Road Train Reaction

Road Train Reaction

Transporting animal fats isn’t your standard freight task, but it’s what makes Western Australia’s Serpentine Transport so unique. To fulfil such a specialised 'job, Serpentine relies on Byford Equipment, a company equally adept at finding solutions that are out of the ordinary.

The partnership between Byford and Serpentine goes back to 2007, when the WA company first began working with the Victorian tanker expert. Over the years, the company has purchased two Byford tippers, which it still uses for transporting grain. Today, the majority of Serpentine’s work involves stock feed transport, grain and the carting of tallow. In November last year, Serpentine therefore called on Byford again to design the right vehicle for the task, which was finally delivered in March.

“The road train is the biggest tanker combination to join our fleet and will be used specifically for delivering tallow from abattoir facilities to port,” says Managing Director, Graeme Brickwood. “Given the sensitivity of the freight, we knew we needed specialised equipment, which is why we contacted Byford again. Gary Byford and his team recommended a 27.5m pocket road train since it can deliver a substantial volume of tallow, thereby allowing us to get the most out of each run.”

Since tallow must be carted at a temperature between 77°C to 85°C to allow ease of handling, the 27.5m long pocket road tanker must maintain the right temperature right throughout the journey. “Heat retention capability is a critical area when transporting tallow and they found a very elegant solution to that.

“Plus we need to take a test a sample from each load, which has been awkward in the past, but credit to Byford for including a operated sample tap that can be operated from ground level,” Graeme explains. The pocket road tanker is based on Byford’s tried and tested sub frame design, which is welded onto the chassis, while the tank itself is built from stainless steel. The combination features two single compartment tanks consisting of a 37,000-litre front tank and a 42,000-litre rear tank.

To maximise manoeuvrability, the road train is supported by a tri-axle dolly and is also equipped with Fuwa K-Hitch axles, EBS disc brakes and unitised bearings. “It’s engineered well and the high quality components Byford fitted means our drivers can feel at ease when operating it on the roads,” Graeme says. “In terms of OH&S, Byford also fitted the Byford valve on top of the tanker, which means the driver can unload the freight without having to the climb on top.

“Byford delivered on every feature that we specified - from single loading hatches built to the top of each tanker to single point outlets at the rear, which are used for draining the tallow, as well as the pipes to the sides of the vehicle for ease of unloading. In addition, they also fitted special nitrile rubber seals that are corrosion resistant and can tolerate the hot temperatures on board.” Byford’s high quality design and exceptional finish is why Serpentine Transport keeps coming back, says Graeme. “Gary Byford set the tone the moment he walked into my office all those years ago. Since then I even flew down to Victoria just to see their factory and I came away thoroughly impressed by how each unit is engineered and the professionalism from the Byford team. Gary does his research and knows the conditions that we face out here in WA, which is why I had the full confidence in choosing Byford to build our new pocket road train. We couldn’t be happier.”

Almost 40 years ago, Serpentine Transport established itself as a long haul freight carrier operating out of Perth in WA with a single vehicle. Today, the company utilises a fleet of 20 trailers consisting of tippers, skip loaders, flat tops and tankers. Having a myriad of equipment at its disposal has long been an objective of Graeme’s, whose goal was to create a highly ‘versatile’ transport service. “Commercial transport is a huge industry and having equipment to suit a range of freight tasks across different sectors is the key to long-term viability,” he states. “If we take on a job that requires a specific type of trailer for a specialised task, then we know companies like Byford can deliver the right solution.”

Fast Fact

Tallow is a form of rendered animal fat. It can be used for a number of different purposes such as a base for making candles, soap, cosmetics, lubricants and cooking oil. Tallow can also be turned into a biofuel or manipulated into a supplement for various animal foods and for waterproofing compounds designed for leather.

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