Australia’s enviable reputation as the world leader when it comes to designing, engineering and building innovative trailers will be on display at the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show, with a raft of innovative new products from the likes of MaxiTRANS, Robuk and Bruce Rock Engineering
Australia has developed an enviable reputation as the world leader when it comes to designing, engineering and building innovative trucks and trailers, according to HVIA’s new Chief Technical Officer, Adam Ritzinger.
He says the country’s roads and highways boast combinations that leave overseas enthusiasts stunned.
The driving force, Ritzinger contends, has always been Australia’s unique local challenges – remote locations, difficult terrain, long distances, extreme climate and congested cities.
Yet the nation’s trailer manufacturing industry continue to meet and exceed expectations, and consistently deliver on all fronts – productivity, safety and efficiency.
“There are incredible examples of innovation in design and engineering all across the country,” says Ritzinger.
“I have witnessed first-hand the innovation that the people in this industry produce, from the far-flung mines in the outback, to the agile design and manufacturing centres dotted around our cities.
“Unfortunately, the incredible skill and capability of these people doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Public sentiment in Australia is that manufacturing is dead, that we don’t make things anymore.
“But when it comes to trucks and trailers, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our industry and the innovations that it produces should be celebrated as a shining example of what our local designers, engineers and tradespeople are capable of.”
The innovations he refers to are visible in every truck, from one end to the other, and go further than just the trucks and trailers themselves.
“Our industry is fortunate enough to benefit from highly skilled personnel in supporting equipment and componentry, including brakes, suspension, tyres, telematics, bodies, couplings and so many others.
“Having these people with such deep knowledge and experience complements the truck and trailer manufacturers perfectly,” Ritzinger says.
Indeed, colleague Greg Forbes, HVIA’s National Manager Policy and Government Relations, points out that combinations approved under Australia’s Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme now make up around 20 per cent of new vehicle combinations sold in Australia, allowing productivity gains that make our heavy vehicle fleet the envy of the industry worldwide.
He says the scheme has been embraced by the heavy vehicle industry since its introduction, as trailer manufacturers and vehicle engineers have worked with their customers to develop innovative PBS combinations.
Forbes notes designs must meet a set of benchmark performance standards which then allows them to gain exemptions from some of the prescriptive rules that limit the dimensions and mass of other vehicles.
Typically, PBS vehicles use these exemptions to increase the length and/or the number of axles in the combination, resulting in greater cargo (volume and/or weight) per trip.
“That means the PBS combination will be able to complete a freight task in less trips. Therefore, they use less drivers, less fuel and less tyre wear for the same freight task,” he says.
“The productivity benefits from embracing PBS vary depending on the type of the combination and the cargo it carries but are typically in the range of 15 to 35 per cent.
“In addition to the cost savings for the operator, PBS vehicles are safer than prescriptive vehicles, reduce congestion, reduce wear and tear on the road infrastructure and, because they use less fuel, they produce less emissions – contributing to Australia’s decarbonisation commitments.”
Forbes says PBS vehicles appear in many different applications including tippers, containers, tankers, livestock and general freight.
“Whatever you do there is probably a PBS combination that will allow you to do it more efficiently and safer than your existing fleet,” he says.
“If you are not already benefitting from using PBS combinations it is time to consider the investment, and there is no better place to find out about PBS than at the Brisbane Truck Show.
“Even if there isn’t an existing combination that meets your needs, the PBS trailer manufacturers and engineering consultants at the Truck Show will be happy to help you find a solution.”
Like everyone, Ritzinger is excited to see the innovations on display at each of the HVIA member stands at this year’s Brisbane Truck Show.
“I absolutely cannot wait to see what the industry showcases this year, it’s promising to be unlike anything that has come before it,” he says.
Read on for a sneak peak of what Australia’s major trailer manufacturers are showcasing at the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show.
Robuk Hooks Up With NRL Team
Brisbane-based Robuk Engineering is set to create a buzz at this year’s Brisbane Truck Show by showcasing a PBS A-double combination designed after a famous NRL team.
