HVIA Reveals Product Innovation Category Finalists

From a world-first container trailer that doubles productivity, to an ingenious air suspension pressure-control system that substantially reduces tyre wear and fuel consumption, this year’s HVIA National Awards showcase the extraordinary innovation in Australia’s heavy vehicle manufacturing sector

HVIA has revealed the five finalists in the Production Innovation category of the prestigious 2023 HVIA National Awards, set to be announced at a Gala Dinner at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on November 24.

HVIA Chief Executive Todd Hacking says the impressive line-up of finalists are testament to the ingenuity of Australia’s heavy vehicle industry.

“Every year we witness more of our members’ extraordinary innovation and ingenuity being revealed,” he says.

Company: O’Phee Trailers
Production Innovation: ‘London’ Container Double Stack Super B Double SKEL Trailer Combination
Region: Eastern (Qld, NSW, ACT)

Equipped with an Australian-compliant load restraint system, this world-first trailer combination can carry up to eight empty 20-foot containers at a time or four 40-foot containers – boosting productivity by 100 per cent over current existing Super B Double combinations in a single journey.

Inspired by the iconic red double-decker buses of London, the ground-breaking trailer design also delivers significant cost savings through reduced loading and unloading time, fuel, maintenance, insurance, registration, and labour costs.

And by reducing the number of vehicle movements to transport containers, ‘London’ also improves safety for the driver and road users whilst ultimately helping reduce emissions. Further boosting safety, loading can be completed without the need for the driver to leave the cab.

The revolutionary ‘London’ trailer combination boosts productivity by 100 per cent over current existing Super B Double combinations in a single journey

Officially launched in July 2023, the innovative design came about following discussions between O’Phee Trailers and customer Qube about ways to improve the productivity and efficiency of moving many containers.

During the design phase, the vehicle was subject to regulatory and independent safety and operational assessments, including the NHVR’s Performance Based Standards (PBS) framework. Once constructed, the vehicle was subject to further safety tests and assessments including physical tilt tests and desktop assessments relating to its stability.

‘London’ is currently restricted to approved routes within the Port of Brisbane. However, O’Phee Trailers has had solid enquires from other operators and ports domestically and internationally that are interested in adopting the high-productivity trailer.

MORE: Watch the video

Company: Lucidity Australia
Production Innovation: Fuel Tanker Overfill Probe Junction Box
Region: Southern (Vic, SA, Tas)

The secret to Lucidity’s fuel tanker overfill probe junction box is its unique modular design which utilises standardised parts to reduce production time and increase availability.

Existing probe harnesses tend to be unique to a tanker and cannot be reworked if there’s a change in specification. Tanker OEMs must purchase a junction box and sundry items, and then hardwire the probe in place – a process that can takes hours.

What’s more, installing harnesses can be time-consuming due to their length, making it difficult to manipulate especially working on top of the tanker. If the harness becomes damaged, the complete unit must be replaced to maintain DG certification.

Lucidity Australia’s Mathew Jenkins (centre) and Andrew Francis (right) with HVIA Director Rod Cunningham at the Southern Region Finals held in Melbourne last week

The modular nature of Lucidity’s probe system addresses these problems. Small sections make them easier to install and route cables; and replacing a damaged section does not require the removal of all the wiring.

The really unique design features, however, are Lucidity’s printed circuit board (PCB) and junction box. The new probe junction box uses purpose-designed and -built components, allowing for creation of a standardised parts which can be easily produced and stocked.

Secondly, the PCB design allows the earth return from the harness to the probe and along the chain to the next probe box.

To put the assembly improvement in to context, an existing probe return harness takes eight hours to build. The new probe junction box assembly and interconnecting harness takes two hours.

Company: Base Air Global
Production Innovation: Base Air
Region: Eastern (Qld, NSW, ACT)

Base Air is a pressure-control system that allows vehicles to operate between single- and dual-circuit air suspension as required, reducing vibration and improving load-share, freight damage, tyre-wear, fuel consumption, and Electronic Brake System (EBS) intervention.

Installed into a vehicle’s existing air suspension, the system uses two custom height control valves (HCVs), one dual-pressure protection valve (DPPV), and air lines of equal length and diameter, are combined with unique ‘Crossflow’ technology.

The HCVs split a vehicle’s total number of air springs into two sets – one left and one right. Both sides are then connected, via a single ‘Crossflow’ line. Special ports within each HCV manage airflow through this line, in response to a vehicle’s environment. On level ground, these ports are open, and the system operates as one circuit, with air evenly managed across both sets of springs.

However, if the vehicle leans more than 1.5 degrees left or right, these ports close, isolating the air either side. This creates two circuits, enabling the HCVs to determine what pressure is best for their respective set of springs.

Transport operators report substantial savings in tyre wear, fuel consumption and freight damage as a result of installing the Base Air air suspension pressure-control system

Importantly, once the vehicle returns to level ground, the ‘Crossflow’ reactivates, allowing air pressure in both sets of springs to equalise.

