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Power to the people

Scania’s ability to tailor-make a truck for a specific job within PBS has delighted long-time woodchip haulier, Greg Dorney.

Bulahdelah Haulage owner Greg Dorney drives a new Scania R 650 V8 truck and dog on a 10-hour, 650 km round-trip five days per week. He’s pulling wood waste that has been chipped, from Gum Scrub near Port Macquarie on the mid-north coast of New South Wales to the Vales Point power station on Lake Macquarie, just south of Newcastle. Here the chip is burned with the coal to make electricity. He also carts green waste, sawdust and chicken manure.

Greg’s been converting from American trucks for a while, having bought a Scania R 620 V8 from Scania Newcastle’s New Truck Account Manager, Trenton Wilks, last year. The R 620 has proven itself more than up to the task. Now he’s adding the new R 650 V8 as an 8x4 rigid, pulling a five-axle dog.

“It’s taken me 15 months to get the PBS paperwork sorted on this new combination, because some of the roads I travel are not gazetted for B-doubles, so I have gone down a different configuration route,” he says.

The result is the unique 8x4 combination powered by the 16.4-litre Scania V8 boasting 3300 Nm of torque, fitted with a 50m3 bin. The truck pulls a 45-foot (13.7m) five-axle dog fitted with a 95m3 bulk haulage bin, via a Tefco converter dolly, bringing the total combination length to 25.985 m.

“I’m running at 66-tonnes gross with a 38-tonne payload under the Concessional Mass Limits,” Greg says. “I’ve been doing this run for around four years, and I have other trucks running similar types of contracts. The R 620 is set up to pull a tri-tri B-double, but on the loading run due to road restrictions, we have to unhook the second trailer for the last 20 km, and shuttle back and forwards as a single. That road is also dirt.

“With the new 8x4 and dog I don’t have to do break the trailer, which saves a lot of time, plus this new combination gives a bigger payload than the B-double. There has been a lot of paperwork to get the PBS approval sorted, but it’s done now.

“I have been carting wood chip for 17-years and I am from a saw milling family. Using the experience I have gained over this time, I have configured the bins to have walking floors, which helps with green waste as well. They are fabricated by Matilda Walking Floors. The advantage is there’s no tipping so the risk of rollovers when offloading is completely removed. It’s a safer solution.

“The new R 650 has been on the road since May 2020 and has clocked up 13,000 km in the first month. When I talked to Trenton about the new truck, I wanted to be sure I could get a Scania Contract Maintenance Agreement signed up for the full seven years I plan to keep the truck, based around an annual mileage of 135,000 km. That’s not really big km, but I wanted peace-of-mind that the truck is completely covered for the duration of its service life with me.

“Trenton and I spent a long time specifying the truck, and it has air suspension all round and weigh scales on all axles. We put EBS on the trailers as well to ensure the electronics on the truck would talk to the trailer, and I will install a system to monitor the weight over all the axles in the combination, so that I’ll always be certain that I am underweight,” Greg says. “The load transfer system also works well and saves us from using cross locks.

“I’ve added a few pieces to the Scania to make it perfect for my needs. Obviously, there’s a bull bar and the roof-mounted air conditioning system that runs when the engine’s off which makes it good for summer nights in the bunk. I also specified an air operated Ringfeder and a camera in the bins so I can watch them filling up or unloading from the screen on the dash. I’ve also mounted a small wash station on the chassis so the drivers can wash their hands before getting back into the truck after loading or unloading,” Greg says.

The truck also wears the first of a modified Whitlock bull bar that allows the front hatch to be opened without dropping the bar, saving time on daily checks.

The truck is also fitted with Dura-Bright alloy rims and has stripes and scroll-work by Showman Truck Signs and Scrolls in Thornton Newcastle. 

“The V8 has lots of power, and torque which is great because there’s a 20 km stretch that is very hilly, and the Scania Retarder is also very helpful and adds to the safety of the driver and the truck and other traffic. I’m also looking forward to seeing the Scania Driver Trainer visit so that we can pick up a few tips on efficient driving. After only one month I can see I’m getting a better Driver Support Score than the driver in my R 620

“One of the driving factors behind the Scania purchase was the comfort. I can do two hours of paperwork in the office and then drive for 10 hours and do some paperwork in the evening when I get back, it’s that comfortable. Stewart Wootton, who has been driving my R 620, was a life-long fan of American trucks, but he has been won over very quickly by the Scania’s comfort as well, and he’s been telling all his mates about it. He says it’s the best truck he has ever driven

“It’s hard to go past a European truck for comfort,” he says.

Trenton Wilks worked with Greg to ensure the specification of the truck was right for the job and would be PBS compliant.

“We have added a number of features to the truck to add convenience for Greg as well,” he says. “This includes the Ringfeder being hooked into the electronics so that an indicator comes on in the truck’s dashboard signalling it is securely locked in or if it is unlocked. This also has a jack-knife alarm to alert the driver and prevent any unexpected damage.

“At Scania we fitted a high-definition two terabyte camera recording system with five cameras (three forward and two rear facing) providing a high degree of coverage of the truck and its movements.

“This combination is a good example of Scania working to tailor the perfect solution for the customer, where the specification provides greater productivity, safety, efficiency and ultimately profitability,” Trenton says.