Prime Mover Magazine

Silk embarks on special build project to deliver best in class Wharf to DC time

Wharf cartage specialist, Silk Contract Logistics (SCL), has confirmed it is redefining its productivity as it pioneers new, innovative methods of maximising space in the hyper-competitive container transport sector.

As sideloader containers exceed the on road capacity of axle weights, given the triaxle and drive axle group are often on a limit point with spare capacity on the other, it has become an ongoing issue for many cartage operators.

A sideloader application with a tare weight of 18 tonnes and gross concessional mass of 42.5 tonnes leaves capacity of 24.5 tonnes according to Chief Operating Officer and Director John Sood.

“The restriction is the 12.25 tonnes on the drive when the tare on the drive is between 4 tonnes and 5 tonnes meaning that to operate compliantly you are looking at 8 tonnes payload for the drives and 16 tonnes for the triaxle,” he said.

“Because the container is often retracted into the centre of the trailer the issue then comes from having the capacity reduced now to 22 tonnes.”

As the normal backward weighed position of the sideloader caters for the reduction in capacity at general mass limits but as an operator proceeds to concessional mass limits, heavy mass limits and the Mass Important Management Scheme, the weight balance changes between the two axle groups.

Silk Contract Logistics National Operations Manager Kip Sandercock with Silk Contract Logistics QLD Transport Manager Paul Yeoman sought a solution to reduce truck trips and speed up delivery time for its customers through long time partners in lifter and equipment manufacturing.

The unit of choice to obtain these weights began with standard Hammar 195 as it fit the 24 tonnes to 25 tonnes payload capability.

They also secured a lightweight prime mover to further support the weight reductions and capacity to travel on the road.

So that SCL had a thorough understanding of the range of positions required to be able to maximise the payloads, part of the project required a customised tool to calculate the precise best position for any weight of container and this was developed in house.

SCL then turned to Hammar as primary sideloader supplier for its 160S Ultralight option and the 110S for more of the multipurpose work undertaken.

Issues encountered regarding the weights on the prime movers procured, meant payload overall was lost according to Sandercock, and as a result, SCL further leaned on Hammar as partner.

“Hammar again came to the party with suggestions concerning the composition of the units as SCL worked through some redesign work to position the turntables and reduce the weight of the trucks to achieve our intended goal," he said. 

SCL didn’t get the full intended weights, as initial calculations of prime mover weights were under, at a loss of 280kgs explained Sandercock.

"That being said, the upper limits in weight is still first-in-class," he said.

The weight distribution and how SCL has come to be able to compliantly transport such significant weights is a market-leading innovation and as such the IP could not be shared by the company.

For one of its biggest national customers, a retailer, SCL has reduced the ‘Wharf to DC’ time in their business from 16 days with an incumbent to five days with SCL, on 8000 containers annually across the Eastern Seaboard.

“We’re confident this point of difference solidifies SCL as the supplier of choice in container transport for those wanting an exceptional service,” said Josh Boyd Silk Contract Logistics General Manager Transport.

The capital required to procure the sideloaders and prime movers, along with the compliance to NHVAS (Mass and Maintenance), research and development is significant according to the company, but justified by the outcome.

Despite there being little saving by way of cost, great benefits have been seen through an improved capacity with which more work is now achieved in the same timeframe.

"Lowering Wharf to DC time gives our customers greater stock availability, ensuring saleability, lower inventory holding and revenue through the door quicker," said Sandercock.

"Additionally, but certainly not of lesser value is the development of our calculation tool which means we're in a position to know what’s legal before we put it on the truck instead of after, eliminating the chance of overweight issues on the road," he said.

In sum, it is fair to suggest that SCL has engineered a flexible solution that allows advanced insight into what limit is in place for each configuration as it allows the setup to be compliant with the many elements of Chain of Responsibility, protecting employees, customers and the general public.

"SCL is proud of the outcome, being as it is a huge win for those customers whose supply chain they support," said Sandercock.

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