This week Diesel News is talking about Linfox, Single Axle A-doubles and Scania Releases.
Linfox has said it is investing in the future of its customers and the Northern Territory with the construction of the Linfox Darwin Intermodal Facility. Situated next to the Darwin railhead, the 3,000m2 purpose-built facility will create up to 15 ongoing local jobs. Read more
The survey has been done and the results are in, is this the true state of trucks? The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has released the first of what is expected to be a series of snapshots on the condition of the truck fleet on our roads from the National Roadworthiness Baseline Survey. The first report is an overview of the fleet and its basic condition, plus some other basic data on the trucks on the highways.
This new mountain of data – over six million data points – on our trucks was compiled during the heavy vehicle health check, which took place late last year. Over seven thousand vehicles were stopped and examined by 364 specifically and centrally trained inspectors on the roadside and in depot visits at 168 different inspection sites. Using the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual as a guide, non-conformities were identified and recorded. They were ranked as being either minor, major or major (grounded).
The top ranked non-conformity was in the brake department, followed by steering and suspension and then engine driveline and exhausts. Trailers’ brakes came in at 11 per cent of non-conformities plus lower figures for suspension and couplings.
“Our conclusion is the fleet is, generally, safe,” said Daniel Elkins, NHVR Manager – Safety. “Of those inspected, 88 per cent did not have a major non-conformity and 98.7 per cent were able to continue their journey. We then went and looked at some international, studies and found two comparative studies in Europe and America. The major non-conformity rate is slightly better than that of Europe (22.7 per cent in Australia and 27.4 per cent in Europe).”
Looking at the rate of major non-conformities, the best performing vehicles were buses (two per cent) and special purpose vehicles (three per cent). Among trucks on the road, B-double prime movers came out at eight per cent and road trains at 10. Not quite so well performing were semis at 14 per cent and rigids at 13.
The worst performing vehicles were trailers being pulled by a rigid at 21 per cent, single trailers were at 14 per cent, road train trailers at 11 and the best performers were B-double sets at nine per cent major non-conformities.
One of the interesting pieces of data to arise from the findings is the actual age of trucks on the road. Rego data tells us the average age of trucks on the road is 14 years. However, in this statistically significant survey the average ages of the vehicles stopped ranged from 9.9 years in rigids to 5.2 years in B-double prime movers. Thus suggests many of the older vehicles registered rarely venture out onto the highway.
When considering age, it was also a good indicator of the non-conformity rate with new trucks under two years old only showing major non-conformity at one per cent, while the comparative figure for trucks over 13 years old was approaching 12 per cent.
The survey found one in eight trucks were participating in a maintenance scheme. Those in the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme or Trucksafe only had a non-conformity rate of nine per cent, but those outside the scheme were at 13 per cent.
HVIA Questions Roller-Brake Testing
According to the Heavy Vehicle Industry Association (HVIA), the NHVR baseline report may overstate non-conforming brake systems, particularly for lightly laden trailers fitted with advanced braking technologies that incorporate a load-sensing function.
Brett Wright, HVIA CEO, responded to the release of the survey with some reservations.
“HVIA welcomes the publication of the data,” said Wright. “The results of the survey confirm the rising level of non-conformity as vehicles age, the importance of braking performance as a key safety issue, and the importance of good maintenance practices on maintaining the safety of the fleet. Accruing and utilising accurate data is crucial to determining the effectiveness of enforcement strategies and their impact on the safety status of the heavy-vehicle fleet.
“HVIA and other industry groups are concerned that the current methodology for roller-brake testing has overstated the non-conformances. Particularly for lightly laden trailers fitted with advanced braking technologies that incorporate a load sensing function. We urge the Regulator to continue discussing the roller brake testing methodology with industry to resolve these issues.”
WA Not Included
“It was disappointing that Western Australia did not participate in the survey,” said NatRoad CEO, Warren Clark, while welcoming the report. “This country’s regulation must proceed on a nationally consistent basis founded on nationally gathered evidence. Having the Northern Territory and Western Australia outside of the nationally consistent Heavy Vehicle National Law, as well as differences between states and territories in the implementation of that law is not a model for the 21st century.
