Top Truck - Big South Island Swede

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Photo: Steve Richards is a passionate truck enthusiast and credits much of the success of his operation to his "reliable and loyal staff".

Many vehicles have carried the Ernest Adams brand since its inception in the late 1920s, however there can be no disputing that Canterbury contractor Steve Richards’ Scania R620 would be one of the most spectacular.

Adorned with graphics replicating the iconic Kiwi baker’s Chunky ‘n Funky Rocky Road slice, the Richards’ Scania is a regular sight on State Highway 1 between Christchurch and Dunedin carrying Goodman Fielder product.

With a new run starting in 2017, the SJ Richards operation required a new addition. Steve selected the Scania R620 LB8x4MSA due to the overall package available in terms of running costs, comfort and the ability to include some very advanced technology to make the driver’s time behind the wheel more pleasurable.

An all-Scandinavian drivetrain was specified, comprising the DC16 17 620 Euro 5 SCR engine producing 456kw (620hp) @1900rpm and 3000nm (2213lb/ft) of torque. A manual 14-speed GRSO905R transmission turns 3.07:1 ratio RB662 and R660 rear axles which travel on a Scania 19000kg rated rear air suspension featuring electronic levelling control and rear axle load display incorporated into the truck’s trip computer.

Safety features built into the R620 include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) which assists the driver in maintaining a consistent gap between the truck and vehicles ahead. This functions by analysing road speed, and data from the engine as well as the truck’s retarder and braking system, allowing for a time gap pre-set by the driver to be consistently maintained.

Photo: Who wouldn’t feel at home in this interior. The gear lever looks right at home.

Photo: The truck is equipped with everything the drivers need to take their breaks inside when the outside conditions are less than ideal. 

Scania’s Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Advanced Emergency Braking (AEB) were also specified. The AEB system is designed to alert a driver of potential collision danger by means of information provided by long-distance radar technology and a forward-facing camera. Detail is relayed to a central processing unit which also systematically analyses further data supplied by the truck’s control systems, allowing for accurate judgements to be made at road speeds.

A wabco TailGuard system is fitted to the trailer – automatically activated when reverse gear is chosen – it sets the outline marker lights flashing and can be programmed to stop the trailer by applying the brakes automatically at a programmable distance between 30cm and 200cm from a loading area, allowing the driver to then take over and reverse the last few centimetres into whatever position is required.

The R19N Streamline high sleeper cab is adorned with numerous embellishments including a driver’s side air bag, a drive-cam and a reversing camera as well as the usual suite of communication equipment. Customised leather seats have been fitted as well as a fridge/freezer, microwave and TV/DVD player, allowing the driver to spend their break time in comfort.

Fairfax Industries constructed the 8.5-metre truck body and 10.3-metre trailer; during loading both bodies can be illuminated by lights fitted in the roof cove. Use of an ingenious timer ensures the batteries will never be drained should the internal lights accidently be left on.

Each body has aluminium plank floors and both are fitted with Thermo King Spectrum refrigeration units. Divider walls provide the ability to cart chilled, frozen and ambient freight within the same unit.

Steve wanted to emphasise that the success of the operation rested with his “reliable and loyal staff ” who work a rotating roster driving each of the three trucks that make up the SJ Richards fleet.

The New Zealand Trucking magazine Top Truck for March 2018 shows how spectacular the result can be when passionate people combine with sophisticated technology: the result is show-stopping.