Most of the work handled by the Bettatrans fleet from Adelaide involves collecting recycling waste from Coles and Woolworths locations and bringing it into transfer stations. This work is handled by compactors and hook lift trucks, depending on the equipment at each location. The entire fleet comprises just seven compactors, five hooklifts, a front lifter and the semi trailer. All of the trucks in the fleet are running at 6×2, apart from one 8×4.
90 per cent of all of the waste handled by Bettatrans is recycling, with the rest being general waste. The materials recycled include timber, cardboard and plastic. There is also some steel recycling handled by the operation, in a contract with OneSteel.
“We have to be covered by contracts, when you look at the millions of dollars investment we have to make to do the job,” says Chris Cunningham, Director of Bettatrans . “Our whole fleet is now looking good, I think the oldest truck is now three years old. The modern fleet gives a good impression and aids the contractor in keeping the long term contracts with the community.
“This is the first Azmeb trailer in South Australia. We flew up to Queensland to have a look at the trailer. We had looked at walking floors, normal tippers, everything, but this just smashed the lot. The great thing is, it’s so simple, there is very little maintenance on it. There’s just a little bit of greasing and the rubber hinge at the bottom of the door plus a couple of rams.
“Systems like walking floors have to be rebuilt all of the time and takes 40 minutes to unload. I am still amazed, looking at these national companies using walking floors everywhere, and this technology just kills them. We’ve just got one down here , but I have found the Azmeb outfit staggering, that they have been around for 21 years. We found it on Google and went from there. Even the guys at Maxitrans here were surprised to get an enquiry.”
Bettatrans employ 26 people, mainly drivers with other support staff. Several work on one of the last garbage trucks to have a runner on the back, where the team travel around with the truck and load the garbage by hand at night in areas where skips and bins are impractical.
The tipper semi is a new departure for Bettatrans and an area in which the operation expects to expand. The prime mover is a 4×2, the relatively light recycling material cubes out well before the single drive is overloaded. The tare mass of the truck and trailer is around 20 tonnes, giving the truck a GCM of 32 tonnes out on the highway.
Its a UD Quon and it’s fitted with the 11 litre UD GH11 engine and uses the Escot 12 speed AMT, both of which are derived from elements in the Volvo driveline. Most of the other vehicles in the fleet have been sourced from UD.
“The UD Quon is amazing,” says Cunningham. “The fuel efficiency is almost as good as on the UD Condors we have in the fleet.”
Compactors are the core part of the fleet, Bettatrans change over the cab chassis at 4-500,000 km. This is due to the stress powering the compactor puts on the truck, the hydraulics run directly off the truck driveline. The compactor bodies are expected to last long enough to be fitted to two cab chassis. According to Cunningham, he expects the side tipping trailer to last at least twenty years.
Bettatrans are looking to expand and take their successful business model outside of the Adelaide area. Perth looks to be one area where expansion is possible. The company are also examining the prospects in other centres
“People tell me, if you can make things work in Adelaide, you can make them work anywhere,” says Cunningham. “There’s no density here, and a lot of players in the market. You’ve got to be really, really efficient to make it work. You have to cover a big metropolitan area, where there is no density in the middle of town. Everything in the waste industry is about density and pick up rates.”
“The entire fleet is linked into the Vtec telematics system to keep an eye on what’s going on and record journeys and specific parts of the runs,” says Cunningham. “We have just swapped over to a new management system called WasteEdge, so all of our run sheets are on iPads in the truck cabs.
“Where we load the big tipper, the shed has a camera on it and it’s connected to wifi. It looks onto the conveyor and into the truck. As the driver arrives and backs up, the iPad, automatically, hooks up to the camera. He can then watch it load on his iPad. He will move forward and back using the iPad to make sure it’s loaded evenly.
“When we first got the truck, we put a camera in the truck to watch the load, but it didn’t’t work. When loading, the dust made it impossible, we had to clean it every hour. That’s when we came with this other solution.”
Smart thinking and driving hard for efficiency are the name of the game in many transport businesses. It seems this principle is also working for Bettatrans, as the company seeks to expand both its experience and capabilities.