Pneumatically secured health and safety: West-Trans

With asbestos removal presenting a range of complex transportation issues, World Wide Demolitions has partnered with West-Trans to safety secure their loads. 

While generally considered a material of the past, asbestos is still commonplace in Australia’s built environment. Given the significant health risks posed by exposure to airborne asbestos fibres, even in small quantities, asbestos waste disposal presents a number of complex and unique challenges.

Under EPA regulations, all transporters of asbestos waste must record information about the movement of loads from the site of generation to the final disposal point. Furthermore, every load must be secure and covered.

This is a reality known all too well by Tony Johnston of World Wide Demolitions, who’s family run asbestos removal and demolition business has been operating in the NSW Illawarra region for over 30 years.

Licensed in both friable and non-friable asbestos removal, Tony says Worldwide Demolitions follow strict safety practices, remaining consistently compliant with shifting EPA regulations.

He adds that it’s this commitment to maintaining, and exceeding, strict OHS standards that inspired his latest purchase.

“To further support our compliance with those regulations, World Wide Demolitions have recently retrofit all our skip loaders with West-Transcover tarp towers,” Tony says.

Developed by UK-based sheeting systems manufacturer TransCover and distributed exclusively in Australia by West-Trans, West-Transcover tarp towers facilitate secure and covered waste transportation through streamlined and simplified design.

Lightweight, easy to install and economical to maintain, West-Transcover tarp towers are purpose-built for the waste transport industry.

With a unique pneumatic lifting and lowering design, Tony says the tarp towers enable safe operations.

He adds that the automated process means his drivers aren’t required to climb up on their vehicles to secure a load.

“The system is designed to help operators safely secure their loads, and as such, reduces risk, and saves drivers considerable time when loading and unloading, which translates to significant economic benefits,” Tony says.

“I’ve been in this business for a long time, and the West-Transcover product functions at a level well above its competitors.”

Operating via an electric tensioning motor, West-Transcover tarp systems are almost half the weight of old fashioned and more complicated hydraulic tarp tower setups.

“Using air rather than hydraulics to extend the tower, West-Transcover tarps operate in unison with all our skip loaders. We’re yet to run into a problem,” Tony says.

In addition to World Wide Demolitions’ new tarp towers, Tony says the company own a number of West-Trans skip loaders, with another hookloader on the way.

Manufactured to suit rugged Australian conditions, West-Trans builds all major skip and hookloader components in house at their Mulgrave, NSW facility to ensure they meet the highest industry standards.

World Wide Demolitions longstanding relationship with West-Trans is about more than their quality products.

“West-Trans is incredibly easy to deal with. When I want something done, it’s done. For example, one of our drivers lost the remote for their tarp cover recently – I rang West-Trans and the next day the remote arrived in the mail. They operate under a very streamlined, customer-centric business model,” Tony says.

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Grasshopper growth: West-Trans

Ryan Noble, Grasshopper Environmental Asset & Driver Manager, outlines the importance of durable and high strength hooklift capacity in the growing C&D waste sphere.

The North Strathfield Rail Underpass Project, a joint Federal and NSW Government initiative, was designed to deliver faster, more reliable services on a main rail line that runs from North Strathfield to Newcastle.                                         

With a construction value of more than $130 million, the 2015 project understandably generated significant amounts of waste.

To address these levels of waste, the North Strathfield Rail Underpass Alliance worked to strict environmental standards to maintain a more than 80 per cent recovery rate.Being a government project, the alliance was required to provide quality reports to confirm targets were met.

To facilitate this, the alliance engaged NSW waste management company Grasshopper Environmental to manage waste disposal, transport and recovery.

According to Ryan Noble, Grasshopper Asset & Driver Manager, waste collection points were spread across eight separate sites over three kilometres due to the scale of the project.

“Because the project was situated in a residential area, Grasshopper had to work closely with the alliance traffic management team so deliveries and removals could occur within a precise window,” he says.

“It was a huge project for us, highlighting our capabilities and growth as a force within the NSW environmental space.”

Operating in Sydney for more than 30 years, Grasshopper’s work in the construction and demolition waste sphere is expanding.

As a result, the company upgraded its truck fleet in 2019.

“We modernised our trucks to incorporate new technology, aiding in safety and user-friendly operations. We currently run, plus subcontract, a fleet of upgraded vehicles consisting of skiploaders, hook, front and rear loaders,” he adds.

As part of the new fleet, Grasshopper runs multiple West-Trans Equipment hooklifts, carrying various hookbins from 15 to 38 metres.

This includes a recently acquired HL-20A hooklift, which Ryan says Grasshopper purchased earlier this year.

From a financial perspective, Ryan says purchasing decisions are based on whole-of-lifecyle investment and maximising earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.

