LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS | TRUCK REVIEW-IVECO ACCO

Fleet expansion in the highly competitive concrete business relies on the legendary ACCO

The technology of trucks in today’s highly competitive market continues to evolve as standards of driver safety and comfort are matched by more efficient engines and drivelines.

What makes this continual development of greater interest is how not everything needs to be changed to remain competitive. One of the great stories of truck development in the Australian market is how the ACCO has stood the test of time, and, with continual development through its life span of virtually half a century, it continues to keep pace with the world’s leading truck makers, in some cases still leading the pack.

The name ACCO (which stands for Australian Constructed Cab Over) may no longer appear today on the front grille, having been replaced by the IVECO nameplate, but, for those with any form of trucking-history bone in their body, it’s from the first ACCO that it draws its heritage.

Heavily updated in late 2014 with a raft of improvements and an updated visual appeal, the ACCO remains Australia’s most popular vocational truck model. It’s also the longest running truck model manufactured in Australia by any truck company, being built through its life at the Dandenong, Victoria, factory operated by IVECO, and with 85 percent of its components sourced from this country. 

From day one, the cab has conformed to rollover and accident deformation test requirements, making the cab structure a leader in its early days and still relevant in today’s market.  With a flat floor and easy access across the cab from either side, the design still ranks as one of the easiest to enter or exit, with dials and gauges that, whether by luck or good judgement 50 years ago, remain ergonomically easy to view and operate.

In terms of application, the ACCO competes in market segments that include concrete agitators, waste compactors, prime mover and single trailers, rigid distribution trucks, hooklifts, tankers, tippers and general haulage, making it a jack-of-all-trades that possesses the ability to compete with other makes at all levels, while offering a low tare weight.

Given the number of different applications for specific bodywork requirements that the ACCO has satisfied through its career, there’s probably nothing in the vocational sector that hasn’t been tried. It’s also available with factory-supplied dual-control, adding to the versatility for waste bin retrieval and street sweeping.

Available in 4×2, 6×4 and 8×4 configurations, its GVM options range from 16.5 to 30 tonnes. These days the power comes from the 8.9-litre Cummins ISL running with Euro 5 emissions capability by using selective catalytic reduction (SCR) which, in the 4×2 and 6×4 versions offers 209 kW (280 hp) at 2100 rpm and with peak torque of 1055 Nm rated at 1300 rpm.

There’s an optional power and torque increase for 6×4 buyers that expands the figures to 239 kW (320 hp) produced at 2100 rpm and peak torque of 1359 Nm rated at 1300 rpm. It’s the higher rated 239 kW/11359 Nm engine that forms the basis of the 8×4, plus there’s also an optional uprated version of 254 kW (340 hp) produced at 2100 rpm with peak torque of 1500 Nm rated at 1300 rpm.

Transmission options reflect these diverse applications, with optionally available Allison GEN 5 3200 and 3500 Series six-speed fluid automatics and transmission retarders, Hendrickson STEERTEK leaf spring axle with AIRTEK suspension on the front axle and heavy-duty multi-leaf springs, Hendrickson Primaax or HAS460 air suspension or HAULMAAX rubber block suspension on the rear.

The braking system remains currently focused on drum designs with automatic slack adjusters, based on a Bendix four-channel ABS design with traction control, together with electronic stability control (ESC) on the 8×4 5.1-metre agitator variant.

To get a perspective on the appeal of the IVECO ACCO in modern fleets, PowerTorque looked at the experiences of leading concrete and construction products company ACM. The company is capitalising on Melbourne’s booming western suburbs with the opening of a new batching plant in Rockbank and the acquisition of 10 new ACCO 8×4 agitators to service customers in the region.

Established in 2009, ACM now operates 38 trucks from two sites with a key differentiator for the company being its strong commitment to sustainability – the philosophy is captured in its company tagline ‘Redefining Green’.

To achieve this philosophy the business has a number of initiatives in place to minimise its environmental impact. These include collection of stormwater for use in its concrete and crushing plants, the use of recycled rock and concrete in making its concrete aggregates, the adoption of dust suppression systems at all plants and the use of ‘E-Cretetm’, a replacement for conventional concrete that delivers up to 80 percent less carbon output than traditional concrete.

ACM has chosen a bright green livery for its fleet that is hard to miss on the road or at the building site, further drawing attention to the company’s strong environmental aspirations.

