Kelvin Baxter Transport at Berrigan in southern New South Wales has received a Performance-Based Standards aluminium tip-over-axle (TOA) A-double combination from Bulk Transport Equipment (BTE) at Toowoomba.
The combination has been specified to comply with Victoria’s High Productivity Vehicle (HPV) network which requires a minimum of 5.2 metres between each axle group, along with an overall length of 30 metres.
“We were looking for a big increase in payload capacity in Victoria, going from 42 to 44 tonnes on a B-double to 58 to 60 tonnes on the A-double,” said Kelvin Baxter Transport owner Kel Baxter, adding that the Gross Combination Mass (GCM) limit of the A-double is 85 tonnes.
This phenomenal payload capacity is achieved thanks to the step or drop-deck design which maximises payload volume, with the high sides enabling low-density products the company carries like soymeal and cottonseed to be loaded to the top while the higher-density products like wheat or fertiliser may only be loaded half way up the sides to ensure the correct axle weights.
The running gear consists of light tare SAF Intradisc axles with aluminium hangers which Baxter said saves considerable weight on aluminium trailers. The 22.5” rims are also aluminium items and SAF-Holland turntables and landing legs are used throughout.
“If you use steel hangers you need to have a steel subframe bolted to the aluminium tipper body to which the hangers are welded,” said Baxter. “Aluminium hangers can be welded directly onto the aluminium runners of the tipper, which saves considerable weight.”
Ultimate productivity in a transport operation comes from the sum of high payload capacities combined with maximum uptime. Accordingly, Baxter said he utilises auto greasing systems on the prime movers and disc brakes on the trucks and trailers which means there are no requirements for regular greasing and brake adjustments and a monthly check over is all that’s required outside of scheduled servicing every 33,000km.
“We do a lot of component changeouts as part of our scheduled maintenance – alternators, turbos, starter motors, belt tensioners and batteries – it’s far cheaper to change them out once they’ve reached their recommended service life than to have a breakdown due to the failure of a component,” said Baxter, adding that his fleet of 42 prime movers is virtually an all-Kenworth affair with a mix of T909 and T609 conventionals and K200 cab-overs, in addition to a pair of Western Star conventionals.
As for build quality of the BTE A-double, Baxter said he is impressed by the attention to detail in the build. He has known BTE Operations Manager, Scott Arnold, for quite a few years – back to when he was working for other trailer manufacturers – and believes he really knows his stuff when it comes to building top-quality trailers.
“Scott and his wife Marlene are a great team and are doing a magnificent job of running the BTE Toowoomba operation,” said Baxter. “I was very pleased to visit the premises when I picked up the new A-double combination the other day.”