Spraying bitumen and emulsion is known to be dirty, hot, and hard work … and certainly not usually seen at the glamour end of the trucking industry. Higgins Contractors Ltd has put an end to that with a machine they are rightly proud of.
A hot summer’s day, men dressed in what looks like space suits, the heat haze rising rapidly from the road, the treatment being applied, and the spray bar on the back of a truck. Driving slowly past, most people feel compassion for the lads and ladies working in such conditions; layering a thick coat of bitumen or emulsion on a prepared surface – a road is born. Traditionally the beast of burden under the tank full of thick black ‘goo’ was not purchased as a show piece, rather a workhorse that would likely never see the business end of a wash brush, much less grace the Top Truck poster in New Zealand Trucking magazine. In 2019, however, that’s no longer the case. Although the work’s as hard a yakka as it’s ever been, the team at Higgins Contractors Ltd were super-enthusiastic about their magnificent gleaming new Isuzu CYJ 8x4. So much so they wanted to be in the Top Truck game, and made their case heard.
Photo: 6.0m telescopic spray bar
Photo: Hydraulic and heating controls.
Hamilton-based Cary Bustard is national surfacing manager for the company and is the first to acknowledge the outcome was a joint effort: “A collective group of national managers, including myself, review what the company needs before deciding on the specification of the truck and the spraying gear. “Specialist Roading Equipment (SRE) in Hamilton undertakes the overall design to comply with New Zealand Transport Agency regulations for weight, weight distribution, length and so on. SRE contracts out the building of the tanks, but engineers and builds all other components, including the telescopic spray bar. The company also provides leading-edge technology with computer control, and job-management control.” The finish is truly a credit to everyone. The mirror finish stainless steel cladding reflects a genuine pride and professionalism. The eight-leg Isuzu was sourced through local Hamilton dealer CAL Isuzu and chosen not just for its immediate availability with live drive fitted, but also proven reliability, strong support, and a cab/chassis tare of 8725kg. “The Isuzu was lighter than equivalent trucks and allows us to legally carry an additional 2000 litres of bitumen/emulsion,” says Cary.
Andrew Shirley drives the big Isuzu and rates it highly. “The truck and the sprayer configuration is a pleasure to operate. The ease of operation allows me to maintain the long hours we work in the extreme hot days in summer.” To vital stats now. Up front is the 15.6-litre 6WG1-TCC motor delivering 343kW (460hp) of power at 1800rpm and 2254Nm (1663lb/ft) of torque at 1300rpm. Transmission is the Eaton Fuller RTLO18918B 18-speed, and the truck comes equipped with a GIGA-Tard permanent magnetic driveshaft retarder. Looking to the rear, Isuzu RT210 axles, at 4.1:1, sit on proprietary four-bag air suspension. Being a product application unit, the truck operates as a rigid only and is able to carry 11,000 litres of product. Lack of performance is certainly not an issue. “The SRE and Isuzu combination provides Higgins with a leading-edge product that allows the company and our operators to provide the highest level of quality in chip seals for our valued customers,” Cary said.