Striking the right balance

In every aspect of its operations milk transporter BLU Logistics strives for perfection. A long-time purchaser of Byford tankers, the company recently purchased a 26-metre A-double combination featuring compartments that are individually and strategically filled to ensure optimum stability on the road.

BLU Logistics is based at Gympie, roughly a two-hour drive north of Brisbane, and has specialised in food-grade bulk liquid transport for over 50 years. Products carried include milk, food-grade oils, water and wine.

Since 1969, the company has provided logistics services from Brisbane to Mackay and west to Mundubbera, along with northern New South Wales including Casino and Grafton. In 2014 BLU Logistics expanded into South Australia, followed by Victoria and Tasmania. More recently, the company has secured a contract with BOC to transport its Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

The company operates what is ostensibly one of the most professionally run fleets in Australia, with multiple accreditations with the likes of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) and TruckSafe as well as Mass, Maintenance and Fatigue Management.

In keeping with its ultra-high operating standards, BLU Logistics has standardised on Byford tankers for the past 13 years. According to the company’s Managing Director, Tim Jensen, the supreme quality of the product and equally superior after sales service and support are prime reasons for remaining solely with Byford for so many years.

“Byford has looked after us incredibly well,” Tim affirms. “The aftersales support is brilliant and with the very few issues we’ve had they’ve always been there for us no matter how big or small it was.”

According to Tim, Byford is a very progressive company that’s always searching for ways to improve its products to make them safer and more productive. He says the latest 26-m A-double BLU Logistics has purchased is a good case in point.

“Byford has made some quite significant changes with this new combination and in a lot of ways the company is a trailblazer in the tanker industry,” he says.

Tim goes on to explain one such feature – the fact that unlike traditional milk tankers that are comprised simply of one big barrel, the new trailers have individual compartments with the filling of each compartment electronically managed to eliminate the human error factor.

BLU Logistics Truck & Dog Combination loading milk in the Scotsdale Region in Tasmania.

Earlier compartmentalised milk tankers can be problematic because you’re relying on a person to ascertain that a compartment is full and needs to be changed over.

“Typically, most farm milk collection tankers have an overflow in the front compartment so that if the operator doesn’t intervene the milk flows into the next compartment and so on,” Tim says.

“However, with this new A-double a computer controls all the compartment fills and if we’re on a route where, for example, we are allowed 68.5t gross combination mass (GCM) we can program the computer to fill each compartment to the required amount to ensure legal axle group weights across the entire combination.”
This operation can, according to Tim, be done for every route the truck travels, ensuring it is optimally loaded in terms of safety and legality at all times. This takes the responsibility for these criteria away from the driver and lets them focus solely on the task at hand, significantly reducing the margin for error.
On the other side of the coin, there’s also the superior stability that comes from having compartments loaded with precise quantities at any given time observes Tim.

“We have a Performance-Based Standards (PBS) approved truck and five-axle dog combination operating on farm pick up in Tasmania,” he explains. “Byford compartmentalised the dog trailer for us and that means that instead of the milk sloshing around in one big tank, the computer-controlled valving ensures one compartment is filled before it switches to the next compartment.”

Tim has spoken to drivers who have driven tankers without this system in similar combinations and they have told him the difference was like chalk and cheese.

“Over the years the trailers we’ve had rollover were all between half and two thirds full so we know that limiting the amount of moving liquid inside the tank with the use of compartments certainly makes a huge difference to vehicle stability,” he says – adding that the optimum stability is achieved  by loading the centre compartment first, followed by the forward compartments and finally the rearmost compartments.
Tim says that having different compartments for different types of milk is another advantage of the system, although he says this was not a primary reason for investing in the system.

The technology behind the computerised loading and hose reel system Byford uses is another story on its own. Look for it to be covered in a future issue of Trailer Magazine. Stay tuned!

The vehicle is permitted to run with a 63 tonne gross combination mass.