Victorian quarry and landscape supplies company, Burdett’s, has taken delivery of two Bulk Transport Equipment five-axle dog trailers drawn by Mercedes-Benz 2658 580hp trucks. High productivity and reliability are key attributes, according to the company’s Director, Andrew Burdett.
Based at Langwarrin on the south-eastern outskirts of Melbourne, Burdett’s is a highly successful building and landscape supply operation that can trace its roots back half a century.
In 1991 the company was restructured with Pearl Burdett and her son Andrew becoming joint Directors, and it has grown from strength to strength ever since.
A big part of the company’s formula for success, according to Andrew Burdett, is the calibre of the equipment utilised – of which Bulk Transport Equipment (BTE) is a prime example.
“We bought our first BTE dog trailer and body truck combination 10 years ago and have been very impressed with the build quality and structural integrity of the products; they are rarely off the road for any reason apart from scheduled maintenance,” Andrew says.
His enthusiasm for the equipment is borne out by the fact that the company now has more than 40 BTE truck and dog combinations, including the addition of two new five-axle dogs that were delivered in late July after being ordered in late March this year.
Maximised productivity is the lynch pin of the Burdett’s operation and in addition to having payload enhancing Performance-Based Standards (PBS) approval on all its combinations, the company also seeks gains in payload volume wherever possible.
To this end the two new five-axle dogs were constructed using an ‘inside out’ design which, according to Andrew, provides an extra 100mm (four inches) of interior width, ballooning payload volume to 47 cubic metres. The design situates the vertical structural members inboard of the side sheets which provides the aesthetic benefit of smooth exterior sides that are an ideal substrate for the striking Burdett’s graphics.
The trailers feature SAF Intradisc disc brake axles which feature a unique two-piece rotor design that’s claimed to prolong rotor service life by providing the capacity to expand and contract due to temperature fluctuations over a long period without cracking.
While Andrew wouldn’t be drawn on whether disc brakes are more cost effective than drums over the life of the trailer, he says the superior braking performance of discs is the main reason he has been specifying the SAF Intradisc product for the last 10 years.
“Disc brakes are a lot better in terms of pedal feel and while I couldn’t say whether they are more economical on linings compared with drums, when a driver needs to really stand on them if a car cuts in front they definitely pull the combination up quicker,” he says. “Five metres less stopping distance can make all the difference which is why I reckon disc brakes are the safer and better option.”
Other features designed to enhance efficiency and safety include a lift axle for reduced tyre wear when running empty, wind-back waterproof tarp, Quicksilver body liner to minimise floor wear and tipping times and SAF Tire Pilot Plus which consistently maintains all tyres on the trailer at the correct pressure and also alerts the driver if a puncture has occurred. If the puncture only causes a slow leak the Tire Pilot Plus maintains pressure in the tyre, enabling the vehicle to be driven until the puncture can be rectified.
Andrew also appreciates the light tare weight that he attributes to the Domex high-tensile steel BTE uses to build the chassis. This allows the thickness of the steel to be reduced compared with conventional steel without compromising on strength or durability.
“The tare weight is good and the trailers are extremely well finished with a decent amount of stainless steel trim which dresses them up and gives the drivers an incentive to keep them washed and looking neat,” Andrew says.
Linking the trailer to the truck are V. Orlandi tow hitches which Andrew describes as a solid product that has a relatively inexpensive and quick regime to replace the pin and bushes when necessary.
As for what the new units will be hauling, the company carts a diverse range of products including sand, quarry products fertilisers and lightweight products from mulch to potatoes.
As Andrew succinctly puts it, “We carry anything that can be tipped off.”
The trailers will be clocking up the kilometres travelling all over Victoria, along with runs up the southern coast of NSW and as far as Dubbo in the central west.
Burdett’s only buys new equipment and keeps it well maintained through the truck dealerships to minimise downtime. The trucks are kept for between four and five years while the trailers are held onto for eight to 10 years.
“The BTE trailers are built to go the distance and we rarely have any issues with them,” he says. “The best warranty is the one you don’t need to use.”
Burdett’s depends on the quality and reliability of PBS-approved BTE trailers and bodies to keep its transport operation running smoothly and profitably.