Byford Equipment’s new rigid and tri-axle dog tanker combination has only just arrived in Tasmania, but its new, retractable drawbar design has given local business Wynyard Transport an instant competitive advantage.
From a tourist perspective, Tasmania is one of the most attractive driving destinations in Australia, with a combination of picturesque seaside streets and charming country roads providing the perfect backdrop for wideeyed motorists from around the globe. But it’s a different story for commercial transport businesses like Wynyard Transport. Combining long, narrow and windy highways with a rough and unpredictable climate, Tassie’s roads are full of logistical challenges for the local company, which is why it treads cautiously when purchasing new equipment. It was that mind-set that recently led the Wynyard team to opt for a Performance-Based Standardsapproved (PBS) rigid and tri-axle dog tanker built by Byford Equipment. The equipment has been specially designed to handle the challenging Tasmanian conditions and varying payloads while conforming to State transport regulations.
Put into service at the end of June, the combination is used for transporting milk and can boast a capacity of 15,000 litres in the front tank and 30,000 litres in the rear unit – all connected by a bogey-axle dolly with an innovative, retractable drawbar that can be extended from 1.5 to 4.3m. Once extended, the overall combination can stretch to a maximum of 25.3m and thereby adjust the applicable axle load.
“Next to the PBS approval, the drawbar concept was a huge part of the combination since it gives us plenty of flexibility across different payloads,” says Garth Hutton, Managing Director of Wynyard Transport. “It effectively allows us to vary the axle load according to the job at hand. “How much weight the combination is carrying will ultimately determine the length of the drawbar. For example, if we’re running the combination at 55.5 tonnes, we can keep the drawbar retracted for general access on all roads. But if we have to make use of the full 67.5 tonnes, we can extend it and thereby turn the whole combination into something like a B-double. This helps us meet Higher Mass Limits (HML) regulations and Tassie’s bridge requirements throughout several shires and councils here on the island.”
Added manoeuvrability is another advantage of the new design, says Garth. Byford recommended the fitment of BPW selfsteerable axles to the trailer and the dolly after the success it had on other Byford tankers in the past. “Our drivers are traveling predominantly on tight and windy roads, so accessing farm driveways and entering and exiting roundabouts and factory facilities will be far easier with the added support,” he says. “Having steerable axles gives us complete control and improves our turning circle. Even if we are operating at HML, we can still turn the unit with ease without having to worry about tyres dragging, wearing out or damaging nearby property. When the weather is terrible, it doesn’t affect the performance of the trailer at all.” According to Wynyard, getting the PBS unit just right for the local environment was a 12-month project carried out in conjunction with Byford and a number of transport bodies, including the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR). But the centrepiece, the drawbar, was three years in the making, says Garth. “Before moving to Wynyard, I spent several years in the logging industry and many of those trailers had drawbars that could be modified in size depending on what and how much weight the unit was carrying,” he says – revealing that Byford took just two months to build the entire unit once the design and paperwork were finalised.
“After evaluating our fleet in 2014, we wanted to add more tankers to the mix that could be used in a variety of roles, so I figured why not take the drawbar idea and adapt it to Tasmanian road regulations. From that point onwards, we investigated just about every tanker builder in the marketplace to see who could deliver a unit complying with our specifications – and given its success in the PBS field, we settled on Byford.” Fitted to an 8×4 truck, the PBS rigid and tri-axle dog combination now gives Wynyard a whole range of options – from running as a single rigid to using the B-trailer in a semi-tanker configuration, or in combination with the drawbar dolly. Such flexibility is why Garth is adamant this unit will become a game-changer for Wynyard. “I see this combination boosting efficiencies across the board and reducing overheads in the long run,” he states. “The blueprints of it took some time to get over the line, but once approved, we were very fortunate that Byford was there to turn that vision into reality.”
Established in 1949, Wynyard Transport was originally founded by Garth’s grandfather, Albert (Jack) Hutton starting out as a livestock transporter. In 1972, Garth’s father Ian joined the business and soon added milk cartage to the company’s list of services. During the 1990s, Wynyard sold off the livestock side of the business becoming an exclusive milk transporter. In 2008, Garth and his wife Briana officially took over Wynyard Transport.