Keeping Tankers On The Road

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SRH Milk Haulage commenced operations in October 1996 with one truck and tanker, keeping tankers on the road for bulk milk cartage to dairy farmers production plant at Hexham, New South Wales.

As SRH operate such a large fleet of milk haulage trucks, its prime movers and tankers accumulate hours and kilometres at a rapid rate. Maintenance and servicing of the fleet is a critical part of the operation. To ensure the fleet delivers their customers the best possible service and reliability, SRH insists upon and maintains a very high standard of equipment and experienced staff.

With the acquisition of subsequent contracts, SRH now provides daily bulk milk cartage from farms around New South Wales, mainly around the Hunter Valley to Sydney. Recently expansion took place in Western Australia, providing daily bulk milk cartage around the Harvey and Albany areas including deliveries to Harvey and Albany factories.

SRH Milk Haulage operates 62 prime movers and 66 tankers. The prime movers are on a three-year replacement plan and are also under contract maintenance plans so this means there is less chance of breakdowns and the prime movers provide the latest technology. The SRH fleet consists of Volvo, Mack and Scania, while the SRH Milk Haulage tankers consist of both Tieman and Byford. The company performs servicing and repairs on tankers in-house at its workshop at Rutherford.

The SRH fleet mainly consists of Volvo prime movers that have no lubrication points on the chassis of the trucks or lead trailer tankers  –they all use disc brake configurations, however the whole fleet runs Holland Kompensator Ballrace turntables. The Kompensator and the Ballrace have 20 greasing points, all of which need a good supply of grease to reduce wear and stop dirt and dust from getting into the moving parts. Keeping the Kompensator and Ballrace in the best possible operating condition requires regular greasing, but with service intervals becoming longer and longer and many of the trucks situated in rural areas, SRH decided to change from hand greasing to automatic greasing systems about eight years ago. Initially using a semi-liquid #0 grade grease system, labour time was saved, but moving parts on the Kompensator such as the slide, Ballrace and greasy plate meant that wear still occurred.

Consequently the cost of replacing parts due to lack of grease – an expensive and time consuming exercise – resulted in trucks being in the workshop and not on the road.

Searching for a better way, in 2011 SRH owner Scott Harvey and workshop manager Jamie Maher decided to start using the Beka Max automatic greasing system, distributed, installed and serviced by Alemlube.

Beka Max is a German made #2 grade grease system that allows SRH Haulage to use its own choice of heavy-duty chassis grease. Additionally, the Beka Max system uses a high-pressure ‘progressive’ distribution system that does not allow blocked grease points to go unnoticed. These two features have made a lasting difference by minimising long-term wear and tear occurrences in the fleet and by creating daily savings that otherwise would have been allocated to manual greasing labour costs.

The Beka Max system operates for a few minutes in every hour on the road, pumping measured volumes of grease to each grease point. The design of the progressive distribution system ensures that no point can miss a signal from the pump station. The #2 grease forms a protective barrier around all the moving parts on the Kompensator, reducing or eliminating the entry of water, dust and grime.

Since introducing the Beka Max automatic greasing systems, in addition to the prime movers being turned over every three years, Scott and Jamie have now progressed from rebuilding a Kompensator Ballrace turntable every 12 to 18 months to having it last the life of the prime movers in the fleet. The benefits have flowed as a result of the fleet being on the road more, with fewer repairs and reduced parts bills. Furthermore, with the Kompensator getting a constant amount of grease, the chance of damage to the tanker – such as cracking in the chassis – has reduced again, equating to better productivity and cost saving for the company.