“One of the key factors in the decision to move our units to West-Trans is the quality of the hook itself. West-Trans offers well-built and solid units at a reasonable price, comparative to the quality you receive,” Ryan says.

“Another key factor is the ability to have spare parts available as soon as possible when necessary. Being Australian built, West-Trans is able to sort the problem out quickly and effectively should anything go wrong.”

West-Trans-designed and manufactured hooklifts are constructed with high tensile structural steel with quality components, using the latest manufacturing technologies and production techniques.

All West-Trans hooklifts comply with relevant Australian standards and codes, which Ryan says is a real value-add when working on high-profile government projects.

West-Trans hooklifts are also protected with an anti-corrosive primer base and two coats of gloss finish colour.

Like all West-Trans hooklifts, Grasshopper’s HL-20A was custom built by craftspeople at West-Trans’ Mulgrave factory.

As a family-owned business, West-Trans has been producing civil and transport equipment locally for more than 25 years.

Over this time, Ryan says the company has developed a deep understanding of the unique challenges presented by Australian conditions for the waste and resource recovery industry.

“West-Trans design and manufacture hooklifts from the ground up to deal with real industry challenges, which gives its customers unmatched confidence in its products’ durability,” Ryan says.

The HL 20A is an industry benchmark for high capacity, Ryan explains, with a 20-tonne lifting capacity and fixed and articulated models available.

Using innovate geometry and configurations, West-Trans hooklifts keep the lifting hook close to the rear drive when lifting to improve lift performance and truck stability.

According to Ryan, the HL 20A West-Trans hooklift, which Grasshopper coupled with a Scania P450, has been shown to be a safe and efficient piece of machinery.

“West-Trans offer a fantastic tarp tower as well, which has proved to be user-friendly and a great addition to our hookloader,” Ryan says.

He adds that Grasshopper’s relationship with West-Trans has continued to grow significantly, with West-Trans equipment now installed throughout multiple segments of the business.

“West-Trans offers a one-on-one experience for design changes and extras, ensuring we always have flexibility when it comes to our machines,” Ryan says.

“We recently added a new skip bin fleet to our operations, and given our past experience, we opted for West-Trans lifting units. They’re yet to let us down.”

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This vast land: West-Trans

Andrew McKinna, West-Trans National Sales Manager, explains how West-Trans’ dog trailer and hooklift combinations help mitigate transport cost and ease the tyranny of distance.

Regional communities face a number of waste management challenges, notably access to recycling markets and expansive distances between remote towns, waste processing facilities and landfills.

To avoid associated fuel costs and limit driver backtracking, rogue operators have been known to cart overloaded waste bins, in breach of vehicle mass limit legislation.

Andrew McKinna, West-Trans National Sales Manager, says while breaking Heavy Vehicle National Law is never acceptable, the challenge of rising transport costs is very real for the waste industry.

“Waste infrastructure is often pushed to the periphery and not well placed within wider transport and freight networks. This means transporting material from a local transfer station to a metropolitan recycling facility can be costly and even unviable,” he says.

“Additionally, as existing accessible infrastructure begins to reach capacity and the end of its life, those costs are likely to rise, with the risk of illegal dumping and stockpiling rising alongside them.”

According to Andrew, long-term infrastructure and market development solutions are needed to fully address the issue. He adds however that West-Trans’ built-in tri-axle dog trailer and hooklift combinations can facilitate relief in the meantime, with the addition of a dog trailer allowing operators to cart multiple bins at once.

“West-Trans offers custom built dog trailers as a matched combination to our HL20 and HL20A hooklifts, with both tipping trailer and simple rail-and-lock-trailer options available,” Andrew says.

“Drivers simply lift the first bin onto the truck, reverse back to the dog trailer, then pick up the second bin, lock both bins, reconnect the trailer and hydraulics and drive away. The set-up caused daily drop-off numbers to double for multiple operators.”

Andrew says that when a vehicle has to travel several hours between the generation point and facility drop-off, investing an extra 10 minutes to fit a second bin far outweighs the cost and time required to run multiple trips.

“The productivity benefits of the dog trailer hooklift combination allow waste companies to fulfil large contracts across vast areas, mitigating Australia’s infamous tyranny of distance,” he says.

“With a fuel burn of roughly 2.5 kilometres per litre, it doesn’t take long for the economics of a dog trailer to add up.”

West-Trans manufactures a range of fit-for-purpose dog trailers capable of carrying multiple bin sizes. Andrew adds that all custom trailers can be supplied with a swing away west-transcover tarp tower system.

“Drivers never need to climb onto their vehicle to secure a load after our tarping system is installed, which enhances safety and streamlines operations,” Andrew says.

“Additionally, our user-friendly cab gives operators the ability to control everything from inside the vehicle including weighing and reloading.”