“We’re expecting to generate significant interest and excitement among attendees,” National Sales Manager Darren Riedel says.
“This event provides an excellent platform for us to showcase our expertise and the quality of our products to a wide audience.”
Robuk opened its doors in June 2020, after owner James Yerbury decided to go out on his own.
The newcomer quickly outgrew its shed in rural Queensland and shifted HQ to its current facility at the Port of Brisbane where it specialises in light-weight aluminium grain tippers.
Thanks to some incredible farming seasons, demand for grain tippers has kept Robuk extremely busy.
“We started with just three staff and a small shed in rural Queensland and we now have approximately 50 employees,” Riedel says.
“The Brisbane Truck Show allows us to tell the Robuk story face to face, and nothing beats that.
“We are looking forward to our staff showing off the quality trailers that they’ve built.
“It’s amazing to see our team bring their extended families and friends through our stand with pride and joy,” he adds.
Location: Stand 160, Hall 3
Side Tipper Centre Stage at BRE
Centre stage at Bruce Rock Engineering’s stand will be a Kenworth T610SAR rigid fitted with its Evolution Series 13-cubic-meter side tipper; and its Evolution Series 23-cubic-meter four-axle dog trailer that meets the 20-metre PBS requirements.
The Western Australian-based trailer manufacturer will also display its light-weight earthmoving-specific TaRex end tipper as well as its drop deck widener (who doesn’t love a drop deck).
“The Brisbane Truck Show is a key event in our calendar and we look forward to making our way over from WA to be able to not only showcase our trailers but to be part of an incredible industry event,” the company says.
“We pride ourselves on collaborating closely with our customers to design and manufacture products that not only meet their requirements but exceeds expectations.
“Thanks to HVIA we’re excited for the opportunity to not only meet new customers but catch up with old friends, suppliers and industry stablemates from around the country.”
Established in 1980 by Mike and Gay Verhoogt, the Perth-based company is a major player in the industry, supplying an array of combinations and products the heavy vehicle industry.
As the saying goes, ‘west is best’, and Bruce Rock Engineering will certainly be happy with that.
Location: Stand 166, Hall 4
MaxiTRANS Marks Milestone
Australia’s largest supplier of locally manufactured trailers, MaxiTRANS, is celebrating another key milestone at the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show.
Maxi-CUBE, the company’s refrigerated trailer brand, marks its half century, a huge achievement, and follows sibling-brand, Freighter, which celebrated its 75th anniversary at the previous event.
MaxiTRANS always puts on an impressive display at the Brisbane Truck Show, and the 2023 edition isn’t any different.
On display is the latest products from key brands including Freighter, Maxi-CUBE, Lusty EMS, Trout River and AZMEB, covering all freight types, from general to temperature-controlled and bulk.
Leading the display is two popular trailer models from Freighter: a drop deck semi-trailer with ramps; and a drop-deck T-Liner featuring a revamped mezzanine deck design.
The Maxi-CUBE Classic Reefer is on display offering an interactive experience for visitors to be able to walk inside the trailer and see the product up close.
For the bulk transport segment, MaxiTRANS has a Lusty EMS chassis tipper. Trout River features a live-bottom semi-trailer; while an AZMEB door-side tipper combination is on show at South Bank.
“We are excited to once again be a part of this great industry event and showcase our products at the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show.
“We are committed to supporting the great work of the HVIA and throw our support behind the event that continues to bring our industry together,” Marketing and Communications Manager Rick Challons says.
“As we saw with the 2021 show, the event is invaluable as it offers the opportunity to meet as many customers as possible in one location.”
Location: Stand 63, Great Hall
Bulk Behemoth Goes Big
Leading bulk liquid tanker manufacturer Holmwood Highgate is confident of a big 2023 Brisbane Truck Show.
The Brisbane-based manufacturer, which builds premium liquid tankers out of its Brisbane and Melbourne facilities, says the event is key marketing platform for its products, which now include a dry bulk tanker option unveiled recently.
