2013 Technical and Maintenance Conference addressed pressing issues

The most pressing issues facing Australia's trucking industry at the moment are in the area of repairs, maintenance and specification of both trucks and trailers. To address some of them, the Paccar and Dealer TMC was held last week at the Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) in Melbourne's Docklands.

Hosted by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association (ARTSA), the 2013 conference extended the new format introduced last year, featuring technical forums on key issues such as truck electrical fault finding, parts purchasing and tyre selection and maintenance, as well as “hands-on” product training workshops. 

For the big issues, all delegates still got together to share their ideas, but most of the time was spent in small groups going deeply into varied technical and regulatory issues.

For example, delegates got to spend some time exploring the potential of ACE's unique heavy vehicle dynamometer. Elsewhere, Cummins demonstrated the effects of the use of aftermarket fuel saving devices fitted to engines, including a hands on view of some of the damage done to components.

A genuinely hot topic at the event was truck fires, their causes and how to prevent them. National Transport Insurance's Owen Driscoll laid out the cold hard facts about the issue, pulling statistics out of the research using the considerable database NTI have built up over the years.

A break out session on the day before had already gone through the ways maintenance personnel can help prevent fires by careful electrical fault finding and smarter truck specification, as a high proportion of fires are caused by electrical faults.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) was represented by Daniel Elkins, who laid out the latest works program for the NHVR. He also revealed the plan for the regulator to start functioning fully by January 28 2014 – with the caveat that the date is not set in stone and may be subject to change.

Naturally, the recent truck crash in Sydney entered into many of the discussions as wel, especially when a panel of workshop managers led a debate on many of the industry's difficult issues.

Many other topics came up throughout the TMC at different sessions and seminars. These included automatic slack adjusters, axle differentials, drive heads, reflective tape, ringfeder servicing, tyre selection, stability control, on board mass weighing, shocker maintenance, gearboxes, lift axles and many more.

As part of the TMC2013 line up, the Craig Roseneder Award was presented at the Castrol Vecton Awards Dinner last Monday. The 2013 Award for technical and maintenance excellence in the workshop went to Wayne Merrick from Boral Logistics, while Bob Pearson received the inaugural Castrol Vecton Industry Achievement Award after a career in technical development, including introducing B-doubles to Australia.

For a full report get the December issue of Prime Mover magazine.

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