Changing Times

The creation of new infrastructure has meant a major increase in tipper and dog trailer operation within the Sydney basin – Words and images by Warren Caves 

Despite changes in leadership, governments, both federal and state, have initiated various programmes that combine to link expenditure of over $33 billion to deliver infrastructure benefits that are crucial to the future efficiency of Sydney.

These programmes go under various names, such as the Western Sydney Infrastructure plan, the WestConnex, NorthConnex, Western Sydney Airport and supplementary programmes such as the Parramatta light rail project.

Suddenly, from a road transport prospective, the focus is all about rigid tipper and dog trailer operation, and, where PBS approval is involved, there’s a subsequent change in the configuration of new equipment, designed to provide greater efficiencies along with higher standards of safety.

Whichever way you look at the building and construction industry, business seems to be booming.

TrailerTorque recently caught up with Michael Borg, director of one of the rapidly expanding entrants in the Sydney construction business in the form of Borg Civil Australia Pty Ltd.

Conveniently located on western Sydney’s sprawling fringe, Borg Civil is well placed to cater for the large number of road, housing estate and infrastructure projects currently on the go in Sydney.

Founded in 2008, the company was born out of a small rural farm at Horsley Park, in Western Sydney, where, after years of exposure to machinery on the property, Michael purchased a truck, excavator and bobcat to initialise the beginnings of Borg Civil.

Fast forward to 2017, now operating out of a ten-acre property at Bringelly, plus the original Horsley Park property, Borg Civil hosts an impressive fleet tally of, 27 tippers, 5 water carts, a sweeper, float and semi flat-tops as well as 13 excavators, 9 dump trucks and a good deal more miscellaneous machinery.

All machinery movements are carried out by the company itself to wherever it’s needed, in order to facilitate the land clearing, site remediation, cut, and excavation work in which it specialises.

The company currently employs 54 staff, including drivers, office and administration personnel, and four full-time mechanics that handle all aspects of the fleet maintenance, other than any warranty issues, which are handled by the equipment supplier. Bulk fuel storage is also supplied to a trans tank on site to control fuel costs and reduce off-site fuelling downtime.

As a highly competitive segment of the industry in which to operate, Michael outlined some of the company involvement in the local area, with work on the M5 and M4 widening, Jordan Springs development and Narellan Road, among others.

The growth of Borg Civil is testimony to the high standards established by Michael Borg and his team within its civil construction business, and the continuing focus of the company on buying the right equipment on which to found a strong future.

As Michael Borg explained, “We look for sound engineering and manufacturing processes, coupled with solid aftersales back-up and support to ensure that we can operate at the highest level of efficiency and productivity”.

“Companies such as Gilbert & Roach provide the back-up we look for behind the Kenworth product, and we chose Sloanebuilt Trailers of Smeaton Grange, Narellan, as the preferred supplier of truck tipping bodies and dog trailers for Borg Civil Pty Ltd”.

The truck fleet is almost completely Kenworth orientated. “They look good and are rugged enough for the demanding site work we do,” said Michael.

Four new inductees into the Borg line-up are two T409’s (an SAR and an Aero Bonnet), a T909 and a K200. All of these have been purchased through Gilbert & Roach Trucks, Huntingwood, with the assistance of Kenworth specialist salesman, Bill Anderson.

“Sloanebuilt Trailers handled the fit-out of the four latest truck and quad dog tipper combinations. These units have already hit the ground running and a fifth dog trailer is on order. All our new trucks are fitted out with Sloanebuilt equipment,” said Michael.

TrailerTorque caught up with one of the latest Kenworth T409s, mounted with a Sloanebuilt rigid tipper body and hauling an aluminium four-axle dog, chassis tipping trailer to PBS (performance based standards) spec.

Both truck body and trailer are constructed of aluminium for its weight saving properties and “rock lined” for longevity and to maintain appearance. Edbro CS series hydraulic hoists are fitted with a CS13 on the truck and a CS 17 on the trailer.

X-Tarps and electric Roll-Rite one-touch PVC tarping systems are utilised on both, keeping dust at bay and drivers on the ground, a must in these workplace health and safety focused times.

