Kitted up for success
Truck Test 2012 may be over, but the benefits are still becoming apparent. FOCUS asked Cameron Dudley-Owen, director of Aero Truck, what his company gained from its participation in the event.
Aero Truck, which offers a range of aerodynamic solutions for trucks, was keen to get on board and be a sponsor of Truck Test 2012 – and wasn’t disappointed. This gathering of operators, OEMs and truck enthusiasts delivered numerous benefits.
Dudley-Owen was completely satisfied at the outcome of the event: “The success of the test was the result of getting the magnificent machines and the people who operate them together in one place at one time. This kind of interaction and pooling of ideas can only be positive for the South Africa trucking industry.”
Aero Truck products featured on six participating vehicles – Barloworld Logistics’ Hino 57-450, two DHL Mercedes-Benz 2644s, DAF’s XF 105, the MAN TGS 26.480 and the Iveco Stralis AT700 543. “It was very positive to see two logistics companies, namely DHL and Barloworld, put actual working vehicles from their fleet into the test; I’m sure this added extra value and interest,” says Dudley-Owen.
“The value to Aero Truck, as well as all the other participating manufacturers, came in being able to showcase the latest cutting-edge technology to a gathering of industry leaders. The event was well organised, and any glitches were quickly sorted. The willingness of all participants and their wish to make it work was an important aspect of the event and a measure of its success.”
A definite highlight for Dudley-Owen was the camaraderie between all participants – from the organisers to the drivers, spectators and sponsors. And he’s not alone: feedback received by FOCUS indicates that many involved felt this camaraderie was indeed a highlight.
Generating awareness of the costs associated with the industry was a critical aspect of the test and this is where a lot of importance was placed. Fuel efficiency isn’t just a word associated with being “green” anymore – rising fuel prices have forced operators to vigorously look into ways of lowering these costs as much as possible.
“In stark contrast to the ‘hypothetical’ wind tunnel tests and laboratory generated output tests, the interplay of technology, driving skills, loads, times and route during the test brought some reality into the picture,” says Dudley-Owen, adding that these factors are what operators most often base their purchasing decisions.
The benchmarks set by the test will no doubt influence future decisions with regards to purchasing, but as Dudley-Owen says, there should, in future, be closer comparison between the vehicles in each class. “We will definitely participate in future tests,” he says, adding that he would like to see comparisons with tighter parameters – such as identical weight, body shape, configuration, aerodynamics and similar engine ratings.
Overall, it was a great adventure for all those involved packed with positives. “The tangible benefits of forming new relationships and revitalising existing relationships, particularly in such a conducive environment, was the cherry on top,” says Dudley-Owen.