“Any changes to the heavy-vehicle roadworthiness system must lead to uniform Australia-wide roadworthiness rules and enforcement that are underpinned by a risk-based approach. The NHVR is currently moving towards that outcome. At present, some states require every truck to be inspected each year, regardless of their risk profile; other states do not. Changing this diverse regulatory approach is being properly and diligently addressed by the NHVR with the survey as essential foundational research.”
As far as the trucking industry is concerned, brakes are brakes – or are they? There is a choice – drums or discs, and then the size of the drum being used, but the actual technology being used has been the same for some time. EBS (electronic braking systems), ABS (antilock braking systems) and stability control have entered the fray in recent years, but only to improve control of existing brake systems.
Researchers in Europe are going out beyond these limitations and looking at ways to achieve a quantum leap in brake performance. Two presented their work to other truck and trailer engineers at the 14th Heavy Vehicle Transport Technology, held recently in Rotorua in New Zealand.
Optimised Braking and Turns, is how Professor David Cebon, from Cambridge University in the UK, characterises the work he has been doing with his colleague Dr Graeme Morrison, as well as in collaboration with brake manufacturer Haldex.
In a current EBS braking system, individual wheels are slowed down to zero and then allowed to speed up again, then slowed again, to avoid skidding. These oscillations in speed take place every second.
As David says in his introduction to the project, “Conventional electronic/anti-lock braking systems for trucks have limited bandwidth due to the compressibility of air, the large volumes required to fill the brake chambers and sluggish actuation of the ABS modulator valves. Large amplitude cycling of wheel slip therefore occurs between almost free-rolling and almost fully-locked, causing inefficient emergency stopping performance.”
The control systems keep slippage in control by dumping all of the pressure in the system to allow the tyre to roll and reapplies the pressure to get further braking. The brakes are in an on/off cycle over and over again, brake pressure goes up and down, the system is working to both slow the vehicle and avoid skidding.
“This uses a lot of air and doesn’t stop very well,” says David. “The result of this kind of behaviour is trucks typically have stopping distances which are 30 to 40 per cent longer than cars.
“We’ve developed a new type of braking system. Early on we looked at whether we could do slip-control braking. We looked at an EBS system on an icy road and compared stopping distance against air usage.”
The prototype pneumatic Slip Control (SC) system was developed and tested by the Cambridge Vehicle Dynamics Consortium (CVDC), led by David Cebon. The system uses bespoke high-bandwidth bi-stable valves, placed close to the brake chamber to minimise pneumatic delays, and sliding mode control.
“We decided to take the same valve and the same brake actuator, but we controlled it in a different way to control slippage. Normal brake actuators take 40 milliseconds to open and close and use a lot of air when stopping. We discovered, if we went to a 15 millisecond valve, then we could get a much better response, considerably reducing stopping distance and air consumption.”
The team went on down to a three millisecond valve and improved performance again. Going further, to one millisecond didn’t improve things. The target was set to developing a braking system using valves which took just three milliseconds to open and close, less than a tenth of the time taken by current valves.
“We wanted to get down to three milliseconds, then we hoped to get a 30 per cent reduction in stopping distance and a 70 per cent reduction in air consumption,” says David. “That means we need a smaller air tank and use less power to fill it. We spent ten years trying to work it all out. After ten years and three PhD students we came up with this system with very fast bi-stable valves. There are two, one at the inlet, where we take air from the reservoir, and one on outlet through the exhaust valve.”
Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Europe’s truck manufacturers liked to spring the odd surprise at the various annual shows. By ‘odd’ I mean those wonderfully futuristic concept trucks that looked great under the spotlights, before eventually ending-up in some dusty corner of the R&D department…or scrapped. Read more
As a result of an industrial dispute there will be no roadside enforcement next week. Unfortunately, this news comes out of Poland – we Australians are not getting a holiday from the rules any time soon. The strike is a result of an ongoing pay dispute.
I would suggest, if the enforcement officers have been disgruntled for some time, the poor truckies getting pulled up at the side of the road on their way to Warsaw would have copped a few unnecessary fines after coming across inspectors in a bad mood about their wages.
As an industry we have a problematic relationship with those who are posted on our highways to make sure we are all doing the right thing. This is not just an Aussie thing, it is universal. Having driven professionally in Western Europe and Australia, I can say the issues are commonplace. The only thing which changes is the name of the offence and the currency the fine has to be paid in.
