Glad to be of Service

In mid-2020, PacLease re-launched their contract maintenance offering, with more options available to customers.

The updated offering consists of three maintenance levels, Standard, Advanced and Premium.

The Standard package includes oil-drain services at a set rate with intervals determined by the application of a customer’s usage, the Advanced package provides the addition of driveline repairs including engine, transmission, diffs and axles, while the Premium package is like a hamburger with the lot that covers everything.

“Our team endeavours to work with our customer base to assist in selecting the best option for their business model”, says PacLease Australia General Manager, Andrew Molnar.

At all times, PacLease’s number one priority is getting to know its customers’ needs and providing a tailored solution that suits their business models.

“That’s the benefit of the PacLease national network,” says Andrew. “We are able to locally monitor our customers’ needs at each of our 26 branches on a month-by-month basis which enables us to respond quickly and adjust contracts to suit changes in circumstances. Our local teams work with PACCAR Financial and PacLease regional managers in each state and territory, which gives us comprehensive coverage nationally via the extensive PACCAR dealer network.”

Furthermore, plenty of customers are using PACCAR Financial as a traditional funding method and then attaching a contract maintenance program to the finance contract.

As a result, the customer has the benefit of a fixed monthly cost with the added advantages of owning the truck after it has been paid off and receiving the Government’s tax benefits.

Dedicated fleet managers monitor the vehicle mileage to allow PacLease to help schedule services.

PacLease thereby, according to Andrew, can maintain the vehicle as required, with the option of a backup vehicle in the case of breakdowns or accidental damage.

This way the customer has limited exposure to the vagaries of unscheduled downtime.

“PacLease gives operators the flexibility to choose the most suitable option for their business model, either leasing or a chattel mortgage with PACCAR Financial along with the addition of a contract maintenance agreement,” he says.

Boasting one of the largest commercial heavy vehicle rental fleets in Australia, PacLease has multiple equipment offerings across the Kenworth and DAF range from 26 locations.

With demand on the road transport network increasing in recent years, PacLease can offer rentals from a day to a year to assist keeping road transport businesses on the road.

PacLease units can be fitted with hydraulics and dangerous goods fit-ups to ensure they have a vehicle to meet most applications.

One of the biggest factors affecting road transport in the past 12 months has been lead times on new vehicles for operators.

workhouse

In an attempt to promote growth in 2022, PacLease has successfully obtained sufficient stock of the Kenworth and DAF product to continue to supply their rental fleets, as well as to support their sales teams in the continued growth of the full-service lease business.

“In an endeavour to stick to our core values of supporting the rental market with a premium product and modern fleet, PacLease has managed to secure Kenworth and DAF stock throughout 2022 to update and grow our rental fleet without sacrificing our premium quality offering,” says Andrew.

The stock numbers will also allow PacLease to promote its already successful full-service lease offering.

During 2021, PacLease launched a DAF CF 530 24/48-month lease program to great success.

“The 2021 DAF lease program gave fleet operators a taste of full-service leasing without the normal longer-term commitment associated with leasing,” says Andrew.

“With the fleet we have set aside to grow the full-service lease portfolio in 2022. We believe we will be able to convert some traditional outright purchase fleets that may have a need to update their fleet, or add additional vehicles but may not have access to them due to increased lead times.”

PacLease is a global commercial truck leasing company that provides customised full-service lease, rental and contract maintenance programs for Kenworth and DAF trucks.

Designed to meet the specific needs of customers, the company’s service offering also includes vehicle upkeep, 24/7 roadside assist and flexible lease structures.

PacLease’s direct connection with Kenworth, DAF and PACCAR, according to the company, means its customers receive premium equipment and services which have been thoroughly tested and assessed for suitability for the needs of each and every customer.

A Bullish Future

Meritor has long been renowned for its expertise in producing some of the toughest and most durable axles and drivelines on the planet.

As part of its Blue Horizon strategy, to capture the rapidly developing electrification market, the company is evolving its core components – such as the MT-14X drive axle – into new products that also include electric drive units, control modules, inverters and power and battery management systems in order to meet the needs of the future.

In fact, Meritor says it’s MT-14X epowertrain platform can cover around 60 per cent of current on-highway truck axle applications making it a prime candidate to develop further as the electric drive marches forward.

The result of this is the MT-14Xe which capitalises on the modular capacity of the standard axle while elevating it to the level required for a new generation of electric trucks.

The company has noted that electrification represents a risk, due in part to vertical integration by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and that scale is required during the transition to electrification.

Expectations are that an elongated global truck cycle will continue through 2025 and that the company plans to generate $USD1.5B of electrification revenue in 2030.

