Vic gov backs local industry


Locally-built Iveco trucks will join the bushfire fight in the coming months

Vic gov backs local industry
The handover in Dandenong.

 

The Victorian government has thrown its support behind the local manufacturing industry with the purchase of four Iveco prime movers sourced from a Dandenong plant.

The locally-built trucks, three of which are Powerstar 6400 models and the other a Stralis 8x4 rigid, will be used as transport vehicles to aid the battle against bushfires, carrying bulldozers to hotspots.

During the cooler months, the four trucks will take part in planned burns and land management activities.

Handed over to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) at a ceremony at the Iveco’s Dandenong plant, the trucks were welcomed by local member Gabrielle Williams.

"We’re supporting local manufacturing workers and providing the best equipment available for our forest firefighters," she says.

Selected after an evaluation by the government services arm, which saw DELWP employees test the trucks in real-world trials, the Iveco lineup all feature 500hp Cursor 13 engines and Eurotronic 16-speed automated manual transmissions (AMT).

DELWP manager of mobile plant & equipment Nigel Robertson says both played a part in the decision.

"At the top of our list was engine braking capability, it’s a very important factor for our drivers especially when fully loaded and operating in steep and difficult conditions," Robertson says.

"Strong horsepower was also up there – we don’t speed but in an emergency we need to get there as fast and safely as possible, we can’t have the driver struggling up hills and getting worked-up before even reaching the fire site.

"When the operators of these trucks arrive on site they have to unload the bulldozers and then they can spend hours at the controls so it’s essential that their travel to the fire site is as easy and stress-free as possible, we can’t have drivers arriving fatigued.

"The Iveco cabin is very spacious and comfortable especially with driver and passenger ISRI air-suspended seats and extensive stowage areas."

The addition of the AMT went against the initial plan, Robertson says, but real-world use of the transmission changed their minds.

"Our previous vehicles were manuals and at the start of the evaluation process the drivers were steadfast on again getting manuals, but after trialling the AMT it was almost unanimous that this was the way to go," he says.

"The trucks were much easier to drive with the AMT and allowed the driver to better concentrate on the road conditions.

"Specifying an AMT also provides peace of mind for the less experienced drivers.

"We have selected the same engine and transmission combination in all vehicles, this along with commonality of interior will allow drivers to move from one truck to another seamlessly."

 

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