Trailer Magazine

Stronger and lighter

  • From the February 2019 issue.
Stronger and lighter

Bruce Rock Engineering in Western Australia is renowned for producing trailers that are exceptionally durable yet relatively light. Exclusive use of Alcoa Ultra ONE forged aluminium wheels assists on both counts.

Founded in 1980 at Bruce Rock, a Western Australian wheat-belt town, Bruce Rock Engineering (BRE) has steadily grown alongside its customer base to the point where it is now a truly national trailer builder, supplier and repairer.

The company has three state-of-the-art engineering facilities in Western Australia, with large purpose-built manufacturing workshops in Bruce Rock and Forrestfield, the latter located in Perth’s transport and logistics hub.
BRE also has a Port Hedland workshop which is claimed to support the highest concentration of mine haulage road trains in the country.

Nationwide support is delivered through a network of sales, service and maintenance partners in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Newcastle, and Rockhampton.

BRE manufactures a wide range of purpose-built trailing equipment including end tippers, side tippers, dollies, flat tops, drop decks and skeletal trailers.

Also in the portfolio are US-built Etnyre Falcon Live Bottom trailers and Wabash National products including temperature controlled and dry freight reefers.

The company was founded by Mike and Gay Verhoogt who retired some years back, placing management of the operations in the capable hands of one of their sons, Damion Verhoogt.

Damion developed a keen interest in engineering, transport and the family business from an early age. He is a fully qualified boilermaker/ fabricator and holds an Associate Diploma in Mechanical Engineering.

He joined BRE in 2003 as Workshop Manager, having previously worked in the stainless-steel pump and fabrication industry as well as on land-based and offshore oil and gas projects. He took on the role of Managing Director upon the retirement of Mike and Gay.

Meanwhile, Damion’s brother Keenan Verhoogt joined BRE in 2013 and manages the mechanical side of the business as well as its subsidiary, Bruce Rock Tyres. He completed his apprenticeship with MacMahon contractors as a heavy-duty diesel mechanic in 2010.

A highly experienced mechanic, Keenan has spent most of his career in the Pilbara region working at various large mining projects, most recently as a maintenance supervisor.

Speaking with Damion, the dedication he has for the family business and the road transport industry in general is clearly evident.

He describes the exclusive use of Alcoa wheels, specifically the latest Ultra ONE wheel, as part of the company’s ongoing strategy to offer its customers the benefits of ultimate durability with the lowest possible tare weight.
“Around 10 years ago we started fitting Alcoa wheels as standard equipment on the trailers we manufacture and we’ve been doing so ever since,” Damion remarks.

“We changed over to the Ultra ONE wheel when it was released in 2013 and it has proven every bit as strong while being significantly lighter than the earlier versions.

“We use them on everything from general freight to grain tippers and side tippers to 60-metre long Performance Based Standards (PBS)-approved super-quad road trains for on- and off-road applications,” he adds. “These vehicles are operating in some of the harshest conditions on Earth.

“The reason we have stuck with Alcoa wheels is two-fold: We are a quality manufacturer so we only fit quality equipment,” he says. “Alcoa Wheels are the pinnacle, there’s simply nothing better.

“And the other factor is tare weight. Our business is built around providing light and strong equipment which is exactly what the Ultra ONE wheel is – light and strong.”

Keys to the strength of Ultra ONE wheel is the MagnaForce® alloy it’s made from and the hot forged process used to form it.  MagnaForce® Alloy, developed and Patented by Arconic Wheel Products (distributor of Alcoa Wheels) is on average 17 per cent stronger than the industry standard – 6061 alloy – when used in similar applications.

The increased strength of MagnaForce® allows for a reduction in the overall weight without compromising on the strength and durability of the wheel.

In fact, according to Arconic, at 18.5kg the 22.5 x 8.25-inch Ultra ONE wheel is around ten percent lighter than its previous equivalent aluminium wheel with the same 3355kg load rating.

On a trailer set such as the aforementioned 60-metre super-quad road train built by BRE, this adds up to a substantial 256kg of weight saving.

Over the course of a year that means a lot of extra payload capacity for operators of these types of vehicles.

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