Why are we so resentful of the representatives of the ‘powers that be’ going over our trucks and records with a fine toothcomb? It is hard to get to the core of the issue. Is it because we are all regular lawbreakers afraid of getting caught? No it is not.
One of the issues at the heart of the problem is the fact the vast majority of those on the road are doing the right thing and should be able to go into a check knowing they are squeaky clean. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Dot all of the Is and cross all of the Ts and you can still cop a fine for a minor mistake in recordkeeping or after an over-zealous loader puts a bit too much pudding on.
One contributing factor is our federal system, which has state-based transport authorities working for the state government’s benefit. The same issues apply to those truckies criss-crossing Europe, as they flit from country to country within the EU.
The next issue is the problem of ‘transit states’. Our transit state is New South Wales. An overwhelming majority of the freight moved on roads in Australia has to pass through NSW at some point. Quite often the state’s economy will benefit little from the passing of the goods from, for example, South Australia to Queensland, just a bit of road wear.
As a result the attitude seems to have developed – as is certainly perceived to be the case by many truckies – of getting something out of these truckies passing through, even if it is the odd fine.
The parallel with Europe is again very clear. A lot of road freight in Europe has to pass through France, Germany, and quite often Poland. French authorities have developed the art of pinging truck drivers for small offences for small fines to the point where it is widely regarded as a revenue-raising tactic.
Similarly, French customs will set up shop on the roadside knowing they will be able to catch enough offenders who are carrying untaxed fuel, or too many bottles of spirits or cartons of cigarettes across borders to justify the operation.
Germany uses road charging to top up its coffers, but did use fuel excise fines to do the job for many years. Poland goes through a similar process to get some revenue from passing trucks. A revenue stream which will be curtailed when the strike is in force.
Do Australian roadside enforcement stop us to make money? No, of course not, but the perception is there. This has grown over the years as drivers have worked hard to get everything about their truck and records right, only to get a fine for something seemingly insignificant. Will the introduction of a national enforcement operation solve this issue? Let’s hope so.
This week in Diesel News, we are talking about a New Trailer Brand, New Isuzus, New ZF, New DAF and Fuso Price Cut.
Graham Lusty Trailers has introduced a new low loader brand, Allison HD. The new brand is a subsidiary of GLT and has already delivered a handful to trailers to local customers.
Initially the product range will focus on 3×4 and 4×4 drop deck, deck wideners and low loaders. Allison HD reckon suspension widening and rows of eight will be available soon. Trailers will be held in stock in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.
Fuso Parts Price Cut
Fuso says it has cut the prices of key consumable parts by an average of more than 30 per cent. With the introduction of a new parts pricing regime, the price of more than 10,000 items is set to reduce as part of the initiative.
The price changes follow Fuso’s introduction of a standard warranty that lasts five-years (or a certain amount of km/hours, the amount of which varies from model to model) for all Fuso trucks and the Rosa bus, along with a complimentary first scheduled service and safety check.
Ready To Work Isuzu
Isuzu will unveiling two innovative new Ready to Work models at the Brisbane Truck Show. The NNR 45-150 AMT Vanpack and the NLR 55-150 Tri-Tipper will appear, for the first time, on Isuzu’s display at the show.
These new models will mark the latest evolution of Isuzu’s Ready to Work range. The NLR 55-150 is fitted with a tipper body that can tilt its two cubic metre volume to the left, right or rear. Isuzu’s NNR 45-150 Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) Vanpack is fitted with a ready to work 18.2 cubic metre, pre-built van body.
30 for ZF
On its display at the Brisbane Truck Show, ZF Services Australia, driveline and chassis technology supplier, celebrates its 30th year of business in Australia.
Headlining ZF’s stand will be its newest transmission offering, TraXon, which will be making its Australian debut at the Show. With a modular design, TraXon’s modular design enables the basic transmission to be combined with various setting-off and shift modules. According to ZF, this makes TraXon more economical in practice and gives manufacturers and operators improved flexibility for applications.
New DAF For Europe
DAF used the CV Show in the UK to lift the lid on a new generation of XF and CF trucks. The Dutch manufacturer said engine innovations, new drivelines and aerodynamic optimisations result in up to seven per cent better fuel efficiency.
