With a major waste transport task to tackle, Perth based specialist logistics provider KTrans, turned to performance-based standards for an innovative take on the roadtrain double. Teaming up with Volvo Trucks and opting for I-Shift with crawler gears has boosted KTrans’ ability to challenge the status quo, working with local government, Main Roads and manufacturers has provided an innovative solution with productivity gains.
Three years ago, KTrans, conceived of a unique solution for transporting commercial and industrial waste for Cleanaway. The task involves, for the best part, a journey of two hours, from a suburban waste transfer station in Perth to a landfill site in the Southwest and back, with a trailer changeover in between.
Prior to this, the project involved C&I waste being moved out of their Metro Transfer Station in end tippers.
According to KTrans joint owner Craig Jolly, the company put forth the idea of using ejection trailers, as they not only withstood the high compaction forces in waste transfer station applications but increased the volume on each of the loads.
“The idea was about maximising the payload we could move,” he says. “Once we had agreed with the client that this was our preferred option the next step was to engage with a PBS assessor and to go through the process of completing a full PBS assessment.”
It proved to be a compelling solution, as each trailer holds around 430 kg per cubic metre.
Bound for a landfill site where the soft surface provides challenges, especially following rainfall, KTrans determined a Volvo FH16 600hp with crawler gears, was the best truck for the task at hand.
The demanding and repetitive work covers 900 kilometres per day in high gear at a gross weight of 98.5 tonnes, yet also involves accessing the boggy landfill site with its steep tracks – a challenge for any heavy vehicle.
The Volvo FH16s, according to Danny Carroll KTrans Operations Manager, have delivered on all fronts, providing great flexibility given the five vehicles employed on the run make the round trips twice daily and the landfill site requires deft handling.
“We needed to deliver an efficient, streamlined solution for the customer that surpassed what was on offer at the time,” he says. “Finding the right balance in the application to see those gains in productivity meant sitting down with the assessors to engineer the specifications that would help us realise it.”
Tiger Spider, a transport engineering consultancy that specialises in heavy commercial and high productivity freight vehicles, was approached by KTrans to take over the process of achieving accreditation for performance-based standards (PBS).
One of the first points of order was to confer with Main Roads WA, for whom they would be obliged to regularly consult during the ensuing process, from which there are several intermediary stages to work through.
A key priority was to verify that the transit routes proposed for the trailer combinations would be suitable.
On the recommendation of Tiger Spider, KTrans soon settled on rear steerable quad axle trailers, with a lift axle to increase the load-carrying capacity of the truck.
When raised, it helps to extend tyre life, as well as improve fuel consumption on empty return trips.
“At this point Tiger Spider is working in sync with body building engineers to understand the solutions subsequently needed,” says Danny.
“Then in collaboration with Main Roads WA they go over the route assessment and that includes requesting approvals from local shires the vehicle combinations will be passing through.”
Once the routes are deemed appropriate approval is given to the operator to access these roads with the proposed combination, according to Danny.
On this particular run the vehicles pass over several bridges of varying sizes which were also factored into the approvals in accordance with laws across different shires.
The specialised fleet of Volvo FH 16s are deployed to a roadtrain assembly area on the Outer Ring road near Bunbury where KTrans separates the combination and delivers to the landfill site, 20 minutes away, as single trailers.
Here things get interesting.
As the landfill locale is often sodden in the winter months, the KTrans prime mover and the now single trailer combinations nudge close to 53 tonnes fully loaded, on the soft, shifting surface.
At that weight sinking on the steep tracks is par for the course. The Volvos, with their I-Shift crawler transmission technology, have proven time and again a remarkable counteragent for the trying conditions
Without the torque multiplication and traction offered by I-Shift with crawler gears on the Volvo, Danny explains they would unlikely go a day without having one of the vehicles bogged.
“On the landfill the crawler gears are a big help. The trucks can sink up to ten inches as they’re going across the site,” he says.
“Without the crawler gears we’d be getting stuck out there on a regular basis.”
Given the repetition involved in this particular task for KTrans, the risk of having a vehicle stranded in the sludge might well induce a domino effect of consequences – costly downtime, lost revenue and subsequent salvage operations.
“In our operation with the diff locks we don’t generally have many problems getting stuck on the site anymore,” he says. “These crawler gears on the sloping parts of the landfill are a massive support to us.”
With the contract now in its third year, this particular waste operation has helped KTrans realise major gains in productivity.
The company is on the verge of moving to a new purpose-built facility at the Roe Highway Logistics Park early next year.
As it gets ready to enter the next chapter of its history the KTrans team is excited by the prospect of continuing its association with dealer Truck Centre WA and Volvo, whose support, especially through the implementation phase of the PBS roadtrain, according to Craig, was nothing short of outstanding.
“Their continued support is to an excellent standard and we look forward to continuing our partnership,” he says.