With more than a decade of specialised experience in the design, production, delivery and after-sales support of road tankers, Adam Stanfield shares his thoughts on industry compliance and personal growth. While Adam has an appreciation for the high standards set in the industry, there was a time when the details were a bit unclear to him.
Early in Adam Stanfield’s career, he had some issues to sort out in Darwin.
“At the time, being a bit naïve, I was working in a workshop in shorts and T-shirt and runners, when one of the senior management staff came down to the workshop, I was politely pulled aside and had safety gear explained to me.” He says. “Another time, I was driving towards Quilpie, and was advised that driving late at night wasn’t recommended but I felt I knew better. It wasn’t until the last leg between Augathella and Charterville that I ended up pulling over for the night as I spent two hours covering 85 km, due to the insane number of kangaroos determined to get in the way. That night, I developed a healthy respect for the night wildlife scene.”
Safety-focused attitudes are prevalent in Australia’s commercial road transport industry.
Generally, there are many optional safety features becoming mandatory, with an increasing number of end users setting their own higher-level safety requirements above regulations, according to Adam. In line with these ideals, there has been an increase in the uptake of Performance-Based Standards (PBS) vehicles “which has a shared goal between authorities and transport companies of high capacity delivery carefully calculated to achieve increasing payload and manoeuvrability, therefore reducing the number of vehicles on the road”.
Adam started his journey in the trailer manufacturing business as a design engineer with Tieman Industries in 2003. He then moved into sales with Marshall Lethlean (MLI), which he says was more suited to his aspirations.
“I preferred the balance between office work and field interactions,” he says. “I was with MLI for 4.5 years, then I was involved in hydraulics for 3.5 years before returning to MLI for just over two years. In late 2015 I made the crazy decision to start my own tanker company. For just over four years now, I have been running my own company, designing, importing and locally finishing tankers for the Australian market.”
With a modular approach to building tankers spec’d for accessibility and serviceability at MAX Industries, Adam has observed much throughout his career.
“Tanker maintenance has always been taken seriously for Dangerous Goods (DG) transport,” he says. “What has changed is the Chain of Responsibility (CoR), that is, all people that are involved in maintaining a tanker have to perform their job to the highest standard and have detailed documentation to cover themselves in the event of something going wrong.”
Adam notes that one of the biggest challenges in the road transport industry that needs to be addressed are PBS and tyres.
“In overseas markets, super singles are used up to 24 tonnes over a tri-group,” he says. “Tyre companies have also been pushing for Higher Mass Limits (HML) on super singles in Australia. The fuel savings, increased payload and reduced road wear would be a benefit to infrastructure and transport companies alike.”
Overall, Adam enjoys working in the road transport industry.
“Over the years I have met some fascinating people and have developed some strong friendships,” he says. “I love being involved with tanker equipment, as it is a specialised, high-end field of design. It is easy to maintain momentum and drive when working on equipment you have a passion for.”
Made possible by Smedley’s Engineers. Industry Icon is a series dedicated to honouring the unsung heroes of the commercial road transport industry.