Stralis AS-L brings efficiency for logger
With 30-plus years working in the logging industry, Bruce Eddy is your typical hard-working haulage sub-contractor, working long hours carting plantation timber around Victoria’s North-East over some pretty treacherous mountain tracks.
Perhaps what’s not typical is Bruce’s choice of truck for this gruelling application. While many of his fellow drivers opt for North American, bonneted products, Bruce is steadfastly a cab over man, and more to the point, a European cab over aficionado, somewhat of a rarity amongst his peers.
After two years working in the application, the covered over 300,000 kilometres and well over 5500 engine hours without breakdown or incident, and aside from a bull bar and CTI (Central Tyre Inflation) system, the truck is factory standard.
“The Stralis has an off-the-shelf spec – it’s got driver-controlled cross locks and single reduction rear axles as standard, this is optional extra cost equipment on a lot of the other brands,” Bruce said. “When it’s time to replace this one in another two or three years’ time – on another Stralis – with removal of the CTI system, it could go straight to work in an interstate B-Double highway application so I’ll have no trouble trading it in.”
Grossing around 65 tonne when working in Southern NSW and about 68.5 tonne for Victorian work, Bruce’s Stralis is providing him with an excellent combination of power and fuel efficiency, despite giving away two litres in engine capacity and upwards of 40 horsepower compared to most of the other trucks he works with. According to Bruce, under most circumstances the 13-litre 560hp Stralis holds its own in the power stakes with the larger 15 litre engine trucks, but the real dividend comes in the Iveco’s far superior fuel economy which greatly assists the operator’s bottom line. “I’m now averaging 1.64 kilometres per litre of fuel – on an average 500km kilometre round trip each day, some of my counterparts are using an extra 40 to 100 litres of fuel,” Bruce said.
Along with the lower daily running costs, Bruce said that servicing on the Stralis is also affordable. “I do a lot of servicing myself using Iveco Genuine Parts and also take it back to the Taig Bros Dealership from time to time. For the most part though, you fuel it, check water and fluids along with four greasing points and it’s right to go,” Bruce said.
To access the pine plantations, the logging trucks must traverse, steep, muddy and difficult terrain at slow speeds. For extra traction and stability, Bruce can deflate his tyre pressures to 25-30 psi in off-road conditions to give better traction and provide better tyre wear, then using the CTI system to reinflate them to 85 psi for the tarmac. In these difficult conditions, Bruce said that the Stralis’ 16-speed AMT also comes into its own, allowing him to keep both hands on the steering wheel and better concentrate on the challenging track ahead. “It’s really amazing where you can get these trucks in and out of, in full B-Double spec they’re a large truck but are still manoeuvrable,” Bruce said. “I can set the cruise control on any speed above 20 kilometres per hour and with the AMT the truck will change gears as required to maintain the selected speed, regardless of the terrain. This then allows me to concentrate on the road ahead and maintain better control over the truck.”
Understandably given the work environment and long hours on the road, comfort is another important consideration in a logging truck. The Stralis AS-L with its cab air suspension and rear Iveco 8-bag Electronically Controlled Air Suspension (ECAS), is well-known in the industry for its high comfort levels and supple ride. “In terms of cabin space, refinement, quietness and comfort, it’s difficult to go past a truck such as the Stralis, particularly the AS-L,” Bruce said. “I regularly sleep in the cabin and always get a good night’s sleep. The Stralis might not be the first truck that comes to mind when you think logging, but this one has been great and I’ll definitely be replacing it with another when it’s time to update.”