AUSSIE ANGLES - Backblocks B-double

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Providing a comprehensive freight service to rural communities in the sparsely populated Darling Downs means Auchenroad Haulage needs to be all things to all people.

Photo: Auchenroad Haulage’s new Kenworth T909 and Barker B-double curtainsider

For equipment to last when their regular runs are throughout the backblocks of Queensland, Oakeybased Auchenroad Haulage owner Shane Wadley believes top quality components are a must, a philosophy he applied when he purchased a Barker Trailers B-double curtainsider from Brown and Hurley. We met up with the new B-double curtainsider at the tiny town of Goombungee, a quaint little Queensland town, home to Leicht’s CIA engineering works, renowned for their robust – and as they say – ‘Intelligent livestock equipment’. They’re proud of their heritage and the fact all their products are locally designed and predominantly built from Australian-made steel. It is here at Leicht’s CIA the Auchenroad Haulage B-double was loading cattle crushes for delivery to rural centres in western NSW.

“We not only need to grab all we can, we also need to do it better than any of the other highly competitive multinational carriers, hence the need to be clever at what we do by being both flexible and nimble as well as specifying the best equipment,” Shane explained. “We even go to the length of operating only the most up-to-date equipment in the far north of the state, to make sure our drivers aren’t left stranded and isolated on the road due to a breakdown brought about by inclement weather or bad road conditions.” The floor on this trailer set is heavy-duty checker plate, and it needs to be too, to support the heavy steel cattle crushes along the rugged western interior run where the road conditions are considerably rough. Each trailer runs a winch track with ample winches to ensure each load is securely fastened. Both trailers have spare wheel carriers, while the lead trailer has one toolbox on either side and the rear trailer has one toolbox and stainless steel water tank on the right-hand side, and twin toolboxes on the left. Judging by the lack of dirt and dust inside the deep toolboxes, they are relatively well sealed.

Photos: The decks on the Barker B-double are made of heavy-duty checker plate to cope with the weight of the cattle crushes.

Safety hasn’t been compromised either, with a fold-out step ladder at the rear of the back trailer and fold-out steps on the front trailer to enable easy access to the trailer floor. The rear trailer has the media doors with a safety catch located between the coaming and rope rails to restrain the doors when they are opened. The curtains are by Melbourne-based Polyweld, and made from premium quality Mehler Polymar truck curtain fabric and feature a gate and coaming rail wear strip, full length vertical webbing, and reinforcing in all four corners. The ride height is controlled by a Colas suspension control valve, which also allows for a manual raise and lower feature of the deck height. The main advantage of specifying a Colas valve is that it takes the place of many components, fittings and plumbing, and can be used for both single and dual suspension valve systems.

Photos: Safety plays a huge role in the Auchenroad Haulage operation. The various step innovations are practical and intelligent safety for the real world.

As an added safety feature the Colas valve has a reset to ride height function. When the handle is ‘popped’ out the trailer will automatically return to the ride height as determined by the ride height control valve. This eliminates operator error by resetting the valve when the vehicle is moving. Jost forged alloy wheels are half the weight of conventional steel wheels and they are backed by a five-year warranty. Each trailer is fitted with Right Weigh scales that are attached to the trailer’s air suspension with each trailer’s axle group displayed on a digital reader. BPW axles, Eco Plus hubs, air bag suspension, EBS, and disc brakes are used on the unit. “In my opinion, there’s no substitute for quality, such as BPW which is used under most of our trailers, and their gear doesn’t need to be serviced too often,” said Shane. The list of high-end components combined with the optional extras put this B-double unit in the premium price bracket, but according to Shane, it’s money well spent. “We purchase only the best of parts and equipment and look after those components to prolong the life cycle of the fleet. That means replacing items such as bushes, bearings and seals before they cause damage. This way we minimise the chance of a breakdown.

“Downtime can be massive for us, not just in repairs but also cost to our customers. We need the confidence of knowing our vehicles can consistently run on time.” Up front of the B-double is Kenworth’s T9 powered by a 410kW (550hp) Cummins with 2500Nm (1,850lb/ft) of torque running through an Eaton RTLO20918B transmission. The rear end is Kenworth 8-bag Airglide with Meritor RT46- 160 at 4.11:1 ratio. The stainless treatment is by Klos of Melbourne. “Our focus is to purchase and look after the best transport gear on the market as we promote safety in the working environment to all our ground staff, drivers, and to our customers. The technical innovation that comes with the likes of the BPW package on these Barker trailers has never let us down, and for us, that’s the bottom line that is keeping Auchenroad Haulage at the forefront of our industry,” Shane concluded.