Specialising in Produce Transport

Shane standing in front of semis

The Australian trucking industry is full of road transport operators who are not big enough to be truly national players, but with a fleet which is well known in one market sector and has a national reach. One of these is DRT, based out on the open farmland of south of Werribee, in an area where Melbourne is expanding towards Geelong at a fast rate.

Looking at the intensive agriculture in the local area, it is easy to see how this operation developed, with produce needing to get out to the markets, and also, the supermarkets. 

PowerTorque Editor, Tim Giles sat down for a chat with the founder of Damorange, Shane Splatt, to look back on the development of the business and the obstacles which have been overcome to get the business to where it is now.

“I started in 1974, with one truck and I was carting hanging meat when I stared,” says Shane. “l was doing that for around six or eight years, and then sold the truck off with a bit of work, the guy never actually fully paid for it. So he gave it back to me when it was rolled over and smashed.

“So that's when we took it back. And I started running a company right here, where we are still based today. I was managing this place for a company in Sydney.. I brought that one truck and trailer into the the operation, while I was running this gentleman's fleet. That's the way it grew. I worked for that guy for about five years.”

The business relationship wasn’t balanced and Shane wasn’t making the kind of money had been promised and the company kept raising expectations. The relationship soured and Shane walked away from the deal. 

“My son, Scott, was working with me at the time, so when I left, I sent Scott to work for another transport company to get a bit of external knowledge,” says Shane. “They had me under a contract, so that I couldn't poach any work, my hands were tied. So I served my time, and then it was our business. That was the late eighties.”

Since that time, when the main game was hauling produce to the market, the nature of the business has changed a lot. Fresh market produce used to be 85 per cent of the work. The large chains only had about 10 15 per cent of the market. Since those times the supermarkets have come into the business in a major way and are dealing directly with the farms. 

blue semi trucks parked

These days the Damorange fleet is handling 70 per cent of produce for the large supermarket chains. Meanwhile the fresh markets, now only make up 30 per cent of the produce carried. Early on, the likes of Coles, Woolworths etc bought directly out of the markets. They then approached the growers directly and bypassed the market system.

When the distribution changed, the current fleet just grew from there, to the point where the company now runs 74 prime movers and around 150 fridge trailers, plus 10 rigids. The company have seven operators who work as a tow operator for the operation and another four owner drivers with their own refrigerated trailers.

“It used to be that you'd have your subbies for your predominantly seasonal work,” says Shane. “But, we came to tough times, and we needed to change that scenario, so that we had constant revenue all year round. So we changed and broadened our area in Victoria. So that we had that volume on most days.

“The people who work for us can work for us all year round. We don't tell them ‘see you later come back in another five months’. That can't happen, because most of the owner drivers have gone broke or they've just gone out of the industry. So the ones that work with us. We pay them weekly, they are paid Monday to Friday. We will fuel them and we look after them and they look after us. So it suits us to have that mix.”

Growing the Business

The business grew with its customer base, as the groups the company dealt with grew, their transport needs also grew. 

“As they grow, you've got to grow with them,” says Shane. “You can’t say, just give us seven loads this week and if there’s 10 you can find someone else to do the other three. That doesn't happen. So you've got to grow with them. The Costa Group is now a public company, and we're still their largest carrier. 

“Multinationals can't deliver negative growth. If they do they don't keep their job. We have, more or less, grown with our customer bases. We've taken a few new ones on, but really it hasn't changed.”

The business has grown with a series of very long relationships, with generational change within those companies and generational change within the Damorange business. A traditional relationship, which, in some case, has lasted over 40 years.

This business model, can be found in rural areas all across Australia, it's all about relationships which are long lasting with a solid base of mutual trust, based on a long association. The fleet covers most of the country, but have relationships with other operators to cover Western Australia, the Northern Territory and North Queensland.

“We are still working some smaller growers,” says Shane. “They’re third and fourth generation, they’re fine. I suppose it's like, transport. If you were going to get a guy to come in now to try and grow to our size from nothing, it's not going to happen. He won't be home and it's just not going to happen. 

“If you were to come in and try and just buy go buy 30 trucks and trailers overnight, you're not going to go anywhere. Businesses have been around for years are even folding. People are getting out of this out of this game, big time It's not good, and produce, it’s hard to do.”

In Victoria Damorange are probably the largest fleet handling produce. This is a specialised area which does not look attractive to the larger transport businesses. The task requires a lot of inbuilt flexibility and the operation has to think on its feet at the last minute as the produce comes in and goes out. Time is of the essence.

