Pushing boundaries

Working in the commercial road transport industry since 1990, Dickson Road Transport (DRT) has remained a strong focus on maintaining an innovative edge. That’s why the Western Australian, Gidgegannup-based company has now added an O.ME.P.S by Tieman aluminium AB-triple dry bulk road train to its fleet.

When DRT’s Norm Dickson was looking for a lightweight, yet robust tanker to keep abreast of WA’s growing freight task, he did not hesitate to call on Australia’s tanker expert Tieman after he had seen an aluminium tanker bearing the acquainted logo.

Located 40km northeast of Perth, DRT specialises in carting dry powdered cement. Starting off as a classic one-man-business, the company has grown into one of WA’s premier dry bulk transportation specialists operating a fleet of  22 tankers and five trucks. Today, DRT mainly focuses on cement transportation in Australia’s harsh West and the vast Goldfields-Esperance region.

The new O.ME.P.S by Tieman AB triple road train is the company’s first ever aluminium combination – and the first time dealing with Tieman as well. “When I first saw an aluminium tanker, I knew that this was the future,” says Norm. “I like to be innovative and push boundaries, that’s why we went for the aluminium version over the classic, but heavier steel design.

“Compared to my heavy steel tankers, the AB–triple can not only provide a significant tare weight and payload advantage of approximately 7 tonne per trip – it also looks great. The entire fuel transport industry already operates aluminium tankers in ‘off road’ conditions to achieve maximum payload, and it’s only a matter of time before the dry bulk industry does the same. The payload advantages over the operating life of the new tankers are just too significant not to consider.”

“On its maiden journey, we used the two dog trailers in a 27.5m pocket road train combination and we were extremely happy with the extra payload,” he adds. “But, the discharge time simply blew us away. Discharging two tankers with general purpose (GP) cement only took one hour total, that’s half the time than any other tanker we have in our fleet.”

In December, the new 36.5m AB triple road train arrived , ready to boost DRT’s productivity. Custom designed to cater for the dry bulk business; the tri-axle lead trailer has a maximum capacity of 28m3 in one compartment, whilst the two tri-axle dog trailers  are 43m3 in capacity.

All tankers are based on a solid steel fabricated suspension sub frame, bolted to thick aluminium bottom extrusions. “We have to deal with an increasing workload, and due to their known reliability, O.ME.P.S by Tieman’s aluminium tankers will help us cope with it,” Norm explains. “Western Australia has some very rough roads; but the combination has the quality and flexibility to handle the task effortlessly.

Based on a lightweight 5mm aluminium alloy shell including torispherical 8mm ends, it is able to discharge freight through a combination of circular and world patented, oval shaped cones at the bottom, controlled by an AKO pinch valve. All tankers operate with aeration cloths to maximise discharge rates.

To Norm, however, the safety equipment of the combination is a highlight, too. “We try to ensure a safe operation from an OH&S point of view and that’s one of the reasons why we went for Tieman,” says Norm. “For instance, the road train combination features an aluminium catwalk running full length of the barrel on the driver’s side.”

In addition, the new O.ME.P.S solution is equipped with a collapsible safety rail that is pneumatically operated and connected to the braking system to make working on the vehicle as safe as possible. “Also included is side impact protection,” says Norm.

Since the road network is rough in Australia’s West, Norm has chosen BPW’s OM heavy duty ‘off road’ airbag suspension in combination with BPW axles and a drum brake system. “We do a fair bit of off-road work,” says Norm. “That’s why it’s all built to a heavy-duty spec, and I’m confident that it will stand up to the task. Tieman have added their expertise into the design by adding semi-oscillating skid plates which reduce stress on the barrels when working in ‘off  road’ conditions.

However, according to Norm, it is not only safety equipment and performance data that comes into account when considering a new tanker, but also back up service. “When you are out in WA, it is a long way to go to get repair work done. Therefore it is imperative that the manufacturer has a strong support network,” he explains. “At the end of the day, Tieman provides both high quality equipment and great after sales service with their local people on the ground here.”

“Plus, the trailer is simply good-looking. Appearance and quality of finish, in particularly the weld and sheet join finish, play a key role in promoting our business, and O.ME.P.S by Tieman can certainly tick that box. Their finished paint work is exceptional and the polished stainless steel airlines are a standard feature that also looks great.”

As a result, DRT is considering replacing their aged heavy steel units with O.ME.P.S by Tieman-built combinations as well. “We will certainly consider the O.ME.P.S by Tieman brand again, and more than likely we will stick to the AB-triple layout,” he says. “They’re quite large for our line of work already, and in combination with the build quality and better payloads, they will give our business a real competitive advantage. ”

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