Melbourne-based plant equipment manufacturer, Quality Fabrication and Engineering (Q-FE), has partnered with IVECO to bring to market an innovative new aggregate spreader that meets VicRoads Standard 408.11, due for introduction in Victoria from July 1, 2022.
The standard mandates that all aggregate spreaders working on sprayed sealing operations be forward moving, and this objective set the Q-FE engineering team to work in January of last year to develop a vehicle that would meet the challenge.
Forward spreading provides additional visibility and increases safety in road building applications, which normally involve busy work sites with multiple machines operating at once alongside workers.
Based on the latest Australian-manufactured Euro 6 ACCO and X-Way platforms, the ‘Q-FE Road Ant’ is a dual control, forward moving truck that can be driven independently from both ends of the vehicle.
It includes significant safety features that are engaged when driving the vehicle from either end, disabling the controls that are not in use. Other safety equipment includes ‘Reverse Smart’ Automatic Emergency Braking and Anti-Rollaway Braking.
The vehicle’s dual control cabin allows the operator to sit on either side, directly over the spread line, allowing uninterrupted vision of the work site and surrounding area. The truck body is a modified Trout River asphalt-compatible unit with 10-gate chip spreader and 10m³ capacity, but Q-FE can also offer units as compact as 6m³ and as large as 15m³.
Q-FE General Manager, Glenn Hardiman, said that partnering with a local manufacturer such as IVECO provided Q-FE with significant advantages.
“Q-FE have to date successfully fitted the ‘Road Ant’ to a variety of cab chassis’, but having a local manufacturing presence with engineering and production capabilities has helped to streamline the process,” Hardiman said.
“IVECO is currently assisting Q-FE with some customisation on the production line, and hopefully, in the near future, will be able to assist in further cost savings with the potential fitment of existing standard IVECO components such as steering mitre boxes and cross over shafts, and Q-FE-supplied custom wiring looms.
“These CCMs (Customised Content Modifications) would be of great value, eliminating the need for Q-FE to disassemble the dash and steering once we’ve taken delivery.
“IVECO has been extremely helpful during the development phases of the project and the company’s technical backup and attention to detail has been impressive.
“We’re also pleased at the compatibility of the ACCO and X-Way cab chassis platforms for the application – the ACCO has already been engineered as a dual control model and also has the safety and Euro 6 emission performance that the end users expect and in many cases require.”
Interest in the patented Q-FE Road Ant has been strong with nine aggregate units already completed and several currently operating in the field with leading road resurfacing companies. A further four units are currently in build on the X-Way 8×4 platforms.
While the bulk of deliveries to date have been manufactured on the 6×4 ACCO platform, those wanting additional GVM capacity and power can opt to have units built using the locally manufactured X-Way cab chassis, which provides 30t GVM and power and torque ranging from 460hp/2150Nm to 510hp/2300Nm.
Hardiman said that feedback from Q-FE’s end customers on the Q-FE Road Ant units had been extremely positive.
“The trucks are working well according to our clients and we have many multiple repeat orders,” he said.
“We’ve recently increased our manufacturing resources to meet the growing demand, and have cut down on the production of some of our other equipment to focus on the Q-FE Road Ant.
“IVECO is definitely our cab chassis supplier of choice for our Q-FE Road Ant units and I expect the relationship will only further strengthen in the future.”