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TRAILER NEWS | Feature – MaxiTrans

It’s good news for customers moving into the live bottom trailer discharge segment of the market as MaxiTRANS can now offer shorter delivery times for the production of its Trout River brand products.

With production now taking place at the MaxiTRANS facility at Richlands, Queensland, in addition to Trout River’s existing facility at Hallam in Victoria, the reduction in the manufacturing lead times comes from a streamlining of the manufacturing process coupled with the additional capacity of the two plants working together.

Live-bottom trailers provide operators with an alternative to conventional end-over and side-tipping trailers through the ability to unload bulk commodities via an interior conveyor-belt system.

“These trailers are ideally suited for working in environments with low-hanging electric cables or construction sites with height restrictions,” said Trout River Australia’s Rodney Wells.

“The advantage of the system provides a significantly safer working environment for drivers and construction workers that need to unload where there are height or space restrictions that are not suited to a conventional tipping trailer. It’s the ideal complementary product to any bulk haulage fleet,” added Rodney.

Thanks to the conveyor-belt system, the Trout River live-bottom trailer provides a clean discharge process, leaving no material inside the trailer after unloading. The design enables safe discharge of material in just minutes while the trailer is moving forwards, creating an accurate spread when required and solving application problems that can be experienced when laying asphalt.

A live-bottom patching unit is also available that can maintain load temperatures, particularly useful with some loads in Australia’s extreme climatic variations.

“The wide diversity of specialised applications means bulk material can be delivered with accuracy and safety in a wide variety of applications,” said Rodney West.

The live-bottom system can be configured to trailer or rigid truck bodied variations and can be set up with a choice of specialised attachments including chip spreaders, diffusers, side conveyors, shoulder chutes, spreaders and even a water tank option, all of which make the trailer suitable for a wide diversity of applications.

Staying with the MaxiTRANS Group but changing products and designs to Maxi-CUBE Trailers moves the focus to the latest refrigerated trailer designs adopted by leading operators Miles Transport and Shreurs & Sons. Both transport companies rely on Maxi-CUBE trailers to keep their products fresh and fabulous.

There’s much more to running refrigerated trailers than just loading up, starting the fridge motor and hoping everything stays fresh until the doors open at the market.

Miles Transport was established in 1991 by Nick and Mary Miles, with the aim of transporting garden and nursery stock from Melbourne throughout Tasmania. By 1999 the family’s reputation had grown, like their flowers, to the point that demand was increasing for fresh-cut flowers to be carted from Melbourne to Sydney, whereupon the company embraced this new business opportunity that it continues to the present day.

In 2012 after the death of his father, Nick’s son Geoff assumed a more hands-on role and started running the company in conjunction with his mother. It’s this family focus that has proven to be one of the company’s main strengths with other family members such as  two of Geoff’s sisters, Theresa and Cathleen, also working for Miles Transport.

The company operates out of its original depot in Monbulk in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges, although the size of the depot has expanded considerably through the years from a fleet with just one prime mover and a trailer that Nick Miles had purchased through his old employer. The fleet today numbers 12 prime movers and 13 trailers and comprises predominantly of Kenworth K200s powered by Cummins engines rated at 550 hp with 18-speed manual Eaton Roadranger transmissions. A new Mercedes-Benz 2263 joined the fleet last year and there’s also a Scania rigid model dating back to 2014.

“We stay with manual transmissions in the majority of vehicles, with the exception of the Mercedes-Benz with the DT12 AMT and the Scania with an Opticruise. Most of the fleet is returning fuel consumption figures in the low 2.0-plus km/litre for split work between single and B-double operation, with the Mercedes-Benz slightly ahead in terms of economy,” said Geoff Miles.

“Out of the 13 trailers  in the fleet, all but one are Maxi-CUBE refrigerated units. Our latest purchase is a new purpose-built Maxi-CUBE Classic Hi-CUBE Refrigerated B-double.

“Refrigeration is always a key consideration in the construction of our trailer fleet.

“Freezer burn can damage fragile goods such as freshly-cut flowers, which is why the design of chutes from the fridge plays a big role in the even distribution of air within the trailer. This feature comes in handy for storage and transport of other perishables such as fresh strawberries and other local produce that we also cart,” Geoff added.

Prior to the company purchasing its first new trailer in 2001, Miles Transport had purchased many pre-owned Maxi-CUBE trailers and still owns and operates a trailer that dates back to 1995. The latest B-double set joining the fleet replaces the first similar set bought by the company in 2009.

The current trailer specification for the Miles Transport fleet is to use a ThermoKing SLX 400 fridge unit on the lead trailer and a Precedent Multi-temp unit on the tag trailer, Hendrickson HT suspension carrying FUWA K-Hitch drum-brake axles with unitised hubs  and a Hendrickson lift axle for the lead axle. Safety is looked after by the fitment of WABCO EBS, landing legs are by JOST Australia and the tyre fitment is Firestone T559 HTR in 11R22.5 sizing.

MaxiTRANS’ Area Sales Manager, Troy Kitchen, told TrailerTorque of the many improvements incorporated in the design of the Maxi-CUBE Classic since its inception.

“A key feature of the Maxi-CUBE Classic Hi-CUBE van is its thinner side walls, floor and roof that helps optimise cubic capacity, useful for when the load is slightly over standard pallet size,” said Troy.