“It needs a hands on approach,” says Shane. “If you're not going to have a hands on approach, you're out. If you're going to do it from a computer, that’s not going to work. It’s got to be the hands on like we are here, like my son. If you're not hands on, forget it. Don't try it, but I'll be honest, there is a dollar in it, if you can do it.

Shane with son in front of semis

“We are a big family and the long term relationships have been for 30 or 40 years with a lot of our people. I can tell you that some of the major companies that deal with me, I don’t even have to tender for their work. They know what's what's out there but they didn't even tender it they're quite happy with that, and let me tell you, I'm not cheap.

“The philosophy was from a great man, and he's gone now, Frank Costa and he said, if you don't make money, you're bloody no good to me, sonny, because you're not going to be around. You’ve got to be trading viably to be any good.”

The Dynamic Duo: Kenworth and Cummins

The Damorange long term relationship model also applies to their relationships with their suppliers. The trucks are from Kenworth, the engines are from Cummins. As you would expect in a fleet in this sector most of the trucks are K200s, with a sprinkling of T659, T610 and T909.

The fleet consists of around 50 K200 cabovers and about 15 bonneted Kenworths, four T6s and the other 11 are T909s, plus one day cab Mack Superliner. There are a further 15 trucks on order, but the waiting time for trucks is extending for everyone at the moment. 

Some of those on their way are the K220 models. 

The truck being ordered are specified with Cummins X15 Euro 5 engines, an engine which predominates throughout the fleet. Shane has used other engine brands in the past, but some time ago came down to the Cummins as the engine of choice, for all trucks. 

The rear diffs are all rated at the 1:4.11 ratio, a specification which has been used traditionally, but some elsewhere are now moving 1:3.9 or 1:3.7 in the search for better fuel economy. Oil drains are done at 50,000 on the singles and then 40,000 on the doubles.

“If it's not broken, don’t fix it,” is Shane’s motto.

We've got a system, where we do a midlife at 600,000km. Cummins will do the midlifes for us, they come over here and we do it religiously and we get extra warranty for doing it.”

Kenworth trucked parked

Shane doesn’t like the standard sized tanks often fitted on trucks as they run along the chassis at different sizes. He prefers to have them change so that there are two or three tanks all the same size fitted to the chassis of his trucks. So they look more even along the side of the truck. 

Damorange also has a long relationship with two trailer manufacturers, Lucar and FTE, and between the two they are able to keep the trailer fleet up to date.

“We don’t replace our trailers in four years, we keep our trailers 10 years plus,” says Shane. “We can refurbish them and then keep them going as long as the box is okay. Everything else can be refurbed and we keep them going. We build the business like a pyramid, so we don't get too highly geared and then fall over.”

At the moment the fleet runs a combination of singles and B-doubles, but the plans are to move across to 40 pallet B-doubles, with quad axles on both trailers. These run out to 30 metres in length. All new single trailers are now limited to a 26 pallet length to make the swapping of trailers between traditional B-doubles and the newer longer ones easier to do.

“We like to have the uniformity and the option to be able to change them around. We used to run road trains, but you look at the cost factor and you have to do dog runs and everything like that. With the 40 palleters you just go straight in to the capital cities. We we can run them anywhere now.

The fleet utilises the Intelligent Access Program to get the kind of productivity gains it is looking for. It uses 26 pallet singles and 40 pallet B-doubles, which can be uniformly loaded and always be at the right mass over each axle group. The operation found that with the 28 pallet trailer in the combination it meant the loading had to be done more carefully and there is more likely hood of going over on an axle.

Cummins announces new dewatering pumps

Dewatering pump

Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) announced the availability of two new dewatering pump solutions for use in construction, oil & gas, agricultural, mining, water and waste water environments.  The QSF4X4 and QSF6X6 offer customers a fully finished pump for use in their operations powered by Cummins’ QSF2.8 engine.

“The new pumps are a culmination of many hours of customer research. Product reliability and uptime are very important to them, so we have developed a robust package that is backed by Cummins strong support network,” said Greg Totin, Cummins Industrial Sales Director.

These pumps are built with a heavy-duty cast-iron construction and produced on a fully towable trailer for ease of transportation. They are able to self-prime when filled with water, and re-prime automatically. The Cummins QSF6X6 is designed for moderate flow rates up to 1,430 gpm and can handle heads up to 104 feet. The Cummins QSF4X4 supports flow rates up to 1,350 gpm and can handle heads up to 135 feet. 

Cummins QSF2.8 engine which powers the pumps is available for industrial applications at 74 hp in compact envelope size.  It uses proven Cummins fuel injection, turbocharging and electronic control technology to deliver a peak torque of 221 lb-ft, while meeting near-zero emissions Tier 4 Final emissions.  The sculptured cast-iron block, give the 2.8 liter engine durability with a low weight of 507 lb.

