Working with Borcat continues a 34-year relationship for J&B Haulage of Grose Wold, Sydney
With a history dating back over 50 years, Borcat has established a strong reputation within the trailer manufacturing industry as a custom builder of tippers, offering products in aluminium or high-tensile steel.
Based at Wetherill Park, Sydney, Borcat offers a broad range of tipper options, from rigid truck bodies through to three-axle, four-axle and five-axle dog trailers, semitrailers and B-doubles.
In 2008 the company changed ownership and today is operated by John Thompson and Paul Gallagher as joint managing directors.
“The trend for our customers is to move to higher payload PBS-approved tippers in place of the earlier preference for three-axled dog trailers.
“As trailers have grown larger the weights have of course increased, and we are seeing that move from the 48.5 tonnes of a typical three-axle dog trailer, through 57.5 tonnes for a four-axle and now to 63.5 tonnes for a quad-dog tipper. This growth has been driven by the need to maximise efficiency,” said John.
Borcat customers typically tend to concentrate on carting aggregate and landscape supplies rather than working in the demolition and rock industry. Consequently, the build mix for Borcat is currently around 95 percent aluminium construction, with the remainder being built using high-tensile steel.
“We offer axles and suspension systems to suit the customer and the application with well-known brands such as BPW, Hendrickson and SAF-Holland. When building trailers to suit PBS requirements each trailer obviously includes EBS, ABS and roll stability systems and we’ve seen a change in preference to disc brake systems, which are now equally as popular as drum brakes,” added John.
TrailerTorque caught up with a Joe and Bronwyn Capizzi of J&B Haulage, a long-standing customer that has used Borcat trailers for over 35 years.
“Even before starting our own business I was working as a company driver and using Borcat trailers,” said Joe Capizzi.
“I started working in tippers at the age of 21 after training as a mechanic and drove an ERF. That first truck was an ex-Ansett truck and was bought by my brother Frank. This was prime mover configuration hauling a steel-sprung bogie-axled semitrailer fitted with a Borcat body. We used to cart clay and shale from Maroota and Wiseman’s Ferry to the brickyards for Austral bricks.
“In 1984 my wife Bronwyn and I bought a 1979 International ACCO 3074B powered by a Cummins 903 from my brother Frank, who changed his trucking business away from tippers into carrying chickens. By then we were running our own company as J&B Capizzi, and we carried on carting sand and aggregate.
“We bought a three-axled Borcat aluminium dog trailer with steel spring suspension in the late 80s, making the ACCO into a rigid tipper, and I drove that truck for 25 years. We sold the ACCO some 13 years ago and that was the truck that built our company.
“In 1991 we changed the company name to J&B Haulage Pty. Ltd. and in 1999 we bought a Kenworth T600, which had been operated by Mobil as a B-double prime mover. The T600 remains on the fleet today and is powered by a Detroit Series 60 DDEC3 engine. It is currently driven by one of our casual drivers who, at 72 years of age, still enjoys driving.
“To match the T600 we bought our first airbag equipped tipper. This was a three-axled Borcat dog trailer, fitted with BPW suspension, EBS braking system and BPW disc brakes, and was our first with air suspension.
“Working with Steve Smith, our brake expert at Commercial Brake Engineering of Wetherill Park, we put the complete Wabco EBS and roll stability system on the Kenworth T600,” said Joe.
Joe Capizzi himself drives a 2009 T408 Kenworth SAR powered by a Cummins EGR engine of 525/550 hp, with 46,000 lb Eaton diffs and an 18-speed Fuller gearbox.
To go with the T408, Joe purchased a new Borcat four-axle dog trailer in April 2015. The high spec’ reflects Joe’s desire to keep tare weight to a minimum, but with full PBS approval the trailer features all the latest safety benefits.
Although the T408 is fitted with drum brakes, both the truck and trailer are fitted with a fully compatible Wabco electronic braking system, featuring roll stability and anti-lock braking system with rollover prevention.
“We fitted Hendrickson INTRAAX air suspension complete with disc brakes for the trailer. When I moved to using disc brakes there was a big improvement in braking ability with a reduction in stopping distance. I was also chasing weight and the Hendrickson was a little lighter than other alternatives.
“Another benefit is the improved handling that results from the WABCO Electronic Braking System automatically lowering the ride height of the trailer by 15-20 mm when travelling over 50 km/h. Thanks to the lowering of the centre of gravity of the trailer, the combination handles really well, especially when negotiating a series of sweeping bends.
“The entire specification of the T408 SAR and the quad-dog Borcat trailer is all designed to save weight, keep tare weight low, and, subsequently, maximise payload,” said Joe.
“With a permitted 50,500 kg gross weight, that enables a 33,840 kg payload as an improvement over the previous 33,300 kg, so we are gaining half a tonne on each load. On PBS approved routes we achieve a payload of 39,960 kg. It’s all about maximising your payload,” he added.
“It’s also important to be able to maintain versatility. By keeping the overall length within 19 metres, the unit can operate in Canberra without the need for an overlength permit. At 19 metres we can have access in Canberra, which would be restricted if we operated at 19.5 metres and 57.5 tonnes.
“Our experience with disc brakes and pad replacement came from replacing the pads on the BPW equipped, three-axled dog trailer dolly at 200,000 km because of an imbalance in braking effort. For the two back axles we replaced the pads at 395,000 km.
“The Wabco system fitted to the three-axled dog trailer ABS system is 24-volt and the T600 truck is 12-volt, so we had to achieve compatibility. Being one of the first units of its type it worked fine initially, but as it aged the power to the rear started to drop off and that caused an imbalance, with higher wear rates on the right-hand-side than the left. The latest Wabco system is all 12-volt on the T408 and quad-dog trailer and we have not encountered any voltage drop through the system.
“The added safety of EBS and ABS with roll stability, and improved handling with reduced stopping distances, is an amazing benefit for operators. This is backed by Pinpoint satellite tracking when operating on PBS approved routes.
“We now have axle weights displayed in the cab, vehicle blind-spot cameras displaying vision of the rear of the trailer, the rear and the left-hand-side of the truck, and now we fit windscreen cameras to record what’s happening on the road ahead.
“As truck drivers fit this extra equipment we see increasing examples of motorists on the open road texting on their mobile phones and not concentrating on their driving. Driver ability amongst the general public is dreadful and getting worse. This is something that needs serious action to reduce the accident rate amongst young car drivers,” said Joe.