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HEADING FOR THE HUNTER | Company Profile – JT’s Earthworks and Bulk Haulage – Western Star

Western Star and Sloanebuilt make a great combination

Working in the Hunter Valley as a plant mechanic in the mining industry finally led to a career change for James Tiedeman, with the grind of mine life working permanent nightshift finally wearing thin enough after nine-years for him to track in a different direction.

Using available equipment from the family farm, including a truck belonging to his father (which he converted from a prime mover to a tipper), James set about building a business based around that first 6×4 truck, a Posi-Track machine and an excavator.

Thanks to some additional work requests through a local quarry, James’ business expanded.  To fill that demand a second truck and dog trailer combination soon came into the picture, a picture that unbeknown to James at the time would over the next four years be regularly painted with Sloanebuilt Trailers and truck bodies.

The purchase of that used truck and dog trailer combination served as an introduction to Sloanebuilt Trailers, quietly forming a bond to the brand even though James had not directly dealt with the company.

“That truck worked well for us. It’s an impeccable bit of gear and although it’s a 2009 build, there’s are no signs of cracking or undue fatigue,” said James.

When the time came to expand operations and purchase further equipment, for JT’s Earthworks it would seem the choice of body builder had all but been made.

While James says he did evaluate trailers made by other manufacturers, he chose to stay with the manufacturer of the second-hand combination with which he was extremely familiar.

“It really was a no brainer; the product looks good and is well built. At that point in time we really had no idea about PBS requirements. The team at Sloanebuilt took the time to listen to what we needed and guided us through every step including all the PBS applications,” said James.

That initial dealing with Sloanebuilt Trailers resulted in the manufacture of the first new Western Star truck and quad-axle dog trailer PBS combination for JT’s Earthworks and Excavations, with the build process and experience of cooperation through that first build for JT’s cementing the bond between the two companies.

James went on to say, “Following that first truck build I cannot speak highly enough of the team at Sloanebuilt, you can go in with an idea and they’re happy to discuss it with you.

“At times some of my ideas might seem a bit silly, but they don’t run you down. Instead they might guide you to slightly different variation of what you thought you needed, they really do have a solution to all your problems.”

Upon speaking with James Tiedeman, you get an impression of a guy that knows what he wants and is prepared to put faith in his own abilities and step outside the comfort zone of most to try new things, even at his relatively young age of 34 years.

“I like to push boundaries. It can be hard and scary at times, but you have to back yourself,” says James.

Pushing those boundaries has seen JT’s recently put into service a second Western Star. This is a Tridem Western Star truck coupled to a quin-dog trailer, again built by Sloanebuilt.

“I was originally wanting to go with an A-double but after discussing this with Bennett Haberbusch, Business Development Manager for Sloanebuilt Trailers, I found there was a better option.

“Bennett explained the restrictions and permits required to do what I wanted to do with a new truck and came up with an alternate plan to better suit our operation. This resulted in the build of our new Tridem Western Star and quin-dog combination,” said James.

The Tridem and 5-axle dog is the first 4800 Western Star to have the Tridem conversion done here in Australia to operate as a truck and dog. Sloanebuilt Trailers lengthened, sleeved and painted the chassis to suit, added air capacity and fitted the genuine Hendrickson lift axle to the truck that was purchased through Hartwigs Trucks at Queanbeyan, NSW.

“JT’s Sloanebuilts run 5’6’’ sides (1670 mm) and all the running gear has been standardised on Hendrickson INTRAAX lightweight drum-braked axles and suspension, with the long-life HXL-7 wheel ends as standard. Wheels are all Alcoa (Dura Bright outers) with the proven Goodyear LHT-II tyres,” said Bennett Haberbusch.

“The braking systems on the quad and quin trailers are controlled through WABCO electronic braking systems (EBS) that handle the ABS and roll stability on both trailers. Backup and support for WABCO from Shane Pendergast at Air Brake Systems is second-to-none.

“All the Sloanebuilt Trailers are fitted with PTO in / body up and jack-knife alarms and warning lights in the cabins. We also fit the air-assisted Ringfeder as standard to reduce manual-handling issues when unhooking,” added Bennett.

The quin-dog trailer is also fitted with a lift axle at the front of the tri-group as standard to minimise tyre wear when unladen. James opted for Quicksilver in the front 3-metres of the bin to reduce the chances of product sticking and hanging up around the hoist well.

Both combinations achieve full weights on the PBS Level 2 networks and the big unit achieves a touch over 47 tonne payload when operating on 2A HML routes at a GCM of 68.5 tonne, with the quad achieving 38 tonne – it being fully rock sheeted for the heavy-duty jobs.

Primarily transporting sand from Newcastle to Sydney with soil backloading, the tare weight for the Tridem and quin-dog has been kept to a minimum by the bins not requiring any rock lining and the use of Hendrickson INTRAAX axles to minimise weight and maximise payloads.

Neat and tidy in-cab controls fall easily to hand, located to the left of the driver’s seat in conjunction with individual axle group weight gauges. A PVC auto tarp from Air Tarps Australia sits on top keeping loads dry and dust down.

Sloanebuilt handled the complete build from stretching the chassis to accommodating the extra axle (James challenges anybody to try and pick the join point), to building the quin-dog trailer at the company’s new state of the art manufacturing facility in Smeaton Grange, south west of Sydney. In fact, according to James, the team at Sloanebuilt had the trailer finished before the truck had even arrived.

“Going into the Sloanebuilt facility is really welcoming. You are treated like family and they encourage you to drop in and view your build in progress at any time. Bennett also sends regular photos, so you are kept up to date. Nothing’s a problem. The build for the Tridem and quin-dog took six-weeks from start to finish,” said James.

“The new Western Star compliments really well with our existing quad-dog combination, which is rock lined, bringing our truck fleet total to five. It gives us the versatility to carry sand at increased payloads or rock on the quad. We have also been able to transport loads into local wineries on the new truck as an eight-wheeler, further enhancing flexibility.

“Whether you have one truck or 100 trucks, the guys at Sloanebuilt treat you the same, their back-up support is phenomenal, they have been really good to us, I would be happy for my business in the future to have a yard full of Sloanebuilt equipment.”

The Western Stars are powered by 15-litre, Cummins X15 engines rated at 447 kW (600 hp), with peak torque of 2780 Nm (2050 lbs ft). These are matched to 18-speed Roadranger manual transmissions.

As a Euro5 emissions engine the X15 uses the same technology as the ISXe5 with SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction). The XPI (Extreme Pressure Injection) common-rail fuel system operates independently of engine speed, providing precise injection and combustion control at injection pressures greater than 30,000 psi. Multiple injection events per cycle improve fuel efficiency and enable smoother operation.

With Cummins it’s a total approach to emissions and turbocharging, with Cummins Turbo Technologies providing the wastegate design of turbocharger. The in-house SCR exhaust after-treatment on the X15 is a fully integrated system developed by Cummins Emissions Solutions (CES), claimed by the manufacturer to use less AdBlue/DEF than competitor products.

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