Andrew says West Trans’ hooklifts are equally operator friendly, with 29-tonne lifting capacities and both fixed and articulated models available.

“West-Trans’ hooklifts are constructed with high tensile structural steel, using the latest available manufacturing technologies and production techniques,” he says.

“The geometric design keeps the lifting hook close to the rear driver when lifting, which improves lift performance and truck stability, while the rugged billet steel hook is secure yet easily placed from the driver’s seat.”

All HL20 and HL20A hooklifts feature fabricated bin rests, billet steel bin locks and standard hydraulic tipping frame locks. According to Andrew, this makes West-Trans hooklifts some of the most durable on the Australian market.

“West-Trans has been operating in Australia for over 25 years, and in that time, has developed a deep understanding the unique requirements of an Australian environment,” Andrew says.

“With a combination of tough engineering and clever geometry, we build strong equipment that’s built to last.”

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Safe scraps: West-Trans

Andrew McKinna, West-Trans National Sales and Marketing Manager, talks to Waste Management Review about addressing rising safety standards with automated tarping systems.

One of Western Australia’s largest metal shredder operates out of the Sims Metal Management scrap metal facility in Kwinana. Running consistently throughout the day, the machine shreds for a large portion of the state’s booming scrap metal recycling industry.

At the Kwinana facility, Sims purchase scrap metal from businesses and individuals across the region. As one of the largest metal recycling companies in the world, the facility sees near constant traffic, and as such, processes at the site are taken seriously.   

As scrap metal recycling is complex, there are multiple steps required before material can reach the shredder.

The process begins with the collection and transport of raw scrap, before pre-treatment, melting, refining, forming and finishing.

Despite the aggressive nature of the shredding process, it’s the initial stages, collection and transport, that pose the biggest safety concern for operators.

According to WorkSafe Western Australia, the most common injuries in the scrap metal sector are falls from heights, being hit by moving objects and muscular stress from handling and moving material.

Additionally, truck and trailer drivers are some of the most at-risk employees in the industry.

To get in front of potential safety issues, Sims Metal Management engaged transport equipment specialists West-Trans, to supply a range of automated tarping systems in early 2019.

Automatic tarping systems enable safer operations by keeping drivers on the ground, which in turn reduces the potential for work related injuries. By cutting the time it takes to load and unload material, automating the tarping process also increases route profitability.

Andrew McKinna, West-Trans National Sales and Marketing Manager, says the company’s tarping and load covering systems were developed in direct response to the rising demand for safety optimising equipment in the scrap metal and general waste and recycling industries.

“The technology, manufactured by UK based manufactures TransCover, is purpose-built for waste transport,” Andrew says.

“The system weighs just under 200 kilograms, which is half the weight of the traditional hydraulically actuated tarps currently being used in Australia, at roughly 70 per cent the cost.”

After a consultation period, West-Trans installed six DoubleCover automated tarping systems to a series of high cube tipper trailers at the Kwinana facility.

“Sims’ main objectives were of course load security, but most importantly operator safety,”
Andrew says.

“The team at Sims were pleased with how the tarping systems operated, making particular note of how they enabled more trips per day and all-weather operations.”

Following the successful trial in Western Australia, Andrew says West Trans fitted a further two trailers for Sims in Victoria.

Sims high cube trailers are 15 metres in length, with a full height of 4.3 metres, which Andrew says presents a challenge when drivers are required to secure a load on top of the trailer.

He says the lightweight DoubleCover system eliminates this problem, as the automation removes the need to manually untie and tarp.

“Drivers operating trailers fitted with DoubleCover systems pull up before or after the weight bridge, before rolling both the driver and curb side open. The rear frame follows the front frame when rolled, open or closed,” Andrew says.

“They then climb back into the truck and enter the yard to load or unload, and on leaving the yard, the driver closes the curb side first, the driver’s side last, climbs into the cab and drives away.”

Andrew explains that the entire process is completed from the ground, just behind the cab.

“No tying is required, no walking backwards and forwards around the trailer, and no climbing,” he says.

“Not only does this enhance safety for the driver, but could soon become a necessity, as more and more operations ban pedestrians from their yards.”

Andrew says DoubleCovers are generally used as a tarping solution for trailers with a length beyond the effective use of a traditional Hycover, or a tarp tower, which is more suited to hooklift applications.

“The DoubleCover system features a simple crank handle operation, and due to the design of the gear box, requires no pressure to secure the tarp in position once closed,” he says.

For high frequency use, Andrew says a hydraulic gear box option is also available.

“The whole system sits within the existing trailer height and width, and adds around 200 millimetres to the front of the trailer at the top,” he adds.

“Several mesh or net types are available according to the loads and contents to be contained, but the standard net, which we installed on the Sims’ trailers is incredibly tough, and capable of managing abrasive material.”

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