Muscat Trailers and Multiquip collaborate to find new gains in productivity
One of the interesting facets of the transport industry is that no matter how many years or how much experience a company may have in completing a transport task, there’s always room for new ideas to produce interesting and innovative alternatives in the quest for improved productivity.
Acknowledged as one of Australia’s leading companies in the movement of poultry products, Sydney company, Multiquip, has gained an enviable reputation through over 30 years of operation for providing high efficiencies and for being focused on serving the best interests of its customers.
The company specialises in providing an all-encompassing service to the poultry industry through a broad range of options, from the design and manufacture of incubation equipment for hatching chickens, the operation of hatcheries, the collection and transport of eggs and day-old chickens, and the supply of stock feed to breeders.
After evaluating the efficiency level of the 19-metre B-double stockfeed trailers in its fleet, Multiquip’s general manager, Jason Mikosic, was keen to investigate possible alternatives that could improve payload, while utilising the advantages of higher weights achieved through PBS-compliant approved equipment.
By discussing the available options with Muscat Trailers, Multiquip’s preferred trailer supplier, both companies were able to contribute suggestions that led to a redesign of the standard aluminium B-double stockfeed design to produce a PBS-approved 20-metre B-double.
“We got the idea from the people using 20-metre B-doubles in milk tankers, instead of using the more traditional 19-metre B-doubles. After the design phase, we have it right. The main thing was how to gain the maximum payload. We’ve gone from a 19-metre B-double getting 34 tonnes payload to achieving 40 tonnes payload and working under the higher mass limits. It’s a big difference,” said Jason.
The new 20-metre B-double is matched to a Western Star prime mover and the whole combination tares off at 21.5 tonnes, giving a 40 tonnes payload with a gross combined mass of 61.5 tonnes and under PBS approval.
“We don’t fit disc brakes to our trailers, staying with drum brakes, but it features full EBS systems with ABS and roll stability,” said Jason.
“In achieving our goal we had to redesign all the pipework to keep the load height lower than on the 19-metre units. The alternative was to consider operating truck and dog trailer combinations, but this option is limited in application because of access problems at some of the older farm sites.
“With the lower centre of gravity, we’ve come up with something that rides beautifully and is very good. It’s really comfortable to drive and this 20-metre B-double is proving to be the best solution for us. With this trailer we can easily get the right cubic capacity without having to go too high, so, stability wise, it’s excellent and has produced a superior result.
“There are a lot of farms where you can’t get specific B-double access into the site. At the same time, under HML requirements the opportunity to take 40 tonnes payloads into a farm suits us really well.
“It’s easy to load and unload. If there’s a problem with the prime mover we can hook up any other unit in the fleet to achieve versatility,” said Jason.
Although it’s only been on the road for two months, the new 20-metre B-double combination has been working around the Griffith area carting over 1000 tonnes per week on a route that varies between 20 km and 80 km one-way legs. With two drivers operating a day and night shift roster it’s gaining very high utilisation supplying stockfeed.
The Multiquip transport fleet comprises around 100 prime movers, the majority of which are Scania R-Series 6×4 units with Opticruise automated manual transmissions. Other models include Kenworth, Volvo and Western Star.
There’s a mix in the Scania product range that sees engine ratings varying from 480 hp and 560 hp for single and B-double application, but extending to 620 hp, and, even to the flagship of the fleet, a 730 hp R-Series.
“The retarder in the Scania’s is excellent and we are happy with the brake life we are getting from the disc brakes. Because of the variation of brake systems in the fleet we are currently staying with conventional drum brakes on our trailers.
“There’s a marginal difference in the fuel economy at the different horsepower ratings, but that’s largely dictated by the actual run the vehicles complete,” said Jason.
“We’ve been very happy with the sales and aftersales service provided by Scania, they’ve had trucks available when we needed them and they’ve been very easy to work with,” said Jason.
“Although we maintain our fleet in our own workshops at Austral, we are trialling the contract maintenance option for the ten Scania prime movers that we base at our Ipswich branch because of it’s uniqueness as an isolated depot and its distance from our own workshops,” he added.
The Multiquip operation is a fascinating business where its abilities and involvement in transport extends so much further into different avenues of industry.
As the company has continued its strong expansion programme in recent years, it has also grown its metal fabrication business and selectively builds its own tray bodies for its fleet of Isuzu crew-cab rigids. These are subsequently used to carry forklifts and workers to farms, where they collect and load poultry products.