Hatching a Plan for Chickens – report by Warren Caves, Images by Torque it Up
When Sydney-based Multiquip Transport needed a couple of new prime movers to tow day-old chickens in two new, state of the art trailers from the Netherlands, adding two more Scanias to its 100-plus strong Scania fleet seemed a logical choice.
Multiquip Transport is a third-party service provider to the chicken-meat industry, providing transport logistics and specialised processing facilities for the live side of the poultry production chain.
The Multiquip Group of companies has a diverse range of operations related to the poultry industry, including transport of chicken feed and live birds in Newcastle, Tamworth, Sydney, Griffith and South East Queensland. Additionally, the company has operations in the quarry sector, operating a mixed fleet of Scania and Kenworth trucks from its own quarry located at Bungonia in the southern tablelands region of NSW.
From its purpose-built chicken hatchery located at Maldon NSW, about an hour south-west of Sydney, the Multiquip hatchery receives fertilised eggs from the Riverina area around Griffith, NSW. These are then hatched in the modern facility before being transported back to farm as day-old chicks, to be matured for the chicken-meat market. It’s this day-old chick transport in which the two new Scania R650 NTG trucks will be operating.
The trailing equipment for this work comes in the form of the “Hatch Tra7eller” trailer from Hatch Tech, a Dutch company which manufactures specialist transport solutions including the latest diesel/electric hybrid trailer systems for poultry logistics. (see TrailerTorque P94-99).
The 6X4 Scania prime movers are fitted with Scania’s DC16 118 Euro6, 16.4-litre V8 engine producing 650 horsepower (475 kW) at 1900 rpm and 3300 Nm (2434 lb-ft) of torque between 950-1350 rpm.
This may seem to be a lot of power for a truck pulling a single trailer, but Jason Mikosic, general manager of Multiquip goes on to explain, “We have been running a lot of Scania trucks fitted with the 620 hp engines which have been serving us well. The addition of the R650’s was perhaps just a natural progression from that, but we also wanted to make sure that our trucks were flexible across our entire operations. We have B-doubles and road trains working within our businesses and with the R650’s we have greater portability with our equipment”.
Bolted to the rear of the big V8 is Scania’s GRS0925R, 12-speed overdrive, transmission with two crawler gears, featuring the fully-automated gear change, Opticruise. This transmission, with its lay-shaft brake, substantially speeds up gear-change transitions to maintain boost pressure in conjunction with peak torque low in the rev band.
In this application and with low gross weights, the Scanias should yield favourable fuel consumption figures. Two fuel tanks of 710 and 320 litres respectively will adequately cover the scheduled routes without a fuel stop, while to cater for the AdBlue storage, a 73-litre tank is fitted to the truck’s near side.
Scania’s R 4100 retarder and engine exhaust brake, which in my experience work remarkably well, should go a long way in reducing brake service costs. If extra stopping power is required the disc service brakes with ABS, AEB and electronic stability control back-up the auxiliary speed retardation systems.
The two new Scania NTG trucks will each be completing four return trips per week to the Griffith area. The round trip of approximately 1000 km will see the Scania’s clock up in the vicinity of 200,000 km each per year.
For maintenance routines, Jason Mikosic says that the majority of the company’s Scania fleet are now on R&M contracts with Scania.
The Sydney-based fleet is looked after by Scania’s dealership in Prestons (from where they are purchased) with the rest of the fleet maintenance requirements handled by dealer agents located nearest to the company’s various operations.
“We have a large number of trucks working in the Riverina area servicing our poultry operations. These include B-doubles and road trains and for these we work with City Truck Repairs which provides a level of service that we are very happy with,” explained Jason.
“We (Multiquip) have a very good relationship with Scania and the staff at the Prestons dealership. Our sales purchases are facilitated by Kaashief Boonzaier. They listen to what we need and the back-up service, which to us is just as important to our business as the sales experience, is really good right now. Scania is continually focussed on ways to improve the quality of the after-sales service.
When questioned about why Multiquip continues to invest in Scania equipment, Jason said it was the reliability of the Scania product – and subsequent uptime gains – and safety as critical deciding factors.
“I think any successful operator needs to consider safety as a main focus,” he said.
Driver airbags as well as side curtain airbags, active emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, disc brakes incorporating ABS and EBS, seat belt pre-tensioners, automatic park brake application if doors are opened, daytime running lights, lane-departure warning and front-facing camera are all standard equipment setting the bar high for others in the heavy-duty truck market to follow.
Jason adds, “All of these standard features, in conjunction with our own policies of infra-red fatigue detection cameras, culminate to provide the safest possible workspace for our drivers.”
Feedback from some of the drivers is also positive with cabin space and comfort, low NVH levels along with ease of operation often suggest lower fatigue levels at end of shift.
Multiquip has also recently commenced operating a further two R650 Scania trucks in A-double configuration within its quarry division running at PBS gross weights of up to 84.5 tonne, depending on permits. At such an early stage of operation with the latest NTG trucks for Multiquip, they could not offer definitive fuel economy figures just yet, only going as far to say that the drivers are reporting reduced fuel consumption with the new Scania’s over the existing 620 Scania’s within the fleet.
Reduced fuel consumption from the latest Scanias, combined with high productivity and diesel/electric hybrid trailers add up to substantial cost savings to the company.
One thing is for sure, the drivers on the Maldon to Griffith routes will certainly be treated to an unstressed journey, in terms of performance anyway. With just one trailer in tow, 650 horses, evening departures and minimal traffic, there’s not much more to do than set the climate control air conditioning, pop on your favourite tunes and let the big V8 get on with the job. It’s not a hard premise to come to terms with, while you take comfort in knowing you’re behind the wheel of one of the safest, heavy-duty trucks available in Australia at the moment.