Industry News

Keeping the cabin cool, at every step of the way

Since 2019, Western Freight Management has been installing Coolabah air conditioning units on all its new trucks. Already there are 81 of these units out on the road.

Still family owned and operated, Western Freight Management was started by John Peters over 35 years ago. Since then, it’s grown to include four locations – Eastern Creek, Orange and Parkes in NSW, as well as a depot in Melbourne. Building of a fifth facility in Brisbane will commence later this year. 

The fleet consists of 129 prime movers, 14 rigids and 156 trailers, which are predominantly run as B-doubles, doing general and express freight, together with servicing the mining and resources sector. 

It’s a mixture of Kenworths, Volvos and Macks. This year alone, the company has added 27 new trucks into the fleet – with plenty more on order, though supply issues have delayed their delivery.

The trucks travel Australia-wide, tackling some of the toughest routes and harshest climates the country has to offer, so a reliable cooling system is a must.

Coolabah is a quiet, cost-effective, lithium powered sleeper cab cooling system. It automatically adjusts in accordance with the environment in and outside the cab. A variable speed condenser fan works to ensure an optimum refrigeration pressure for the most efficient operation.

The Coolabah unit was developed at MVM Auto.

Developed by David Saliba and Lino Debono at MVM Auto five years ago, the Coolabah unit has quickly gained a loyal following. Along with its performance, the reduced running costs when compared to a diesel-powered cooling system are impressive.

Western Freight Management workshop manager Mat Long explained, “With the Coolabah running on a battery rather than diesel, it saves a substantial amount along with reducing our carbon footprint which is part of our continual improvement, running Euro 5 and Euro 6 as standard across the fleet and its entirety. Just to service our previous diesel air conditioning units in-house was about $200 each time when you’re having to buy oil and filters. And we were doing that every 80,000km and/or 300 diesel power unit hours, whichever comes first, which comes around very quickly when our drivers are running interstate.” 

The company has been a customer of MVM Auto for many years and since making the switch to the Coolabah system, it hasn’t looked back.

“We have a lot of interstate drivers who live in the truck for most of the week. Initially, when we first introduced the Coolabah units, some of our drivers were a bit sceptical, because they were worried about how many hours they’d get out of it while sleeping, but we haven’t had any issues at all. On many of our two-up trucks, the system is running all the time,” Long added. 

“It doesn’t matter what runs the trucks are on, everything has been getting a Coolabah unit in case the driver does have to pull up and have a sleep. That’s been our direction since we first started using them in 2019. All the new trucks we get have one fitted – it’s a no brainer. 

“We have a lot of units based out of Brisbane, a lot in the Gold Coast, four in trucks that go across to Perth every week, so they’re in areas where having a proper cooling system really matters.”  

As well as the Coolabah units proving their worth out on the road, Western Freight Management has been equally impressed by the service offered by MVM Auto too. “Their customer support has been another good thing for us,” said Long. “If there is ever a problem, they jump on it straight away. There are no ifs, buts or maybes, and the warranty is good too. When you’re running a fleet of this size, you need to be able to make a phone call and get things sorted straight away.”


The post Keeping the cabin cool, at every step of the way appeared first on Big Rigs.

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