Trailer Magazine

Linked by success

  • From the March 2018 issue.
Linked by success

To enhance its fleet for optimal operator safety and productivity, earthmoving business, Eastern Plant Hire, turned to Italian tow coupling specialist, V.Orlandi.

Safety is one of the most important aspects of working around trucks and semi-trailers, and the civil earthworks industry, in particular, has changed to reflect that, according to Michael Wilson, Managing Director of Victorian civil earthworks firm, Eastern Plant Hire (EPH).

“To maintain a competitive advantage, EPH frequently invests in new road transport equipment and heavy machinery, paying close attention to the latest trends in trailer building.” Michael says – explaining that tow couplings, in particular, are an important component of its trailer builds.

In line with the business’ goal of improving operator safety, Michael says that EPH upgraded close to 40 of its trailer combinations with the V.Orlandi E550 50mm coupling, which also features an air-operated system and jack-knife indicator. He adds that the coupling has a fully automated opening system that eliminates the need for manual operation, promoting smarter workplace safety.

“We don’t want to have a situation where a trailer disconnects from the truck,” Michael says – adding that the automated feature is safer to use because manually operated systems have the potential to be disrupted by someone else while the vehicle operator is unaware.
EPH sees the recent tow coupling upgrade as a significant fleet investment, according to EPH’s Fleet Manager, Ben Paganoni. He says the durability of the V.Orlandi E550 50mm coupling, combined with a retrofitted smart kit, prevents A-frame damage caused by jack-knifing.

“There’s a light and a buzzer inside the dash, so as the driver is backing up and the drawbar comes around, the buzzer goes off and a red light pops up on the dash to indicate they’re at 90-degree angles,” Ben says. “This feature mitigates the risk of damaging the trailer combination. The jack-knife alarm is why we decided to start using it, but now we’ve found that they’re lasting much longer than any other coupling we’ve had. Instead of replacing the eyelet every eight to 12 months, we’ve gotten nearly two years out of them.”

EPH has multiple clients across the entire east coast of Australia. The fleet will go where the infrastructure work will take them, leading to multiple projects working on Victoria’s level-crossing removal works, the Pacific Highway, the Logan Motorway, and the Monash Freeway.

“The couplings haven’t failed on us, which means the trucks arrive when the customers order them,” Michael says. “They’re easy and quick to service.

“We don’t turn our trucks over every two or three years, we generally hang onto them for at least five years, and over that five-year period, the additional cost upfront is washed out by the savings that you get along the way.”

EPH’s brand has been built upon dedicated service to understanding the customers’ needs since 1996. To make sure they can provide that, Michael says they rely on “quality equipment; an impeccable safety record; good supply options for our customers in terms of supply and disposal of material; and generally providing good service.”

The V.Orlandi E550 50mm couplings are rated for Performance-Based Standards (PBS) approved applications with an excellent D-Value (see breakout box) and are ideal for materials handling freight tasks such as rock, clay and soil cartage.

“A lot of our work is going towards tonnage,” Michael says. “Our customers are paying us per tonne, so it’s obviously significant for us to provide equipment with lighter tare weight, and the E550 has been perfect for us because of that.”

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