Performance-Based Standards, commonly referred to as PBS are now widespread throughout the heavy transport equipment and haulage industry. The PBS Scheme has been in operation since October 2007 and was designed to offer the heavy vehicle and transport equipment industry the potential to achieve higher productivity and safely through innovative, optimised vehicle design. According to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), the basic principle of PBS is matching the right vehicle to the right tasks.
But long before the buzz of PBS became common practice, a local Brisbane heavy transport trailer manufacturer was underpinning all their heavy transport trailer manufacturing practices with PBS qualities.
O’Phee Trailers, now part of the Drake Group, adopted PBS well before their competitors because the company had already seen the need to find new efficiencies and areas for growth. According to O’Phee Trailers’ Managing Director, Mick O’Phee, the time was right for the company to embrace the whole business philosophy behind PBS.
“We created a comprehensive infrastructure around the general PBS scheme, from sales consulting right through to approval management. It was an important lesson at the time and is still true today: If you can’t translate inherent complexity into a stress-free experience for the client, you will fail.”
The A-double design was PBS in action
A key example of O’Phee Trailers’ adopting the PBS Scheme principles can be seen by looking back at the company’s launch of their new A-double design in 2009.
Permitted to run at 79 tonnes GCM at the time, the new combination consisted of a single trailer capable of carrying one 20-foot container, which pulled a second trailer using a converter dolly. The second trailer was able to carry two more 20-foot containers or a single 20 or 40-foot container.
The same principles but bigger and better
This practice shortly became common industry-wide, prompting O’Phee Trailers to progress to a fully-fledged 40/ 40 A-double design and develop a whole range of additional PBS equipment at higher GCM – most often with a special focus on container handling and always working hand-in-hand with the leaders of Government regulatory bodies and O’Phee’s loyal clientele.
O’Phee Trailers has manufactured A-double combinations in various configurations, from a simple container skel design through to flat top, drop deck, curtain-slider and tipper variations, all with the inherent safety and productivity gains that come with PBS approval. The process for PBS approval involves vehicles being tested against 16 stringent safety standards and four infrastructure standards to ensure they’re safe and fit the existing road network.
Looking back, Mick O’Phee says the company’s A-double design was a game-changer that resulted in the number of truck journeys to the port of Brisbane being halved.
Manufacturing the transport solutions for tomorrow
Mick’s view is that PBS-approved equipment will become even more prevalent in Australia. “I think we have only just scratched the surface,” he says. “More and more customers are now asking us about PBS on the first enquiry.”
“Although some say an A-double is just a combination of trailers, a dolly and a prime mover, I believe the PBS process behind it – the design, the build, the productivity gains and the safety aspect – makes it one of the best commercial vehicles available in the world market today.”
O’Phee Trailers has now joined heavy haul trailer manufacturers Drake Trailers at their Wacol facility on the outskirts of Brisbane, where both companies are part of the Drake Group, providing the largest range of Australian-made quality heavy transport trailers and heavy haulage equipment in the market.