MOUNT GAMBIER, South Australia – Scotts Transport Industries based in Mount Gambier, South East of South Australia has successfully trialed two Allison 4500 Series-equipped Western Star 4800 prime movers, hauling single fuel tankers. One of the trucks was located in the Victorian regional center of Geelong and the other in the rural city of Griffith, in the Riverina region of NSW.
Scotts Transport Industries’ operations manager, Ashley Scott, said the decision to trial the Allison automatic-equipped Western Stars in the company’s fuel tank operations was prompted by a recommendation from a colleague in the United States.
“We like to stay ahead of the game when it comes to new trends and improving efficiency, and when I was talking to a colleague who operated a transport fleet in the US, it became apparent that the way of the future has to be automatics,” said Scott.
“He told us that automatics delivered safer operation, faster runs, better efficiency and lower overall maintenance costs and that was backed up with other research that I completed. We decided to trial the two Western Stars delivering fuel on a mix of urban, semi-rural and rural operation because it was a vocation that appeared to ideally suit the automatics,” he added.
“Our drivers start off in the morning with around 33,000 liters of fuel on board, which equates to a load of a little under 30 tons. About 20 deliveries are made throughout the day to a range of farms, fuel stations, industrial plants and factories, so there is a lot of stop and go traffic and a fair bit of highway cruising as well,” Scott finished.
The Allison-equipped Western Stars have been on the Scotts’ fleet since September 2012. Overall, the trial has been a resounding success with increased efficiency and a strong vote of confidence from the two drivers who drove the vehicles. Each Western Star 4800 is powered by a Detroit Diesel DD15 engine mated to the Allison 4500 Series fully-automatic transmission.
Geelong-based driver Tony Pocock, who has been driving trucks for 22 years and fuel tankers for the past 14 years, said the move to an automatic truck has allowed him more time to concentrate on the road and has made his job quicker and safer.
“The Allison automatic is so much smoother and faster than a manual. It enables you to accelerate across intersections quicker, and slow-speed maneuvering is much easier and faster as well,” said Pocock. “Backing into delivery sites is just so much quicker. You simply hit reverse, and the truck is instantly in gear – no waiting to ease it into reverse like you get with a manual.”
“I have to say, I was worried when I was told that we were moving to automatics because until then, I considered automatics to be a lazy man’s way of doing things, but after driving this truck for the past six months, I simply wouldn’t have anything else,” Pocock added.
“When you take off, the truck is so smooth and easy to use. You look down, and all of a sudden you are in fourth gear; it is so seamless that you don’t even notice the shifts. The automatic has six speeds and there is no loss of power or torque. In fact, in many ways this is better than the manual, and also the automated manual (AMT) I drove at one stage,” he finished.
Serge Vargenega, who drives the Scotts’ Western Star based in Griffith, has a similar view to his Geelong-based colleague, citing much faster shifts with the Allison automatic compared with the AMT transmission he used in his previous truck.
“The Allison automatic is very user-friendly, it is more comfortable and after a long day behind the wheel, there is less fatigue. Overall for the driver, it is an easier day in the truck. I would never go back to a manual. This is just so much safer, easier and more efficient,” he added.
About Scotts Transport Industries
Scotts Transport Industries was founded by the late Allan Scott in Mount Gambier in 1952 and has been a formidable and recognizable fleet operating across many of Australia’s main arterial roads ever since. The company services many of Australia’s major blue chip companies and prides itself on being one of Australia’s best privately-owned transport companies. It has been providing specialized transport, warehousing and logistical support to the Australian Industry for more than 60 years.
About Allison Transmission
Allison Transmission is the world’s largest manufacturer of fully-automatic transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, medium- and heavy-tactical U.S. military vehicles and hybrid-propulsion systems for transit buses. Allison transmissions are used in a variety of applications including on-highway trucks (distribution, refuse, construction, fire and emergency), buses (primarily school and transit), motor homes, off-highway vehicles and equipment (primarily energy and mining) and military vehicles (wheeled and tracked). Founded in 1915, the Allison business is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. and employs approximately 2,800 people. Allison has manufacturing facilities and customization centers located in China, The Netherlands, Brazil, India and Hungary. With a global presence, serving customers in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and Africa, Allison also has approximately 1,400 independent distributor and dealer locations worldwide. More information about Allison is available at www.allisontransmission.com.
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