“They new pumps are compatible with our telematics services to help maximize availability and efficiency while minimizing downtime,” added Totin 

The QSF6X6 and QSF4X4 are available throughout North America and will be on display at the ARA show in February at Cummins booth number 5056 and in March at ConExpo at booth S84615. Interested customers should reach out their local dealer for more information. 


About Cummins 

Cummins Inc., a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products. Headquartered in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.), since its founding in 1919, Cummins employs approximately 59,900 people committed to powering a more prosperous world through three global corporate responsibility priorities critical to healthy communities: education, environment and equality of opportunity. Cummins serves its customers online, through a network of company-owned and independent distributor locations, and through thousands of dealer locations worldwide and earned about $2.1 billion on sales of $24 billion in 2021. 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Cummins natural gas engines transport more than 150 million people in North India for 15 years

bus in movement

Natural gas engines from Cummins can offer considerable longevity and reliability when properly maintained – so much so they are lasting decades and counting. 

Between 2008 and 2009, more than 3,730 Cummins B Gas Plus natural gas engines were procured through OEM partners Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland and delivered to the National Capital Region of India. Deployed into the Delhi transport Corporation’s (DTC) transit bus fleet, nearly 15 years later, the engines remain in service. To date, the buses have travelled approximately 5.4 billion kilometers – yes, billion – over the last 15 years.

bus

These engines prove what Maged Tadros, General Manager of Cummins Global Bus Business likes to tell his customers: “Adopting Cummins natural gas engines into your fleets can help achieve several operational and economic benefits.”

As the lowest total emissions engine on the market for trucks and buses, Cummins natural gas engines run on an abundant, low-cost fuel, with a maintenance free three-way catalyst exhaust treatment system. 

The need for reliable transportation is essential. Over the past 15 years, the Cummins B Gas Plus natural gas engines have helped more than 150 million Indian residents get to where they need to be and will continue to do so for the years to come.

click to view infographic
Click to view infographic

“Cummins engines are sought after globally for their world-class reliability and durability,” explained Puneet Jhawar, General Manager – Natural Gas. “We have learned a lot from our experience in India, among other countries adopting natural gas engines, learnings that have influenced our next generation of engines.”

Last year, Cummins announced the B6.7 natural gas engine will be available in India. Built for school buses, shuttles, and medium-duty trucks, the B6.7N boasts up to 240 hp/560 lbs-ft torque.

As the most mature, proven, and least disruptive alternative power technology available today, natural gas engines offer range flexibility and deliver a similar power, performance, and driving experience as diesel engines. Cummins natural gas engines help fleets reduced their overall environmental impact without significantly increasing the cost of operation or sacrificing performance or uptime.

The power of Cummins’ natural gas engines was on display at the India Auto Expo in Greater Noida Uttar Pradesh, India this month.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Five Wins of New Power

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As we near the end of 2022, we are celebrating some of the accomplishments that made this an exciting and innovative year for New Power. In the last 12 months, we expanded our technologies, grew as a business and continued to blaze the trail toward a zero-emissions future. Join us as we reflect on five wins from our New Power business unit that helped make this year truly spectacular.

snow scene
Click to view infographic

Welcome to our battery family, LFP

The newest member of our battery family is the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, which expands our support of electrified commercial vehicle applications. LFPs are faster charging and longer-life batteries, and are used in the medium duty truck and school bus markets. LFPs don’t require nickel or cobalt, making them more affordable and sustainable. With faster charging, higher power and a 10% longer life expectancy, Cummins LFP batteries are designed to meet the demands of continuous operation and have a lower total cost of ownership.

Green travel is on track: Our fuel cell systems are powering the world’s first 100%-hydrogen passenger train fleet

Holiday vacation plans? Visit us in Europe where we’re powering the world’s first fleet of hydrogen trains. The Alstom Coradia iLint trains are outfitted with Cummins fuel cell systems and run on the world’s first 100%-hydrogen-powered passenger train route. The trains convert hydrogen fuel into energy and turn existing, non-electrified infrastructure into zero-emission rail lines. These trains emit only steam and condensed water while in service and operate with low noise levels that improve both operator and passenger comfort.

The hydrogen fuel cell systems used in the trains are assembled at Cummins’ Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems Production Center in Herten, Germany. The facility was fully operational in 2022, enabling accelerated adoption of hydrogen technologies across Europe and the globe.

North America? Check. Europe? Check. We’ve expanded our New Power footprint across the globe

This year, we drove the green hydrogen economy forward across the globe by supporting new infrastructure projects and advancing government decarbonization goals.

