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Direct Freight reveals ultra-productive B-triple


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Prime Mover Magazine  /  March 22, 2019

Interstate express freight company, Direct Freight Express, has displayed its new B-triple in a comprehensive demonstration of Performance-Based Standards (PBS) approved combinations organised by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) at Portland in Victoria this week. 

In a similar vein to the B-quad combinations operated by Lamattina, the Direct Freight Express B-triple has been designed as a modular combination. This means it has the versatility to operate with maximum productivity in both the full combination at just under 42 metres overall length and with a gross combination mass (GCM) of 83 tonnes between Adelaide and Perth under Level 3 access.

Alternatively, by decoupling the tag trailer and operating as a B-double with Level 2 road access, the 30-metre combination will operate on the eastern seaboard under L2 access with a GCM of 63 tonnes.

Fresh from the highly successful PBS vehicle demonstration day at Portland, Chief Engineer at the NHVR, Les Bruzsa, was keen to extol the virtues of what is ostensibly the most productive B-triple on the road today.

“This is a modular design and Southern Cross Trailers are doing this extremely well,” said Bruzsa. “It has the same modular operating ability as the B-quad which can be also run as a B-triple or B-double.”

This modularity is one of the stand out features of Direct Freight’s B-triple because unlike earlier B-triples, each trailer is the same length at 14.3 metres and each tri-axle group has a maximum load capacity of 20 tonnes.

With a train-like overall length of nearly 42 metres, the triple trailer combination has a height of 4.6-metres, with the curtain-sided double drop deck trailers configured to maximise cubic freight volume in its intended role transporting express post and time sensitive parcel freight.

All of the trailers utilise mezzanine decks which enable the transport of a staggering 120 pallets in double-stacked formation. This reduces to 84 pallets when in B-double guise.

Due to the absence of converter dollies, the roll-coupled B-triple configuration offers the multiple benefits of maximised payload space while minimising turbulence and wind resistance between trailers. Other benefits of this design are said to include superior stability and tracking for improved road safety.

Furthermore, there are four self-steer axles across the combination, two on the rear two positions of the lead trailer and one each on the rearmost position of the middle and tag trailers.

The two on the lead trailer have electronic sensors which harmonise the respective wheel cut angles to minimise tyre scrub and sidewall deflection when turning at slow speeds. All of the steer axles have speed activated locking mechanisms which lock the wheels in the straight-ahead position above 40km/h to improve dynamic stability at higher speeds.

Each of the trailers rides on Stefair airbag suspension which is road-friendly certified. The full disc electronic braking system (EBS) incorporates anti-lock (ABS) and stability program (ESP) to mitigate the risk of rollover in the event of a sudden manoeuvre.

To ensure compliance with routes, the unit is continuously monitored under the Intelligent Access Program (IAP).

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A Bigger B-triple

Diesel News Australia  /  March 2019

At the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator PBS demonstration event in Portland this week a new groundbreaking combination hits the streets, it’s a bigger B-triple, a lot bigger at 42 metres long and with a GCM of 82.5 tonnes. The much increased length means this combination suits high cube loading and will be going into service with Direct Freight Express as soon as the demo day is over.

This new vehicle marks a change in the development of the B-triple. In the past the push has always been towards a modular B-triple with set lengths for the lead trailers and the dog. In fact the B-triple has had limited success as the A-double has come on stream with similar capacity but as a more flexible after the combination is broken up.

This long B-triple is able to travel on PBS Level 3B roads which basically equates to the Type 1 Doubles over 36 metres in length network. Its much improved swept path performance should see operators get access beyong the as of right 3B in certain circumstances.

That improved swept path comes from four steering axles on the trailers. there are two on the first lead trailer and one on the second with the rear trailer also having one steer axle. This also reduces drag on the prime mover, road damage and tyre wear, as well as enabling the three trailers to negotiate roundabouts and other intersections.

These trailers as demonstrated are specified for high cube express post and time sensitive parcel freight. The trailers are 4.6 metres high with double drop decks all round. The gaps between the trailer bodies has been minimised to reduce wind drag. 

The combination also utilises all of the latest safety systems with EBS, ABS and Rollover protection and it’s all monitored in the Intelligent Access Program.

This is what the whole PBS project was supposed to be about, pushing the limits to enable operators to find real productivity gains while running safer trucks out on the highway. 

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