Archive for the ‘Volvo’ Category

Volvo FH 16 700 from Brisbane Truck Show to WA

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Volvo FH 16 700

On Monday 9th of May, Andre Keune will drive his new Volvo FH16 700 horsepower truck off the Volvo stand at the Brisbane Truck Show and take it 4,500 kilometres across Australia to his base in Perth.


Andre Keune has been using Volvos, as part of his fleet, since he bought a Volvo F 12 back in the mid-1970s. His company Keune Transport is based in Perth but delivers all over Western Australia to places such as Port Hedland, Broome, and the communities in the Pilbara whose place-names are bywords of the Australian mining industry: Newman, Tom Price, Pannawonica, Brockman, Yandi, West Angelas, Area C and Hope Downs.

‘The journey to the mines is about 1,600 kilometres each way,’ says Andre, ‘and my drivers do that in 15-hour shifts in just under three days. They load ammonium nitrate from a fertilizer factory at Kwinana, south of Perth, which takes about four hours all up and then they’re off.’ The trucks go to the mines twice a week, every week.

The iron ore and gold miners of Western Australia use a lot of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, but it’s not for growing vegetables! They’re mixing it with diesel to make blasting explosives. Andre Keune’s Volvos deliver this most vital of mining tools, to some of the most remote and inaccessible parts of the country, in conditions that would challenge any truck. Meanwhile, Andre’s other trucks are hauling triple freezer trailers up to Broome, a 4,600 kilometre round trip.

Each of those trucks does six trips per month to Broome and are crewed by two-up driver teams. ‘They’re all long-distance trips and we’re hauling pretty big loads,’ says Andre. ‘The road trains carrying the nitrate are B-double tipper units with a 6-axle dogtrailer and a triple-tipper unit rated at 145 tonnes GCM, with a payload of over a 100 tonnes.

‘When we get the new (FH16) 700 out there we’re going to put a quad behind it rated at 168 tonnes GCM. With journeys this long, every tonne counts.’ So does fuel consumption. Having done the same journeys himself many hundreds of times and with the same drivers for many years, Andre has a very clear picture of the effect on fuel consumption of different engines and driver behaviours.
‘Two things I really like about the Volvos is their Volvo fuel consumption and Volvo supreme comfort,’ says Andre. ‘I ask my drivers to only have a 90 km/h cruising speed because I know that once you get above about 92 km/h, the fuel consumption goes up by about 7%. Couple that with Volvo’s economical engines and we’re talking about a lot of money saved.’

‘I’m thinking of taking the (FH16) 700 back to the hotel in Brisbane after the show and asking the valet to park it for me, ‘laughs Andre, ‘if this is going to be our swansong, we might as well go out in style.’