes of the vehicle combination cool and fresh for deployment only in an emergency.
In addition, features such as Downhill Speed Control ensure that the vehicle can remain safely in the driver’s control and within the legal speed limits even when negotiating steep declines on the highway, improving trip times.
Despite the slump in the commercial vehicles business due to the introduction of Euro V in a key market Brazil, combined with the European sovereign debt crisis, the MAN Group has released a new range of construction vehicles with Euro VI engines to the European market for MAN’s entire range of products from TGL to TGS as well as TGX.
The MAN Group closed fiscal 2012 with an operating profit of just under €1 billion (AU $1.29790 billion) down from 4% on the prior record year, no doubt spurred on by a massive buy up before the new emissions standards took hold in Brazil.
MAN relies on an efficient concept comprising electronically regulated exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) and exhaust-gas aftertreatment employing a CRT soot filter system and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to meet the Euro VI regulations.
The key technologies necessary for Euro VI – common-rail injection system, exhaust-gas recirculation, two-stage turbocharging with intercooling, diesel particulate filter and SCR system – have for years successfully been proving their suitability for practical operation in MAN vehicles. Cooled exhaust-gas recirculation has been standard on trucks since 2000, SCR technology since 2005.
The developers’ primary goal was to keep fuel consumption down to the recognised low levels of Euro V without loss of power or torque. This means that MAN can continue to offer its customers efficient and reliable vehicles for daily operation.
By comparison with the Euro V standard, Euro VI requires a reduction of 80 percent in NOx emissions (from 2 g/kWh to 0.4 g/kWh) and a reduction of 66 percent in particulate mass (from 0.03 g/kWh to 0.01 g/kWh) with effect from 2014. This is why exhaust-gas aftertreatment consists of an oxidation catalytic converter in conjunction with a closed diesel particulate filter as well as SCR catalytic converters and associated sensors. MAN positions this entire system, known as SCRT (Selective Catalytic Reduction Technology), com-pactly on the right side of the vehicle behind the front mudguard in the exhaust silencer.
Euro VI engines with outputs of 220 hp (162 kW) up to the current maximum of 480 hp (353 kW) employ a combination of two-stage turbocharging with primary cooling and cooling and intercooling of the boost air. MAN consciously bases its strategy on two separate rugged and reliable turbochargers that share the job of increasing boost-air pressure instead of a single more complex turbocharger with variable turbine geometry. The result is a very high degree of efficiency with input power delivered fast across the whole engine-speed range and a longer service life for the system.
The maximum torque of MAN’s new Euro VI engines is available at low engine speeds across a wider speed range than Euro V engines. In the heavy-duty series, the 320-hp (235-kW) engine outputs a maximum torque of 1,600 Nm at an engine speed as low as 930 rpm and maintains it up to 1,400 rpm. The same applies to the 360-hp (265-kW) engine with 1,800 Nm, the 400-hp (294-kW) engine with 1,900 Nm, the 440-hp (324-kW) engine with 2,100 Nm and the 480-hp (353-kW) engine with 2,300 Nm. The Euro VI vehicles can thus show their teeth off-road while being economical in on-road operation. These two aspects are demonstrated in a particularly impressive manner at 440 hp, which in Euro VI is now delivered by the engine with the largest capacity, 12.6 litres.
In formulating its regeneration strategy for the diesel particulate filter, MAN also paid special attention to maximum operational reliability. Regeneration in normal operation takes place independently and automatically. This enables almost all the particles that have been collected in the filter to be broken down while the vehicle is being driven. The particularly large surface of the ceramic filter elements enables long filter service lives. The oil-ash residue that collects in the diesel particulate filter after several hundred thousand kilometres is removed by replacing the filter element during servicing. The vehicle’s service interval calculator recommends the intervals between cleaning, taking into account the operating conditions and the continually monitored exhaust-gas backpressure.
MAN positions the Euro VI exhaust silencer on the right side of the vehicle. This means that the well-known ease of mounting bodies on MAN chassis is retained because, as in the past, no parts protrude above the top edge of the frame. As industry-specific equipment, at bauma 2013 MAN is presenting upswept exhaust pipes at the rear of the cab. This is important primarily for vehicles that run the power take-off while stationary as it considerably reduces the exposure of an operator next to or behind the vehicle to exhaust emissions. MAN stays light – the weight of the system increases by only around 150 kg for the MAN TGL with a four-cylinder engine and by around 200 kg for TGL and TGM vehicles equipped with six-cylinder engines. The Euro VI exhaust-gas cleaning components similarly add only around 200 kg to the unladen weight of the TGS and TGX.
Fuso has introduced the second generation Canter Eco-Hybrid to the Australian market earlier today at a function in Sydney.
Fuso has been manufacturing hybrid trucks since 2006 and selling them in Australia since 2009.
