Fuel Trans operates a fleet of fuel tankers across the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions.
One freight task is delivering fuel from the Darwin fuel terminal to the Fuel Trans depot in Alice Springs, a 1,500km one way trip along the Stuart Highway. The 3.5-to- 4 day return journey relies on drivers to operate road trains along the two-way highway used by many other freight companies, tourists with caravans and general public vehicles. Prior to the Tieman `Quad Train`, the largest combinations were 53.5m long B2A combinations which for fuel carried an average of 135KL of diesel.
The 56.5m long `Quad Train` includes Tieman`s patent pending turntable connection that ensures all Performance-Based Standards (PBS) measures including rearward amplification at speed are met. The combination travels at 90km/hr when loaded and 100km/hr when empty. Roll coupling all four tankers eliminates the risk of the rear tanker rolling over due to the special designed horizontal drawbar with skid plate and king pin.
With a Gross Combination Mass (GCM) of 186.5 tonnes, Fuel Trans is achieving a payload of 157KL of diesel with mixed motor spirit and diesel products exceeding 160KL payload. Fuel Trans Transport Manager, John Campbell, says the extra 15 per cent payload is significant especially for this long distance.
“It carries more capacity and that’s one of the key reasons why we got it,” he says. “The fact that its payload is a lot greater means we can slash trips required and therefore optimise our efficiencies when travelling from Darwin to our depot in Alice Springs.”
For over 13 years Fuel Trans has been dealing with Tieman for its various range of quality trailer combinations. John says that due to the fleet’s previous experiences with Tieman, and its ability to work with them to develop a series of PBS combinations, the decision to return for a 56.5m `Quad Train` was an easy one to make.L-R: Steve Crawford (Owner) and John Campbell (Fleet Manager).
The Northern Territory Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics have been instrumental in allowing this innovative `Quad Train` combination on their roads. All key performance factors were evaluated by both independent PBS simulations prior to build as well as the physical on road trials when loaded. John says these on road trials included a standard lane change and additionally an evasive manoeuvre lane change which really tested the performance dynamics of the combination.
“They did an on-road trial with it which included following the combination down the road for 100 kilometres, and they were fairly impressed with the unit,” he says. “They said it performs as well as any other smaller shorter-length quad. They still monitor it on a regular basis, and we provide monthly reports on how it’s going performance-wise as well.”
Passing all on road trials gave all stake holders great confidence in knowing payload improvements can be matched by increased safety in performance.
“Ticking all boxes in safety and performance allows Tieman to continue the evolution of our new tanker designs across Australia in the fuel, milk, food grade, chemical, bitumen and dry bulk tanker markets,” says Tieman Tankers Director, Colin Tieman. “Our end-to-end PBS support is a point of difference that allows our customers to future proof every new tanker investment.”
Fuel Trans Managing Director, Steve Crawford, agrees that the Tieman `Quad Train` has brought a bigger payload and more efficiencies into the business. According to him, it also tracks better down the road than the fleet originally anticipated.
“The main advantage Tieman have is their technical department,” he says. “You can sit down with them for the entire process, and they’re also very strong with their PBS and designs. This is why we chose them for the 56.5m combination – because of their ability to work outside of the box, come up with new ideas and implement them.
“They’ve been great to deal with, there’s no doubt about that. We’re a family business and dealing with another family business is always a positive thing, particularly with manufacturing in Australia on the decline. A lot of the other manufacturers are doing more and more offshore, so it’s good to be involved with an Australian built product.”Tieman PBS innovation in motion.
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