The Road Science accelerated replacement programme for its fleet of tanker trailers had two key objectives:
Paramount to the success of this project was the need for the tankers to be split into two singles so they could be towed legally on any sub roads.
With the average age of the existing trailers being about 25 years, and the oldest being 35 years old, repair and maintenance costs were going through the roof. Road Science needed an upgrade, but they also needed a solution that could be used for the HPMV network and with the current kilometers not being enough to justify new equipment.
“Our biggest challenge was working within a tight time-frame to find a solution that would both enhance daily productivity and increase safety. We worked with multiple stakeholders and managed to have the first of the new trailers on the road in less than 1twelve months from the initial meeting - all within budget.” Mike Colbert - Downer Fleet and Plant Asset
There was an extensive consultative, design and build process between Road Science, Downer Fleet and Plant, and its carrier partners (Tranzliquid, McEwan Haulage and Freight Haulage), Tieman Tankers of Australia, and Total Transport Engineers.
Total Transport Engineers designed not only a sub-road compliant trailer but one that has increased productivity by fifty percent and improved safety for our workers. The trailers are fitted with the equipment selected and managed by Road Science. Soap dispensers and hand-washing water are available in case of hazards, as is a shower on either side of the tanks for precautionary measures. The combination is a heavier mass, but the payload gain means increased productivity. Road Science can now split into 30 tonnes and still gain on standard legal limits for smaller deliveries.
“As it stands now, the vehicles can be configured as HPMV B-trains and then can go back to the standard VDAM rule. So, traveling to two destinations with one B-train unit, one tanker can be dropped off to be drained while the driver takes the other to the next job - Working on 57 tonnes per B-train unit sees payload max out at about 30 tonnes (about 15,000 litres per tank). Most of the old units carried 20 tonnes max.” Craig Gordon, Total Transport Engineers.
Additionally, the new builds incorporate features that improve operational safety and reduce time spent on maintenance. The axle and suspension assemblies and tyre pressure management system have been fitted to increase the life of the tyres and reduce tyre maintenance. The TIREMAAX system keeps the trailer's tyres at a consistent pressure and temperature – it means sealing crews are not delayed and tyre repairs can be done after the delivery should a tyre need to be repaired. Operationally, a great example is the automatic valve mechanism on top of the tanks means there is much less working at height involved for the driver, who no longer must open the lids to vent the tanks when pumping. All units are fitted with reversing cameras and driveaway protection, which locks the brakes when a hose is hooked up so the rig can’t be moved, in a similar vein to fuel tankers.
The successful replacement program means a safer, simplified system with added features that make the job easier for the Road Science team.