Trailer Magazine

Put to the test

  • From the August 2018 issue.
Put to the test

Based on its lighter weight and solid reputation, R&K Bulk Logistics recently decided to make the switch to SAF-Holland’s Intradisc suspension for its latest order of 10 PBS-approved 30-metre A-double tippers built by Hercules Engineering. With the first few sets now delivered, the bulk carrier is putting them through their paces, travelling across the nation.

Based in Toowoomba, Queensland, R&K Bulk Logistics is run by Russell and Karen Strasburg. Their fleet is comprised of A-doubles, AB triples and road trains, with 20 company owned vehicles and around 20 sub-contractors, travelling all over Australia.

The first of the new A-doubles was delivered earlier this year. To date, seven combinations have already hit the road, with the remaining three being delivered over coming months. They were purchased to replace some of the company’s existing trailer combinations. Operating under Performance-Based Standards (PBS), they can achieve payloads of up to 58 tonne and have a Gross Vehicle Mass of 85 tonnes. “The A-double is a thing of the future,” says Russell. “More and more people are running them in Brisbane, and if we didn’t move towards the A-double, we’d get left behind. The transport industry is really competitive, so it’s important to go with the times.”

The new order was placed through truck and trailer dealer, Brown and Hurley’s Toowoomba branch. “R&K has been an excellent customer of ours since the Toowoomba branch opened in 2009 and has been consistently purchasing Kenworth trucks and Hercules trailers from us since then,” says Richard Lilburne, Trailer Sales Representative from Brown and Hurley Toowoomba.

“We are a trailer dealer for Hercules, Barker and Road West and believe SAF-Holland axles and suspensions are a great product to spec and use when quoting trailers for our customers. The SAF-Holland product has been quite trouble free so far and any minor concerns we’ve had have always been supported very quickly with great back-up service.”

But as Russell reveals, his relationship with the dealer stretches well before the opening of his local branch. He and the Strasburg family have been involved in trucking for many decades. Russell reveals he bought his first when he was still in his teens and began carting livestock.

“My parents began the business about 70 or 80 years ago. Dad started carting pigs and cattle with an old truck. From when I was seven or eight, I would skip school all the time to go out with him. Then at 15 I bought my own truck and went out on my own. Dad needed a hand so I came back again. When Dad passed away, I kept going from there,” recalls Russell.

After a tragic truck accident in 1981, that claimed the life of his brother Wayne, Russell moved away from carting livestock. “When my brother got killed, I saw it, I was right behind him. That was the last time I carted cattle and I swore I would never cart another beast again.”

The same company that owned the abattoirs Russell had been working for also owned a steelworks in Footscray, Victoria. “I called them and said I needed to start carting steel for them. I would cart watermelons on the back of a flat top, hand-packed with straw in between them, down to Victoria and then load steel and cart it up north,” says Russell, who continued to build up the business from there, purchasing his first tippers in 1991.

The latest A-double combination to enter the fleet serves as a special tribute to Russell’s late brother and father, and a celebration of the family’s long history in trucking. The unique Kenworth T900 Legend series prime mover has been air brushed with special livery. “That truck is all about the history of the Strasburgs. It’s painted with Mum and Dad on one side, Karen and I on the other side, and my brother and his wife on the back. The old fella would be happy as Larry being back on the road again, out on the bitumen. It’s unreal when you think about it all,” says Russell.

After being on the road for less than a month, that A-double had already clocked up over 20,000km. “Our trucks don’t stop, they are at it all the time,” adds Russell. “Seven of the new sets are running at the moment, all on the SAF-Holland Intradisc. The suspension on all of the A-doubles has been running excellent so far. We’ve had them all checked and I also got in and had a look myself, and everything is spot on. It’s a really good type of suspension and we have definitely been putting it to the test.”

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