Ross Knight, owner of the Honeysucker business based on Queensland’s Gold Coast, was born in New Zealand. Back in his rugby playing days, he spent some time in South Africa, which is where he met his wife, Rosemarie.
“Over there the generic term for vacuum trucks is ‘honey suckers’, so that’s the name we decided to go with,” he says of the business he and Rosemarie started in 2013.
Believe it or not, and likely due in no small part to the immaculate presentation of the trucks, Ross says he and Matt have been asked on more than one occasion where they get the ‘honey’ from.
The first truck was a second-hand Hino with a new 8,000 litre tank and new pumping equipment.
At the time this filled the bill in terms of keeping abreast of business growth but bubbling away in the Knight grey matter was a plan to replace the Hino with a truck that would take the business to the next level.
“I did the research, knowing I wanted a European truck with an automated manual transmission, and we found a 2015 Volvo FM 500hp day-cab prime mover that filled the bill,” Ross says. A short-wheelbase truck for the tight turning circle and manoeuvrability, naturally, was a priority and he commissioned Warwick (Qld)-based Vorstrom Vacuum Equipment to fit the 11,000-litre tank and vacuum pump. This was the first time Ross had used the services of Vorstrom and he says they really went the extra mile to help him achieve the best possible solution to suit his needs.
“If we’d used a traditional ‘liquid ring’ vacuum pump which is mounted between the tank and the cab, a 9,500-litre tank would have been the limit unless we lengthened the chassis,” Ross explains. “Instead, Vorstrom suggested we fit the latest technology USA-made Challenger vacuum pump as this enabled fitting of an 11,000-litre tank without needing to extend the chassis. They removed the left-hand fuel tank, which we didn’t need anyway, and neatly mounted the blower vac box in that space,” he explains, adding the Challenger vacuum pump operates in a similar fashion to a giant Dyson vacuum cleaner.
“It pulls a massive 560cfm (cubic feet per minute) and requires much less maintenance than liquid ring units which use water – that requires regular changing every second day – as the pumping and filtering medium. With the Challenger, once a week we take out the cartridge filter, clean it and reinstall it – it’s that simple,” he says.
According to Ross it hasn’t missed a beat over the past 18 months, and he wouldn’t consider buying another liquid ring vacuum pump such has been the level of excellence the Challenger has consistently delivered. Suffice it say, when it comes time for his next vac unit to be built Ross will be making a beeline straight to Vorstrom.
“I was highly impressed with the professionalism and expertise of Vorstrom and the way they went out of their way to make sure I got the best solution for my needs,” he says. “It was incredible to see the 3D imaging that showed the truck and where everything fits from every angle, including underneath.”