Kenworth T610s and Isuzu 8x4s are changing the fleet composition for the Hi-Quality Group – Report by Chris Mullett
With over half a century of service, the Hi-Quality Group continues to set new standards that are recognised as a benchmark for the civil and environmental sector.
Founded by Jim Hallinan in the mid 1960s, this Australian-owned family business boasts the involvement of three generations of the Hallinan family, from Jim and his son Patrick to Jim’s grandsons Adam, Stephen and Bryan.
The different divisions within the Hi-Quality Group provide a wide range of services to the communities of Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. These range from transport, logistics and plant hire to the company’s expertise in the civil and environmental sector that include quarrying, resource recovery, recycling, waste management and landfill. Other divisions supply building and landscaping product supplies, skip bins and construction site clearing and property development.
Transport is obviously the key that binds all these different business activities together, and the company has recently changed its vehicle purchase policy to include the addition of new Isuzu and Kenworth trucks, supplied through local dealer Gilbert & Roach at Huntingwood.
With a fleet that numbers around 50 trucks and support vehicles, recent additions include five new Isuzu FYJ 8×4 rigid trucks fitted with aluminium tipper bodies and six new Kenworth T610 SAR prime movers.
“The move to Japanese trucks and Isuzu came from our decision to replace our previous North American brands as we looked at new ways to maximise payload and efficiency,” said Adam Hallinan, Group procurement manager.
“With a 2000 kg lighter tare weight than the vehicles they replaced, we can obviously improve the individual trip productivity of each unit by two tonnes and achieve a payload of 17 tonnes,” he added.
The Isuzu FYJs were selected after consultation with Matt Clinton of Gilbert & Roach and feature a GVM of 30,000 kg with a GCM of 42,500 kg. Powered by the Isuzu SITEC Series III six-cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled diesel engine, which produces 257 kW (345 hp) at 2000 rpm with 1422 Nm of torque, the driveline is completed by the Allison 4430 Series fully-automatic transmission.
“The payload improvement is obviously a major point in the Isuzu’s favour, but drivers also like the cab comfort, and with automatic transmission there’s a major reduction in fatigue levels. Because they operates in the city, the drivers are finding the improvement in visibility of the surrounding traffic and other city hazards is also a major benefit to safety,” added Adam.
In other fleet requirements, Kenworth K200 cabovers are gradually replacing previous Mack and Western Star models in low-loader work for the heavy haulage aspects of the business. For truck and quad dog trailer application the company has taken delivery of the six new Kenworth T610 SAR 6×4 rigid trucks through Bill Anderson of G&R, with tipping bodies and trailers supplied by Muscat Trailers.
“Drivers are very happy with the new T610 SAR and we option them up with the inclusion of stainless steel and chrome trim, together with fridges for the drivers,” said Damian Woodbury, Hi-Quality Group transport manager.
“We were always going to go down the Kenworth path but we had held off until the launch of the T610 because Dad had always thought they were a bit short of interior cab space. We had looked at the T409 and then we heard about the new product coming out and that ticked all the boxes straight away.
“First impressions from the drivers are that they love the new T610 SAR. When talking with the team there has not been one negative feedback. Two drivers in particular had come from competitive brands and they like the new T610 so much you can’t get them out of them. They are brilliant.
“The latest shift patterns of the UltraShift Plus 18-speed Roadranger are now excellent. We are rating the Cummins ISXe5 at 580 hp and with 4.33:1 axle ratios, and that gives the SARs a road speed of 100 km/h at 1650 rpm.
“We did think of going back to a diff ratio of 411:1, but we believed at the time it might be a bit low for the type of local work we do. We can achieve a payload of 38 tonnes in a 19-metre PBS-approved combination, taking the GCM back to 56.5 tonnes instead of 57.5 tonnes.
“We worked very closely with Peter Davis at Muscat Trailers to achieve these payloads and at this weight rating we can access anywhere without being restricted to high-mass routes under PBS requirements that come into effect when operating over that length,” said Damian.
“We are getting good results from the Cummins ISXe5, although with brand-new vehicles they have only just been in to G&R for their first service. A typical annual distance covered for each vehicle would be in the region of 80,000 km per year, and the furthest they would operate would be to run from Kemps Creek down to our quarry at Goulburn for a return load of sand, pebbles of clay.
“The points in favour of the T610, apart from the added interior space, are the improved vision through the low hood with the revised design of the mirrors and the reduction of interior noise levels inside the cab. We have now standardised on the UltraShift Plus automated manual transmission and that is also contributing to a reduction in driver fatigue.
“With WABCO EBS, ABS and roll-stability throughout the T610 combinations we are achieving the maximum available safety standards. The EBS and roll-stability systems have evolved in recent years and drivers have come to accept the advantages they provide.
“By combining these benefits with lower interior noise levels, increased driver comfort and Eaton UltraShift Plus automated manual transmissions, we have significantly minimised driver fatigue. We have also simplified coupling through standardising on one large connector plug, rather than two smaller units.
“All our trucks are monitored through CTrack satellite tracking, and we also add blind-spot cameras for the left-hand-side of the cab, together with rear-vision reverse cameras on both the truck and trailer.
“We do our own driver training programmes on a regular basis with annual check tests, and through satellite tracking we can monitor driver behaviour, fuel economy and be aware of any harsh brake applications. Further information is available by our downloading the performance data collected by the WABCO EBS system, and our own service and maintenance division can access this during our weekly service schedule.
“With the exception of any warranty work, we complete all our maintenance requirements in our own workshops, with our mechanics coming in each afternoon and working through the night to have everything ready for the morning,” said Adam.
“We keep our oil drain intervals at 20,000 km because of our mainly urban vehicle operation and for the type of environment that our trucks are working in,” he added.