This will be split between Heavy Duty, Transit (bus), and Medium Duty, with Meritor citing the latter as a category with potential for significant growth. In fact, the company commenced production of its 14Xe ePowertrain, which can be adapted to fit various powertrain needs based on vehicle application and duty cycle spanning Classes Five (medium duty) to Eight (heavy duty).

The 14Xe ePowertrain is a fully integrated, all-electric drive system that is claimed to be the first and, at this stage, only integrated electric powertrain being produced for Class Eight trucks in North America.

“Our 14Xe ePowertrain has been thoroughly tested doing real world miles hauling heavy loads in various conditions and multiple applications,” says Chris Villavarayan, Meritor Chief Executive Officer and President. “This new product enables us to offer the industry a proven, all-electric, zero emissions solution.”

The 14Xe ePowertrain, which is produced at Meritor’s manufacturing facility in Asheville, North Carolina, is designed to provide efficiency, performance, weight savings and enhanced space utilisation.

It is based on Meritor’s proven 14X axle housing, which maintains existing axle mounting locations and hardware for ease of OEM integration.

The modular design enables the interchangeability of key components, including electric motors, transmissions, gearing, brakes, wheel ends and housings to suit individual customer specifications.

Meritor’s electric drive solutions for an evolving market encompass three distinct architectures including Remote Mount Direct Drive, Remote Mount Multi-Speed and ePowertrain Fully Integrated.

The company states that advantages of the first option are its speed to market and lowest initial cost.

These advantages are also common to the second option, although it’s also said to be more efficient than the direct drive format.

DAF CF340 8×4.

However, according to Meritor, its fully integrated ePowertrain is the superior solution of the three because it offers the highest efficiency, more battery space and lower weight.

When it comes to specifications of the 14Xe ePowertrain, the core axle components – what Meritor terms its Legacy Content – includes either a fabricated or cast steel housing to suit conventional or independent suspension.

A wide range of differential ratios is available ranging from 2.67 to 6.57:1. Wheel ends are available in either standard or hub reduction along with disc or drum brakes.

Meritor has vast experience in producing these core driveline components stretching back 110 years.

Today the company reportedly produces more than eight million gears annually including helical, spur, worm, straight bevel, spiral bevel, hypoid and amboid at facilities in North America, South America, Europe, India and China. Over the years Meritor has continuously refined its gear manufacturing and metallurgical processes – including precision and near-net forging, machining, grinding, heat treatment, case hardening and testing – in order to optimise efficiency, power density and noise control.

It is this wealth of core gear manufacturing expertise that enables the company to leverage efficiencies in its differentiated ePowertrain solutions.

To transform the core Legacy Content MT-14X axle with its high efficiency hypoid gearing into the 14Xe, Meritor incorporates an electric motor with application-specific continuous power/ peak torque outputs of either 150kW/ 1,000Nm, 180kW/ 1,000Nm or 200kW/ 1,100Nm.

Transmission choices include fully integrated planetary one- or two-speed or dual countershaft two- or three-speed units.

An inverter with base application software and controls works in harmony with a Power Control Module (PCM) which features transmission shift control logic along with pedal and efficiency mapping.

At this stage Meritor has supplied the electric powertrain for more than 180 vehicles produced by a range of OEMs across various market segments. These include heavy-duty prime movers, refuse trucks, terminal tractors, school buses and reach stackers.

PACCAR is a prominent player in the heavy-duty and refuse sectors in North America and Meritor is the primary supplier of battery electric systems including power control and accessory system (PCAS) and ePowertrain for Peterbilt 579EV and 520EV as well as Kenworth T680E models. Closer to home, Meritor has collaborated with PACCAR in Australia to develop the conventional MT-40-14X tandem drive axle assembly used in the DAF CF340 8×4 that is custom designed and built for front loading waste applications.

The big news with this development is that around 500kg has been pared from the vehicle’s tare weight.

According to Adam Carroll, Meritor Australia’s Marketing and Product Manager, the MT-14X axle has been the most widely used axle sold into the heavy duty truck market in the USA since it’s release and was subsequently introduced to Australian Kenworth variants several years ago.

Now, fitting this drive axle assembly to the DAF CF 340 for waste applications has served to make the vehicle competitive with other brands in this segment.

“The extra weight in the DAF tandem drive assembly is due to the European specification which works well in the European markets where tare weight is not so critical,” Adam explains. “However, the Australian market is similar to the US in that tare weights need to be kept to a minimum in order to optimise payload capacity. This is certainly the case in the 8×4 front loader waste segment in Australia.”

The weight was reduced by using Kenworth Airglide suspension grafted onto the Meritor MT-14X tandem drive assembly which also underwent modifications to enable the use of DAF European-spec wheel ends with 335mm Pitch Circle Diameter (PCD) stud pattern and Meritor disc brake assemblies in place of the typical Kenworth drum-braked 285mm PCD wheel ends.

