Jan 23 2020

As an innovative tanker manufacturer, Byford isn’t just about promoting its new MAXLESS range, but also educating the transport industry on the advantages of the Performance-Based Standards (PBS) scheme. That commitment was reinforced at a recent Demo Day held at Blu Logistics’ headquarters in Queensland.

It wasn’t too long ago that the thought of pushing the boundaries of modern trailer design to achieve higher productivity and safety through innovative vehicle design was a mere pipedream to transport aficionados. But thanks to industry acceptance of the new concept, the PBS scheme is very much a present reality and a glimpse of what the future holds for commercial road transport. Byford is one manufacturer determined to not just endorse PBS, but cultivate its portfolio around it. Twelve months ago, the Moama-based company introduced the 26m MAXLESS A-double combination at the 2014 International Truck, Trailer & Equipment Show in Melbourne, drawing plenty of interest from operators from all over the country and the world. One of those visitors was dairy transport company BLU Logistics, a company so fascinated by the design that it placed an on-the-spot order, taking delivery of the A-double in December.

A month later, Byford Managing Director, Gary Byford; General Manager, Lindsay Furness, and Compliance Manager, Chris Nisbet, travelled up to Queensland to touch base with a number of associates, including BLU Logistics. The Byford visit presented the golden opportunity for both companies to do something special. “Gary and Lindsay had initially planned a meeting with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) regarding their PBS tankers,” says Steve Wastell, Joint Director of BLU Logistics. “But during their visit to our site, we suggested that instead of an office meeting, why not use the A-double they built us as part of a live demonstration.”

The Demo Day, organised days later, brought more than 40 visitors to BLU Logistic’s Brisbane headquarters – including members of the NHVR, Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) in Queensland, Volvo Trucks and some local Shire councils.

“The purpose of the Demo Day was to get the most influential figures in the industry together to showcase the benefits of PBS up close and personal. In particular, the NHVR, TMR, the council and our partners from the local Volvo dealership,” Steve says. “Having them all attend at once gave us the opportunity to compare the operational abilities between conventional 19m and 25m B-doubles, against the PBS 26m A-double and 20m AB-double.

“Some of the exercises included having the attendees stand together, while one of the drivers navigated the combinations around them. The results of the demonstrations focused on axle turning, tyre wear, tyre drag and friction, as well as how road-friendly the PBS concept was. It was a real eye-opener for some as most of them had only heard about PBS trailers, but never seen one in action.”

The day also proved a significant one for the NHVR’s PBS team, which has been instrumental in guiding Byford through the brand’s PBS designs and vehicle approvals. “While we had reviewed both the PBS assessments on paper and Byford’s demonstration videos, our staff relished seeing the combinations in action,” says Sal Petroccitto, NHVR Chief Executive. “We were impressed by the manoeuvrability of the combinations and absence of tyre noise while turning, we also discovered that PBS units had reduced levels of tyre debris while operating at the BLU Logistics’ depot.” According to Steve, manoeuvrability was one major feature that drew everyone’s attention. “The A-double, as well as the bogey dolly connecting the trailers, are fitted with BPW steerable axles allowing for a tighter swept path movement,” he explains – noting that the swept path of the A-double is 6.33m, much smaller compared to the 19m B-double, which has a swept path of approximately 6.7m.

“The majority of our customers work on farming structures, which means the roads and entrances to their facilities are quite narrow. That’s what makes the steerable axles on the A-double such an important feature; now our drivers can easily drive in and out without damaging surrounding structures or the equipment on the tanker.” Steve continues, “The A-double also benefits our fleet because it lessens the effects of tyre wear and drive torque required, making it very fuel efficient and lowering costs over the long haul. That also caught the attention of the visitors.”

Overall, the Demo Day proved a great endorsement not just for Byford and BLU Logistics, but for the PBS scheme as a whole. “Not everybody is familiar with the PBS concept yet, that’s why it made sense for us to hold a live demonstration as opposed to talking about it in a meeting,” Steve says. “It’s definitely a huge part of the BLU Logistics fleet going forward and a reason why we have already ordered Byford’s 20m PBS AB-double, which is currently in production and scheduled for delivery next month.”

Sal adds, “The innovation shown by Byford in developing these PBS vehicles and the fact that BLU Logistics and other operators have embraced the concept, as well as many manufacturers working with the NHVR PBS team, demonstrates that the confidence in PBS is growing and that its future is very strong.”

Fast Fact

Before the birth of BLU Logistics, the company was known as Jurss Transport, which was founded by Dennis Jurss in 1969 in Gympie, Queensland. In 2009, the Jurss Group was formed, encompassing Jurss Transport, Jurss & Robertson Transport and Wastell Transport. It wasn’t until 1 May 2013, that the Jurss Group was rebranded as Bulk Liquid United (BLU) Logistics Solutions and is now managed by Directors, Steve Wastell and Tim Jensen. Today, BLU Logistics transports across NSW, Queensland and South Australia, specialising in farm milk collection and bulk food grade linehaul operations.