Fifth Dimension

More than ever the availability of aftermarket parts and the ease of service and maintenance are key considerations for freight and bulk carriers looking to optimise their total cost of ownership.

An aftermarket resultant from global supply chain shortages and sharp uptake in incentivised commercial vehicle orders differs in scope and size from that to which the industry is accustomed.

Surges in demand, at present, have meant that product portfolios more than ever need to be supported by inventory. In this climate, where delays are no longer the exception to the rule, wait times for parts on builds and repairs are crucial.

For heavy vehicle equipment specialist, SAF-Holland customer satisfaction from the initial purchase to aftermarket and customer support are integral to its brand.

Just as total cost of ownership means factoring in everything that comes after the sale, SAF-Holland understands the value of this for its customers who are looking at these little differences long term when evaluating equipment like axles and fifth wheels often used relentlessly in unforgiving environments.

SAF-Holland offers two styles of fifth wheels in the marketplace.

As the mounting plates are standardised with only the design of the feet and tops dissimilar, customers can choose the style that suits their unique operational needs. While the North American range of Holland fifth wheels have weld-on feet, the European range are products that traditionally feature feet with an ISO bolt pattern.

Offering standard fifth wheels, the European range also includes the RECOSS system as an option, which is a 3-sensor system for Volvo, Daimler and Scania vehicles that illuminates a light on the dash for safety and driver piece of mind.

For its North American range of fifth wheels, SAF-Holland also offers the new ELI-te system. An abbreviation for electronic lock indicator — technology enhanced, the ELI-te reduces the costly disruption of the failed coupling of trailers.

The system works via two sensors that trigger a visual indicator that confirms the successful coupling of the fifth wheel cam plate and the trailer kingpin.

To prevent mistakes and ensure best practice, the ELI-te also warns a driver if the process is incorrect. High intensity white LEDs light up on the jaws of the fifth wheel to indicate a correct seating of the kingpin.

Red lights, however, flash on both sides of the coupling to assist the driver in quickly recognising what might be a potentially costly mistake before attempting a tug test or driving away.

SAF Holland offers fifth wheels – and suitable kingpins – for almost every market segment delivered to OEMs and dealers, fully painted, drilled, with mounting bolts for a fast and efficient fitting all over Australia. Local authorities, it should be noted, have different rules on ‘blue plating.’

SAF-Holland offers full service kits like the RK35503A.

The company according to Phil Crosbie, SAF Holland National Aftermarket Manager, can help its customers with this for each state.

“Always make sure that rating labels are on the fifth wheel, as there has been a review by authorities recently that all fifth wheels have the ratings sticker and are fit for purpose,” he says.

Safety often determines the reliability of a product. In the aftermarket compliance-critical parts that are supplied and fitted to in-service heavy vehicles can have indeterminate quality and an unknown legal compliance status. Phil emphasises the importance that all fleets keep their fifth wheels serviced in the market place with genuine spare parts.

“Fleets have the choice of servicing their fifth wheels or saving labour and replacing the full top on a FW351, FW331, G36, G36L, FW70 or FW72,” he says citing a range of models the company currently offers in the market.

SAF-Holland has spare parts for all fleets ranging from new feet bushes, new jaws, new foot pins and a full service kit like a RK351A kit.

Any level of service is supported. Of course, the necessity of receiving exceptional aftersales support is not something reserved just for the top tier fleets. SAF-Holland understands the critical nature of the work undertaken by its clientele and is focused on giving them what they need when they need it. This includes support and timely advice.

“Holland is a trusted product in the market being used by many people,” Phil says. “Due to the fine tolerance of all fifth wheels, Genuine Holland parts need to be used as other products may fail or not match exactly.”

The company chooses top tier Service Centre Partners that not only deliver high quality service to their customers but also have many of the same company objectives and aspirations.

These founding principles have helped differentiate SAF-Holland from the competition. Its customers are noticing the benefits of this given the current environment.