Trailer Magazine

B-double art gallery

  • From the May 2019 issue.
B-double art gallery

Completely refurbishing a B-double tanker, before it’s wrapped in an amazing indigenous artwork, takes attention to detail, along with best practice processes and products, according to PPG.

Few environments on the planet are as harsh on vehicles as the Australian outback. So, when infrastructure company, Fulton Hogan, hatched a plan to wrap one of its B-double tankers with an enormous indigenous artwork, it knew it was going to be a remarkable project in more ways than one. While the aim was to use it as a beacon to promote diversity and inclusion, the rig still needed to perform its regular role, clocking up around 170,000 kilometres per year, hauling loads of bitumen throughout North Queensland, the Northern Territory and even Western Australia.

Balarinji Indigenous Strategy and Design (a Sydney-based, aboriginal owned organisation), was commissioned to design and oversee the installation of the vinyl wrap artwork which tells the story of ‘clan groups who gather by clear fresh water after many days of travel through spinifex and sandhills’. For the all-important task of refurbishing both trailers prior to the installation of the artwork, Fulton Hogan put its trust in a specialist company it has worked with many times, Nathan’s Truck & Trailer Smash Repairs. Located in a state-of-the-art 6000m² facility in the Sydney suburb of Mulgrave, the 40 staff at Nathan’s typical tackle everything from heavy vehicle accident repairs, through to major fleet relivery projects, so this job was right up their alley, according to company Director, Grant Nathan.

“When Fulton Hogan asked if we could help with their showpiece project, of course we said yes,” he says. “Completely refurbishing and repainting trailers like these is the sort of thing we do all the time so our team is very comfortable with this type of work. In this case, we knew that the initial preparation had to be meticulous in every detail to ensure the longevity of the artwork because it was going to be exposed to some pretty severe conditions.”

The first step was to unbolt and strip off virtually everything that could be removed from the chassis in order to allow the best possible access for later operations. All of these parts had to be individually catalogued and taken care of, including cleaning and painting, so they were ready to be refitted at the end of the process. As with a typical job of this type, the entire chassis was then thoroughly bead blasted in order to remove old paintwork, primers, etc and leave a really solid foundation on which to build the new layers of paint.

When it comes to paint, Nathan has a longstanding partnership with global coatings specialist, PPG. As well as taking advantage of PPG’s range of specialised commercial transport products, under the DELFLEET Evolution banner, Nathan’s Truck & Trailer Smash Repairs is also a member of PPG’s region-wide FleetPool group of accredited heavy vehicle repairers and refurbishers.

“Fortunately, there was no prior damage that needed repairing so our technicians were able to jump straight into the painting process”, Nathan says. “We choose to use PPG paints and they also provide our technicians with a full set of step-by-step processes for dealing with any of the different materials used on these vehicles, as well as product training and techniques to ensure we get the very best out of them.

“It was a massive job to mask off the stainless-steel tanks but, once it was done, we could get the trailers into our purpose-built 22 metre spray booth and apply the paint. To give the chassis maximum protection, we started with PPG’s 4949 Delfleet CT Productive Chassis Primer. It’s a great product for us because it gives excellent corrosion resistance over the blasted metal surfaces and there is no need to sand it.

“We also use it in Wet-On-Wet mode which saves time because we can immediately go back and apply the colour coat. In this case, the chassis was done in a standout metallic gold colour which ties in nicely with the indigenous artwork. After baking in our booth to fully cure the paintwork, our team could meticulously reassemble everything. Producing a result that is going to exceed our customer’s expectations is all about having an eye for detail and that is where our technicians really take pride in their workmanship.

“For instance, when reassembling, it’s about ensuring all the right nuts, bolts and fasteners are replaced in their original places and there is no overspray anywhere. We want to return each job to the customer looking like it just rolled out of the factory. We have a great relationship with Fulton Hogan and we are really pleased they trusted us with a project that was so special to them. It’s an amazing result and we are proud to have been involved.”

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