“Our customers’ experiences over a long period of time have clearly demonstrated that our 1st generation hybrid technology was capable of constantly saving significant amounts of fuel in both city and suburban applications, not only in Australia, but internationally as well. Tests conducted with Star Track Express resulted in the Eco-Hybrid saving an average in excess of 30% compared to their diesel only Canters” said Richard Eyre, General Manager for Fuso Trucks & Buses in Australia.
With more than one thousand Fuso Canter Eco-Hybrid trucks driving the world daily, Fuso has been able to accumulate vast quantities of invaluable data from more than five years of field experience. This data has been instrumental in the development and design of this new model.
While the first generation hybrid proved that the technology worked and demonstrated significant fuel savings, the second generation Canter Eco-Hybrid has been designed not only to offer customers a truck with superior environmentally friendly credentials, but also a more affordable and financially sound transport solution – which is achieved through its fuel saving performance and more attractive purchase price.
In short… the new Fuso Canter Eco-Hybrid is not just a truck that appeals to a niche group of environmentally conscious customers. Rather, it is a practical solution that has been developed for the mass market, appealing to a much wider range of trucks customers because it’s not only cleaner than a diesel only truck, but its return on investment makes economic business sense!
The new 2nd generation Canter Eco-Hybrid is based on the same parallel hybrid system used in the 1st generation Canter Eco-Hybrid which incorporates a diesel engine and an electric motor.
Depending on the driving needs, the system can actively switch between either power source, or use them both together, to ensure optimal performance.
Fuso said many of the core components have been greatly improved over those used in the 1st Generation Eco-Hybrid and many of them can already be found in Fuso’s Euro5 diesel only Canter range.
The 4P10 3L engine was developed for its ability to reduce fuel consumption in order to reduce operating costs and minimise its impact on the environment.
Fuso say fuel economy is so good that it already met the 2015 Japanese fuel economy standard when it was first introduced into the Canter range in 2010.
“This engine not only meets Euro 5 emission requirements… it exceeds it and surpasses the rating requirements for Enhanced Environmentally Friendly Vehicles (EEV) classification,” say Fuso.
The introduction of the more powerful and cleaner 4P10 EEV compliant diesel engine and a more powerful electric motor results in a more pleasurable driving experience and there is no longer a power disadvantage between the Eco-Hybrid and its equivalent diesel only model Canter (110kW vs. 96kW and 40kW vs. 35kW used in 1st generation Eco-Hybrid).
The smooth DUONIC dual clutch AMT also features in the new Canter.
The location of the clutch pack between the diesel engine and electric motor is critical in the Eco-Hybrids design.
It allows the clutch to regulate and control the hybrid system by engaging and disengaging the diesel engine and/or electric motor depending on whether they are required or not.
Together with the high performance, long lasting lithium-ion battery, this allows the Canter Eco-Hybrid to take off using the electric motor only.
An Idle Stop/Start system (ISS) allows the driver to turn the diesel engine off and on at traffic lights. When switched on, ISS is automatic and triggered by the brake pedal. The engine switches itself off when the driver places their foot on the brake pedal and the truck comes to a complete stop and it restarts as soon as they lift their foot off the brake pedal in preparation to take off. The ISS system allows for even further fuel consumption savings and reduced emissions.
The hybrid system has improved in several significant ways. The Electric motor now develops / generates more power. Peak power has increased to 40 kW from 35 kW and peak torque is available from 0 rpm to 2000rpm, an increase of over 400 rpm in range. These upgrades allow the motor to capture and re-use more braking energy. The motor is now oil cooled rather than water cooled.
The battery retains its lithium ion type but has significantly improved internals. The new battery also includes a “G” sensor to detect a crash and cut battery power.
The new Hybrid also comes with Canters 30,000km service intervals. The Lithium Ion battery and whole hybrid system is guaranteed for 10 years, meaning there is no additional costs or maintenance to the business to consider.
The Fuso Eco-Hybrid is designed to deliver its best results in stop/start traffic conditions and low to medium speed applications.
Peak Gold Mines in Cobar, New South Wales, is using Isuzu trucks underground to move men and equipment.
As part of its fleet, the mine runs seven Isuzu trucks; four of which are used underground transporting men, equipment and explosives to service the copper and gold mine’s 24-hour-a-day operation.
Located approximately 700 kilometres north-west of Sydney, Cobar is a famous old mining town.
Found just a short eight kilometre drive south from the town centre, Peak Gold Mines employs 340 staff on site and has a seven year mine life, up to 2018.
To keep its around-the-clock schedule, Peak Gold Mines relies on a range of reliable equipment, including modern development jumbo boom drills, load-haul-dump loaders, and a total of 55 trucks and utility support vehicles.
According to Mobile Maintenance Planner, Ben Trudgett, the Isuzus easily cope with the rock road bases and 1:6 gradient in the decline mine.
Mr Trudgett said two of the company’s Isuzu trucks were registered, with the remaining five unregistered.
“Our Isuzu NLS 200 crew cab is used underground by the Mobile Maintenance Team. It also transports the team to other workshops,” he said.
