Feb 24 2020

With the arrival of Byford’s Performance Based Standards‑approved 26m A-double tanker, dairy distribution giant Devondale Murray Goulburn’s (MG) drivers can now access any farm without having to fear space restrictions.

There are all kinds of variables truck drivers need to take into account when entering and exiting a loading station – size of entrance, type of roads, surface conditions, surrounding property, extraction points and the list goes on and on.

For the drivers of MG, the challenges on a daily basis can at times encompass all those factors at once, especially when the loading area is located on a farm. “It can be quite difficult driving a tanker in and out of a supplier’s premises, and when you use a B-double it gets even trickier,” says David Scammell, National Skills & Compliance Manager, MG.

“It’s not like an industrial site where there’s plenty of space to move tankers around. In a farming environment, you’re dealing with small gravel driveways, dirt roads, tight lane ways, gardens and trees, and you’re certainly not driving in straight lines. David explains, “For instance, if you turn too wide, the tanker will definitely hit something. That’s just one hazard that can happen. Another concern is when turning the whole tanker, the tyres might drag, which damages the surface of the road and creates a giant mess for the property owners.

“That’s why we need the most advanced transport equipment available to stay at the forefront of tanker technology, environmental sustainability and maintain the health of our suppliers’ land; so we often have to go the extra mile to ensure a flawless production process.” During the first half of 2013, MG began scouting options for the latest milk tanker technology on the market. As it turned out, it didn’t have to look too far. “The choice came down to familiarity. We’ve been sourcing milk tankers from Byford for many years, so it made sense to continue our business with them. Their equipment has performed to task and Gary Byford and his team have always been supportive of our business,” David says. “However, we wanted to see if they could build a combination that could carry a huge payload, but without resorting to a B-triple configuration, which wouldn’t be suitable for the roads we use.”

It turns out Byford had already been working on blueprints for a new PBSapproved 26m A-double combination that could meet MG’s payload requirements. The A-double would also enable their drivers to separate the combination and use the tankers as singles. As a result, MG purchased seven combinations, with six of those already in service – including the A-double that Byford displayed at April’s International Truck, Trailer & Equipment Show (ITTES) in Melbourne.

According to David, the A-double ticks the boxes in three major areas for MG. “A key feature of the A-double is its manoeuvrability, which Byford achieved by fitting BPW steerable axles on both tankers and the steerable bogey dolly in between. Not only does this configuration maximise manoeuvrability, but it also makes for a tighter swept path if we drive around corners, roundabouts and execute U-turns along main roads,” he says.

“More importantly, this makes the A-double farm pick-up suitable for our drivers when accessing sites that have tight roads and entrances. In fact, getting into those same farms was quite difficult and time-consuming when using our older 19m B-doubles. The fact that the A-double can achieve a 6.33m swept path is a huge advantage for us, considering the swept path for most conventional 19m B-doubles is closer to seven metres.

“According to many of our drivers, turning in the A-double is definitely more userfriendly and comfortable. It almost feels as though you’re controlling a single tanker instead of two. The addition of the steerable axles also means tyres wear slower because they’re not dragging on the roads. This will result in less maintenance and costs over the long haul.”

Another key area MG highlights is efficiency. Each tanker can hold up to 26,750 litres of milk. “In terms of capacity, the A-double is currently running at 68.5 tonnes. And thanks to the approval of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, we can increase that capacity to as much as 74.5 tonnes with road manager approval. This means we can transport more milk per day, per unit, which could potentially lead to less truck movements overall,” David says. “In terms of OH&S and environmental benefits, the steerable bogey dolly also ensures the tankers won’t cause damage to surrounding property and eliminates the threat of scuffing.”

Four months after debuting at ITTES, Byford’s innovative 26m PBS-approved A-double tanker is yet another milestone moment in its partnership with MG. “Devondale Murray Goulburn was the first company in the milk transport industry to use our demountable pump module retractable hose reel on their 25m B-double, which we released in 2009,” says Managing Director, Gary Byford.

“We’ve already had one of MG’s drivers and one of their farmer clients contact us directly to thank us for the work we did on the tanker. The driver appreciated the work we put into making the A-double such a maneuverable combination. The farmer also pointed out that the A-double didn’t damage his driveway or surrounding property. I was quite taken by the fact those guys contacted me directly. “We were even prouder that our tanker equipment can help boost the operation of Australia’s biggest dairy foods company. To hear such great feedback already shows that we are making a major impact with the end users themselves. In fact, MG will soon purchase more A-doubles, which they’ll use throughout their operations in Victoria.”

Fast Fact

Established in 1950 and headquartered in Melbourne, Victoria, Murray Goulburn Co-Operative Co. – also known as Devondale Murray Goulburn – has nine dairy manufacturing plants located throughout Victoria and Tasmania, and processes more than 35 per cent of the Australia’s milk supply into products sold both on domestic and export markets. MG has a fleet of more than 40 prime movers and 38 tanker combinations – including both 19m B-doubles and 26m A-doubles.