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Built to last

The need for robust and reliable trailer axles and components for its builds led trailer manufacturer Harris Automation Engineering to Fuwa K-Hitch. Now, 14 years on, the company remains convinced that the products and service it receives from Fuwa are unbeatable. 

Harris Automation Engineering specialises in the manufacture of a wide variety of trailers and bodies to suit the individual needs of its customers.

The company prides itself on its innovative approach to design and manufacturing techniques, focusing on continual product improvement along with safety and efficiency for operators.

The range includes extreme-duty outback models extensively tested by the company’s Research and Development team to ensure each product and associated components exceed the expectations of clients.

In fact, one of the factors that initially drew Harris Automation Engineering owner Brendon Harris to Fuwa K-Hitch was Fuwa’s inclusion of what he considers to be the best bearings in the business.

“Fuwa K-Hitch uses Pro-Par bearings in its trailer axles which I really like,” Brendon says. “Fruehauf used to use Pro-Par bearings and when you have a trailer that’s 45 years old and still has the original axles, I believe that says it all.” Brendon says he also believes the Weweler suspension supplied by Fuwa K-Hitch is an extremely good product.

“The suspension I like to use from Fuwa K-Hitch is the Weweler 11-tonne airbag which I think is bullet-proof,” Brendon says. “We’ve been testing it on our trailers in outback Northern Territory and it’s proven to be more than up to the task.

“We also use a number of other K-Hitch components including landing legs, kingpins, fifth wheels and air tanks.”

He mentions that keeping in touch with clients is an important aspect of the company’s operations, ensuring continual product improvement.

“I talk to all my clients to see how things are going – it’s not like we build a trailer and never talk to them again,” Brendon says.

“You should be able to buy a trailer and run it for 10 years, then bring it back for an overhaul and have it looking brand new again.”

Brendon emphasises that his company is not a volume producer; rather working with its customers to build trailers and bodies exactly to their individual requirements.

The range of trailers the company builds is extensive, including pig and dog trailers, semi-tippers, flat-tops, drop decks, skels and retractable skels. The company also specialises in bespoke bodies for applications such as horse transportation.

Other facets of the business include refurbs and suspension conversions with all work done in-house. As such, there are blasting and paint bays, a steel press and a plasma cutter – the latter two enabling the formation of trailer chassis, crossmembers and other components from flat steel plate.

According to Fuwa K-Hitch Regional Sales Manager, Diaa Bishara, the company has, for more than 10 years, been supplying Harris Automation Engineering with a wide range of components including mechanical suspension and VDL and KI air suspension systems with 8-stud and 10-stud drum brake axles. These are fitted with ABS pole wheels and auto slack adjusters as well as an axle lift function if required.

“The VDL is a U-bolt style of suspension that allows flexibility for Harris Trailers when fitting our full range of axle sizes including 17.5”, 19.5” and 22.5” drum brake and disc brake models,” Diaa says.

“Fuwa K-Hitch welds and assembles the suspensions to the axles at nominated chassis rail centres at our facility in Derrimut (Vic), and we also pre-install additions such as Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) pole wheels, brake boosters, sensors and automatic slack adjusters.

“In this way the customer receives a modular axle and suspension system that’s ready to install easily to their chassis – which eliminates the hassle and time factor of customers having to undertake critical welding and torquing requirements themselves.”

Diaa explains that Fuwa K-Hitch also supplies Harris Trailers with other necessary components including landing legs, spring brake chambers, fifth wheels, ballrace assemblies, drawbar kits and tow eyes. This, he says, makes life as easy as possible from a supply perspective.

“We do all this whilst offering extremely competitive pricing and what we believe are industry-leading stock availability and the shortest production turnaround times in the business,” Diaa says.

“In fact, generally we can have the product to the customer within five to seven working days after ordering, giving them greater flexibility in planning their own production requirements.

“For anything outside of this we are just a phone call away and ready to assist wherever possible.”

Brendon Harris confirms that the team at Fuwa K-Hitch has always been helpful and prompt in supplying him the products and advice he’s required.

“Diaa and Chris Barrett (National Sales Manager) are good blokes, and the store people are pretty cool,” he says. “They’ve always been willing to help any time I’ve needed them.”

Fast Fact: For the last 14 years bespoke trailer builder Harris Automation Engineering has standardised on Fuwa K-Hitch products including Weweler 11-tonne air suspension, landing legs and kingpins.