Fuel efficiency is largely the result of an updated driveline which reduces engine revs. Maximum torque of the Paccar MX-11 and MX-13 engines has been increased significantly and is available from 900rpm to allow down-speeding of the engine. The top-of-the range Paccar MX-13 engine for Europe will produce 530 bhp and 2,600Nm of torque at 1,000rpm.
When the second generation Stralis Hi-Way’ smart fuel saving was unveiled to the press (it went on to win the International Truck of the Year award for 2013) the Italians made great play of the fact that the driving force behind their new long-haul heavy was a major reduction in its Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Here is a brief run down on the latest Stralis range from Diesel News’ European Correspondent, Brian Weatherley.
Thanks to major savings in fuel the latest range-topping Stralis ‘XP’ (it stands for Extra Performance) offers long-haul operators significant reductions in CO₂ emissions too. So much so the clever marketing folk in Turin are calling their Stralis XP flagship a ‘TCO₂ Champion’…(TCO/TCO₂ geddit?)
Underneath the cab is where the major fuel-saving changes can be found, in particular the latest Euro 6 ‘C’ Hi-SCR Cursor 9, 11 and 13 in-line six diesels, which boast lower internal friction, thanks to re-profiled pistons and a revised ring pack, better thermal management, a new anti-idling function and, on selected long-haul Stralis XP variants, so-called ‘Smart’ engine auxiliaries to prevent parasitic losses when they’re not needed.
These include the clutch compressor and air-processing unit, an energy-recovery alternator with intelligent battery monitoring and a variable-flow steering pump. Smart ancillaries are definitely the in-thing for all the engine-makers right now, or at least until the next major step-change improvement in engine brake thermal efficiency comes along in the shape of waste-heat recovery, something Iveco is also working on.
The Euro 6 Cursor engine line-up remains virtually unchanged in terms of power and torque outputs. New arrivals are the 480hp top-rating on the Cursor 11 and the slightly-more powerful (by 10hp) range-topping 570 hp Cursor 13 (for Europe). Both feature what Iveco calls ‘Smart EGR’.
What the Italians have done on both these engines is to advance their injection timing to get better combustion and improved fuel economy. Naturally, the downside of advancing the timing is you create greater heat inside the combustion chamber, which produces more NOx. Not what you want.
However, by adding a small amount (only eight per cent) of exhaust gas recirculation back into the combustion chamber the engine-out NOx levels on the 480 and 570 Cursor remain the same as before, with the exhaust gases treated in the normal way by the Italian ’s Hi-SCR (selective catalytic reduction) system, without any change in AdBlue dosing levels.
The fuel savings of Smart EGR alone are roughly between 1 and 1.5 per cent. Other energy-saving engine enhancements include, the new reduced friction 2.47:1 Meritor back-axle (it’s the longest ratio in its class and lowers engine revs by seven per cent), the latest low-rolling resistance triple ‘A’ X-Line Energy Michelin eco tyres, plus the all-new Hi-Tronix 12-speed gearbox and the GPS-based Hi-Cruise predictive cruise control with eco-roll, and together they all add-up to 11 per cent fuel gain. Overall the new driveline changes represent a double-digit improvement over the previous Stralis.
Talking of the Stralis ’s latest Hi-Tronix two-pedal auto, it represents the very first installation of the all-new ‘TraXon’ automated transmission from ZF in a European heavy truck chassis. Hi-Tronix takes over the cog-swapping duties on the Stralis from the previous AS-Tronic auto, again supplied by ZF but called EuroTronic by Iveco.
Meanwhile, Iveco ’s chassis engineers have also got in on the act by completely redesigning the Stralis’s rear suspension which, while more durable is actually lighter to the tune of 45 kg. Higher resistance to corrosion, achieved with surface treatment of all key metallic components, means lower maintenance costs too. Last but not least, New Stralis has a completely new electrics and pneumatics layout which has helped bring repair and maintenance costs down by between five and eight per cent compared with the previous models, further underpinning Iveco’s commitment to reduce its overall TCO.
New regulations in Europe may see DAF trucks going very quiet, according to Diesel’s correspondent there, Brian Weatherley. A silent truck recently unveiled by DAF was part of a number of product improvements, for the European market right across its truck range. The DAF 7.5 tonne LF ‘Silent’ chassis joins equivalent low-noise MX 11 powered CF and XF models. Read more