With 10 Clearline waste trailers delivered and nine more on the way, a long-time industry stalwart outlines his 20-year relationship with Wastech Engineering.
In 2017-2018, Victoria’s waste and resource recovery sector managed 12 per cent more material than the previous year, at over 14.4 million tonnes. The state achieved a 69 per cent diversion rate, recovering almost 10 million tonnes of material.
Despite high diversion rates, as with anywhere, Victoria still has to manage large volumes of waste that can’t be recycled. This reality is well known to council waste transfer station managers, with one such operator telling Waste Management Review that his transfer station moves 4500 tonnes of waste each month, equating to roughly 225 trailer loads.
The transfer station he runs, which was built in 1980, underwent a major refurbishment in 2000 with the intention of streamlining the delivery of essential waste management services to the Melbourne suburb’s residents.
Prior to the refurbishment, the council representative says the transfer station moved waste with trucks and dog trailers, with a mechanical system moving small containers in and out of compactors.
While state-of-the-art when built, he explains that the process had become cumbersome and inefficient.
The transfer station’s compactors are now lifted off the ground, allowing semi-trailers to drive up for filling.
To achieve effective movement rates, council put a tender out for new custom-built trailers to fit the compactors.
Through this, the council’s 20-year relationship with Wastech Engineering was born, with a total of 10 trailers sold and nine more on the way.
“Wastech are the only ones building this type of trailer, and they have a very clean design with lots of space on the side for advertising recycling and other council programs,” the representative says.
Wastech’s Clearline rolled wall body design provides durability and integral strength to withstand the high compaction forces in waste transfer station applications.
Built to withstand high piercing forces during compaction, the council’s trailers are used to manage green, hard and municipal solid waste.
The Wastech designed trailers incorporate high tensile steel plates in the body, reducing tare weight and increasing payloads.
Additionally, the smooth internal design, along with the hydraulic eject blade, safely and efficiently pushes waste loads out automatically.
While many councils now use this type of hydraulic eject blade system, the representative explains that he and Wastech lead the charge over 20 years ago.
“The reason for the change was the old system was falling apart, so we came up with this new concept. It allows us to transport 20 plus tonnes of waste per load, while providing ease of operation,” he says.
The representative adds that he had a lot of issues with the old containers, which had very large doors and required drivers to leave the hook-truck cabin for unloading.
“The ground in winter is very uneven and boggy, so we wanted to move away from that for safety reasons,” he says.
“Plus, when drivers have to get out to manually open the doors, it creates issues with injuries – when the wind catches a door of that weight it becomes like a sail.”
During the initial collaborative design process, the council representative requested that everything be hydraulically operated, meaning the ejection process can be completed from inside the cabin.
“Drivers just flick a switch and the waste is pushed out of the truck,” he says.
“This is much safer for our drivers and is also a quicker way to move a large amount of waste at any one time. Wastech’s trailers have effectively streamlined our process.”
Additionally, the representative highlights the trailer’s longevity, with his first set now in its 20th year.
“You won’t find any other council or transport business that’s still using 20-year-old trailers for this type of work,” he says.
“They’re well-made, have good design and have been very well maintained.”
Major repairs and refurbishments have been undertaken by Wastech, with maintenance done in-house at the council workshop.
While the trailers longevity is striking, the representative says they are now coming to the end of their life, which was the motivation behind ordering a set of nine new trailers from Wastech.
“Wastech do an outstanding job. If we have a problem – like a trailer goes down – they will fix it straight away,” he says.
“We can’t afford to have trailers off the road as any downtime makes it difficult to complete our tasks, so it’s very important for us to have that good working relationship with Wastech.”
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