Trailer Magazine

The tanker trend

  • From the August 2017 issue.
The tanker trend

When Eddie Machin wanted to buy his first road tanker in the 80s, he was told the transport task was 'only a fad'. Over 30 years later, his work in the field is still growing, prompting the purchase of a new Byford Equipment 26m A-double.

Sydney-based Machin Transport has taken delivery of one of the largest PBS-approved liquid tankers, a Performance Based Standards (PBS) approved 26m A-double from Byford Equipment. More than just a new tanker to join the fleet, the latest purchase is proof that Owner, Eddie Machin, had the right idea when he first took on the tanker transport task in the mid 80s.

"I joined my father in our family's general freight business around 45 years ago, and we did such a reliable job carting cordial that the client offered us more work," Eddie recalls. "From there, it progressed to transporting soft drink and we started making a name for ourselves in that space.  “I decided I wouldn't mind getting in on the action in the growing water transport market."

Though his colleagues at the time advise that the work in running tankers was 'only a fad' that wouldn’t provide enough work to keep afloat, Eddie followed his instincts anyway. Now, 33 years later, Machin Transport is still going strong, boasting a fleet of water tankers that has recently grown with the latest delivery from Moama-based Byford Equipment. "We just got our first ever 26m A-double a few months ago, and we are extremely happy with it so far," Eddie says.

The combination is approved under Australia's high productivity PBS scheme and boasts a 74.5 tonne gross vehicle mass GVM, which is one of the largest PBS-approved liquid tankers available on the market, says Eddie. "We fill the tanker with up to 51,000 litres of water, and run both North and South of  Sydney six  times a day," he says. "We're getting significantly more water on every trip, which is a big productivity gain."

Though the 26m A-double is  slightly longer than a standard B-double, Eddie says the combination's manoeuvrability is actually much better thanks to the BPW steerable axles on both the A and B tankers and a steerable tandem dolly that connects the two tankers. "It's amazing how the rear tanker tracks closer to the front of the combination than a B-double, which can hang out over a meter from the lead," Eddie says.

Adding to the ease of manoeuvrability, the steer axles lock over 30km/h and unlock below 25km/h, reducing axle wear when locked and tyre wear and swept path when unlocked. Plus, the BPW suspension and disc brake set up make the driver's job more comfortable, Eddie notes. "It's early days but we are finding them a little better than others in terms of comfort in the ride," he says.

Though the PBS scheme can be complicated and provides a number of 'hoops to jump through', as Eddie puts it, he says the cost saving from the improved productivity make it all worth it. "You forget the hard parts when you see the extra litres of water delivered on every trip. The cost savings definitely make it worthwhile," Eddie says. "Byford was really helpful with the approvals process, too."

Eddie says his son, Machin Transport Manager, Daniel Machin, worked together with Byford to get the tanker combination approved under the PBS scheme – something that has become a familiar process for the tanker manufacturer. "They're experienced and genuine people, and when they say they're going to do something, they do it," Eddie explains.

Having built tankers under the PBS scheme since its introduction in 2006, Byford has developed expertise in the scheme, counting its 20 and 21m B-doubles, 20m and 21.6 AB-doubles, and 26m A-double combinations among its greatest accomplishments. With every new achievement, though, Byford moves on to the next development – with a unique design currently underway for Machin Transport.

"It's still in development, so I can't say too much about it yet," Eddie teases. "What I can say is that it will increase our productivity on this route by upwards of 50 per cent if Byford can figure out how to make it work."

Eddie says that if any tanker manufacturer could find a way to make such a substantial engineering feat, it would be Byford Engineering. "Byford's word is gospel," he says. "We never thought we'd be carrying water, but now we're running the biggest tankers possible on the roads – so far at least – and we wouldn’t be here without Byford."

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