Riordan Group (RG) is a diversified business offering a range of solutions to Australian and international customers.
Operating across the eastern states with a head office based in Lara, Victoria, the business has a total of 32 trucks and 75 trailers in various combinations for its grain and fuel applications. In its agricultural operations, RG sources grain from farmers primarily throughout New South Wales and Victoria, distributing the product through to international and domestic markets.
Each year, RG transports up to nearly two million tonnes of grain, fertiliser, meals and around 100 million litres of fuel into a range of destinations. These include grain into the Tasmanian market via containers and bulk tippers as well as bulk products into the domestic market throughout Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. On top of that, RG services domestic dairy producers and distributes fuel throughout Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.
For these operations, RG has a range of trailer combinations comprising singles, truck and dogs, B-doubles, A-doubles and AB- and B-triples. On the fuel side, the fleet has singles, B-doubles including Performance-Based Standards (PBS) variants and A-double tankers which transport diesel petrol and Dangerous Goods (DG).
After changing trailer manufacturers, RG was in search of a technology package that would interact well with its trailer combinations and would be easy to operate and service from a maintenance point of view. Leigh says Knorr-Bremse was the only suitable candidate.
“The Knorr-Bremse equipment seemed to fit that purpose,” says RG Operations Manager, Leigh Burgess. “We’ve now standardised all of our fleet to Knorr-Bremse because of the reliability of the product that we have experienced.”
This is reflected in every single vehicle in RG’s fleet. Starting from the front of the prime mover, right through to the tail of the trailer, Knorr-Bremse has the safety solution.
“It may be a cliche but they really have got it covered from bumper to bumper,” Leigh says.
On the prime mover is the Bendix Fusion Active Safety System, and on each trailer is the Trailer Road-Train Module (TRM), Trailer Electronic Braking System (TEBS) and iMass Smart On-Board Mass (OBM) system.
As part of the Bendix Fusion package, the trucks have Active Cruise with Braking (ACB). In the scenario where an object may appear in front of a truck on the road, Bendix Fusion communicates with the rest of the Knorr-Bremse equipment fitted so that the the whole combination works in unison to ensure the safety of the driver and other road users at all times.
“We’ve got all the TEBS and TRM modules through the truck and trailers at the moment which control everything,” Leigh says. “For us, it’s purely around the safety aspect – you’ve got stability control, emergency braking, all these sorts of things. If the Knorr-Bremse system, based in all of its calibrations, suspects that the trailer is unsafe or unstable, it will then apply the brakes on and bring it back down to a safe and stable condition.”
RG has retrofitted complete truck and trailer sets with the new Knorr-Bremse iMass OBM system, which Leigh says has worked really well for the fleet.Image: Riordan Group.
“We’ve really struggled with getting continuity and frequency of correct weights in the load systems we have had before, where we’re nearly adjusting those weekly or bi-weekly just to try to keep them in line and right for weights,” he says. “Whereas we’ve had the iMass system in for two months now and we haven’t had to adjust it as yet. It seems to be performing perfectly.”
The Knorr-Bremse TEBS module, Leigh says, has been the ‘end unit’ for RG.
“The TEBS module interacts with the iMass OBM system and displays all the weights for us on all of our trailers, so that when we are loading axle groups we can use that to effectively load each group on the combination to make sure it is right within spec, along with communicating directing with any Smart OBM equipment requirements” he says. “That becomes the display of any faults that are happening on the trailer, and it gives the driver a visual aid of what is happening via an anti-lock braking system (ABS) light on the dashboard.”
It is in situations like these where Leigh believes the clever technology proves its value most.
“It has definitely improved our safety from the truck combinations perspective,” he says. “We’re up to 85.5 tonne now on these A-doubles, which we run eight of those across grains and fuels. We’re carting DGs as well with our fuel operations, so it’s really paramount to us from the safety side of it. If you get anything that fails, whether it’s a king pin or a drawbar or something like that, you’ve got a safety system that will pull it up really quickly and safely and you’re not going to have an impact on the driver safety or other road users.”