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High Volume Freightliner Argosy

Hamelex White’s high volume truck and dog combination coupled to a Freightliner Argosy is not only a stunning advertisement for Quinn Transport and Spreading its also delivering exceptional payloads.

Neither Noel Quinn nor his wife Carol ever envisaged that the fertilizer spreading business they started with a second hand ex-army truck over three decades ago would have ever grown to its current volume. Nor that Super-spreading equipment and the road transport would have advanced so far. Today their son Darren is the Operations Manager and not only coordinates the daily transport operations he also wheels one of their bulk tipper units.

For the uninitiated, Sorell sits alongside a shallow stretch of water merely 26 kilometres from the capital of the state Hobart, and as Darren points out with modest pride, “The family can be traced right back to when the area was first surveyed for a town and in one way or another, in farming, sawmilling and transport, the family has been serving the district for well over a century.”

Whilst Sorell may have been first settled around 1808, it soon established itself to be the granary that fed the fledgling colony. Nevertheless during the early years of the town, residents relied on ferries to cross Pitt Water; otherwise they had to travel to Hobart via Richmond. It remained an isolated farming community until 1872 when a causeway linking the town to Pitt Water was completed.

With a proud but largely unsung history that stretches back almost three decades, Tasmanian-based Quinn’s of Sorrel has grown and diversified on the back of an ongoing commitment to customer care. For this family-owned outfit it’s a philosophy demanding absolute reliability in everything and that certainly includes a their latest Freightliner Argosy and Hamelex-White 4-Axle dog trailer.

Like all forms of transport services, the end user is always looking at cost reductions and conversely operators are looking for the most efficient systems to deliver their services.

The addition of the Argosy with full height Hamelex-White tipper bins into the fleet means they are delivering the biggest payload possible for a 19-meter combination.

“In this game its all about volume because the woodchips we cart are not heavy,” Darren informed. “In fact even when the Argosy and trailer are fully loaded we are still seven tonne under our maximum allowable GCM. When the mill is in full production we need to empty the woodchip storage bin twice a day.”

“With these new 4.2 meter high bins we can carry in excess of 100 cubic meters, and that’s a lot of woodchips each load.”

According to Darren, Hamelex White is synonymous with producing quality truck and trailer combinations capable of achieving a superior payload within the PBS and Tasmanian Mass Management framework.

It’s a well-known fact too that Hamelex White has long understood the value of maintaining genuine client relationships, knowing they can help cement the brand’s market share in the long term. Their on-going communication with loyal clients also helps them improve their products.

In fact, Hamelex White’s consistency in the ‘loyalty department’ has become the most priceless component of its operation and helps it grow in to a highly regarded specialist brand.

Darren cites, Treating clients, as part of the Hamelex White family is something they do really well which instill loyalty.

“When we went searching for new tippers, Hamelex White’s engineers came down to Tasmania and spent a day in the field with me studying our operation before coming up with a product that was tailored to suit our operation,” Darren explained.

“Our trucks are our greatest advertising assets,” Darren explained. “That’s why we go the extra mile and fully kit them out. We get the sides of our bins painted, before our sign writing and finally get it all clear coated. It really helps protect the bodies and keeps them clean and looking like new.”

“As a family business we believe in establishing customer loyalty and that works both ways,” Darren said. “While we aspire loyalty from our clients for the services and products we provide we also believe in returning loyalty to our suppliers.”

“If we purchase a product that works well all the time, does not cause any issues and can provide a quality back-up service, then we’ll stick with it. That’s our way to show loyalty,” Darren added.

Quinn’s Hamelex White four-axle dog trailer has a 6mm high tensile aluminum floor plate welded directly to the main bearers, while the walls are made from 5mm high tensile aluminum plate welded to the top rail and lower corners with exclusive Hamelex White body extrusions.

The Meritor suspension also boasts a lift axle on the rear bogie set, which Darren says not only saves money on the unloaded return leg but aids with the trailer’s handling when empty.

Along with the standard features on Hamelex White four-axle dog, which includes spring-assisted drawbar, an air tail gate, dolly lock, LED lighting, as well as a retractable tarp with a vertical aluminum headboard.

Darren also specified, locally made Pacific scales. “They’re weigh ahead,” Darren smiled noting the pun. “They are made right here in Sorell too. We also had extra LED lights added to the draw bar. On the safety side we spec all our bodies with vibrators, which really assist getting the product out of the bodies without the need for a driver get out the truck.

“We’ve dropped a few new trucks around to Hamelex White as a cab chassis and they do a terrific job fitting the Ringfeder, air and hydraulic connections,” Darren said. “The finish of their product is first class and they’re ready work as soon as we pick them up.”

“People doing line haul on the main highways don’t realize how different the rural environment is,” Darren explained. “The difference is massive and our work is hard on gear and requires a lot more skill from our drivers.”

“You’re fortunate that today is fine,” Darren said. “It rains most of the year down south of the Huon River and the dirt road up over the mountain into the sawmill is usually muddy and the log yard a quagmire.”

“It’s a truck that really looks great on the outside,” he said thoughtfully, “and we get a lot of good comments from other drivers. The design of the fins on the front of the truck are really functional in the wet conditions as they divert air flow past the side of the cabin which helps prevent the mud and road grime sticking to the side of the truck and improves visibility through the side window and mirrors.”

Driver Mark McGuiness cites the swing out staircase as a terrific safety addition and is quick to add that the ability to isolate them when loading in under the tight confines of the woodchip bin as a great asset.

“I really like the spacious interior too,” Mark volunteered. “The dash is well laid out with everything in easy reach and it’s so quiet to drive. At the end of the day you don’t feel tied at all.”

“The bunk is very comfortable to sleep in, you can get a great night’s sleep just like being at home in bed,” he added.

Under the cabin of this Argosy is the ADR 80/03 compliant Cummins engine rated at 550hp that develops 1850lbft torque. Transmission is Eatons’ 18-speed coupled to Meritor RT46-160 rear axles with cross-locks in both axles riding on Freightliner’s Airliner rear suspension.

We’re told that the AirLiner suspension system was designed to virtually eliminate any servicing or maintenance. The use of elastomer bushings negates the need for regular lubrication and results in a greatly extended life cycle.

Freightliner’s AirLiner suspension achieves a relatively constant spring rate by using a premium rotary valve that ensures correct height control. The rotary valve replaces traditional rubber-seat valves that deteriorate with age and alter spring rate and driveline angle, both of which cause a reduction in driveline life.

The AirLiner 46K unit fitted on Quinn’s Argosy has a ground rating of 18,000kg and a GCM up to 90 tonnes at a five percent grade. It uses formed steel cross members and has iron main suspension brackets.

The Cummins engine on the other hand is real workhorse in the bush. But it is the 600 braking horsepower at 2100 rpm that really rates high on Mark’s list.

“This new Cummins has a terrific engine brake, its the most effective I ever had,” he added.

Nowadays, Argosy is on a roll. Whether there’s enough momentum to knock Kenworth’s K-series off its perch as the leading cab-over is unknown – most truck suppliers (and most notably Kenworth) keep sales statistics for individual models a closely guarded secret – but there seems little question that Freightliner’s cab-over is sitting close to the top of the tree.

“We’ve got no complaints about our Argosy or Hamelex White equipment,” Darren concluded. “They’re reliable, a good match and carting at least a third more than anything else in our fleet.”

December 05, 2017 | Posted in: Articles



Australian Trucking Quarterly