Aussie Angles – Perfecting Bovine Supply chains

In Aussie Angles12 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 20, 2018

The Scania R560 heads a new high productivity PBS milk tanker B-double that keeps a Tasmanian operator ahead of the game.

There‘s an upbeat camaraderie at Hingston Transport that you‘d be hard-pressed to find in the depot of a stock-market-floated mega-fleet. The Scania R560 PBS B-double‘s operator, Craig Bonde, sums up the mood when he tells us, “It‘s a bit like a bunch of mates working hard together”.

“All the trucks have little motifs that reflect each driver‘s characteristics and passions,” Craig explained. “ The motif on this truck symbolises the night shift driver‘s love of football, and his team North Melbourne. Then we have the dairy cow dressed in the football jersey for the milk we carry for Pura Milk, hence the carton it ‘s leaning on. Its these little things that Kerry does that make us all feel part of a big family.” The Whitemore-based operation in the Meander Valley of Northern Tasmania isn‘t the sort of firm where huddled, hi-viswearing drivers who have an opinion on everything complain endlessly about rumours generated by colleagues who know not (nor care not) what they‘re driving or why they ‘re there. “My men are all truck people; they ‘re all dyed-in-the-wool truck enthusiasts,” owner Kerry Hingston says. “I have to say, rather proudly, I‘m very lucky with each and every one of the men who works here. It ‘s a tightly-knit bunch of blokes who share a common interest in the job they do.”

Photo: The last axle on the tri-set steers.

In fact, so positive is the mood, Kerry reckons it‘s also noticeable from the outside. “My men never have a problem and the customers love ‘em!‘ he adds.

The business traces its roots back to Kerry‘s father, Viv, who carted livestock with a Desoto tray truck back in 1947. Yet it wasn‘t till the early seventies when a young Kerry purchased a secondhand log truck that European marques entered the fleet. So impressed were they with the performance and reliability of that secondhand Scania LB80 – along with the service they received from the local dealer – that Scania trucks became the backbone of their operation.

Their business takes them as far south as Hobart, and their diversification and growth into all areas of the agricultural industry is attributed to service, and their willingness to push the boundaries through innovative transport solutions, like the The last axle on the tri-set steers.

new Scania R560 and PBS B-double trailers. Kerry admits he is content with growth from a one-truck owner-driver operation to where they are today, something about as big as you‘d want to run on your own. “ The step up from here would be a corporate office with a transport operations desk and admin staff. That ‘s not really what I‘m about, so on numbers alone, we‘re probably where we want to be, but you can never say never,” he says.

Photo: Tending to the technology during loading.

Photo: Driver Craig Bonde loves the Scania for all the right reasons: power, handling, and comfort.

THE LATEST Scania B-double combination in their fleet draws on the benefits of performance based standards (PBS) to increase productivity and efficiencies, not just for Hingston, but also the dairy industry in Tasmania.

Kerry had no hesitation speccing a Scania R560 to head up the new innovative PBS milk tanker B-double; after all, Scania trucks have more than proven their reliability with the company for over four decades.

Strict PBS criteria on the overall combination length and wheelbase dimensions meant Scania had to tailor a shorter wheelbase version of the R560, from the standard 3553mm wheelbase to 2900mm.

In addition, the 2 x 12-volt batteries are discreetly mounted at the rear of the R560 chassis to allow for greater fuel carrying capacity. This gives the R560 plenty of range with a total of 1030 litres of diesel fuel, with a 710-litre fuel tank on the lefthand side of the chassis and a 320-litre fuel tank on the righthand side next to a 75-litre DEF tank.

The compact dimensions of the R560 means the combination enjoys general access with increased payload advantages. Scania is one of the few manufacturers that can deliver such a short wheelbase vehicle with high power outputs capable of comfortably pulling a fully loaded B-double. That in part is thanks to the 15.6-litre V8 engine. Because the overall length of the V8 is much shorter than a traditional inline 6-cylinder, Scania has the ability to tighten up the wheelbase to suit unique applications, such as PBS requirements like these. Along with the unique features of the Scania, the Tieman Tankers are purpose-built to suit the application. In order to meet the PBS requirements, the rear axle on the trigroup is steerable, which greatly improves the combination‘s manoeuvrability on farm pickups and through the narrow suburban streets of Hobart.

The BPW axle is self-steering, which means that Craig doesn‘t need to do anything to make the axle steer, he just drives the Scania as he normally would.

“Because the axle is self-steering, when I turn it into a corner the trailer follows the prime mover more naturally,” Craig explained. “It will steer itself according to the road, load and cornering forces being encountered. So now we have gone from rather widespread footprint of a traditional tri-axle group to a far smaller tandem group with the steer axle at the rear. This design tends not to chop up the gravel hard stands in farms or driveways.

Photo: Pump and hose equipment service either side of the tanker.

“ The self-steering axle is self-centring too which means its straight-line towing is similar to a traditional tri-axle trailer,” Craig says. “ The steer axle is automatically locked once they reach 30kph and the lock releases once the road speed falls under 25kph. Reversing the unit is also quite simple, the same as reversing a traditional B-double, because there is a solenoid fitted to lock the axle in the straight-ahead position when the unit is put in reverse,” Craig adds. “As an additional measure, there is a manual override switch so I can manually lock the axle in the straight-ahead position if conditions are extremely slippery, such as when it‘s snowing.” Like the Scania R560 the Tieman milk tanker B-double boasts some high-tech features as well, including a revolutionary pumping package and the inclusion of the BPW Trailer Electronic Braking System which offers the Roll Stability Program that talks to the Scania R560 safety systems. The Tieman pumping pack and hydraulic hose reel can be remotely moved to either side of the truck, which makes life far easier for drivers when the entrance to some milking vats demands such flexibility. As the pumping gear has now been placed further forward on the tanker, Tieman has been able to vastly improve their pumping equipment ‘s flow rate. Craig has the enviable task of piloting the Scania R560 and reckons when he first started driving an older Scania R560 a few years ago he felt a bit guilty getting paid to drive it because of how easy and comfortable it was to operate. CRAIG‘S LIVED in the northwest of Tasmania all his life and has been picking up milk for the past decade and a half. He cites the smooth comfortable ride, storage in the cabin, along with the power of the Scania and its road handling, as some of the best attributes from a driver‘s point of view. “ The visibility out of this Scania is really terrific,” Craig says. “ The air-suspension is really smooth too, and the way the cabin is sprung means I don‘t get any nasty jolts; it is a truly remarkable ride.”

Like many in the industry, Kerry says that keeping afloat has to be the number one priority, and adds that moving forward with the times and new technology is the key. “Our drivers are the most important part of our operation,” Kerry says. “ Without their skills and dedication, we wouldn‘t be where we are today. Providing them with a safe and comfortable vehicle like the Scania just makes their daily life a little easier out on the job.”