Diesel News speaks with Shane Rachow, Supervisor of the Russell Transport’s Heavy Haulage division, to find out what makes this operation tick and how the team keep the highly specialised fleet in order.
On the topics of reliability and maintenance, Shane has an old-school philosophy of keeping things simple by only having manual gearboxes, for example. This is backed up by his adherence to strict maintenance schedules that ensure maximum longevity from each piece of equipment.
Russell Transport has its own workshop that Shane reckons does 90 per cent of the maintenance and repair work while each of the Drake trailers are given the once over by Drake at regular intervals. In saying that, he makes sure each of the drivers keeps up with the regular greasing that’s required.
“I say to them, ‘you’ve got grease guns, so use them’,” says Shane. “It’s not hard to pump grease into a trailer and our widening platform trailers need regular greasing to keep them working properly in the long run.
“There are a lot of greasable pivot points due to the hydraulic steerable axles, gooseneck and ball-race and because we are consistently carrying heavy loads everything takes a good pounding, so if you don’t regularly grease all these components they can cause you a lot of grief.
“Personally, I prefer to do most of the greasing every second or third day for equipment that’s in constant use. On the other hand, if a trailer has been sitting idle for some time I will grease it every day for the first few days after it is put back into service to make sure each component receives an ample supply of fresh grease over that initial period.”
Shane is of the opinion that the Drake trailers are very solidly built and will last ‘forever and a day’ if looked after properly.
“Drake builds a very good trailer and we spend a lot of time keeping them well maintained,” says Shane.
Some methods used to prevent unforeseen failures are regular walk-around inspections every two to three hours while travelling and at the end of each day, particularly to ensure there are no flat tyres.
“If you don’t do that you will come into dramas, it doesn’t take much for something to break,” says Shane.
On the subject of tyres, Shane explains the company recently switched to Bridgestone and has found them to provide good performance and service to this point.
“Now that we’re coming into summer, everything, and especially the tyres, gets tested to the limit,” says Shane. “We love the cooler weather. We carry at least 10 to 12 spares because you’ll inevitably have the odd day where you’ll blow three or four tyres in a day when you’re fully loaded, then other days you won’t have any tyre failures. So I tell the boys that when it comes to spare tyres it’s always better to have too many than not enough.”
Summing up, Shane says he’s proud to work for a company that has such a long and successful track record in road transport.
“The Directors of the company and management above me are really switched on and know their stuff through and through,” says Shane. “Obviously what they do works, that’s why Russell Transport has been around for nearly 95 years.”