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Australia’s first B-quad hits the road

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Owner-Driver  /  August 2, 2018

One of the most exciting new combinations to hit the streets in recent years has just been approved and is ready to be put to work - the big B-quad

The PBS B-quad with K200 up front can be seen in the drone footage below undertaking testing, and is set to cart carrots for iconic Rocky Lamattina & Sons.

The trailer set was manufactured by Southern Cross Trailers and is a combination they’re proud to call an on-road Australian first.

"It was something that we proposed after getting a better understanding of Lamattina’s trailer requirements," Says Southern Cross Trailers Business Development Engineer, Phill Ramfos.

"They let us build without boundaries, the only boundary we had was the network they were carting produce on."

Extensive testing led Southern Cross Trailers to the verdict this combination offers benefits far beyond just payload.

Ramfos explains that it offers unique weight distribution across axles and by virtue of its design, tracks like a B-double. 

"Talking to the owners they’re pretty impressed with the performance of the combination and its manoeuvrability, we think it’d just about get through a Maccas drive-through!" he jokes.

"It’s not just unique in its configuration, its unique in how it distributes the mass across the axle loads.

"It’s critical for asphalt, bridges, for a lot of things and that’s what we aimed to do – design something outside the box and offer a benefit for industry, community and the customer."

Rocky Lamattina and Sons General Manager  Angelo Lamattina says the decision to build a B-quad came down to both manoeuvrability and getting the weights right on the axle groups.

"We were looking at another A-double but it’s difficult getting the weights right on the axle groups, so going with a B-quad we were able to move the turntable back and forward until we got the load where we wanted it," Lamattina says.

The company transports carrots between their three farms in Victoria and Queensland and Lamattina says the B-quad is already approved on the route they travel, as well as offering high levels of handling and safety.

"I spoke to Phill at Southern Cross Trailers and we came up with a design for the B-quad that kept it under 36.5-metres long, because the road train route is here already," he says.

"At the end of the day, if we felt that increasing the productivity of the vehicle was going to create an issue with safety we wouldn’t even head in that direction.

"This has more wheels on the ground and with the extra trailers it drives nice and flat. When you go around a corner it’s also a lot more stable."

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) chief engineer Les Bruzsa, also known as the ‘Quadfather’ in transport circles, says this B-quad offers significant productivity gains over a traditional Type 1 Roadtrain.

"This is the first B-quad that’s not a mining vehicle, set to be operating from next week," Bruzsa says.

"The General Mass Limit (GML) is 103 tonnes and the Higher Mass Limit (HML) is 105.5 tonnes – so if you look at a Type 1 Roadtrain, this one can provide more than 20% productivity improvement."

In terms of performance Bruzsa says the B-quad sets a high benchmark within the PBS Scheme, both for low and high-speed handling.

"The B-quad is an absolutely fantastic combination and as far as dynamic stability it’s a benchmark vehicle," he says.

"This vehicle has really excellent characteristics, it’s extremely stable and the high-speed dynamics are fantastic.

"It’s extremely stable at the rear, the rear axles are tracking with the prime mover.

"It’s also got disc brakes, electronic stability control, so all the latest technology fitted."

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VIC transport operation reports breakthrough efficiencies with PBS B-quad combination

Prime Mover Magazine  /  March 15, 2019

After utilising Performance-Based Standards (PBS) to last year gain approval to operate B-quads in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, vegetable grower Rocky Lamattina & Sons is reaping the rewards of this ultra-efficient combination.

“We obviously went into this expecting a good outcome in terms of enhanced operational efficiencies compared to the B-triples we’d been using, but the B-quad has well and truly exceeded our expectations, making all the hard work to get it over the line well worth it,” said Angello Lamattina, Director of Rocky Lamattina & Sons.

“I’d like to acknowledge the efforts of everyone involved with making this happen, including the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), for their vision and foresight in enabling us to get this highly efficient combination up and running.”

In describing the situation, Lamattina suggested that while the benefits of a B-triple over a B-double are reasonable, moving to the B-quad has enabled the company to reach a critical mass in that it now has the means to haul virtually the equivalent of two B-double loads with vastly reduced running costs compared to operating two individual B-doubles.

