Innovation celebrated as finalists revealed for upcoming award

A world-first container trailer that doubles productivity and an air suspension pressure-control system that substantially reduces tyre wear and fuel consumption are among the finalists named for this upcoming award.

HVIA has revealed five finalists for the Production Innovation category of the 2023 HVIA National Awards, set to be announced at a Gala Dinner at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on November 24.

“Every year we witness more of our members’ extraordinary innovation and ingenuity being revealed,” said HVIA chief executive Todd Hacking.

These are the finalists.

O’Phee Trailers for its ‘London’ container double stack super B-double skel trailer combination (Eastern region: Qld, NSW, ACT)

Equipped with an Australian-compliant load restraint system, this world-first trailer combination can carry up to eight empty 20-foot containers at a time or four 40-foot containers – boosting productivity by 100 per cent over current existing super B-double combinations in a single journey.

Officially launched in July 2023, the innovative design came about following discussions between O’Phee Trailers and customer Qube about ways to improve the productivity and efficiency of moving many containers.

During the design phase, the vehicle was subject to regulatory and independent safety and operational assessments, including the NHVR’s Performance Based Standards (PBS) framework. Once constructed, the vehicle was subject to further safety tests and assessments including physical tilt tests and desktop assessments relating to its stability.

‘London’ is currently restricted to approved routes within the Port of Brisbane. However, O’Phee Trailers has had enquiries from other operators and ports domestically and internationally that are interested in adopting the high-productivity trailer.

Lucidity Australia for its fuel tanker overfill probe junction box (Southern region: Vic, SA, Tas)

Lucidity’s fuel tanker overfill probe junction box features a unique modular design which utilises standardised parts to reduce production time and increase availability.

Existing probe harnesses tend to be unique to a tanker and cannot be reworked if there’s a change in specification. Tanker OEMs must purchase a junction box and sundry items, and then hardwire the probe in place – a process that can takes hours.

Installing harnesses can also be time-consuming due to their length, making it difficult to manipulate especially working on top of the tanker. If the harness becomes damaged, the complete unit must be replaced to maintain DG certification.

The modular nature of Lucidity’s probe system addresses these problems. Small sections make them easier to install and route cables; and replacing a damaged section does not require the removal of all the wiring.

What’s also unique are Lucidity’s printed circuit board (PCB) and junction box. The new probe junction box uses purpose-designed and -built components, allowing for creation of a standardised parts which can be easily produced and stocked.

Base Air Global for Base Air® (Eastern region: Qld, NSW, ACT)

Base Air is a pressure-control system that allows vehicles to operate between single- and dual-circuit air suspension as required, reducing vibration and improving load-share, freight damage, tyre-wear, fuel consumption, and Electronic Brake System intervention.

Installed into a vehicle’s existing air suspension, the system uses two custom height control valves (HCVs), one dual-pressure protection valve (DPPV), and air lines of equal length and diameter, are combined with unique ‘Crossflow’ technology.

The HCVs split a vehicle’s total number of air springs into two sets – one left and one right. Both sides are then connected, via a single ‘Crossflow’ line. Special ports within each HCV manage airflow through this line, in response to a vehicle’s environment. On level ground, these ports are open, and the system operates as one circuit, with air evenly managed across both sets of springs.

However, if the vehicle leans more than 1.5 degrees left or right, these ports close, isolating the air either side. This creates two circuits, enabling the HCVs to determine what pressure is best for their respective set of springs.

Once the vehicle returns to level ground, the ‘Crossflow’ reactivates, allowing air pressure in both sets of springs to equalise.

Base Air is a near bolt-on replacement of select components in existing products from major suspension OEMs, with average installation time of only six hours.

Wickham Freight Lines has reported 20-30 per cent tyre-wear reduction using the system; while Martins Stock Haulage reported the typical lifespan of trailer tyres has been extended from 180,000-200,000km to more than 230,000km – along with reduced fuel consumption and freight damage.

Carmate Electronics for its Mata7S multi-trailer TPMS for heavy commercial vehicles (Eastern region: Qld, NSW, ACT)

Mata7S is a multi-trailer tyre pressure monitoring solution (TPMS) suitable for monitoring tyre pressure and temperature on semi-trailers, B-doubles and road-trains with four unique original points.

It successfully tackles the technical challenge of transmitting tyre data across long distances for multi-trailer vehicles. The system can monitor the truck plus up to six trailers to a total of 110 tyres. Other TPMS solutions often rely on long-distance wireless signals, which makes it difficult to transmit tyre pressure information consistently across more than one or two trailers.

Another unique point is that Mata7S enables seamless and unrestricted hook-and-drop between different trucks and trailers. The trailers/dollies can be picked up by different trucks, swapped out or around for maintenance without any additional programming required.

Installation is also simple and clean with minimal wiring.

Mata7S is the first and only multi-trailer hook-and-drop TPMS that also enables data output for telematics, which makes it a perfect solution for fleet tyre management.

Borne out of a gap in the market for a TPMS for B-doubles, the company now has a full line-up of tyre pressure monitors for trucks of all sizes, from rigids to road-trains.

PT Blueboys coupling connection covers (Eastern region: Qld, NSW, ACT)

PT Blueboys manufactures and sells flexible silicone covers that completely seal out dust, moisture and grit from air and hydraulic fittings on trucks.

Fitting the covers only takes a few minutes. Once fitted they easily roll back and forth allowing for smooth hooking/unhooking of trailers. The covers save truck owners the downtime and money needed to constantly change damaged couplings.

The idea for the product came about after founder Darren Dillon, a diesel mechanic by trade, searched the internet for something that would help him save time when trucks came into his workshop to get serviced. He could not find anything and decided to invent the product himself.

Inspired by the mechanics of rebuilding hydraulic valves and rolling on O-rings, Dillon drew the design, made a silicone mould in his workshop, and created a few prototypes. The prototypes worked, and after a worldwide patent was filed, Darren and his wife Anna launched PT Blueboys to the Australian market.

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