We have broken ground on our new gigawatt PEM electrolyzer manufacturing plant in Guadalajara, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. Construction is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2023. The 200,000 sq. ft. facility will have the capacity to produce 500MW per year, scalable to more than 1GW per year.

Our Oevel, Belgium electrolyzer manufacturing facility expanded its capacity to 1GW thanks to the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) Hy2Tech program. IPCEI will help Cummins develop a new generation of PEM electrolyzer cell stacks to power large-scale hydrogen production systems. Operation began at our new Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems Production Center in Herten, Germany this year, which further enables the adoption of hydrogen technologies across Europe. 

We expanded our Mississauga, Ontario, Canada campus by adding a third facility dedicated to hydrogen technology. The new facility accommodates the company’s growing staff, hydrogen production capacity and new product development, putting Cummins in a better position to support the developing hydrogen market in North America.

The wait is over - our electrified powertrains made their official debut

We unveiled the Meritor 17Xe ePowertrain integrated with a Cummins battery system. The 17Xe is designed for heavy-duty trucks with the capacity to support 44 tons of gross combined weight. The assembly also features Cummins’ new lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery pack. 

Our clean drivetrain options offer performance and packaging advantages for diverse applications across the globe.

Electrolyzers are stateside: We’re starting production in the U.S.

We announced that we'll begin producing electrolyzers in the U.S. for the first time at our Fridley, Minnesota facility. To drive the domestic green hydrogen economy forward, we'll start at 500 megawatts (MW) of manufacturing capacity annually, scalable to 1 gigawatt (GW) in the future. 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Seven Cummins employees receive prestigious Julius Perr Innovation Award

recipients holding trophies

Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) announced the 2022 recipients of the company’s most prestigious technical award, the Julius Perr Innovation award. Now in its 23rd year, the award recognizes employees who demonstrated excellence in innovation and technology by developing significant intellectual property for our products.

This year’s recipients are Cummins employees Richard Ancimer, Krishna Kamasamudram, Ashok Kumar, Guoqiang Li, Tim Proctor, Michael Wilson, and Aleksey Yezerets. Acknowledgement also goes to Neal Currier, Ed Hodzen, and Vivek Sujan.

ABOUT THE INNOVATIONS

The first winning patents relate to the mitigation of sulfur accumulation on a selective reduction catalyst (SCR).

Ancimer, Currier, Kamasamudram, Kumar, and Yezerets developed methodologies to not only monitor this accumulation of sulfur but regenerate the catalysts faster, and at lower temperatures, through the synchronization of engine operating conditions during regeneration. Their work is employed on Cummins products, such as Euro IV/V/VI, EPA 2010, Tier IV, and in regions high sulfur fuel, and will likely continue playing a role in meeting future emission regulations.

Wilson developed a different approach targeted for the service channel in areas with high sulfur fuel, particularly the Euro V products in South America.  A key feature of his invention involves the deactivation of cylinders, and his work has been cited numerous times by non-Cummins patents.

For second winning technology, Hodzen, Li, Proctor, and Sujan invented the SmartTorque2 (ST2) feature, which is part of the award-winning Eaton Cummins SmartAdvantageTM  Powertrain. This feature automatically senses a variety of factors, such as grade and weight, and selects the optimum torque for performance and fuel economy. The invention was first in production in 2013 and has been a standard offering of the X15 product since 2017.

ABOUT THE AWARDS

This award was created to honor Dr. Julius Perr, who retired from Cummins in 1997 as Vice President - Fuel Systems.  Dr. Perr, who passed away in 2005, joined Cummins in 1958 after fleeing Communist Hungary.  He made Columbus, Indiana (USA) home and began a 41-year career as a Cummins engineer and leader.  In his lifetime, he was named the inventor or co-inventor of 186 granted patents and remains an inspiration to many in our industry.

2022 CEREMONY

The Julius Perr Innovation Awards Ceremony was held in-person with senior Technical Leaders, members of the Perr family, the 2022 Perr Award winners and their guests on October 18, 2022. Four winners, Krishna Kamasamudram, Ashok Kumar, Guoqiang Li and Michael Wilson, were able to attend in person to receive their awards. The other three winners were unable to attend, but their award and special recognition have been provided to them separately.

REVIEW COMMITTEE 

Members of a selection committee, made up of leaders from across all business units, meet yearly to evaluate patents that have created significant value for our products. In 2022, over 1,100 patents were reviewed for consideration before selecting the final patent award recipients. Since 2000, only 84 patents have been selected for this prestigious award with each invention adding value to our brand promise of innovation and dependability.

Congratulations again to the 2022 recipients on the honor of winning the 2022 Julius Perr Innovation Award.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

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