Three years ago, Angelo Lamattina had an idea. He was determined to find a more efficient linehaul solution for transporting, by truck, carrots from farm to market.
Having noticed several 26 to 33-pallet trailer combinations out on the road helped him to eventually find it.
Lamattina, the Director of Rocky Lamattina & Sons, of which he is one, has, after three years of global challenges, finally made the dream a reality with a new twin-steer Kenworth K200 prime mover with an 18.2 metre fridge van split quad. It carries 30 pallets between Wemen to the markets in Melbourne and Sydney.
To meet the objective of increasing the carrying capacity while incorporating the wheelbase of a twin-steer which is customarily around 500mm longer bullbar to turntable, Kenworth engineers were engaged to make some key customisations to the design.
The first of note affected the position of the AdBlue tank which was moved between the steer axles on the passenger’s side. The fuel tanks were sculpted, as a consequence, to miss the front leaf spring hangers therefore bringing the bullbar to turntable back to the single steer K200 length already in use on the usual applications.
Here an additional flexibility has ensued given the prime mover can be hooked up to a B-double without it being over length.
Calculations were also made in order to maximise the pallet capacity. A particular vehicle mass for a payload of 37.4 tonne had to be achieved incorporating both weight distribution and swept path.
“This was a process motivated by the gains we were looking for within a feasible framework,” explained Lamattina.
“It involved going through all the relevant criteria to ensure we ticked all the right boxes for the NHVR,” he said.
The trailer build was assigned to long-term partner Southern Cross Trailers.
“We’ve been dealing with them for 30 years,” said Lamattina. “It was an obvious choice to collaborate with them again to build the trailer.”
The combination, which is dedicated to carting crates and boxes, now achieves 1246kg per pallet space.
An initial evaluation period of around four weeks took place before it was booked in for sign-writing at YBIFX, a Bendigo-based company that has provided the wrap used on the new trailer.
Lamattina Farms runs 17 prime movers in total. Four of these are Kenworth T909s, three of which are twin-steers. The remainder are standard K200s.
The operation also deploys B-quads farm to farm with five trucks on those duties. While the predominant application is B-doubles, a B-triple occasionally runs to Queensland.
The inconvenience of rising floodwaters in regional areas has detoured the new combination from the usual routes it would be expected to travel. Interestingly, that has involved the truck covering much further terrain than it would customarily be required to do and given the team at Lamattina a good opportunity to look at its initial performance numbers in greater detail.
The driver, according to Lamattina, has noted that so far the twin steer Kenworth K200 is using less fuel than he is accustomed to despite covering more ground.
“We’ve been pleased with what we’ve seen so far on fuel,” said Lamattina.
Embarking on such a project or any project reliant on heavy equipment engineering nous during the years subject to border closures, supply chain turmoil and social distancing policy has proven a challenge.
Parts and labour were one of the big obstacles in getting equipment turned around in time according to Lamattina.
“Material and labour shortages blew out the schedule we had proposed,” he says. “Getting the appropriate parts took a lot longer than what we had anticipated.”
Part of that process is also explaining the concept for approvals and access. The PBS unit, which has a GVM of 62 tonnes, is operating on a Level 2 access permit.
“It’s been a matter of convincing others, for much of the project, of what we’re trying to achieve,” says Lamattina.
“SAF-Holland were very good. They did some engineering on shocker lengths and axle travel which was very helpful.”
“The beauty about it too is the combination makes life easier for the drivers. Not having to connect and disconnect, not having to back up two trailers and only having one.”
The new Kenworth twin tandem combination is already in the process of being replicated.
By the end of Q1 next year Lamattina hopes to have three more of these out on the road with additional units deployed in time for Christmas 2023.
“On a 32-pallet trailer previously I was only able to get 30 pallets for the weight,” he said.
Now he can get full capacity and has converted, more conveniently, to one truck, one trailer and one fridge motor.
“It’s much more efficient and better for the environment,” he says.