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Prime Mover Magazine

Direct Freight reveals ultra-productive B-triple

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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