Solutions on the go

Long-haul assignments don’t get much tougher than the notorious outback conditions of Western Australia. Perth-based line-haul specialist, KTrans WA, specialises in long-distance operations within Western Australia and services to most capital cities nationwide. One of its daily challenges is navigating the rugged terrain of the Pilbara region in northwest Western Australia, where it operates one of the country’s most demanding nightly express services five nights a week.

The motto of the business, according to KTrans Co-owner, Craig Jolly, is ‘the right truck for the right application’. The company recently commenced extensive line-haul testing for a new service it plans to offer later this year into Karratha and Port Hedland, where the extreme conditions alternate between the dry and hot and wet. Craig turned to PACCAR dealer, CJD Kenworth DAF Perth, for its local expertise.

“We are looking at an additional order of five trucks for running B-doubles and road trains into the Pilbara,” says Craig. “The serviceability of the Kenworth product has always been excellent. We find CJD Kenworth DAF Perth runs extended workshop hours, and that’s a major support as it gives us flexibility particularly on our long-distance jobs.”

Belief in a brand resonates in its representation. Kenworth so far comprises the majority of K-Trans’ line-haul fleet, which currently stands at around 50 trucks. Each of the vehicles sent out into the fringes of the northern outlands returns from its journey late and goes out again the very next day. When KTrans can’t service a truck or diagnose a problem in-house , the company has no hesitation outsourcing the job to CJD Kenworth DAF Perth.
“The PACCAR uptime for parts and diagnosis is pleasing,” says Craig . “On all of our express long-haul services, the team is always mindful of the necessity for quick turnaround.”

Should a warranty issue arise, CJD Kenworth DAF Perth picks up the vehicle, transports it to KTrans’ workshop and brings it back, as part of its comprehensive service. This is all handled efficiently through clear communication, for maximum convenience for both parties, Craig explains.
“They work closely with us in making vital changes, and in trying to create benefits for our business,” he adds.

Aside from its parts and services, KTrans has taken out an option on an extended warranty for the X15 Cummins engines supplied by PACCAR, which also offers leasing and finance solutions tailored to the seasonal demands of the transport industry through PacLease.

For KTrans, PACCAR’s reputation for providing real-time solutions has only been further enhanced following its most recent purchase of a Kenworth T610. The opportunity to test the sloping bonneted new model across brutal terrain over long, unyielding shifts – an exercise in extremes, Craig notes – resulted in KTrans employing the services of two of its best drivers to put the T610 through its paces.

Taking the Great Northern Highway from where it branches out of the northern suburbs of Perth on the inland road is the shortest route to Port Hedland. The journey is well over 1,600km in each direction, a longer trip than the drive from Paris to Warsaw. It takes the drivers through mine sites where iron ore is in constant transit. One section of the road, a barren 220km stretch, is busy and often frequented by other Kenworths carting ore.
“If the ore trucks are not completely cleaned down before they go on the road, they flip up rocks and there’s often debris falling off the back of them,” Craig says. “We are prone to those kinds of hazards. Cracked windscreens are not uncommon.”

As the Kenworth T610 did not yet have a stone guard attachment, this presented an issue that required urgent attention. Going through CJD Kenworth DAF Perth’s service department, the KTrans Workshop Manager, after detailed consultation with the drivers, helped expedite a direct solution. 

“Operating in the Pilbara alongside heavy vehicles that pick up rocks every time they pass you on the road makes it imperative to protect the vehicle and get a stone guard,” says Craig. “That’s now been fitted. CJD Kenworth DAF Perth was able to design the stone guard and – more importantly for us – get it manufactured in a timely manner.”

Two of Craig’s best drivers, a longstanding tandem team that has been sharing duties behind the wheel for 15 years, were both impressed by the new Kenworth T610.

“They came across to our operation nine months ago from our previous company,” Craig explains. “They have driven for us for 10 years and, because of their experience and high regard in the company, they were given first use of the 610. They have since told me that it’s an absolutely fantastic truck.”
Having also driven the K200 big cab, with the 2.8-metre bunk, the pair of expert drivers confirmed driver comfort and visibility in the Kenworth product is outstanding, particularly its dash instrumentation.

“It looks fantastic,” says Craig. “The air-conditioning and the climate control make it the most comfortable truck that they have ever driven. They haven’t seen anything like it before.

“Both of these guys are experienced operators – when they tell you stuff about a truck and how it performs you take it all on board.”

Even while driving the truck in 40+ degree heat, the ambient temperature inside the cabin is maintained at a comfortable 23 degrees. Craig confirms the drivers were even required to shut off the vents so as not to freeze.
“There’s absolutely no heat intrusion in the cabin whatsoever,” he says. “You can put your bare hand on the firewall. Noise in the cabin is minimal and you can stand up in the cab. It ticks all the boxes for our needs in a two-up operation.”

Integration between the driver position and sleeper bunk is excellent, given that KTrans uses a tandem driver model on its express line-haul. This allows the driver to extend the seat without risking interference with a sleeping co-pilot.

While privacy for drivers is important, the T610’s performance, especially the harmony of the Eaton Ultra Shift PLUS transmission and Cummins engine, is performing above expectation, as Craig sees it.

Different applications for its trucks are being trialled ahead of an order KTrans expects to make in the latter half of 2018.

At the moment, the Kenworth T610 supplied by CJD Kenworth DAF Perth is proving itself a superior product that meets the requirements set out by KTrans. Fuel efficiency currently remains one of their main considerations. The aerodynamic design of the T610, with its sloping bonnet, when used in a B-double combination has, to date, yielded outstanding numbers from Cummins’ engine management program, Adept.

“For calculating our fuel burn, we’re getting some really good figures,” says Craig. “We’ve actually seen some significant savings in terms of improving our fuel, and I’m delighted that we have achieved a 
2.55km/l economy rating.

“As far as the new Kenworth T610 is concerned, it is out-performing competitors operating on the same route.”

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