The optimism of senior Cat® Trucks representatives in the new CT630HD road train triples model has been firmly vindicated both during and after the recent Brisbane Truck Show.
“We were certainly anxious to gauge reactions to the CT630HD, particularly to see if the level of operator interest would be equal to our confidence in the model. But any concerns disappeared as soon as the doors to the show opened,” says Gary Johnson, general manager of the Hastings Deering Cat Trucks dealership in Richlands, Brisbane.
“The huge number of visitors to the stand and the sheer volume of interest and feedback from customers and drivers were incredibly positive. Best of all, the level of inquiry has continued to be extremely strong since the show,” he adds.
“In this part of the world, I don’t think there could be a better place to launch a new truck model than the Brisbane Truck Show. People come from all over Australia, New Zealand and even further afield to visit this show, so to be able to present a truck like the CT630HD is a great asset.”
Triple treat. Cat CT630HD.
Gary and his team were responsible for preparing the hugely popular Cat Trucks exhibit featuring the new CT630HD alongside its increasingly popular stablemates, the CT630SC and the highly efficient CT610.
“Interest in all the models was extraordinary,” he remarked. “Since the previous Brisbane Truck Show two years ago, several new Cat models have been developed including the CT630S and the CT630SC which primarily target the B-double sector.
“But the CT630HD was making its debut at the Brisbane show and being the first Cat truck rated for roadtrain triples work, it’s easy to understand why it attracted so much attention.
“It’s obvious many people were looking forward to this model’s arrival as much as we were and again, it’s not difficult to understand why. It’s a versatile truck with the ability to cover a lot of workloads from grain to general freight, tankers, bulk goods and most things in between,” Gary Johnson enthused.
“There’s certainly the strength to run on dirt when required but it’s more a triples rated highway truck and that’s what suits a lot of roadtrain operators these days, particularly the flexibility to do staging work from a single trailer to two and then three trailers.”
With several fleet operators placing orders for the CT630HD even before the Brisbane show, the first units are already headed to roadtrain triples roles in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
“It’s a truck developed from a proven platform and as far as I can see, pulling three trailers won’t be an issue,” commented Sean Carren, founder and managing director of Perth-based Goldstar Transport, prior to taking delivery of Australia’s first CT630HD.
“I’ve been quite vocal in encouraging the development of this truck for the past couple of years simply because we’ve had such a good run from the Cats we already operate.” Buoyed by such consistent demand, Cat Trucks engineers were able to expand on the foundations already proven in the well-equipped CT630LS model to develop a unit with the inherent strength to operate efficiently and reliably at gross weights up to 131 tonnes.
Crowd favourite. Cat CT630HD at the Brisbane Truck Show.
Powered by the indomitable Cat C15 engine which satisfies Australia’s emissions regulations without the need for complex SCR or EGR emissions technologies, several key areas were identified to bring the CT630HD to Cat’s desired level for triples work.
The most obvious changes are a deeper, blackened grille and a higher cab stance which along with giving the CT630HD a boldly unique identity, delivers the mutual benefits of optimised airflow and reduced engine fan engagement in high duty cycles.
Specific enhancements included a raised, heavier duty frame for bullbar and tow-pin fittings, a high-flow twin cylinder air compressor to facilitate greater air delivery in multiple trailer applications and critically, increased air cleaner capacity with the introduction of a centrifugal pre-cleaner into the existing air cleaner assembly.
Meantime, front axle rating was boosted to 7.3 tonnes with the optional Meritor MFS73 beam which runs a narrower track width to accommodate the wide profile 385/65R22.5 steer tyres preferred by many roadtrain operators. With standard 295/80R22.5 steer tyres, the CT630HD employs the wide-track version of Meritor’s MFS front axle rated at 6.5 tonnes.
Front suspension is a tapered three-leaf parabolic spring package rated at 7.3 tonnes.
Importantly, Cat Trucks engineers also saw the need for an upgraded steering system. Consequently, a Sheppard ‘slave’ gear is now available for fitting to the left-hand side frame rail, effectively creating a dual gear steering system which not only maintains Cat’s high standards of road handling but also distributes the steering load across both chassis rails rather than imparting full load on a single steering gear on a single rail.
Similarly, chassis rails of the CT630HD have been strengthened with the introduction of long L-shaped inserts extending from a position forward of the fuel tanks through to the tapered rear of the chassis.
The rear axle assembly has been upgraded to Meritor’s RT50-160GP drive tandem rated at 22.7 tonnes (50,000 lb) and offering rear axle ratios from 3.9 to 4.1, 4.3 and 4.56:1. In standard form, the Meritor layout features steel hubs, a power divider lock and cross diff lock on the rearmost drive axle. Optionally available are alloy hubs, an additional cross-lock on the forward drive axle and a lube pump for the rear axle assembly.
Rear suspension is Hendrickson’s popular Primaax EX road friendly air suspension which has been bolstered with the fitment of heavy-duty transverse torque rods.
On the inside, drivers are comfortably accommodated in the spacious, fully integrated 56 inch (1422 mm) sleeper cab widely acclaimed in Cat’s CT630LS model.
Yet while the CT630HD has been developed essentially to answer the call for a triples-rated Cat truck, maintaining operational versatility was a critical factor according to Cat Trucks chief engineer Adrian Wright.
Cat CT630HD. Ready to rumble.
“Our primary goal was to create a truck for roadtrain work up to 131 tonnes, but not at the expense of putting so much weight into the truck that it would lose the viability to also operate effectively as a B-double or B-triple.”
This level of versatility is an extremely important factor according to Peter Calligaro, business unit manager of Westrac’s Cat Trucks operation based in Perth.
“The CT630HD is ideal for the West Australian market,” he comments. “It has the attributes to haul B-doubles, roadtrain doubles or B-triples across the Nullarbor or roadtrain triples to the north.
“In this day and age it pays to be many things to many people and given the amount of inquiry we’ve had, it’s apparent the CT630HD already ticks a lot of boxes with a lot of operators.
“We’ve had a lot to do with this truck’s development and we’re definitely happy with the finished product,” Peter emphasises. “It adds a new dimension to our business in so many ways.”
Akin to the new model’s debut at the Brisbane Truck Show, the CT630HD will have pride of place on the Cat Trucks stand at the upcoming Perth Truck Show from July 24 to 26.
“We’re eager to show it off and we know there are a lot of people just as eager to see it in the flesh,” Peter Calligaro concludes.