The formula for building the ideal tipping trailer requires the confluence of two somewhat conflicting elements. On the one hand it must be engineered with the strength to handle a sustained workload day-in, day-out; but on the other it must tare as light as possible so as to maximise payload potential.
Based at Bruce Rock about 240km due east of Perth, Bruce Rock Engineering (BRE) prides itself on building trailers that meet the criteria of outstanding durability, high standard specification and an impressively light tare weight. In doing so the company has forged a solid reputation among Australian truck operators, many of whom are repeat customers.
People like Jamie and Kelly Belfield of J&K Belfield based at Albany in the heartland of the Great Southern Region of the western state.
Jamie has been involved with transport since his early 20s when he and his father won a contract to haul silica sand to the port.
He worked with his Dad for just over 20 years before he and Kelly decided to start their own haulage business about five years ago.
Serving the needs of the vast WA agricultural industry, the work involves carting grain, fertiliser, gypsum and lime in tippers and liquid fertiliser in tankers.
His experience with BRE goes back to the early days in partnership with his father when BRE steel tippers were used exclusively to service the silica sand contract.
According to Jamie, BRE tippers are well engineered and built specifically to suit his current operations, with overall value for money another factor that he rates highly.
One of the features he particularly likes about the BRE steel tippers is the design of the body which he says is ideal for lime and gypsum which are notorious for getting stuck in the corners of conventional trailers, thus posing a safety risk when tipping off.
“With the design of them it doesn’t matter what you are carting, you know it’s going to come out. Especially hauling burnt lime and gypsum, which can get a bit sticky, it’s not often that these products will get stuck in them,” Jamie says.
The reason for this is the radius shaped corners of the floor that don’t allow fine powdery products like lime or gypsum to pack down the way they do in trailers with 90-degree corners.
“It gives me peace of mind when I send a driver out with the BRE trailers because they are a very safe unit in this respect,” he adds.
The high strength and low tare of BRE steel tippers is due in part to the use of high-tensile steel sourced from Swedish company SSAB. The chassis are constructed using high-tensile Strenx 700 while the incorporation of the well renowned and proven radius body shape reduces the need for extra ribbing.
J&K Belfield owns four BRE steel tippers which are mostly run in pocket road train (two trailer) format with a tri-axle converter dolly linking the two. The total allowable combination length for pocket roadtrains in WA is 27.5 metres.
BRE builds the trailers in different lengths and specifications to suit operations in every state and territory of Australia.
Jamie says the earliest set he currently owns is 10 years old and still performing well after travelling more than 800,000km, while an earlier set that was bought in 2005 when he was carting sand with his father was recently sold and is still operating on a daily basis to the satisfaction of its new owner.
The fact that BRE team members are very approachable and willing to adopt customer feedback and incorporate these elements into the build, also goes a long way with Jamie.
“The good thing about BRE is that they have a thorough understanding of the industry in which I operate and the flexibility to build the trailers to my specific requirements,” he says.“With the new trailers I bought from them last year they were willing to incorporate my specific hydraulic hose setup with additional quick release couplings.”
The new trailers feature BPW ECO-Plus drum brake axles which Jamie says he chose for their simplicity, reliability and longevity, explaining that he had an earlier set of BPW drum braked trailers that he and his brother towed that covered close to one million kilometres without needing a reline.
“If you take it easy and don’t overuse your brakes that is the life you can get from them,” he says.
As for prime movers, Jamie currently owns two Kenworth T604 conventionals – one Cummins powered and the other Cat powered. He says the next truck he buys will probably be a Kenworth T610 SAR.
When it comes to fifth wheels, Jamie uses heavy-duty Fuwa K-Hitch 90mm double-row ballrace units on the dollies and 60mm low-profile (single row) ballraces on the prime movers.
Jamie says his long association with BRE will continue because the steel tippers the company builds tick all the boxes for his operation.
“I reckon the team at BRE make the best steel tippers and tri-axle dollies in the country,” he says. “We use these ones at harvest and they’re light tare which means you can get a good load on them. This is combined with a strong and well-engineered chassis design in both the trailers and dollies that enables a degree of flex which prevents the chassis from cracking when operating regularly in paddocks and over uneven ground. To top it all off they are good value for money considering the high quality of the products.
“I’ve relied on BRE tippers and dollies for many years and they’ve never let me down.”