The end result was a phenomenal weight saving of around 500kg, without any sacrifice in performance or durability.

“This collaboration really showcases the prowess and flexibility of Meritor’s local engineering and manufacturing capabilities,” says Adam. “As we embrace the shift to electrification we expect to be able to add even more value, configuring and adapting our epowertrain solutions to suit our unique local applications.”

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Full Range

Keeping insulated from the supply chain disruptions that commonly roil markets is the latest, in a long line, of challenges that have beset road transport players, whose revenue diversification, amid two years of turbulence, is being put to the test like never before.

For the Glen Cameron Group, the last 12 months, has, as if in direct rebuff to the ipso facto obstacles of inflation, heightened geopolitical tensions, natural disasters and COVID-affected freight movements, enjoyed what amounts to an unrivalled period of success in its 47-year history.

In a little over a year the Glen Cameron Group has expanded its depots, commercial vehicle fleet, customer portfolio and unveiled a brand new $20 million Cameron Interstate complex — a facility in Sydney with 6,200 metres of under-cover space on 30,000m2 site where 60 employees are supported by 65 contractors who look after an average of 25 B-doubles of freight every 24 hours.

All of which, moreover, is within immediate proximity to key connecting arterials.

Road freight has increased eight-fold, from an approximate 26 billion tonne kilometres in 1970–71 to around 203 billion tonne kilometres in 2015–16.

By 2040, should it remain on course for average annual growth of 2 per cent per annum, road freight volumes are projected by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics to grow by 56 per cent.

Heavily dependent on road freight, the construction sector comprises around 30 per cent of total road freight tonnages.

For any serious business adjacent to the building industry having the right transport partner is not optional. Some companies, as the booming construction and building materials supply realm advances, are catching the drift.

Total dwelling approvals increased by some 23 per cent year-on-year according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics’, with private housing approvals 42 per cent higher than they were August 2019.

For Cameron Logistics, a major growth area of the Glen Cameron Group business, landing a major contract with Stramit, a building materials supplier and manufacturer, is a significant event and should be cause for celebration by both parties.

It alone reflects the foresight of timely investments in the twin tenets of physical infrastructure and production. That said, contracts in the freight world of any magnitude are not an overnight event in the making.

The toil of the distant past paves the way forward ­— often right now. Not unlike most longstanding family businesses the Stramit pedigree is involved and multigenerational.

It dates back to the 1890s, for an indication of how far the company has come on its journey. A signature move, however, in 1989, when KH Stramit and Amatek Building Products joined forced, set in motion its current ownership model.

That merger resulted in the company becoming one of the country’s largest steel roll formers across a national network — a network it expects to bolster and make truly panoramic through its new partnership with Cameron Logistics. Stramit, which is no stranger to swift growth itself, opened a new Taurean 7,000m2 facility at Knoxfield in 2018, in addition to an R&D facility in New South Wales unveiled the same year.

Side view of the Cascadia cab entry.

Its expansion is very much tied to its transportation partners as its business needs evolve.

This is where Glen Cameron Group comes in.

“Having long-term partners like Cameron is key as we embark on this journey together,” says Malcolm Thomas, Stramit Sales & Operations Planning Manager. “We went on a very extensive evaluation process before appointing Cameron as our logistics provider for Victoria. As our business seeks to add innovative products into new competitive markets, a partner like Cameron will work with us to achieve the best logistics outcomes and of course safety is critical.”

An additional fleet of around 70 trucks and specialised trailers were acquired to distribute the Stramit roofing, shed kits and roller door products.

There was also a requirement for a linehaul B-double service to run the nine-hour Melbourne to Sydney leg, return. As part of the contractual arrangement, Cameron Logistics purchased a new Freightliner Cascadia with a 36-inch walk in sleeper suited for the task.

Several Vawdrey Titeliner trailers were also commissioned especially for the job. The new Vawdrey B-double Titeliners feature unmissable Stramit product images on the curtains.

Greg Morris, Glen Cameron Group National Fleet Manager, opted for a new 13-litre Freightliner Cascadia 116, with alloy bullbar incorporating LED driver light and ice pack cabin cooler, to pull the trailer set after careful consideration was given to benchmarks he commonly associates with his extensive linehaul operations.

“Fuel, driver comfort and the latest technology including all of the Mercedes-Benz safety features that we have become accustomed to over the years,” he says of the decision. “The safety features in these trucks now have progressed so much over the last five years.”

Par for the course, the newest Freightliner will also be nationally maintained under a Daimler full maintenance contract for the duration of its cycle in the Cameron business.

