AUSSIE MADE | TRAILERTORQUE – MAXITrans

The MaxiTRANS group shows that diversity leads to shared strengths. 

Different brands have different strengths, and for the MaxiTRANS group these strengths multiply to create Australia’s largest supplier of road transport trailer and rigid body solutions, coupled with class-leading trailer repair and service support.

The group comprises Freighter, Maxi-CUBE, Lusty EMS, Hamelex White, AZMEB and PEKI, together with MaXus specialist parts, PANELMasta insulated and fibreglass panels for dry freight and refrigerated vans, and the TRAILERENTALS by MaxiTRANS division. It is also a significant supplier of parts through the retail brand of MaxiPARTS.

Two of the MaxiTRANS brands that come under the PowerTorque spotlight in this issue are Maxi-CUBE and Freighter, both of which have jointly concluded the supply of 386 trailers to Coles Supermarkets. The order was completed ahead of schedule at the MaxiTRANS manufacturing facility in Ballarat, Victoria.

The $60 million (AUD) project generated a significant increase in regional Australian manufacturing. All of the trailers were assembled by MaxiTRANS in Victoria, creating more than 100 new jobs at the company and further employment openings throughout its Australian supply chain.

The flow-on effect of an order of this size also benefits Australian equipment suppliers such as Carrier Transicold, which was the exclusive supplier of transport refrigeration equipment that forms an integral part of the trailer features and benefits.

Carrier Transicold supplied 235 Vector™ 1950 multi-temperature (MT) units with patented E-Drive™ all-electric technology, adding to the 170-unit strong, 100 percent Carrier fleet operated by Coles Supermarkets in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

With this order, a mix of two- and three-compartment Vector 1950 MT systems will be installed on MaxiTRANS refrigerated trailers, to be split between Coles distribution centres in Sydney and Perth.

“The Vector 1950 MT system gives operators the power to consolidate deliveries, making fleets more efficient and able to cope with frequent door openings,” said Kelly Geddes, manager of marketing at Carrier Transicold Australia.

The Carrier-powered refrigerated trailers will be in service year-round, delivering chilled, ambient and frozen produce to Coles stores across New South Wales and Western Australia. With plans to keep the trailers in service for 10 years, it is expected they will average approximately 2250 running hours annually.

Vector 1950 MT units offer a high refrigeration capacity of up to 18,200 watts, ensuring precise temperature control within each of the trailers’ compartments. Powered by high volume electric fans, the host unit can provide up to 5700 m3 per hour of airflow to protect the load with even air distribution and an unparalleled pull-down time – making it ideal for intensive distribution cycles with multiple door openings.

The patented E-Drive technology built into the Vector system uses electricity to power the refrigeration system and can simultaneously heat and cool the different load spaces as required, ensuring maximum performance across several compartments. The technology also removes 17 serviceable parts from the unit, which increases reliability and trailer uptime.

As part of the order, Coles selected Carrier’s fully comprehensive contract maintenance agreement for the expected lifecycle of the units, which will help to ensure maximum fleet availability at all times.

Coles will have the ability to access MaxiTRANS’s leading Australian trailer aftersales support footprint over the life of the trailers at more than 30 locations in the combined MaxiTRANS dealer network and MaxiPARTS retail parts network.

Despite completion of the Coles project, MaxiTRANS says that it remains very active with a pipeline of new orders that is generating further jobs growth.

In addition to its traditional core base, the company says that it has received various new large orders from some of Australia’s leading private and national fleets to be split between MaxiTRANS’s Ballarat and Brisbane manufacturing locations.

Since announcing its research and development collaboration with Monash and Federation Universities late last year, the group says it is also beginning to make inroads into the future of trailing equipment design and construction in order to maximise efficiency, safety and environmental sustainability.

An example of this focus on future technology is the market release of the evolution of the Maxi-CUBE Classic Refrigerated Van, which was previewed at the 2017 Brisbane Truck Show.

Setting a new benchmark for refrigerated trailers, the new Maxi-CUBE Classic includes significant improvements over the previous design including an optimised tare weight and a leading K-value achieved via a range of thermal efficiency upgrades.

“Through the use of composite material and improvements in modern manufacturing techniques, we have been able to further optimise the way we build the trailer, allowing us to increase the amount of insulation, while also reducing the trailer’s tare weight,” said Kevin Manfield, general manager of products and markets at MaxiTRANS.

“We’ve been able to reduce the tare weight by up to 250 kg on a standard 22-pallet reefer, providing better payload and improved fuel efficiency, further reducing the whole of life cost of the trailer.

“The construction process of the Classic design employs Maxi-CUBE’s unique in-house urethane foam process, which improves thermal performance by producing correctly-sized panels without the need to cut or destroy important surface cells.

“We have also improved thermal breaks, which means inserting a material with low thermal conductivity between internal and external materials to reduce the thermal path between inside and outside temperatures, to improve the retention of cold air inside the trailer. The inclusion of a fully moulded door seal, increased insulation via a redesigned front wall and floor module, as well as fibreglass dress cappings in the interior corners, further add to the thermal advantages,” said Kevin Manfield.

Independent testing has shown that the new Classic has a thermal efficiency improvement over the previous model of up to 5.0 percent on a standard 22-pallet reefer. This translates to improved performance, integrity of carried product and fuel efficiency for owners.

The fitment of a lightweight, full-width skid plate enables drivers to unhook the trailer at sideways angles rather than straight-on and contributes to the reduction of the Classic’s overall tare weight. The modular design of the skid plate also means that it can be easily repaired or replaced if damaged, without impacting on the integrity of the trailer floor.

“The new skid plate design is the result of extensive Finite Element Analysis (FEA), accelerated fatigue and in-field testing, each of which has rigorously tested the strength and reliability of the design,” added Kevin.

Other upgrades to the Maxi-CUBE Classic include a reinforced floor and rear frame, coupled with stainless steel rear corner castings that combine to enable the trailer to better withstand impact during docking. The inclusion of many modular components allows them to be easily removed or replaced if damaged, maximising uptime for owners. Also incorporated into the design is a full-length chassis from bumper to skid plate, offering greater strength over alternatives. The floor module has also been re-engineered to increase the internal aperture without compromising on tare weight, strength and durability.

“The internal height, with the exception of our lead model, has been increased by 25 mm, which means customers can fit more in and be more productive with each load,” said Kevin.

Upgrades to trailer safety standards include brighter internal LED lighting for greater visibility when loading and unloading, as well as a redesign of the double loader bars.

“The new double loader bars are now 50 percent lighter over the previous design, making them easier to manoeuvre into position, raising aspects of Work Health and Safety requirements. We have also increased the load rating from 500 kg to 670 kg per pallet space,” said Kevin.

“The Maxi-CUBE Classic Lead model features our proven rack and pinion rollback system for fast and reliable loading and unloading. For added durability, the body is lifted off the rollers when left in the forward position, which helps to extend roller life,” concluded Kevin.

The new Maxi-CUBE Classic is available now to order in Ambient, Reefer, Freezer, Chiller and Hi-Cube Reefer models at no additional cost over the previous standard Classic model. In recognition of the continuing growth of the company, over the next two to three months MaxiTRANS will be seeking to fill an additional 70 vacancies for tradespeople, particularly qualified welders, production welders and other job seekers for its Ballarat manufacturing site.

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