Higher Ground

Fleets around Australia have been eager to adopt Meritor’s P610 heavy haulage axle. Through its large range of ratios it unlocks efficient gearing, power and torque without sacrificing on payload or efficiency.
Membrey Heavy Haulage.

Based in South Victoria, Membrey’s Transport and Crane Hire was established in 1962 as J & N Membrey & Son with a vision to offer a specialised service to the transport industry like none other.

Today the company operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has evolved into one of the most trusted haulage and crane companies nationwide.

Despite undertaking a sweeping expansion since its early days, the core values of J & N Membrey & Son still remain at Membrey’s Transport and Crane Hire today — to foster strong customer relationships while providing exceptional service with an outstanding product range and technical excellence.

In 1989, Managing Director, Craig Membrey, took the reins of the business from his father and has continued to inscribe his ‘make it happen’ formula into every operation completed, ensuring customers receive nothing short of the best. Still family owned and operated, the business has grown in leaps and bounds and now operates a fleet of over 100 highly specialised trailers.

For the last 20 years, Membrey’s has been working closely with Meritor through a series of applications in different trucks.

More recently, Membrey’s was one of the first fleets in Australia to purchase Meritor’s heavy duty P610 axle, which is being used for heavy haulage operations.

The P610 axle is locally engineered and assembled by Meritor Australia in Sunshine, Victoria with a combination of North American and European components.

Craig says it is a fantastic design which features some of the industry’s latest technology, such as driver-controlled differential locks on both front and rear axles for enhanced traction, a fabricated steel housing with brackets that accept a number of heavy-duty suspensions available in the market and five planetary gears rotating around the middle sun gear at the end of the wheel to spread the load — as opposed to the typical four-gear configurations seen in the market.

The P610 also has a proportioning inter-axle differential designed to meet a growing global demand for the tridem configuration of the axle and an anti-lock braking system (ABS) capable of delivering optimum safety and performance.

“We trialled it out in our Kenworth 509 and we were very impressed with it,” Craig says. “It’s been fantastic. We’re currently placing orders for another four trucks, that’s how good it is.”

The P610 was designed and engineered specifically to deliver higher capacity and improved performance across a multitude of heavy duty off-highway applications.

Kenworth 509 Membrey Heavy Haulage at work.
Kenworth 509 hauls a 750t Liebherr crane from South Australia to Melbourne.

Prior to its release, the axle was tested and validated in the most demanding applications at Meritor’s global design and testing centres to ensure it could be used for a consistently reliable operation.

Through this commitment to exceptional quality and reliability in all of its processes, Meritor has established a name for itself throughout the industry.

“I don’t think they have any competition, I’ll be honest,” Craig says. “I think they’ve really cracked the market and they’re going to continue on. It’s an amazing product and I’m very proud of having it in my truck. I think it’s good for the whole industry.”

The main benefit of wheel end reduction heavy duty axles, such as the P610, is their ability to handle heavy haulage with double reduction in the differential and the wheel end, allowing operators to gear trucks for more pulling power.

Nominally rated at 200 tonnes (Gross Combination Mass) in tandem configuration, but with the ability to go higher depending on application approval, the P610 has the ultimate weight carrying capacity for customers looking to haul heavy loads.

In addition, the axle has a wide range of ratios available from 3.46 to 8.66 which allows customers to select a ratio that optimises the performance of the engine, transmission and driveline to work at their peak performance.

“I think Meritor’s much ahead of everyone else and I think they’ve made it happen for the industry,” Craig says.

The P610 can be complemented with 7.3-tonne or 9-tonne Meritor heavy duty steer axles and the RPL greaseless driveline.

Also available to accompany this application is the FAT30 joey box that allows an even wider range of ratios to handle tough starts in heavy-duty applications.

Apart from the reliability, what differentiates Meritor’s planetary axle to other options in the market is its capability to do 100km/h on hub reduction, leaving competitors trailing behind at a limited 80-90km/h.

“We’ve never seen anything like it, it has the capacity to travel at 100km/h which is truly remarkable,” Craig says.

Meritor P610 on a Membrey Kenworth.
Meritor’s P610 axle can be found on many of Membrey’s Kenworths.

“By being able to do 100 kilometres, it means drivers can get home quicker and there’s less fatigue when they empty travel. It’s definitely a time saver.”

Meritor’s support for the axle is another factor which has contributed to its position in the market.

Since Cummins acquired Meritor in August 2022, both companies have joined forces to work together to provide powertrain solutions across internal combustion and electric power applications.

This integrated approach to solutions and support has clear benefits for customers.

“They’ve followed me up after we made the purchase to make sure that we were happy with it,” Craig says. “That was good to hear, I’m very impressed with people following up customers. I think it’s very important in this world, and Meritor have been very interested in getting our feedback.”

Due to an unmatched aftersales service and quality beyond comprehension, Craig considers Cummins a top priority for powering his fleet.

“I run them in all my vehicles, I’ve got no other choice as they’re so reliable,” he says.

“It’s a fantastic product and the company sticks behind you, that’s for sure. Congratulations to the team for getting it right with the P610, and hopefully they keep on advancing. I look forward to moving it forward with the group at Cummins-Meritor.”

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