Base Air is a near bolt-on replacement of select components in existing products from major suspension OEMs, with average installation time of only six hours.

The system is currently installed on prime movers, trailers, dollies, coaches, caravans, agricultural vehicles, and select SUVs.

Wickham Freight Lines report 20-30 per cent tyre-wear reduction using the system; while Martins Stock Haulage report the typical lifespan of trailer tyres has been extended from 180,000-200,000km to more than 230,000km – plus reduced fuel consumption and freight damage.

MORE: Watch the video

Company: Carmate Electronics
Product Innovation: Mata7S Multi-Trailer TPMS for Heavy Commercial Vehicles
Region: Eastern (Qld, NSW, ACT)

Mata7S is a multi-trailer tyre pressure monitoring solution (TPMS) suitable for monitoring tyre pressure and temperature on semi-trailers, B-doubles and road-trains with four unique original points.

Firstly, the product successfully tackles the technical challenge of transmitting tyre data across long distances for multi-trailer vehicles. The system can monitor the truck plus up to six trailers to a total of 110 tyres. Other TPMS solutions often rely on long-distance wireless signals, which makes it difficult to transmit tyre pressure information consistently across more than one or two trailers.

Another unique point is that Mata7S enables seamless and unrestricted hook-and-drop between different trucks and trailers. The trailers/dollies can be picked up by different trucks, swapped out or around for maintenance without any additional programming required.

Carmate’s Mata7S tyre pressure monitoring solution resolves the technical challenge of transmitting tyre data across long distances for multi-trailer vehicles

Thirdly, installation is simple and clean with minimal wiring. A head unit in the truck provides onboard monitoring and alerts for tyre pressure abnormality, and a modular system that collects and transmits data for each additional trailer that requires monitoring.

Finally, Mata7S is the first and only multi-trailer hook-and-drop TPMS that also enables data output for telematics. This makes it the perfect solution for fleet tyre management.

Borne out of a gap in the market for a TPMS for B-doubles, the company now has a full line-up of tyre pressure monitors for trucks of all sizes, from rigids to road-trains.

Launched at the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show, Mata7S boasts domestic and some international customers, the product has been installed in multiple B-doubles for transporting goods, mining trucks, tree haulage vehicles, cranes and tractors in NSW, QLD, WA and New Zealand.

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Company: PT Blueboys
Product Innovation: Coupling Connection Covers
Region: Eastern (Qld, NSW, ACT)

PT Blueboys manufactures and sells flexible silicone covers that completely seal out dust, moisture and grit from air and hydraulic fittings on trucks.

Fitting the covers only takes a few minutes. Once fitted they easily roll back and forth allowing for smooth hooking/unhooking of trailers. The covers save truck owners the downtime and money needed to constantly change damaged couplings.

The idea for the product came about after founder Darren Dillon, a diesel mechanic by trade, searched the internet for something that would help him save time when trucks came into his workshop to get serviced. He could not find anything and decided to invent the product himself.

Inspired by the mechanics of rebuilding hydraulic valves and rolling on O-rings, Dillon drew the design, made a silicone mould in his workshop, and created a few prototypes. The prototypes worked, and after a worldwide patent was filed, Darren and his wife Anna launched PT Blueboys to the Australian market.

PT Blueboys’ flexible silicone covers completely seal out dust, moisture and grit from air and hydraulic fittings on trucks, enabling owners to cut costs and save time

In an industry with increasing operational costs, PT Blueboys offers a product that helps truck owners cut costs and save time. Take, for example, a typical road train with three sets of Tema 1000 fittings and eight sets of PBR fittings. Replacing all the fittings will typically cost around $1,000. By using PT Blueboys coupling covers, the same fittings can be protected at a fraction of the cost, around $200, and extend the lifespan of the fittings by years, if used correctly.

Businesses that invest in PT Blueboys coupling covers also reduce the waste generated by damaged fittings, and as such contribute to making the industry cleaner and more sustainable. The durability and reusability of the covers play a crucial role in achieving this outcome and can potentially lead to a significant decrease in future demand for fittings.

The invention is transferrable to all types of pneumatic, hydraulic, and electrical fittings. PT Blueboys will soon launch a range of other size covers targeted towards trucks that run on 0.5 and 0.75-inch fittings. This size will also be suitable for machinery in agriculture and mining, such as skid steers and excavators.

MORE: Watch the video

The Gala Awards Dinner will take place from 6.30pm-11.30pm on Friday, November 24 in the Plaza Terrace Room of the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.

The event is made possible through the support of Principal Partners NTI and Truck Assist, Category Sponsors Caltex, Geotab, Wurth and Langworth Family, and Event Partners Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre and TAFE Queensland.

Tickets are available for purchase here.

NEXT WEEK: HVIA Will Announce Safety Innovation Award Finalists

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