Trailer Magazine

Smedley’s helps deliver complex PBS combo

  • From the December 2015 issue.
Smedley’s helps deliver complex PBS combo

To obtain maximum benefits from the often-complex Performance Based Standards scheme for a unique design opportunity, IOR Petroleum called on the expertise of Smedley’s Engineers.

The Performance-Based Standards (PBS) scheme is providing Australian fleets the opportunity to undertake tasks with unique, highly productive combinations that were previously not possible to operate on public roads – but it takes an intimate understanding of the system to be able to maximise its potential. With that in mind, when an opportunity arose to create a fuel tanker unlike anything it had used before, Glenn Baird, Project Manager at Brisbane-based IOR Petroleum, sought the expert advice of PBS consultant, Rob Smedley, Chief Executive of the recently re-formed Smedley’s Engineers business out of Sydney and Melbourne.

“IOR Petroleum has its own oil refinery and a network of over 65 unmanned diesel stops in the country. For one of our routes, we take diesel from Brisbane to fuel stops in remote and regional QLD, then use the same vehicles to bring different products back from IOR’s Eromanga refinery,” Glenn begins. “We started working on the concept in 2013. Our relationship with Robert Smedley commenced at the same time, while he was still working at Transport and Main Roads QLD (TMR). Rob was able to explain the scheme and ensure we optimised length, mass and overall design to maximise productivity.”

The concept evolved to result in what is one of the most innovative PBS combinations developed in Australia to date: a 39.9m AB-triple that can be split and recombined where access requires. For the trip from Brisbane to Toowoomba, it takes the form of a single tanker and a B-double, then west from Toowoomba it combines into an AB-triple, while a second prime mover takes on local deliveries until the AB-triple returns from the refinery.

By replacing shorter AB-triples, a standard semi and “a lot of B-doubles” with the single combination, Glenn says the fuel haulage specialist has experienced a reduction in truck movements by 22 per cent, and has cut truck kilometres travelled by a whopping 42 per cent. “It makes a significant difference to be able to do the work of two combinations with just the one,” Glenn says. "The 26m B-doubles alone give us over 10 per cent productivity improvement replacing the standard B-doubles we were previously using.”

Manufactured by Holmwood Highgate in Loganholme, the combination achieves a GVM of 118 tonnes at Higher Mass Limits (HML) and is part of an almost entirely Holmwood-made fleet. “We stick with Holmwood because in our regional operations there is significant dirt running, and the durability of the design and the equipment makes it well suited for where and how we operate,” Glenn says. “We all worked together to bring the combination from concept to reality. There were a number of things that Smedley’s took care of for us by liaising directly with Holmwood. NHVR’s PBS team also provided valuable, on-going technical and administrative assistance throughout so it was pretty seamless, really.”

IOR had been involved in PBS designs before, including its first truck and dog, but the diversity of the products being transported in the tankers on the Brisbane to Eromanga route presented a new set of challenges to solve – mostly from an access point of view. “We had to work hard through the process to gain approval, and Smedley’s advice as our certifier was beyond helpful there,” Glenn says.

As a result of close collaboration with the NHVR Access team and the road authority (TMR) during the access application process, the unique IOR combination has been given approval to run under trial on a part of the road network that wasn’t previously permitted. “Our AB-triple is longer than currently allowed on the road between Toowoomba and Roma. The PBS process provided quantitative reporting that demonstrated to TMR that the vehicle performance would match PBS Level 3 (or Type 1 Road Train) characteristics. On that basis, TMR were prepared to provide IOR the opportunity to operate the vehicle to provide learnings for both of us,” says Glenn.

“Making the most of PBS has been a case of working very closely with Smedley’s as well as the NHVR and various authorities such as TMR to ensure we interpreted the scheme the correct way, and could articulate why our PBS application should be considered and approved.”

To maximise the opportunities of the scheme, Glenn says consulting with experts like Smedley’s is vital in comprehending the complexity of PBS. “That has been a real benefit of our journey with Smedley’s: now we can see where PBS delivers clear benefits, so we can make an informed decision on how to maximise the advantages with each design.”

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