Waste management company Ellwaste called on the expertise of Freighter to build a vehicle that would perform like a B-double combination, but handle like a single trailer.
Having long understood that versatile equipment was key to improving productivity in the field, Ellwaste sought to add an extra hooklift container bin to each of their loads.
Voted the ‘Best Trade Business’ at the 2004 Gannawarra Business Excellence Awards, Cohuna-based Ellwaste in Northern Victoria sees itself as an innovator in the waste industry, with recycling at the forefront of its operation. But the subsequent need to boost the performance of its fleet prompted the company to explore ‘left field’ options including the concept of PBS, which factors in the trailer’s actual performance on the road instead of focusing on size and length alone.
According to Stephen Elliott, Operations Manager at Ellwaste, the company had been discussing the concept of a larger skel trailer that could hold multiple hooklift container bins, but built in such a way that the vehicle would perform like a B-double combination, and handle like a single trailer.
The waste management company was in the process of signing off on a new B-double EziLiner combination at the beginning of 2010. Stephen pitched some ideas to Brett Smith from their trailer dealership, MaxiTRANS Victoria about a large skel trailer combination that could accommodate a hefty payload and maximise productivity.
In response, Brett mentioned the PBS concept and took it to Freighter’s engineers. Stephen was apprehensive in the beginning, especially since they wanted their trailers to be as much as 25 metres long. Freighter's team educated Ellwaste on how PBS would function within their new trailer.
Stephen and Brett worked with Freighter’s engineers to perfect the design, with Freighter taking care of the entire PBS application, and dealing with industry regulatory bodies to have the new vehicle approved. By January 2012, Freighter would have Ellwaste’s PBS-approved vehicle spec-ed and ready for operation throughout not only northern Victoria, but also Melbourne, Bendigo, Maryborough and Swan Hill.
Thanks to the assistance provided by the Freighter team, Ellwaste was able to get their first PBS-approved trailer on the road.
Freighter delivered upon Ellwaste’s 25-metre wish, producing a 15-metre six-axle dog skel, carrying two 6.1-metre hooklift bins with a capacity of 36 tonnes. To complete the combination, an existing Mack truck was fitted with another bin along with a 20-tonne hooklift.
The six-axle solution is based on a Meritor airbag suspension system to provide optimum driving performance. For instance, if a driver wants to perform a manoeuvre such as turning or changing lanes, the trailer will effortlessly follow suit, ensuring greater stability on the road and keeping the bins in check. This is particularly useful when stopping or turning in tight spaces and on rough roads such as those found in and around waste transfer stations.
According to Stephen, this type of combination is giving the company plenty of flexibility, and increasing productivity by 33%. Ellwaste has been able to go from two bins to three, since the rigid and skel combination is classed as a single trailer.
The PBS-approved trailers have also allowed operators to go from a three-day trip of collecting waste from transfer stations, councils and private contractors down to just two days with the extra day in a five-day week enabling them to pick up more jobs.
Stephen confirms that the PBS-approved combination has helped Ellwaste achieve the company’s objective for ‘boosting payload and creating more efficiency’.
He explains that the PBS approval process took some time to pass through VicRoads and the Truck Industry Council due to the length of the trailer and the fact that this combination was the first of its kind, but Freighter managed the entire application process, investing their own time into making sure the trailers were approved.
The combination was sent straight into service once the regulators gave it the all-clear.
Once the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is implemented this year, the PBS process will become much faster.