Swedish trucks developed to survive the frozen forests of the Arctic Circle are boosting safety on Australasia’s logging roads, while providing creature comforts traditional timber trucks lack.
Scania’s V8-powered prime movers are proving popular with loggers, thanks to their quiet, comfortable cabs and the Scania hydraulic retarder brake booster, which provides reliable fade-free stopping for safer on- and off-road performance.
South Australia’s H&L Scheidl recently began specifying 620hp 9462kW) Scania V8 prime movers to pull 44 tonnes of logs in their new Elphinstone trailers.
The state-of-the-art trailers feature an advanced air strapping system, on-board scales and electronic braking. The trucks and trailers are tough enough to handle the loads, the slippery, muddy forest floor tracks, and the white metal haul roads, and stable enough to give drivers confidence when operating at close to the posted speed limits.
Driver Jim Smith is a recent convert to Scania’s Swedish charm and safety.
“On my first shift, the driver I swapped with said ‘you’ll never want to drive another American truck again’ and he was right,” Jim says.
Jim runs a return trip of 750km most nights. As a warm-up act he often does a couple of short runs as well.
“I found the Scania to be very comfortable. In fact, I felt fresher when I got out after the shift than when I got in. The Scania is sure-footed in the forests and gives us great traction which means more safety,” Jim says.
Driver Dave Jones averages around 300km a day, making multiple runs from the forest log-loading areas to the local mill. He is happy to be driving a Scania, too.
“Before these new Scanias arrived, I was driving a bonneted American truck, but the change has been for the better. When you get to my age and you have been driving for a long time, you tend to think about comfort.
“After a long day in the Scania you get out and feel great. Your back is not all twisted up because the truck is just so comfortable. The ride is very smooth.
“I have found the Scania retarder to be absolutely brilliant. I pretty much only touch the service brakes right at the end of the braking cycle. I’m using the retarder for about 85 percent of the braking, and it really does make life easier especially on the fatigue side.
“Another Scania benefit is the visibility. Compared to a bonneted truck, the Scania has a really wide windscreen and none of those air cleaners or stacks intrudes into your vision, and it does make a big difference, especially in the forest, and at night, as well. The truck also has a really tight turning circle, too,” Dave says.
“At the end of the day, it’s just how you feel when you get out.
And it’s great.”