Two-way offset tailgate hinges look after the discharge end of things, with optional tailgate finger indicators being fitted for peace of mind.

LED taillights and marker lamps are fitted throughout, along with two LED work lights at the rear of the dolly and rear of trailer reverse lights.

Hendrickson INTRAAX axles keep weight down to a minimum, coupled with Hendrickson AAT 250 suspension, incorporating a third lift axle, all riding on 11R22.5 tyres. Drum brakes with ten-stud hubs and Alcoa Dura-Bright rims to the outside add some shine. ABS and EBS are of course utilised for PBS requirements.

Chassis paint is applied using PPG Autothane paint in Sloanebuilt’s state-of-the-art specialised spray booth with mixing room.

Ben Weckworth, Sloanebuilt’s business development manager, told TrailerTorque, “We have done a lot of paint and line work on the cabs for Borg Civil as well, which our customers find handy, as all the colour branding work is carried out in-house by us, negating the need to get the vehicle to another facility. The finer scroll type work is finished by Signs, Lines and Scrolls,” said Ben.

“Appearance is important to Michael, as evidenced by the presentation of his trucks, so this additional service is a real benefit,” added Ben.

With all of the new equipment except for the fifth quad dog combination already out on the road and in service, Michael says he is very happy with the performance of the Sloanebuilt product, and is equally impressed by the back-up service they provide.

“If we have the need to go there for a repair, even if it’s unscheduled, their door is always open and we go straight in without waiting. This is good service and it’s good for our business. I like my trucks to look good,” said Michael.

Any keen eye will notice that the trucks are not just “run of the mill” examples, with a lot of chrome and stainless work to spice things up and customise their appearance.

The four new Kenworth’s operate under the NVHAS, the T409 and the K200 are general 19-metre spec, which can be operated on all non-weight-limited roads up to 50.5 tonnes gross or at 57.5 tonnes on specified routes. The T409 SAR and the T909 are 19-metre-plus spec and are limited to PBS approved routes due to their length. Payloads achieved for these units as quads vary from 37 tonnes up to 39 tonnes.

Not being able to cover all the vehicles in detail, TrailerTorque has focused in depth on the most recent unit to join the fleet, the K200.

Specifications as organised with Gilbert & Roach included Cummins power with an ISXe5 rated at 580 hp and 1850 lb-ft of torque. An RTLO20918B Eaton manual transmission drives through to Meritor 46-160 rear axles with dual cross locks, dual 450-litre fuel tanks, while Alcoa Dura-Bright rims add some initial sparkle.

Custom additions include, stainless wrap on all tanks, chromed entry steps, and stainless grille mesh and grille bars were added as well as the removal of the original roof lights being replaced with LED bullet lights. Vertical laser-cut cab side skirts with Borg Civil were also installed, with similar work carried out on the T909 as well.

To add yet more sparkle, the truck was whisked off to Windsor Exhaust for some custom treatment.

Eight-inch Bullhorn stacks were added to the K200; however, the second exhaust pipe is actually a “dummy” with a water tank disguised as a second muffler to enhance appearance and add functionality at the same time.

The increase in roadwork involving junction installations and upgrades to cope with higher traffic flows seems to increase proportionately alongside the growing menace of impatient and risky behaviour on the part of car drivers. To combat the poor levels of car driving safety by the public, Michael has installed dash cams in the vehicle fleet, providing undeniable evidence of “what really happened”.

When asked the question, do you have any problems that many employers in the transport industry are experiencing, regarding driver shortage and maintaining good drivers? Michael says, “We have a good bunch of guys here right now and all the trucks are full, I put this down to the good-looking, new, reliable Kenworth trucks and the high standards by which we operate”.

With new infrastructure projects being announced regularly by political parties chasing votes and favourable polls, and housing shortage issues needing to be addressed, the collaborative trifecta of, Borg Civil Australia Pty Ltd, Gilbert & Roach Kenworth and Sloanebuilt Trailers is driving growth for this Western Sydney civil construction company.

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