Several new Cascadias have been evaluated by Greg and his team over the last 12 months with more already on order. JOST sensor top turntables have been fitted to the newest Cascadias as mandatory across the fleet.

“We have been a customer of JOST for over 30 years,” says Greg, who has been with the Cameron’s organisation since 2011. “They always provide us with great support and make great products — especially the JSK 42.”

The truck comes with adaptive cruise control, lane assist and “extraordinary”, per Greg, brake assist technology along with intelligent high beam, making it the first vehicle in the fleet equipped with this technology.

These safety features are also pivotal to the customer who naturally wants its products moved with the best road transport technology available in the market.

For Malcolm, that provides what he calls a big measure of comfort.

“The new Freightliner Cascadia purchased by Cameron Logistics is a terrific example of this,” says Malcolm. “The safety features on the vehicle really took me by surprise. For me personally, if I am out sharing the road in my car, with my family with these big trucks, the minimum standard comes down to knowing that we are part of, and contribute to, the best safety features possible with a truck like this and knowing that it is maintained to the highest service standard under the Cameron service regime.”

Learning about the latest emission standards currently embraced by the market has been another of the vehicle’s redeeming qualities according to Malcolm.

“The Detroit motor, for example, boasts the latest Green House Gas protocol 17 US standard which even exceeds Euro 6 engine standards,” he says. “This is important to know. Across our business we are also seeking sensible environmental targets, so with Cameron’s now distributing our products we are looking forward to doing this better as we modernise the Stramit fleet. Trucks with safety and environmental features like this will absolutely play a big part in what we do in our business into the future.”

Freightliner Cascadia B-double makes short work of Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway extension.

As standard Cameron Logistics specify Hendrickson HNL 7 INTRAAX suspension and axles with a 1.2 million kilometre-warranty. Included are the TransKing Tightwinder winches and Quickstrap MK II.

The Quickstrap system eliminates, according to Shane Coates, Glen Cameron Group Asset Manager, the need for drivers to climb steps so that they can pass or throw straps over the load.

“It can now be done safely with little effort from the ground using this system,” he says. “The driver just hooks the load binder strap into the Quickstrap using an extension pole and then pulls the strap across the load from the other side of the vehicle.”

Aside from the inherent efficiencies involved in their use, the TransKing winches, according to Greg, are most of all safe and make for a great initiative.

“As a process, it requires less effort of the driver to realise more down force than a standard drum winch,” he says. “The cantilever winch handle and clockwise rotation of the tensioner is devised to greatly reduce the risk of drivers slipping and hitting their face on the side of the vehicle. We now standardise the Quickstrap and Tightwinder product across our entire fleet.”

Having secured the Stramit contract for the next five years, Founder and Managing Director, Glen Cameron is pleased by the design of the Cameron Logistics livery together with the Stramit advertising on the trailers.

“Not only is it representative but speaks to the partnership with Stramit. Displaying both of our brands together to the market is a great way to do business with our customers,” he says. “What a great outcome.”

As a combination, the truck and trailers do little to harm the reputation of an iconic industry player renowned for the presentation of its equipment. In fact, it only enhances it.

Effective deployment of new mobile assets instils, and understandably so, greater confidence around the sector. Branding around the Glen Cameron Group business is distinctive.

With the addition of the new Freightliner, it can be argued that it has gone to another level.

The adoption of a uniform approach in its highway presence, going back to the late ‘80s, conveys across the business, fleet and key partners, an awareness that its brand vision aligns with competency, customer service and growth.

These rolling billboards, in contrast to the images of decline of many cities as they return from lockdown hibernation, indicate a thriving business despite two years of headwinds from economic forces outside of its control.

Such challenges for Glen Cameron Group have been met with market readiness primed by solid groundwork.

After 47 years of business, Glen notes the same values hold true today from the advice he received from his father, Ed Cameron, when he was first starting out.

“Ed said, ‘take care of the customer and the rest will follow,’” Glen recalls. “That is, if a customer has a good experience, they will return. Some of our customers have been with us for 30-plus years. But equally we can’t do that without good suppliers.”

Both Daimler and Vawdrey have, according to Glen, also been an integral part of that journey.

“They have been loyal and valued suppliers for us in excess of 20 years,” he says. “Moving freight is easy, adding value beyond moving freight is hard.”

In addition to protecting a recognised and highly regarded brand, the focus is on ensuring the business delivers the very best service to all of its customers while supporting its valued suppliers and giving its drivers the very best and safest equipment available.

“If we don’t do things like that, then we are just another carrier and that’s not what our customers want,” Glen says.

“At the end of the day it’s all about relationships. Relationships with our suppliers, with our customers and of course our people, all working together to do it better and more safely.”

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