Servicing the needs of farmers in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, Jamie and Kelly Belfield are building a solid foundation for a tipper and tanker business. Theirs is an operation consisting of two prime movers, a number of steel and aluminium tippers as well as tankers used to cart liquid fertiliser. During the busy periods of sowing and harvest, the company engages up to four subcontractors to manage the workload.
The operation owns two Kenworth T604s, one with a yellow engine and the other sporting a red power plant. Jamie drives the ’07 model with the Generation II Cummins ISX that’s travelled one-million kilometres while employed driver Scotty drives the ’06 Cat-powered unit.
As for the equipment pulled by the Kenworths, Jamie has two sets of Bruce Rock Engineering (BRE) pocket road train steel tippers which he says are ideally suited to his operation.
His experience with BRE products goes back to the early days in partnership with his father when BRE steel tippers were used exclusively to service the silica sand contract.
According to Jamie, BRE tippers are well engineered and built specifically to suit his current operations, with overall value for money another factor that he rates highly.
One of the features he particularly likes about them is the design of the body which he says is ideal for lime and gypsum which are notorious for getting stuck in the corners of conventional trailers, thus posing a safety risk when tipping off.
“With the design of them it doesn’t matter what you are carting, you know it’s going to come out. Especially hauling burnt lime and gypsum, which can get a bit sticky, it’s not often that these products will get stuck in them,” Jamie says.
The reason for this is the radius shaped corners of the floor that don’t allow fine powdery products like lime or gypsum to pack down the way they do in trailers with 90-degree corners.
“It gives me peace of mind when I send my driver out with the BRE trailers because they are a very safe unit in this respect,” he adds.
The high strength and low tare of BRE steel tippers is due in part to the use of high-tensile steel sourced from Swedish company SSAB. The chassis are constructed using high-tensile Strenx 700 while the incorporation of the radius body shape reduces the need for extra ribbing.
J&K Belfield owns four BRE steel tippers which are mostly run in pocket road train (two trailer) format with a tri-axle converter dolly linking the two. The total allowable combination length for pocket road trains in WA is 27.5 metres.
Jamie says the earliest set he currently owns is 10 years old and still performing well after travelling more than 800,000km, while an earlier set that was bought in 2005 when he was carting sand with his father was recently sold and is still operating on a daily basis to the satisfaction of its new owner.
The fact that BRE team members are very approachable and willing to adopt customer feedback and incorporate these elements into the build, also goes a long way with Jamie.
“The good thing about BRE is that they have a thorough understanding of the industry in which I operate and the flexibility to build the trailers to my specific requirements,” he says.
“With the new trailers I bought from them last year they were willing to incorporate my specific hydraulic hose setup with additional quick release couplings,” he explains.
The new trailers feature BPW ECO-Plus drum brake axles which Jamie says he chose for their simplicity, reliability and longevity, explaining that he had an earlier set of BPW drum braked trailers that he and his brother towed that covered close to one million kilometres without needing a brake reline.
“If you take it easy and don’t overuse your brakes that is the life you can get from them,” says Jamie.
When it comes to fifth wheels, Jamie uses heavy-duty Fuwa K-Hitch ball-race units, 90mm double-row on the dollies and 60mm low-profile single-row on the prime movers.
As for his view on what the future holds, Jamie says he’s happy to hold the status quo with the business for the time being with a solid foundation for a tipper and tanker business.
“I’m happy to keep poking along the way things are at the moment,” says Jamie. “I quite like doing the lime and fertiliser and a bit of grain around the place, it all works well for me.”