Trailer Magazine

Less is more

  • From the October 2018 issue.
Less is more

Countering the challenge of tight access in suburban service stations, K&S Corporation has commissioned a number of Marshall Lethlean 23-metre B-double tankers featuring self-steering rear axles on both trailers.

Productivity gains is the catchcry of the modern road transport industry, it’s all about finding better ways to do the job using the latest technology and trailer building know-how.

The very nature of delivering fuel means tight access into small suburban service stations is an everyday occurrence. Therefore, finding a way to make this operation easier is sure to improve productivity and efficiency in the operation.

This is certainly the case with transport and logistics group, K&S Corporation, and its recent trailer acquisition comprising a number of Marshall Lethlean 23-metre B-double sets, with the first unit delivered six months ago. By all accounts the new shorter combinations will eventually replace many of the company’s 19- and 20-metre B-doubles as well as longer 25- and 26-metre units. The new units are seeing service in the three eastern states at present. Interestingly, they are not Performance-Based Standards (PBS) prescribed meaning they can operate on any standard B-double route.

The 23-metre combinations have four-compartment front and five-compartment rear barrels measuring 8.24 and 9.64 metres respectively with respective capacities of 30,000 and 39,600 litres. This gives payloads in excess of 56,000 and 64,500 litres for diesel fuel and motor spirit respectively.
According to Rob Douglas, National Equipment Manager at K&S Freighters, the decision to go with the new tankers has brought many benefits.

“The new 23-metre units carry more payload than the 26-metre sets with as good or even better access than a 20-metre B-double,” Rob explains. “Our drivers tell us that the way the new units track is second to none. They confirm they can get these into service stations that would be impossible to access with 25- or 26-metre B-doubles, while carrying more payload.”
The B-doubles are tri-tri with self-steering rear axles on both units, which serve to dramatically reduce the swept path of the combination, a major asset for fuel delivery operations.

Other safety and productivity features include a full complement of alloy wheels and disc brakes partnered with Wabco EBS with tell-tale lights to show the driver that the system is working correctly.

“We designed the light system in conjunction with Wabco about 18 months ago and it’s now standard fitment for us,” Rob reveals.

There are also fifth wheels and two-speed landing legs supplied by JOST, with the former featuring the safety benefits of colour coded release handles which provide a visual warning if the jaws aren’t locked and a safety chain that can’t be installed unless jaw lock has occurred.

As for the reason for choosing Marshall Lethlean tankers, Rob says the company has a reputation for producing quality tankers in the marketplace and K&S has been buying its products for at least the last 26 years.

“I’ve been with the company for 26 years and we’ve been using Marshall Lethlean tankers all that time,” he confirms.

“We’ve bought a lot of aluminium and stainless steel tankers from them, particularly in the last few years. As far as I’m aware they are the only ones producing the 23-metre B-double tanker configuration.

“The thing that really sets these trailers apart from others is the self-steering axles and the amazing access due to the reduced swept path they are able to achieve,” Rob reiterates. “They are very unique in that they don’t require anywhere near the same room as a normal B-double to manoeuvre.”
The self-steering axles lock in the straight position when reverse is selected meaning they back in the same manner as a regular B-double.

According to Rob, the extra moving parts on the axles don’t pose an issue as the company has strictly monitored service regimes, which are mostly done in-house.

“As long as they are greased and inspected regularly you don’t have an issue,” he says. “For a while now we’ve had super B-doubles running around with steerable axles grossing in excess of 117 tonnes and they’re working fine.”

It was Marshall Lethlean’s National Sales Manager, Richard Antczak, who suggested K&S try the new 23-metre combination after the company initially enquired about 20-metre tri-bogie combinations.

“We have a really close relationship with Richard and the team at Marshall Lethlean,” Rob says. “When they came to us with the 23-metre B-double concept it just made sense to us. We saw it as a win-win. Not only could we carry the same or even greater payloads than a 25-metre B-double, we could access the tight premises that you wouldn’t dream of taking a full size B-double.”

Fast Fact
Self-steering trailer axles are widely used in Europe but have struggled to find acceptance in the Australian market. K&S Freighters is using this technology on 23-metre Marshall Lethlean B-double tankers to vastly improve access to tight service stations.

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