TANKER TORQUE – Simpson Fuel Supplies | TRAILER REVIEW – Holmwood Highgate Tankers

Warren Caves reports on the latest Holmwood Highgate tanker to join the Simpson Fuel Supplies fleet.

Hazardous goods transport requires the highest levels of efficiency and safety in the trucking profession. As Australia has embraced new and more efficient trailer designs that enhance safety and increase productivity, companies such as Simpson Fuel Supplies are leading the industry with innovation, working closely with the manufacturers of trailing equipment.

The introduction of PBS (performance based standards) approved vehicles is on the increase, particularly within the bulk aggregates world, as competition heats up, and this in turn is one of the major driving forces of innovation amongst trailer manufacturers.

Whilst this trend has ramped up over recent years, the uptake from the broader transport community has been a little slower with a bit of, “let’s sit back and watch for a while” going on. This is a wise approach up to a point, as jumping in blindly to new industry-available trends can be counterproductive to your business if it does not meet the needs of your operation and subsequently your clients. But at what point do you begin to be left behind?

A good deal of homework is required, as with any new equipment acquisition. However, extra consideration should also be given to access routes, client location, fleet versatility, payload gains and return on investment.

The bulk fuel industry is an area with substantial gains available within the PBS scheme resulting from careful design and manufacture of equipment.

Although we have seen A-double fuel tankers recently gaining access to routes into and out of Sydney and Brisbane metropolitan centres at weights of around 81 tonnes, uptake has been a little slower than other areas of transport.

Simpson Fuel Supplies located at Oakville in Sydney’s west, has just recently commissioned into their fleet the first of its quad-axle PBS single tankers.

PowerTorque spoke to co-owner of Simpson Fuel Supplies, Jason Simpson, about the project.

“We have somewhat of a unique fuel transport operation moving product to our own depots, retail sites and on-farm deliveries utilising onboard pumping equipment. We did our homework with regards to going down the PBS path and found that this option should benefit our customers and increase our productivity concurrently”.

“While we do operate 19-metre B-double combinations in our operations, I envisage that this quad-axle single tanker would negate our need to run 19-metre B-doubles in the future. This is mainly due to our clients’ holding capacities of generally between 45,000 and 62,000 litres. This on-site capacity means we either must download our 19-metre combinations to prevent arriving and finding insufficient ullage at site to fully unload, or run the clients’ tanks down so low that we risk running them out. The 40,000-litre legal (diesel load) weight capacity that this new tanker will be able to transport gives us a bit of a buffer whilst still maximising vehicle payload”.

As Jason explained the further benefits: “Obviously with the quad-axle single trailer our payload in comparison to a 19-metre B-double is reduced by around four to five thousand litres. However, we don’t do line-haul work as such, and I believe that for our operation this will be more than made up by only registering and complying one trailer, not requiring an MC-licensed driver, which increases our versatility of staff. Being able to reduce loading times for quicker turnaround is of equal importance, keeping our clients’ tanks full. Also, not to be forgotten, we now have a unit that has a payload advantage of around 8000 litres (diesel load) over a traditional tri-axle tanker”.

Adding to the overall versatility, the new quad-axle tanker comes in at a total length of 17.98 m when coupled to Simpson’s Kenworth T409, enabling the reduced weight of the total combination to run on general access routes when required.

After doing the initial evaluation of the PBS tanker option and deciding that it was worth pursuing, Simpson’s approached several tanker manufacturers for advice and quotations before deciding on Holmwood Highgate Pty Ltd of Loganholme, Qld.

Jason said, “Holmwood Highgate, and in particular Ian Williamson, have been great to deal with and sent a representative down to discuss our design requirements and needs. Shortly afterwards the company followed by providing us with the drawings and specifications for our build.

“The whole process from acceptance of the quote to completion was really streamlined with updates and pictures sent of the build progress, and the PBS certification being handled in-house”.

“Holmwood Highgate has been accommodating PBS build requirements for some time now, in particular with multi-combination units. This was the first of this type of configuration tanker it had embarked upon, with a second unit being manufactured at the same time for another client,” Jason explained.

The end product results in a 48,600-litre maximum capacity, six compartment, quad-axle road tanker, featuring Hendrickson INTRAAX axles, a push steerable rear axle, with drum brakes throughout on Alcoa alloy rims.

ABS, multi-volt TEBS (trailer electronic braking system), and rollover stability as per PBS requirements are utilised complying with ADR 38. Braking and suspension functions are controlled and monitored by the WABCO smartboard, a centrally-located multifunction control panel, with all functions easily accessed by a single click, to monitor axle weights, suspension height, odometer and diagnostic functions.

The six individual compartments have SFLs from one to six of 8210 litres, 8210 litres, 8200 litres, 7100 litres 7130 litres and 8210 litres, with the maximum of three loading arms loading at any one time in most terminals, and a full load of diesel being loaded at rates of 2200 litres/minute. Drive-in/drive-out load times of 35-40 min could be achieved, a definite advantage over a B-double that must be disconnected and reconnected for each trailer and a seventh compartment to load.

Jason concluded, “We envisage that when we consider the reduced registration cost over a B-double combination, the faster turnaround, the lesser cost of a HC driver, and, of course, the extra 8000 litres per load, we will recoup the cost of PBS compliance in around six months, which in a life of equipment period of as little as five years makes for a sound investment decision for our type of business”.

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