“We also have four FTS 750 Isuzu trucks, which are used as stores trucks. One of these is a registered truck and is used for town store runs. The other three are unregistered and are mainly used underground.
“Our fleet also includes two FTS 800 4x4s – one is a fuel truck and the other an explosives truck.”
Mr Trudgett said both the FTS 800 4×4 fuel truck and explosives truck required some extra body work to fit the mine’s application.
“The fuel truck has a double skin road transport fuel body, which is capable of carrying 7,000 litres. This body was purpose built for safety and practicality,” he said.
“The explosives truck has a reinforced headboard for additional safety of operators.
“All of the other Isuzu trucks are as built and simply have tray bodies.”
As the Peak Gold Mines operate constantly, the trucks are used on a daily basis.
“The registered stores truck does two runs into town Monday to Friday. The other registered truck is utilised 24/7 to transport logistics in the underground workings,” Mr Trudgett said.
“The explosives truck is also used every day by the charge-up crews.”
According to Mr Trudgett, not everybody can take the trucks underground.
“Any operator who is ‘ticketed’ to operate the trucks can drive them. We have our own in house trainers who train and accredit each operator who is competent to operate the machines in the mine,” he said.
“Apart from the registered stores truck, all other Isuzu trucks go into the mine. The conditions are harsh, the roads are rock base with a 1:6 decline. However the Isuzu trucks have no issues with the conditions – they do everything that we ask of them, and sometimes more.”
Mr Trudgett said he believes the most favourable features of the Isuzu trucks are their reliability and operator comfort.
“The Isuzus offer more than enough power. They have no trouble driving up steep declines at about 20km/h when they are loaded,” he said.
“We chose to purchase Isuzu trucks because they offer a fleet of standard service trucks that meet our specification and the product’s reliability is fantastic. We also can’t go past the back-up parts and service from the Isuzu Dealership, Tracserv in Dubbo – we have had very good experiences with them.”
Peak Gold Mines replaces trucks on an as-needs basis, based on their condition, age and life hours.
“We select the best truck that suits the application required. We purchased one of our underground stores trucks in 2000 and the other two in 2008; we purchased our above ground stores truck in 2005. The explosives truck, fuel truck and NLS 200 crew cab were all added to our fleet in 2011,” Mr Trudgett said.
“We would definitely consider purchasing more Isuzu trucks when we require replacement vehicles. We have a good relationship with Tracserv and the trucks’ reliability and performance in the mine are unsurpassed.”
Two mining fields are run from the Peak Gold Mines site, one hosting a processing plant and administration buildings.
Peak Gold Mines is operated by Peak Gold Mines Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Canadian company, New Gold Incorporated. It commenced production in 1992.
StrathAyr Pty Ltd is a developer of natural turf technology providing a variety of turf options, ready grown lawn, for residential and commercial use.
Starting in Tasmania in 1969 it derived its name from the original turf farm in Tasmania where the family business began.
The company expanded to Victoria in 1972 and today has a staff of over 30 operating two turf farms, one each in Victoria and Tasmania. The farms produce high quality turf such as the popular Sir Walter Buffalo Lawn, Legend Couch and Village Green Kikuyu.
As well as delivering turf to customers, StrathAyr provides a lawn installation service conducted by a team of experienced installers, and offers a wide range of lawn care products including lawn fertilisers and pest and weed control.
StrathAyr’s Victorian farm turf deliveries are handled by two Isuzu FVY 1400 6×4 curtainsiders. Victorian Farm Manager, Nick Behm, said the Isuzu trucks were just the right size for delivering turf to residential homes, race tracks, landscapers and sports fields.
“The trucks’ 24,000 kg GVM rating is great for our heavy loads of turf and installation equipment,” he said. “On top of that, we’re more than happy with the build quality, the cab comfort and safety features while the inbuilt multimedia unit with NAVTEQ satellite navigation is particularly handy.” The curtainsider bodies include provision for a detachable forklift for the easy loading and unloading of the turf pallets. Nick choosing the Isuzu said it came down to functionality and value for money. “We were looking for a truck model that could handle heavy loads and would still be easy to drive despite its size,” he said.
“According to the drivers, operating the trucks is no more stressful than driving a car. The turning circle is surprisingly good for a medium duty truck which makes parking in tight residential streets effortless.”
The company also has a separate business division called StrathAyr Turf Systems, which specialises in providing all types of natural turf solutions such as removable natural turf systems for stadiums and racetracks, natural turf drop-in portable cricket wickets, as well as natural turf replacement products. The major projects conducted by StrathAyr Turf Systems include the long-awaited redevelopment of Punt Road Oval currently underway in Melbourne, Victoria – the home of the AFL Richmond Tigers.
In 1990, StrathAyr expanded its markets beyond Australia’s coastline, when BAyr Root (soil free) Turf was air freighted from Australia to Hong Kong for the resurfacing of the Sha Tin Racetrack. Since then, the international business has continued to grow with StrathAyr Turf Systems installed at sporting venues in the USA, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.