The new ACCOs are all equipped with 7.4-cubic-metre bowls and are an ideal fit to service a range of customers across civil, residential and commercial sectors, according to ACM general manager, Digby Crawford.

“The great thing about the ACCOs is that they are fit for purpose – the trucks and all of the driveline componentry is proven, reliable and longlasting,” he said.

“Maintenance on the trucks and availability of parts is another benefit, you can find replacement parts everywhere, which minimises the likelihood of any downtime.

“Another attractive aspect of the ACCOs was the availability of electronic stability control, which is important in this application where the load has a higher centre of gravity”.

“We looked closely at five different brand trucks all up, but in the end the ACCO had the best all-round package. The combination of low tare weight, industry standard components, cabover design, which allowed us to better manoeuvre in confined spaces, and superior serviceability, won over,” Digby said.

The trucks all feature 340 hp engines with 1500 Nm of torque and are coupled to six-speed full automatic transmissions, and, while the vehicles will only cover approximately 20,000 km per year, they will face high running hours.

The drive axles use Hendrickson HAULMAAX rubber block suspension, while up front the trucks run integrated air suspension, a combination that has drawn praise from ACM drivers.

“The drivers are complimentary of the ACCOs, they drive well and in particular they mention that the ride is very smooth and comfortable,” Digby said.

“The Rockbank facility and the 10 new ACCO agitators are important components of ACM’s future growth and are helping us ‘Redefining Green’.

“We also have another plant under construction in Clyde (Southeast Melbourne) which is due to open in early 2018 – a further 10 ACCOs have been ordered for this site,” said Digby Crawford.

It’s not always the case in transport that what works in the southern states will work equally well up north. To find out whether the ACCO demonstrates the same degree of success, irrespective of its location, PowerTorque also outlined the operating experience of the Neilsen Group, Southeast Queensland’s largest independent supplier of premixed concrete and quarry products.

When six new agitators were needed quickly to satisfy a contract, the Neilsen Group turned to IVECO to deliver with its proven ACCO 8×4.

Thanks to local manufacturing at IVECO’s Dandenong plant in Melbourne, lead times on ACCO models are much shorter than those of all the imported vehicles supplied by competitors. This flexibility in manufacturing schedules and lack of time wasted with vehicles on the water meaning trucks can be supplied to start work faster even when larger numbers are required.

“This is the first time as a company that we’ve added ACCOs to the fleet, and although it’s early days they’ve been great and haven’t missed a beat,” said Bevan Richardson, Neilsen Group transport manager.

“We purchased five as a company and a sixth was bought by one of our subcontractors – we needed the trucks promptly to meet the requirements of a contract, and IVECO was able to work with our tight schedule to get them on the road fast”.

All six trucks are fitted with ATT 8.0-cubic-metre bowls and feature familiar industry-standard American driveline components including Cummins engine and Allison six-speed auto transmission. The trucks also ride on front and rear airbag suspension, featuring electronic stability control, a vital standard safety feature for higher centre of gravity applications.

The new ACCOs are part of a fleet of around 50 trucks, mainly comprising of agitators but also including several tippers and tankers.

Prior to starting work, each vehicle is put through the company’s own pre-delivery process to ensure 100 percent reliability from day one.

“We have a technician that goes through each truck and checks everything – it gives us extra peace of mind. When it’s time for servicing, the more streamlined the process and lower the downtime for each truck, the better for productivity. That’s why parts availability was another important consideration when choosing ACCO,” said Bevan.

“I did the research and I know that ACCO parts are widely available throughout Australia, and, importantly for us, in Queensland.

“It’s no good to us having parts in New South Wales or Victoria. We need to have access to a good stock holding closer to home, and I know that there are plenty of ACCO parts near us and available off the shelf.

“We have trucks on fleet that are 15 years old, we look after them well, we have a refurbishment process and they last.

“It’s a philosophy that suits us well and will be a good fit for the ACCOs, given they already have a great reputation for longevity and that they’re extremely serviceable.

“The new ACCOs are based at the company’s sites in Brendale and Carole Park and have made a good impression since starting work with Neilsen Concrete several months ago. So far driver acceptance of the ACCOs has been good, they’ve been reliable and the payload is what we need – the trucks are ticking all the boxes for us,” Bevan said.

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