“We are looking for record attendance levels and the opportunity to showcase our product to a greater audience than ever before,” Holmwood Highgate Marketing Manager Tom McKellar says.
“The event is always key for us to display our capability on a very broad and open platform.”
Despite the industry-facing supply chain issues and labour force shortages, Holmwood Highgate believes things could be worse.
“(We are) busy and booming,” McKellar says. “Logistics and freight has never been in such high demand in Australia.
“We relish the opportunity and the challenge it presents to keep up with demand and will continue to do all we can to meet it.”
And all suppliers are in the same boat, he adds. “The issue is definitely on a global scale as demand has skyrocketed whilst labour forces and materials are becoming more and more scarce,” he says.
“Key personnel is becoming more and more critical as time goes on. Though we are feeling the pinch, we are doing everything we can to stay ahead and do what we can to maintain a skilled workforce and meet critical dates.”
The family-owned business employs more than 200 staff across its Queensland and Victorian locations, with its bread-and-butter fuel tankers, as well as bitumen, tallows, waste and oils, aviation and military refuelling applications.
Location: Stand 48, Hall 3
Drake Bulk Up Presence
The Drake Group will celebrate 65 years of operation next year, so expect a great showing from the trailer juggernaut at the 2023 Truck Show.
But it’s the prospect of getting back to normal for the upcoming show that excites the company most.
“Although the last Truck Show was a huge success, there were still a lot of customers and suppliers missing. It will be great to get back to normal and catch up again,” Drake Group Marketing and Events Coordinator Peta Albion says.
The Drake Group, which comprises Drake Trailers, O’Phee Trailers, Drake Collectibles, and Dalzell and Bagley Engineering, will have a bigger stand than in previous years, which the company says will make room for a wider selection of its brands and products.
“We’re going to have around seven trailers on display so we’re hoping to put on a good show for everyone,” Drake Trailers’ Sales Manager Byron Foss adds.
“Now we have a bit more space, we will have a good mix of Drake and O’Phee equipment on display, so we’re very excited about the upcoming Truck Show.”
Led by John Drake, this proud family operation has built a rock-solid reputation as one of the best in the business.
According to Foss, work has never been busier. “I’ve been at Drake for 10 years and I’ve never seen it this busy,” he says.
“Obviously, it’s currently busy, but will be busy into the future as orders are still coming in, so that’s really exciting for the business and our employees.
“We love getting those phone calls from new customers who come to us without speaking to anyone else because of our reputation and we strive to keep that reputation that we’ve worked hard for.”
Drake has been based out of its purpose-built manufacturing facility in Wacol, Queensland since 1992.
Location: Stand 100, Hall 4
Marshall Lethlean Tight Lipped
When CIMC Vehicles purchased the renowned Marshall Lethlean brand in 2008, it knew it was buying a market leader.
Marshall Lethlean, which was founded in 1973, is a name synonymous with road tankers in Australia, supplying many major Australian companies.
The CIMC Vehicle Group — one of the largest semi-trailer manufacturers in the world — has strived to keep this reputation.
Taking advantage of its global network, the group believes it has achieved a good balance between value-for-money and a quality product with excellent local support and backed by a national service network.
“CIMC has moved from the traditional labour-intensive manufacturing model to a technology-intensive manufacturing model,” CIMC Vehicle Australia Managing Director Sven Liao says.
“CIMC trailers first landed in Australia in 2005. Since then, we have made a number of significant investments in local manufacturing, most recently in 2018, with a brand-new, purpose-built 51,000-square-metre facility being opened in Melbourne.”
It’s at this facility where all accessories are fitted and ADR quality control checks are performed by the CIMC team.
Liao is tight-lipped about what would be on show at CIMC’s 2023 Truck Show stand but expects a new tank and curtain-sider design could be on display.
“We feel like this (Brisbane Truck Show) is one of the most important marketing events in Australia,” he says.
“It’s a very unique opportunity to have every trailer and truck manufacturer in the same place. We get to see old friends, customers and suppliers from all over Australia. It’s a great platform, and we really enjoy the opportunity.”
Location: Stand 95, Hall 3