Split Decisions

PBS pioneer, Clenton’s Transport, has introduced the Hammar MegaReach to industry, a split-quad side loader that is fast delivering clear productivity gains in the container haulage operations of its Sydney-based business.

When it comes to Performance-Based Standards (PBS) vehicles, the short history of Clenton’s Transport, dating back to 2015, compares favourably to almost anybody.

At the outset of the heavy vehicle PBS scheme, the business has been right at the forefront adopting high productivity combinations.

Being the first carrier in Sydney to receive full route approval with unconditional road access for 85 tonne GCM 30-metre A-doubles direct from Port Botany to its yard has paved the way, subsequently, for it to show great leadership in container transport innovation.

This year, having sought a different solution for moving heavy and super heavy containers, Clenton’s Transport pushed the envelope again, by introducing a new Hammar MegaReach, the first of its kind in Australia.

Level 2 access restrictions currently curtail the movement of the A-double sets it runs. Operationally, the imperative was to find a vehicle capable, under law, of traversing both Level 1 and Level 2 networks as part of the PBS network in Sydney.

Achieving the same payload capacity as an A-double set, however, would be impossible. The necessity, consequently, was for the vehicle to accommodate a substantial increase in mass over a prescriptive semi-trailer.

“Obviously, PBS through A-doubles are a great vehicle for high productivity gains to run from wharf to the yard, but we needed to be able to take it one step further,” says Managing Director Jason Clenton.

“We really needed to facilitate the access to be able to deliver direct to our clients from the wharf.”

As Jason was aware of several clients avidly looking for a carrier who could fulfil this request, he didn’t waste any time in putting the business forward as a preferred carrier that specialises in heavy containers direct from the wharf to the client.

An extendable top arm offers six metres reach lifting up to 15 tonnes.

The only way to achieve this, however, was to enter into discussions with Hammar. As the position and height of the goods inside of containers is not always accurately known, it presents a challenge in achieving the higher payload height required by Clenton’s Transport.

A standard side loader, for instance, is not going to be suitable when moving imported concrete blocks on road. A range of options, as is par for the course, were considered during the initial design phase.

“There was a consideration as to whether we used super singles or if it would not be a split quad at all and just be four axles,” says Jason. “What the experts tell us through the technology that they use to gain the maximum load height and, to be as safe as possible on our roads, is we needed to go with a split quad design over a 48-foot chassis instead of the standard 45 foot.”

That first conversation took place over two years ago. The high productivity solution that eventually would materialise was 12 months itself in planning.

“It was a mutual decision with Hammar to engage Smedley’s Engineers as the preferred engineering certifier to help us achieve the maximum load height and the distribution of weight across the axles,” recalls Jason.

“There is overhang on each end and that helps us to have flexibility with being able to move the cranes on the chassis forward or back to help with the weight distribution across those axles. So you can actually move it all the way back and take the weight off your drive axle and put it over your quad which was a crazy advance in technology for us to be able to move the container onto the actual chassis.”

Technically, the configuration is a tandem-tandem split quad semi-trailer, with each of the tandem axle groups on the trailer equipped with a steerable axle, to pass the PBS pavement horizontal loading and swept path requirements.

Gross combination mass under a Tier 1 bridge formula is 55.1 tonnes on the PBS Level 2 network and 50.5 tonnes on the Level 1 network. Based on the manufacturers estimated tare weights this would afford approximately 34 tonnes in payload according to Smedley’s PBS Assessor Nathan Wiblin.

“The suspension models used for the trailers were some of the most important aspects of the build, as the payload height was critical on this vehicle,” he says.

“It was pertinent that the suspension was able to display high roll performance.”

Truck combination GCM equates to 55.1 tonne on the Level 2 network.

A secondary, but no less, crucial consideration to provide a reasonable factor of safety, was to ensure there was an ability to position the cranes and container/s on the trailer body to allow for correct weight distribution and therefore compliant axle weights.

Knowing the maximum amount of weight possible on a crane was one thing to want. But what would it look like? Jason also needed maximum load height.

“If someone told me the load height is only going to be one metre inside a container than that’s no good. I would not have bought the machine,” he says. “But we were able to get full load height in the container which hasn’t been achieved before.”

Equipped with an extendable top arm, the Hammar MegaReach, has six metres reach lifting up to 15 tonnes. The top arm can extend up to 1.7 metres. Just as Clenton’s Transport already possessed a double stack solo side loader, it was important that the fleet had a second option on the ground.

But instead of being able to stack containers two high next to the vehicle, the Hammar MegaReach can actually stack two high in the next row, across. Standard legs common on 195 side loaders are not able to achieve this feat.

“We went for the overreach leg which gave us the flexibility that we can actually have a vehicle parked next to our vehicle and put the legs across and down onto the floor on the other side of their vehicle,” Jason explains. “That’s the overreach leg component.”

What’s more, the prime mover and trailer, can be fitted with any tyre with the only restrictions determined by tyre size. In order to get the maximum amount of weight on the vehicle a polished alloy wheel was chosen as it was much lighter than what would have customarily been considered.

These were supplied by Armoury Wheels, a loyal client of Clenton’s.

The project, as a result, would be classified under non-pre-advised vehicle design and require approval by the NHVR PBS panel. Fully operational since August, the split quad semi side loader has since it debuted in the fleet, increased network access when compared to a standard PBS quad semi.

Moreover,it can also handle transporting 45-foot containers.

“This vehicle is able to cart significantly higher weight containers giving a hefty increase in tonnage per trip/km,” says Nathan. “It also has the ability to place the containers on the deck to achieve ideal axles weights with containers that may not be optimally loaded.”

Smedley’s has partnered with Clenton’s Transport since its earliest PBS applications.

Their most recent collaborative project involved a 30-metre A-double set — two retractables skels joined by a dolly. It was an exciting project, according to Jason, realised in conjunction with MaxiTrans.

“It was important that we could use our current Vehicle Approval (VA) which would mean we have to have the axle positions in the same positions but the design would be slightly different because the trailers wouldn’t be fixed skels,” Jason explains.

“The project was to take our old design, use that vehicle approval, develop or adjust a design plan that would fit into that spec and make it a 30 metre retractable A-double. They’re unique because they don’t just have the retractable rear ends on them. They look different from behind because they’re fitted with Ringfeder couplings and long vehicle signs which you don’t normally see on the back of retractables.”

Stacking containers from the tandem-tandem split quad semi-trailer.
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