A test for the industry
The number of participants, sponsors and supporters of Truck Test 2017 has increased dramatically over the last few weeks. We find out why it’s important for them to be involved
With Truck Test 2017 just around the corner, the excitement is mounting. So, too, is the number of companies involved in this industry initiative!
Truck Test has never served solely as a test bed for vehicles off the showroom floor, but also for concepts that are not yet available to the market. This is why, in Truck Test 2017, Hyundai Commercial Vehicles has opted to run its Xcient 6×4 truck tractor – a vehicle currently under consideration for the local market.
Wade Griffin, director for commercial vehicles at Hyundai Automotive South Africa, explains: “Trucking is a competitive space in South Africa. We need to know that our truck can do the job in the South African market. This is the first time we’re testing this truck in South African conditions (it will also be tested by Imperial Logistics, Imperial Holdings being the parent company of Hyundai South Africa). The test will allow us to get some credible, real-world information.”
Griffin is keeping mum about the exact spec of the vehicle, save to say that it’ll haul an interlink trailer and will be representative of the most common vehicle combinations on the N3 route.
“Hyundai Motor Corporation has developed this truck for the world. Although South Africa is a small market with many competitors, the Koreans are excited about it and we’ll look at the results with them and figure out our market entry and what specs would make the vehicle most competitive. We want to compete with the best,” Griffin says.
Following its fantastic performance at Truck Test 2015, DAF will return in 2017 with the hopes of a repeat performance by its XF105.460 FTT.
“This model features hypoid axles and air suspension and we will be hauling the flat-deck tridem trailer,” explains Wilna Steyn, CEO of Babcock Africa’s Transport Solutions Division. “This vehicle was previously entered into the links category and returned the best results in that category. We want to further establish DAF as one of the top-performing trucks in the country by looking at a new category.”
“This is the only independent truck test in South Africa where vehicles currently sold in the country are tested. It eliminates most variables that influence a truck’s performance, placing everyone on an equal footing. This allows transport companies to make an assessment on a truck’s performance without the biased views of the original equipment manufacturer.
“It allows us to prove that a DAF truck will give the transporter the best overall cost of ownership,” Steyn says proudly.
As it did during Truck Test 2012, the N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) is once again backing Truck Test. Of course, the test will be run on this most crucial South African transport route.
Con Roux, commercial manager at the N3TC, explains that the trucking industry is critically important to the N3. “The N3 is an economic arterial route linking Gauteng and the port in Durban. Trucks constitute 35 percent of traffic on our route,” Roux says.
While the N3TC is sponsoring the tolls for the test, the Concession will also place a great emphasis on road safety; which must be a critical component of any campaign in which the Concession is involved.
“Despite accounting for about a third of traffic, trucks are involved in about half of all the collisions on the N3. One way to address this is by advancing our relationship with the trucking industry to create greater awareness about the N3TC and its roles and responsibilities,” Roux explains.
A new sponsor in Truck Test is corporate gifts and clothing supplier Quantum Concept. The company will supply all the mandatory reflective jackets – as well as some Truck Test 2017 caps – which will be worn by the drivers, co-drivers and support staff.
“With more than a decade of experience in marketing, promotional items and gifting, Quantum Concept knows that customers value efficient service, personal attention and the right advice. We’re not simply order takers…” explains Quantum Concept director, Geoffrey Campbell.
“Many companies are currently biting down hard as a result of the economic downturn, but their marketing and promotional endeavours don’t have to take a back seat. Quantum Concept aims to enable companies’ efforts by offering high-quality goods and services at competitive pricing. One of our key priorities is to promote items created and produced in South Africa and to support small, medium and micro enterprises,” Campbell elaborates.
“Among the range of products that Quantum Concept supplies is personal protective equipment, which is why we jumped at the chance to supply Truck Test 2017 with its own, uniquely branded high-vis jackets, as well as some caps to match,” says Campbell.
Although, in this year’s test, no axles made by BPW Axles will be fitted to the trailers (as they were in 2015), Andre Cilliers, MD, BPW Axles, explains that the company’s presence is, nonetheless, important.
“We are a systems and mobility partner to transport fleets. This means that, as a systems partner, apart from just axles and suspension, we can also support our customers with a whole range of ancillary products and services.
“At the same time, as a mobility partner, the transport operator has piece of mind with superior product support through widespread availability of spare parts, excellent training courses on maintenance, and an extended warranty period of three years for on-road use,” he says.
Cilliers explains that BPW customers will have access to some exciting new product ideas during the course of this year. These will include:
• In June: A clamped (as opposed to welded) spring seat assembly for the Ecoplus 3 range of axles, which will lead to significant weight savings.
• In the second quarter: An upgraded warranty, extending the current three-year term even further for specific conditions.
• In the fourth quarter: An upgraded Airlight 2 (AL2) air suspension, capable of axle loads from nine to 12 t per axle, which means the current heavy-duty SL suspension would be reserved only for extreme off-road conditions. This will mean the lighter AL2 suspension could also be fitted to vehicles such as side tippers, again leading to significant weight saving.
“The annual Truck Test is growing from strength to strength each year and provides invaluable information back to the trucking community. Van Wettens identified Truck Test as an event in which we wanted to participate,” explains Morne Fourie, group tactical manager, Van Wettens Breakdown Towing Services.
“Unforeseen accidents do occur, so why not have the best in the business at the event?” he adds with a smile.
“Van Wettens is celebrating its 50th year in business,” says Fourie. “The company has built up a base of reputable sub-contractors throughout the country to offer better towing solutions. It has grown from strength to strength and would like to continue to offer the industry cost-effective towing services.
“Involvement in Truck Test 2017 will allow us to assess valuable information on future purchases and to be associated with the best in the business,” Fourie concludes.
Following on from its association with Truck Test in 2015, Loadtech is again partnering with the event.
“As a leader in the supply of on-board weighing equipment, Loadtech is continually developing new and better products to meet the requirements of the trucking industry. Truck Test is the ideal platform for us to show the intrinsic benefits of our products,” says MD John Harrison.
This year, Loadtech will showcase new wireless technology used in its OnBoard Weighing systems. “Wireless technology allows us to reduce the cost and long-term maintenance of the system, and we expect it to be adopted by a much wider user base,” Harrison says.
Even transport operators are getting in on the action surrounding Truck Test 2017. Andre Diedericks, MD at dry-bulk haulier Elf Trans, says: “We use DAF trucks in our fleet and this brand returned the best results in 2015, so we are excited to see what results DAF will return in 2017.
“Elf Trans will be watching the performance of the participants in Truck Test 2017 closely and will use the fuel consumption standards set in this test as a benchmark for its own fleet,” Diedericks comments.
Enoch Silcock, MD, Wabco Automotive South Africa, says: “The company is supporting Truck Test 2017 because most of the vehicles in Truck Test 2017 will have some Wabco vehicle control-system components installed, if not perhaps the entire brake system.”
“Wabco is a company that believes in constantly striving to improve performance and therefore we want to stand beside the participating brands in Truck Test 2017.
“Wabco Automotive SA is fully committed to offering the fleet operator, trailer builder and independent distributor the very best in technical support, information and training. This will ensure that our products provide the ultimate in safety, reliability and braking efficiency with a low cost of ownership,” Silcock says.