Trailer Magazine

‘Steel’ing the show

  • From the April 2020 issue.
‘Steel’ing the show

Through clever engineering and highly functional design, Palfinger Australia and Truck Centre WA have pioneered a game-changing solution for steel transport business, BJW Transport, transforming its day-to-day operations.

A little over a year ago, BJW Transport founder and owner Brian Wallis and his son Ben came to Truck Centre WA seeking a solution.
The company, which was started in 1994, carts reinforced steel bars and steel mesh throughout metropolitan Perth for InfraBuild. BJW Transport operates 10 trucks (eight of which are fitted with cranes) and all of the trucks are interchangeable with the fleet of almost 20 trailers – but none of the existing cranes were capable of lifting these heavy steel bundles.

“We used to use a smaller crane, and our customer would have to split the 2.2 tonne bundles into 700kg bundles, which was such an inconvenience. We needed a crane that could pick up 2.2 tonne at the rear of the trailer, so the people we work for didn’t have to split the packs,” says Brian.

That’s where the Palfinger PK 41002 EH stepped in. With a lifting capacity of 2.2 tonne at 14 metres, it was an ideal fit for the task at hand, though Brian required more than that. After being told by others that what he had hoped for couldn’t be done, he turned to Truck Centre WA, and Palfinger Australia together with its WA service partner ROPS Australia.

“It was a challenging build,” reveals Josh Haggerty, Area Manager at Truck Centre WA. “When Ben & Brian called to discuss the potential build, they wanted to fit the largest possible crane they could onto a new Volvo FH 8x4 prime mover – but the truck still had to be able to operate as one of their normal day to day prime movers. To accommodate such a large crane on a prime mover a larger subframe and rear stabiliser legs were required on the truck, and that’s where the challenges started. Brian needed to be able to interchange the new prime mover with all of the existing trucks and trailers in their fleet without any modifications. We also had to ensure the axle weights and lengths were all compliant on the new build as well.”

Truck Centre WA worked closely with Palfinger Australia to make it all happen. The Palfinger PK 41002 EH was identified as the largest crane that could be installed, without affecting the vehicle’s ability to operate as a regular prime mover out on the road. To date, the PK 41002 EH is one of the biggest cranes Truck Centre WA has ever fitted onto a prime mover.

“Normally in this sort of situation, the trailers would need to be customised to suit the truck,” says Brian. “Truck Centre WA and Palfinger Australia were the only ones that could get everything done on the truck so we could use it on any trailer. We have 19 of our own trailers but at peak periods we can have up to 50 trailers on hire, so it was important to be able to hook this truck onto any trailer. There was a lot of planning that went into the design, but the end result is just perfect. I’ve been in the steel industry a long time so I knew exactly what I wanted – and they were able to deliver.”

For Brian, the project was all about providing the highest levels of customer service to his client InfraBuild. “Now, they don’t have to pay their staff to split the bundles and when our driver goes to do a pick-up, they’re only there for half the time, so it’s a win-win for everyone. The truck can do an extra load a day because it’s so much quicker to unload, and obviously it helps keep our client’s customers happy to, because we don’t need to be on site for as long during deliveries. An extra load a day means the level of customer service we can offer is much improved,” he says.

“For Truck Centre WA to win the deal with BJW Transport, Palfinger Australia had to be open to modified design plans, as trailer pitch & swing clearance were the main concerns to ensure the truck was able to get onto their job sites.”

By thinking outside the box, Palfinger Australia and ROPS Australia have developed a clever solution, that’s resulting in huge efficiency gains for BJW Transport.

(Image L-R: Josh of Truck Centre WA, Brian Wallis and Ben Wallis of BJW Transport.) 

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