Trailer Magazine

Innovative solution

  • From the July 2018 issue.
Innovative solution

Seeking a unique concept that would offer a better turning circle and reduced tyre wear, Matthews Quarries turned to Hercules Engineering, which worked together with SAF-Holland to create an innovative SAF five-axle dog trailer.

Delivered in May, the new five-axle dog trailer incorporates SAF Intradisc suspension and a SAF steerable axle on the rear of the trailer. The latest addition joins a fleet of seven vehicles which are used to tow the company’s five-axle, quad-axle and tri-axle trailers. Operating under Performance-Based Standards (PBS), the new unit will able to achieve payloads of up to 43.1 tonnes.

Along with its rear steerable axle, the new five-axle dog trailer also incorporates an axle lift on the front axle of the rear tri group. This automatically raises when unloaded, and lowers once the trailer is loaded, further assisting in reducing tyre wear.

Based in Victoria’s Gippsland region, Matthews Quarries is a family business that is owned and operated by brothers Robert and Graeme Matthews. It was originally started by their father Keith in 1980 and has experienced continued growth. The company now operates a high production basalt quarry, as well as a sand pit, carting rock and sand up to 300km away. Matthews Quarries also has long-term contracts in place to supply gravel to the new highways being built throughout Gippsland.

Robert says the business has been dealing with Hercules since the very beginning. “We have bought a lot of gear from Hercules over the years – we have probably purchased close to 30 trailers from them. The warranty has been excellent and they are very obliging. If we come up with some idea, they are happy to work with us – nothing is ever a problem. We worked closely with Hercules when PBS first came in and were one of the first transport operators in Victoria to take advantage of PBS.”

Kevin Wright of Hercules says that the latest unit for Matthews Quarries is the first dog trailer built by the manufacturer that incorporates a steerable rear axle. “Graeme came to us and asked if it would be feasible to build this sort of trailer for the type of work he has to do. Some of the areas he needs to get into are quite difficult, so this assists with the turning  From a trailer manufacturing point of view, Kevin says SAF Intradisc is an easy axle and suspension system to work with and fit to the trailers’ chassis. “We’ve been getting very good feedback on all SAF products at the moment. In quarry and off-road, it’s very reliable and I think it is one of the best around. Over the last couple of years working with SAF has been really good. The relationship has grown and they look after us and our customers quite well.”

Matthews Quarries made the switch to SAF Intradisc suspension a few years ago, and now all of the trailers in the fleet are fitted with the product. Robert says that he and Graeme decided to make the switch to SAF because of the way the brake
boosters operate through the suspension. “This means they are protected and don’t get hit during unloading. That was main the reason we went to them in the first place and the system has worked well so we have kept on using it. Not much has ever gone wrong, but when we have needed support, they’ve backed up their service really well too,” adds Robert.

Given the sort of work Matthews Quarries is involved in, its trailers regularly travel in tough conditions, including off-road and travelling up mountain roads to access its quarries.

It is hoped that navigating through this sort of rough terrain will be made even easier thanks to the steerable axle applied to the new five-axle dog.

“It will make it easier to get around because we don’t have to go so wide. It will make it easier at roundabouts too because the dog trailer can just track and follow you,” Robert says.“We are hoping it will aid with tyre wear too, which will save money in the long run. If this works as well as we hope it does, we’ll definitely consider adding this concept to more trailers in
the future.”

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