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The Dominator effect

The manufacture of robust and stylish tandem- and tri-axle dollies is the main game for Dominator Equipment. The incorporation of Fuwa K-Hitch heavy-duty axles, suspension, ballraces and other quality components is proving to be highly successful.

Manufacturing road transport equipment in Australia is a tough gig. Relatively high labour and material costs can make for a tricky balancing act ensuring the end product is fit for purpose while at the same time remaining price competitive.

On top of this, manufacturers located in regional areas have the tyranny of distance and potential shortage of suitably skilled employees with which to contend.

To ensure business viability, cost effective and quality assured components that will go the distance need to be sourced from reputable suppliers.

Another prerequisite for local manufacturers is that they possess the intimate knowledge and skills to produce equipment of a suitable standard for harsh Australian operating conditions, particularly in the roadtrain realm.

Based at Lake Cargelligo in western NSW, Dominator Equipment appears to be taking all these challenges in its stride as it turns out a respectable number of impressive looking tri-axle dollies to service the heavy-duty road train market.

The company is a spin-off from Duro Tank, also based at Lake Cargelligo and owned by brothers Darryl and Leon Small, an outfit that specialises in the manufacture and sale of steel and poly fuel and water tanks and trailers for mining and agricultural applications.

Around 18 months ago the brothers decided to diversify into building roadtrain dollies as part of the Duro Tank operation. More recently, the decision was taken to separate the two operations with Leon taking the reins as Managing Director of the newly formed Dominator Equipment company.

Having started work as a farm hand after leaving school, Leon says he developed a fascination for all things mechanical and decided to return to study engineering and gain the various certificates and qualifications in this field.

He was then in a position to design equipment subsequently produced by Duro Tank including 22,000-litre truck-mounted water shuttles and dust suppression units used on mine sites.

Over the ensuing years, it has been something of a natural progression for Leon to move further into the design and manufacture of road train dollies. With the companies now operating as two separate entities, Darryl remains in charge of Duro Tank while Leon heads up Dominator Equipment.

Asked his reasons for choosing Fuwa K-Hitch components, Leon says he was introduced to the products by some of his mates in Parkes who build transport equipment and use a lot of Fuwa K-Hitch axles and suspension.

After checking it out for himself, he could see the quality of the products, along with the value for money, and decided to standardise on them. He particularly liked the look of the heavy-duty parallel bearing axles which he says are ideal for the roadtrain dollies.

“We’ve had no complaints whatsoever from any of our customers about the Fuwa running gear,” Leon says. “We are very glad we went with these components and we continue to be impressed with the way the Fuwa axles and suspension are standing up to the harsh operating conditions typical with roadtrain work.”

Fuwa K-Hitch Regional Sales Manager, Diaa Bishara, says that Fuwa has been supplying the trailer builder with VDL air suspension systems and 10-stud drum brake axles complete with Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) and Auto Slack Adjusters for almost five years.

“The VDL is a U-bolt attached suspension that allows flexibility for Dominator Equipment when fitting the full range of axle sizes including 17.5-, 19.5- and 22.5-inch drum and disc brake variants,” Diaa says. “Fuwa K-Hitch welds and assembles the suspensions to the axles at nominated chassis rail centres at its Derrimut (Vic) facility as well as pre-installing additions such as ABS pole wheels, brake boosters, sensors and automatic slack adjusters.”

Using this method, Diaa elaborates, customers receive a modular suspension ready to install easily to the chassis, eliminating the hassle and potential risks of preforming critical welding and torque requirements themselves.

Diaa further explains that Fuwa K-Hitch also supplies Dominator Equipment with other trailer and dolly components including landing leg sets, spring brakes, Fuwa turntables drilled to suit the company’s requirements, ballraces, drawbar kits and tow eyes, which he says makes life as easy as possible from a supply perspective.

“All this is achieved while still offering extremely competitive pricing and what we believe is industry-leading stock availability and the shortest production turnaround times in the business,” Diaa adds.

“In fact, generally we can have the product delivered to customers within five to seven working days after the order is placed, giving them greater flexibility in planning their own production requirements. For anything outside of this we are only a phone call away and ready to assist wherever possible.”

Fast Fact: Specialising in the production of robust tri-axle roadtrain dollies, Dominator Equipment relies upon the expertise of Fuwa K-Hitch for its axles, suspensions, ballraces and other components.

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