When operators think DAF, they invariably think premium comfort, safety and fuel economy. But, according to Ballarat-based Whitford Liquid Waste, DAF trucks are also reliable workhorses that can handle a variety of jobs on and off road.
Whitford is the leading liquid waste services provider in central Victoria. Founded in 1971 by Richard and Dianne Whitford, today the business is run by their son, Jason, and his wife, Kath. The company offers a range of services, including the removal of non-hazardous liquid waste from homes, industrial sites and major outdoor events. In addition, a growing part of the business involves hydro excavation. This uses a high-pressure water and vacuum system to safely excavate and remove earth to locate underground telecommunications, electricity, gas and sewer pipes.
The company has a stable of three EPA-accredited vacuum loading trucks which cover a large territory, extending east to the outskirts of Melbourne, north to Horsham and Kyneton, and south-west to Camperdown.
For more than 40 years, the company has only operated Japanese trucks. But Jason Whitford said that changed when he saw the DAF CF85 in 2011.
“We needed a multi-purpose, higher capacity eight-wheeler that wasn’t available in our Japanese brand. So my father and I went to the Brisbane Truck Show to see what was on offer. As soon as we saw the CF85, we knew it was the one. I didn’t think twice – I bought the truck right off the show floor,” Jason said.
DAF’s CF85 suits a range of tasks, including various intrastate distribution applications, providing the pulling capability of higher-powered units while also offering lower fuel consumption.
In December 2011, Whitford took possession of its DAF CF85 8×4 rigid from award-winning dealer, Kenworth and DAF of Melbourne, in Laverton. Rated to a GCM of 44 tonne, the truck has the same heavy-duty spec used for larger DAF concrete trucks.
Whitford’s CF85 is powered by a PACCAR MX, 12.9-litre engine with SCR technology, producing 460 hp (340 kW) at
1500 – 1900 rpm and 1695 lb/ft (2300 Nm) of torque at 1000 – 1410 rpm. The truck features a 16-speed ZF manual
gearbox, two DAF 186N front axles (rated to 9 tonne) and DAF 1355T rear axles (rated to 26 tonne) riding on a DAF
trapezium leaf rear suspension. The truck is fitted with 385/65 Super Single front tyres and 315/80 rear tyres which
provide elevated ground clearance for handling off-road work. The truck also includes as standard ABS and EBS.
Melbourne-based Vaclift custom built and installed a vacuum loading system which comprises two units: A 11,000-litre debris vessel with high-power suction for collection of liquids, sludges and various waste materials. It also has a 2000-litre water tank with a high-pressure, 7500-psi water pump for hydro excavation as well as cleaning buildings, concrete road surfaces and pits.
Unlike the other trucks which only do specific tasks, Jason configured the DAF with all of the equipment needed to manage the company’s varied services. The CF85 has operated five and a half days a week over the last two years.
“We can get call-outs any time and anywhere (the company offers a 24/7 emergency service). Our DAF covers a lot of
ground – it’s not unusual to do 400 km in a day. We started this morning, for example, doing hydro excavations in Torquay and, by lunch, we were in Ararat cleaning storm water drains and pipes. In the afternoon, we did a run to Horsham to empty some septic tanks and grease traps. For the next two days, our DAF will be doing hydro root pruning for the local council. There’s plenty of work and variety – and the DAF takes it all in its stride,” he said.
Jason says DAF lives up to his high expectations and, in fact, exceeds them with lower operating costs and higher
“The DAF is the biggest truck in our fleet, with the largest capacity vacuum tank and water tank – and yet it’s far more economical to run than our smaller six-wheelers. The CF85 delivers a significant saving in fuel every year,” he said.
“It’s also a more productive truck than the others. Our Japanese trucks are fitted with DPD (Diesel Particulate Diffuser) burners, whereas DAF’s MX-13 engine uses SCR technology to meet emission standards.”
“It takes about 15 minutes to do a DPD regeneration. Our operators can’t do anything until that’s finished. When you’re doing many jobs a week, that adds up to several hours of lost time and revenue. But not with the DAF. It’s ready for work immediately,” he explained.
Considering the size of the territory, Whitford’s operators spend about half their time driving to and from the many jobs they handle throughout the day.
“Driver comfort and safety are very important to us. Our people are our business, and our DAF provides a safe working environment. It has easy cab access, the dash is well laid out with all the controls within reach, and it’s extremely comfortable, no matter how long you’ve been behind the wheel,” Jason said.
“Quite frankly, it’s beautiful to drive. All of our drivers love it. It has great maneuverability, good visibility and it’s a breeze to operate. In fact, there’s no difference between driving the DAF and driving my car. You can’t say that about other trucks.”
Jason says the DAF is engineered to accommodate any trucking condition.
“The truck does a lot of off-road work, especially hydro excavation. We often have to locate services near railway tracks and in new housing estates and subdivisions, where there are no roads. The truck’s higher ground clearance makes the DAF a real all-rounder. It can handle anything from off-road and regional trips to heavy city traffic and narrow suburban streets,” he said.
“We’re very happy with DAF – not just our truck but also our dealer. Kenworth and DAF of Melbourne have given us solid support from day one. They took the time to understand our business and recommend the right model, and speced it to suit the application. And, after two years of service, the CF85 still performs perfectly,” Jason added.
Whitford Liquid Waste has plans to replace at least one of its Japanese trucks with another DAF this year. It will be a
multi-purpose CF85 6×4 rigid with a similar vacuum loader body.
DAF Trucks Australia, a division of PACCAR Australia, distributes a complete 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.