“In addition to significant tare weight savings, the latest Maxi-CUBE Refrigerated Classic design has an improved thermal efficiency of over 5 percent compared to the previous design.

“This translates to improved performance, integrity of carried product and fuel efficiency for our customers. The inclusion of a full-length chassis, as well as a reinforced floor and rear frame is a further major benefit as it offers greater strength and durability without impacting on tare weight,” he added.

Changing the load from flowers to vegetables continues the theme of the need for excellent refrigeration as experienced by the Schreur family.

As a third-generation farming business that is 100 per cent Australian family-owned and operated, Schreurs & Sons specialises in celery, leek and baby leaf lines (including spinach, rocket and snow pea tendrils).

With seven properties, spanning in total over 505 hectares, the family company is one of the largest suppliers of celery in Australia and also serves international markets.

Chris Schreurs, Director of Business & Commercial Operations, takes pride in delivering high quality products to customers all year-round. His fleet transports fresh produce in Victoria, primarily between the business’ farm regions and the Melbourne wholesale market.

“Two of the company’s biggest challenges are operational efficiency and load security,” said Chris Schreurs.

“As we don’t have loading docks on any of our farms, we need an efficient and safe solution that not only maintains the integrity of the produce – particularly on warm days – but also achieves minimal turnaround time between locations.

Maxi-CUBE came highly recommended to us by our interstate freight partners, Consolidated Freight, and when we compared a Slide-a-Side to other equivalent options available, we believed Maxi-CUBE provided the best solution for our needs.

“The design process involved working through various door configurations that could deliver the most efficient results. We believe the time spent on this task was well worthwhile as we are now benefiting from that final design.

“As part of our specification we added was a stainless-steel floor. Our finished produce can come out of the fields quite wet, and the higher durability of stainless steel prevents the onset of rust that we have experienced in the past with other trailers.

“In terms of productivity improvement, the Maxi-CUBE Slide-a-Side design provides us with the load restraint characteristics of a rigid-wall van, removing the need to strap down the entire load when fully laden. This time saving has halved loading or unloading time and ensures our produce returns to the production facility in a timelier manner, enabling us to get it packed and pre-cooled ready for effective and efficient distribution.

“Further productivity gains have been forthcoming from our decision to purchase a B-double set, which now reduces the number of our round trips from our main growing region in Tarwin, Victoria to our production facility in Clyde, from an average of three trips a day down to two,” he added.

The latest trailers includes ThermoKing fridge units and the tri-axle assembly uses BPW ALII series suspension and 10/285 BPW hubs. Maxus two-speed manual wind-down landing legs are fitted with galvanised rocker feet, and tyres are by Bridgestone with R168 11R22.5 fitment. At the time of the latest trailer build the incorporation of EBS was not mandatory, resulting in the braking system incorporating Load Sensing Valves.

Chris rates the thermal efficiency of the insulated roof, front wall, side walls and doors quite highly.

“With the fridges up and running over last summer, we were very surprised with how well the thermal insulation worked on the Slide-a-Side,” he said.

“It has exceeded our expectations in maintaining temperature control. The sliding doors on the Maxi-CUBE Slide-a-Side are an important feature. They are designed well and work with minimal effort, which is naturally saving time, stress and strain on the operator. This in turn is also a great Work, Health and Safety outcome,” he added.

A final word now for News and Views from Meritor.

With over 10-million trailer axles on the road, Meritor certainly has the runs on the board.  The company’s MTA suspension family has become an industry benchmark, but now there’s a new alternative, the MTA-Tec6 -23K, offering the lightest weight trailer suspension on the market.

With the fully dressed top mount weighing up to 17.5 kg less than competitor products and with the low mount offering weight reductions of up to 24 kg, both units benefit from the MTec6 152 mm (6-inch) diameter trailer axle. Designed for 21 percent increased stiffness and improved tyre to road contact when compared to traditional 127 mm (5-inch) axles, they result in less tyre wear and longer service life.

The plug-and-play design fits within conventional trailer frames with no additional welding required. The axle can be quickly aligned without special tools, even out of the workshop. The unique bolt-on cam bushing design allows for camshaft service without removing the hub, saving on average 30 minutes per wheel end.

Meritor’s aim is to provide a one-stop solution for all trailer needs, from tyre inflation systems to the EX+ air-operated disc brakes, Q+ drum brakes + Platinumshield III, cast drums + Steelite X30, automatic slack adjusters and Axlepak extended-warranty wheel ends.

Meritor’s tyre-inflation system (MTIS) currently protects more than eight-million fleet tyres and is claimed to recoup the initial investment within 12 months. It is also the only automatic inflation system with wheel-end thermal protection where the Thermalert heat detection system alerts drivers to overheating wheel ends in order to prevent damage and avoid potentially dangerous conditions.

The EX+ air-disc brake features a robust gear-driven adjuster for optimal pad and rotor wear and easier serviceability, while exceeding the US standards of FMVSS 121 regulations that determine stopping distances. The Q+ drum brakes are available with Platinumshield III coating technology which offers premium protection against corrosion. The Steelite X30 brake drums are the lightest cast drum in the market saving over 9 kg per suspension.

 

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