With more than three years and well over 600,000 km now under its belt in ‘round-the-clock B-double work, the first Caton-highwaytruck ever sold is continuing to notch exceptional standards of reliability and fuel efficiency for a high profile Tasmanian fleet.
SRT Logistics, based at Brighton on Hobart’s northern outskirts, took delivery of the CT630 model in November 2010 and according to company principal Jim Miller, “It immediately went to work and hasn’t missed a beat since.”
Reliability and efficiency define Cat credentials
SRT provides dry and refrigerated freight transport services to a diverse client base including several blue chip customers and from the outset, the Cat truck has been largely dedicated to hauling B-double loads twice a day between Hobart and Launceston.
The company has around 200 employees and runs a mixed fleet of makes and models ranging from light rigid to B-double prime movers, and a trailer fleet of more than 100 units.
Jim Miller confirms that in fuel economy, the Cat truck is, “… right at the top.” Citing an average fuel consumption figure of 2.1 km/litre, he adds, “It has been our best B-double truck on fuel economy right from the start. We have a few others which get to that sort of figure, but certainly none better.”
An adamant Miller also attributes the aerodynamics of a sleek external design as a significant contributor to the Cat’s high standards of fuel economy.
However, when it comes to reliability, he says the Cat CT630 is without equal.
“Like any truck, there have been a couple of issues over the past three and a half years but they’ve only ever been minor. It’s a truck that just keeps doing the job,” he remarks, “and really, I don’t think anyone could ask for a better run than what we’ve had to date.”
Similarly, Jim Miller is quick to endorse high levels of service and support from the William Adams Cat dealership, both during and after the warranty period, as a strong factor in SRT’s long relationship with the Cat brand.
“We’ve operated quite a lot of Cat truck engines over the years and there’s no question the service from William Adams has been a large part of the reason for that,” he attests.
It was, in fact, Jim Miller’s liking for Cat engines that led to SRT’s purchase of the world’s first Cat-branded on-highway truck, powered by a C15 engine rated at 550 horsepower.
As he recalled, “The decision to buy the Cat truck had nothing to do with wanting to be first with a new brand. It just happened that way.
“What I wanted was a Cat engine. Simple as that, and the engine has given us no issues whatsoever.”
It is an equally adamant Jim Miller who denies any nervousness or apprehension at being first to take delivery of a new brand in the unforgiving conditions of the Australian heavy-duty truck market.
“The way I saw it, there was nothing to be nervous about,” he reflected. “The engine, gearbox, drivetrain and chassis; they’re all what we know so I couldn’t see any real surprises.”
Indeed, Jim now asserts the only surprises have been good ones in the form of just how efficient and reliable the CT630 continues to be.
Last year SRT Logistics also trialled a CT630 demonstrator powered by a C15 equipped with dual diesel particulate filters to meet the current ADR 80/03 emissions regulation.
The CT630 is, in fact, the only heavy-duty truck on the Australian market to meet ADR 80/03 without the added cost and complexity of an EGR or SCR emissions system.
According to Jim Miller, one of the few discernible differences between his existing CT630 and the demonstrator unit was the latest version’s use of Eaton’s automated Ultra shift-Plus 18-speed transmission in place of its manual-shift counterpart.
“After we had the (automated) transmission programmed to better suit our work, there was next to no difference in performance or fuel consumption between our current truck and the newer one,” he explained.
Yet despite his obvious satisfaction with the CT630 model, it is the new CT630S design with its shortened bumper to back-of-cab dimension which now appeals most to Jim Miller.
“I can see some real benefits with that model in our B-double work,” he confirms.
Likewise, the CT610 model with Cat’s fuel efficient CT13 engine is particularly appealing for some single trailer and even rigid roles within the SRT operation, Jim adds.
So there are no regrets with being the first truck operator in the world to put a Cat-branded truck to work?
An unfazed Jim Miller answered simply, “None! None whatsoever.”