“With our haulage work from Victoria to Queensland we couldn’t get enough weight on the B-doubles so we got permits to run B-triples which gave us an extra 15 to 20 tonnes of payload,” said Lamattina.

“However, the extra weight meant we had to use a different route which adds 150 kilometres to the leg and somewhat negates the benefit of running a B-triple compared with a B-double.

“The B-quad allows us an extra 30 to 35 tonnes of payload over a standard B-double which more than justifies the extra 150km added to the loaded leg due to the different route.”

Lamattina clarified that because the B-quad travels one way fully loaded with bins of carrots at a gross combination mass (GCM) of close to 104.5 tonnes and returns with just the weight of the empty bins, the company has been able to secure different permits for each leg, enabling a shorter journey on the unladen leg.     

At this point he mentioned that the only change needed with the prime movers to make them suitable to pull the B-quad was the diff ratio.

“We run the 4.11 ratio on our B-doubles, 4.33 for the B-triples and 4.56 on the B-quad,” he said. “We initially trialled the 4.33 ratio with the B-quad but we found running the 4.56 ratio gave us a higher average speed which meant a 15 to 30 minute better trip time, depending on the distance.”

The B-quad has an overall length of 36.5 metres, the same as a road-train, but Lamattina points out that there is actually more useable load space due to the close coupled nature of the trailers compared to road train combinations connected with dollies. Using Kenworth K200 cab-over prime movers also helps in this regard as opposed to the typical conventional (bonneted) road-train prime mover which adds an extra couple of metres at the front.

A further benefit of the close coupled B-quad over a conventional road train is the superior aerodynamics which undoubtedly enhances fuel economy. In this regard Lamattina said the results have met his expectations.

“We are allowed to travel at 100km/h in Victoria and Queensland and 90km/h in New South Wales, but we’ve found it’s best to keep it under 95km/h regardless, otherwise the fuel burn rate increases significantly,” he said.

“Pulling the B-quad on a return trip loaded one way we’re averaging 1.5km/l (4.24mpg) which I think is quite a respectable result.”

Another bonus of the B-quad, according to Lamattina, is better than expected tyre life. He said this is due to the average axle weights being lower than that of a B-double, adding that this also contributes to excellent braking characteristics and overall good road manners and stability of the combination. Furthermore, it imposes less point loading on infrastructure like roads and bridges which can only be a good thing.

With the B-quad concept having proven a huge success, Lamattina is in the process of securing more trailers through Southern Cross Trailers in Adelaide to make up additional combinations. He said the goal is to have four sets running between Victoria and Queensland with a further two operating in Victoria.

“All the benefits this combination provides including less fuel used, less tyre wear and road damage, and less trucks on the road all add to an outcome that is a win-win for us, the environment and the wider community,” he said.

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Interesting dolly set up, never saw any like that.

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I followed this unit a couple of times now up the Calder hwy and I can tell you that while it might have some benefitsn one thing it doesn't do any good at all is track 

Maybe at 60 km/h it goes nice and straight but at 90 - 100 km/h it's all over the road like drunk dog ice 

What a mess, almost impossible to pass safely and doesn't track anywhere near as good as a double road train 

I hope these don't become common place

Paul 

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Newest PBS B-quad unveiled and on the road

Owner-Driver  /  June 4, 2019

The newest performance-based standards (PBS) super B-quad has hit the road in Australia.

Developed by Southern Cross Trailers and operated by Symons Clark Logistics, the PBS level 3A-quad spans 36.5m – including a Kenworth K200 prime mover – and is the second B-quad on-road in Australia.

It was given the tick of approval by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) in South Australia, with the launch attended by CEO Sal Petroccitto and chief engineer Les Bruzsa.

The first B-quad, also boasting the work of Southern Cross Trailers and operated by Rocky Lamattina & Sons, was launched in August 2018.

The regulator notes the number of PBS combinations has doubled in the last five years, led by truck and dog approvals, which overtook prime mover and trailer combinations for the first time in 2018.

There are now almost 18,000 separate PBS heavy vehicles registered since the scheme commenced, making up nearly 9,000 PBS combinations.

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