Features, Tech Talk, Trailers

Better maneuverability and increased payload

Started in Queensland by second generation truckie Brett Tynan in 2001, Exodas Transport has grown quickly.

Specialising in transporting produce, refrigerated and general freight, Exodas runs an impressive fleet from its six depots across Queensland and NSW.

The sizeable fleet has grown to include 113 prime movers, 29 rigids and 255 trailers.  About 70 per cent of the fleet is refrigerated, providing services across the eastern seaboard. 

Recently, Exodas took delivery of its first combination running under Performance Based Standards (PBS) in the form of a quad-quad B-double. 

Based at the Yatala depot, the 38-pallet set-up is comprised of a show-stopping Kenworth Legend SAR – the first Legend in the fleet – and a Vawdrey set of trailers. The new set carries produce into Melbourne and Sydney, and refrigerated goods on the return trip.

“Normally we’d get around 32 tonne of payload in a B-double but in this set we can get up to 42 tonne,” said Nathan Bennett, fleet controller at Exodas.

The B-double runs on Hendrickson with its HXL7® extended life wheel end package and CONNEX™ST steerable suspension.

The B-double is running on Hendrickson suspension with its HXL7® extended life wheel end package and CONNEX™ST steerable suspension. 

With a 1.2 kilometre/five year warranty, the HXL7 system is designed to maximise uptime and performance. It features a premium seal, high-performance synthetic semi-fluid grease and Hendrickson’s Precision320 spindle nut system, which allows for ultra-precise bearing adjustment.

Also included in the set-up is Hendrickson’s CONNEX ST steerable axle, which is an ideal choice for a PBS application, as it assists operators to meet applicable regulatory needs for steerable axles. It is designed to be compatible with trailers fitted with both top mount and low ride drum-brake Hendrickson INTRAAX® suspensions. 

CONNEX ST combines Hendrickson’s proven suspension systems with its innovative steer axle technology, complemented by the axle lift system, for maximum operating efficiency. It also means reduced tyre wear and a lower cost of life for the self-steer axle.

“This set has steerable axles on the back of the first trailer and the front axle on the rear trailer. It provides a lot more maneuverability – they don’t cut as much as you’d see in a normal B-double, so the trailer steers around better. There’s a much better swept path,” said Bennett. 

For Exodas, the ease of maintenance of the Hendrickson package has also been a winner. 

As head mechanic Mick Burton explained, “We’re finding it’s easier to maintain than some of the other suspensions we’ve used. You just jack it up to check the wheel bearings, there’s no need to take the cap off and adjust them. From a servicing point of view, the Hendrickson is quicker.”

Exodas also has a second PBS quad-quad B-double due to join the fleet very shortly. It will be the first combination in the fleet to use Hendrickson’s TIREMAAX™PRO, an advanced tyre inflation system providing constant active inflation, relieving and equalising of tyre pressures. Bennett expects to see it deliver great results.

“On the new one coming in, it will have the TIREMAAX PRO system included as a trial. It monitors all your tyres to keep the pressures equal, so it reduces tyre wear,” he said. “We haven’t used this system before so it’s new to us. If there’s a noticeable difference, we’ll definitely look to purchase more.”

Burton added, “When a driver has a flat tyre out on the road, it costs about $1000 to get someone out there to replace it, so if we can find tyre issues before the truck goes out and get it fixed in the workshop, then that’s a good thing.”

Bennett also commented on Hendrickson’s service. “They’ve been great to work with. We haven’t really had any issues and the minor ones we did have were resolved very quickly. When I was in Melbourne, they also sent me on a factory tour to see how everything is done, which was really impressive.”

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