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A double-cab with a difference Wednesday, April 24, 2013

NICKEL Engineering delivered three new service trucks to Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative.

The three Hino 6-wheelers are fitted with a bin loader and cab on the back of the truck, and a 7000 litre steel aviation fuel tank between the front and back cabs. The trucks refuel and load fertiliser into the top dressing airplanes. Tanker trucks in turn refuel them and the fertiliser is carted to the site by bulk fertiliser transport trucks. When Ravensdown asked Nickel to redesign and build the loaders, Nickel called in a ten years plus association with NZH to tackle the challenging project. “We did our homework and made a plan,” he says. The trucks came equipped with a live drive output. Therefore the main issue was how to provide the loader operator, who can drive forward short distances in reverse, with steering power and at the same time operate the fuel pump and the loader’s hydraulic cylinders.


The NZH plan involved fitting a tandem vane pump, which delivers power to two circuits. One pump operates the auxiliary steering system while the second circuit is equipped with an Oilpath selector valve so that the operator can choose either to operate the hydraulic cylinders on the bin loader or the fuel pump system. Due to time constraints NZH stuck to the basic existing design used on similar trucks for the first three vehicles. “However, we’ve now had time to further advance and modernise the design for the next four trucks on order. One such change will be the use of smarter technology, such as a joystick control for the loader, rather than the old-fashioned lever system.” Don Judd from Wanganui Aerowork says the aircraft loaders are behaving themselves well. “Apart from one or two teething problems, they’re going all-right.”

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