Rather than venture down the standard six-axle dog and 6×4 truck path, Piave Concrete has gone its own way with its latest combination – a five-axle Bulk Transport Equipment (BTE) dog towed by an 8×4 Kenworth T909.
The end result is a similar payload capacity and, arguably, an ultimately safer, more balanced combination due to a closer parity in payload distribution between truck and trailer. Somewhat less of the tail wagging the dog, so to speak.
“We decided to go this way because we felt that with the six-axle dog there was considerably more weight in the trailer compared to the truck,” said Piave Concrete General Manager, Maurice Moffa. “We wanted to get more weight up front while still carrying the maximum payload.
“Years ago, when I first started in the industry, the truck had to be heavier than the trailer but with Performance-Based Standards (PBS) including all the latest technology like electronic braking and stability systems the opposite is now common – the trailer payloads are getting bigger and the truck payloads are remaining the same.”
Moffa said the decision to run the combination was not taken lightly, and he said it is actually more cost effective to put a 6×4 truck and six-axle dog trailer on the road, but the company decided to run with the 8×4 and five-axle dog in the interests of having a closer payload ratio between the two vehicles in the combination.
Interestingly, the lazy axle on the T909 is not an aftermarket addendum; this truck was actually the first Kenworth to have the extra axle factory-fitted during its assembly on the production line at Bayswater. If it proves its worth Moffa said he will likely be ordering more trucks with this specification in the future.
“It’s a Hendrickson lift axle – we started looking at this concept around 18 months ago,” said Moffa. “The engineers from Hendrickson came out to our depot at Port Melbourne and also to a couple of the quarries that we cart from so they could ascertain that the air suspended lazy axle would suit our operations.
“A lot of work went into making sure it would be suitable and we are very happy with the way it works at this stage,” he said. “We will definitely be looking at adding more trucks with the lazy axle in the future as the older ones come up for replacement.”
As for payload capacity, Moffa said he is well pleased with the 47.5 tonnes of product he can load into the combination which has a Gross Combination Mass (GCM) of 68.5 tonnes.
This is the third BTE five-axle dog the company has purchased and Moffa said the quality of build is right up there, making it feasible to operate each trailer for a lifespan of around 10 years.
The latest unit has BPW Transpec drum brake axles and is mainly used to haul raw materials including sand and gravel to Piave Concrete’s batching plant at Port Melbourne.