One of Australia’s oldest and most successful wholesale nurseries, Warners Nurseries of Narre Warren North, recently took delivery of a new DAF LF55 to service its demanding plant delivery schedule, citing maneuverability, reliability, safety and build quality as key purchasing decision factors.
Warners Nurseries first opened its doors in 1914, when William Richard (W.R) Warner emigrated from England, and founded his original nursery shop in Burwood Road, Auburn, Victoria. Today, Warners is based in Narre Warren North occupying two sites totaling nearly 20 hectares.
Darren Warner is the dispatch manager for Warner’s Nurseries and was largely responsible for the purchase of their new LF55. He explained how Warners’ focus on growing an extensive range of quality trees and shrubs for the horticultural industry, and how their business is built on delivering premium quality plants in combination with an exceptional customer experience.
“To do this we require a reliable and good looking truck that reflects the philosophy of our company for delivering the highest quality products on time,” Darren said.
These days all their plants are grown above ground in plastic pots ready for year-round sales. Bark-based potting media has replaced soils, and machinery has become an integral aid to streamlining production. With the addition of the new LF55 dispatch methods have improved significantly too.
“We deliver plants all through the Melbourne metropolitan area, as well as throughout regional Victoria,” Darren revealed. “The distances might not be the greatest but it is very demanding in terms of traffic congestion and it really tests the vehicle’s maneuverability getting into some of the tighter urban sites.
“Before deciding on the DAF we looked at a number of different models and brands,” Darren explained. “It was an enlightening experience and we found the DAF was heads and shoulders above anything else.”
“Some things that set the vehicle even further apart are the alloy bullbar and the high clearance around the front and the steps. We found that other manufacturers put too much plastic under the front for our type of work. Strengthening our decision was a steering angle up to 55° which results in the LF’s excellent turning circle and makes it extremely maneuverable in the tight spaces of the yard. The generous windscreen suits the nature of the truck perfectly and offers a large field of vision for improved safety,” Darren said.
In addition, the six-mirror layout also provides the driver a larger field of vision around the cab.
“The overall look of the LF55 is clean,” he added. “Compared with other trucks in the segment the LF55 design looks modern and well put together.”
Storage space in the DAF cabin is another area that rated high on the features list with Darren and his senior driver Ray McKenzie. There is plenty of space for maps and papers in the door panels, central cup holders, flat over dashboard storage and two net equipped compartments in the header shelf.
The modern instrument panel of the LF55 has stylish aluminium highlights and offers excellent gauge and display visibility with minimal reflection. The main gauges provide information on primary functions, while the central information display presents only essential vehicle information when needed or at the driver’s request. This ensures that the driver is not unnecessarily distracted but still receives any relevant information. The LCD information display also provides information on trip duration, fuel consumption, average speed and PTO hours.
The LF55 is equipped with a generous heating and ventilation system. On urban distribution trucks like Warners Nurseries’ DAF this is an important feature as the doors are continually being opened and closed. In the cold Victorian winter, a lot of the heat escapes and the interior needs to be restored to a comfortable temperature as quickly as possible, and the LF does this well. Meanwhile a lot of attention has been devoted to the demisting of the front windscreen and side windows to guarantee unrestricted visibility at all times.
Darren opted for the highest horsepower 6.7 litre PACCAR GR engine set at 280 hp and torque ratings of 750 ft/lb. The PACCAR GR-engine complies with the Euro 5 emission standard and ultilises a high-pressure common rail injection system and SCR technology.
The use of more efficient and low-maintenance components, in combination with optimised cooling and combustion, allows for reduced operating costs and increased uptime. The standard exhaust brake offers increased braking performance.
Gear changes play an important role in determining the performance and fuel consumption of a vehicle. For the urban distribution environment the Warners Nurseries LF55 operates in, the new Automated-Manual ZF AS Tronic six-speed transmission, is the perfect match with the 6.7 litre PACCAR GR engine.
This automated gearbox employs an electronic system to select the right gear for every situation, resulting in lower fuel consumption and enhanced driver comfort. Because the driver can fully concentrate on the traffic, an AS-Tronic gearbox can improve safety too. If the driver does decide to take control, the AS Tronic can be shifted manually, using rocker switches, without using a clutch.
Ventilated disc brakes all round provide positive but progressive braking bringing safety and controllability to the LF, in combination with the exhaust brake, which helps to reduce brake pad wear.
The DAF’s light tare weight mean Warners’ have achieved improved payload with each delivery compared to the truck the LF55 replaced. Their payload of plants is double stacked on steel trollies, which are wheeled in and out of the van body via a liftable tailgate.
DAF Trucks commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of their products is an integrated part of their development process. Through their EcoDesign system they are constantly looking for solutions that are good for the environment and that also further improve the efficiency of the truck.
This commitment to mimimising environmental impact is at the heart of Warners Nurseries core values. Some of their recent environmental initiatives include the implementation of a water collection, storage and recycling system, which has resulted in a 50 per cent reduction in mains, water usage, and a 10 per cent reduction in media fertiliser use.
Darren added that they purchased their LF55 from nearby Hallam Truck Centre and were more than happy with the service they received.
DAF Trucks Australia, a division of PACCAR Australia, distributes a range of medium and heavy-duty trucks throughout Australia. PACCAR Inc, a Six Sigma company, is a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of high-quality light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF nameplates. PACCAR also designs and manufactures advanced diesel engines, provides financial services and information technology, and distributes truck parts related to its principal business.