Ever since Emerald based Stern’s Plant Hire first trialled a combination of FUWA K-hitch’s (FKH) heavy-duty axle and VDL Weweler’s heavy-duty suspension, the family owned company has insisted on running the international pairing on each and every vehicle.
“To be honest, I wasn’t pleased with the material I’d been using before, so I decided to give Fuwa K-Hitch a go,” says managing director Mick Stern. “I like the way they work, and I love the comprehensive after sales service, backing up the product 100 percent. That’s what I need.”
Located in the Central Highlands district of Queensland, Stern’s Plant Hire operates out of local gravel pits, providing sand, soil and gravel; and offers earth moving services. In March, the company purchased an Azmeb Door Side Tipper to complement the growing fleet.
The new AB triple is equipped with Fuwa K-Hitch’s unique one-piece forged axle and VDL Weweler’s heavy-duty 11-tonne suspension. “We’ve recommended the FKH/ VDL heavy-duty combination because it’s a tried and tested product,” says Azmeb’s Richard Ostermeyer. “It’s all about the stability on road, and the FKH combination has proven itself in the field.” In addition, the unitised disc brake axles incorporate VDL Weweler’s compact Bolt-on axle lift system to reduce both fuel consumption and tyre wear and improve brake balance when the vehicle is unladen.
“We use a lot of FKH equipment. Almost 80 percent of all the axle/ suspension material we apply is produced by Fuwa K-Hitch and VDL Weweler, because they deliver a product capable of tolerating the strain of working in a mining environment,” Richard explains. “Working in the mining industry is different to normal bulk haulage, as each load will exploit the maximum load capacity. It’s 100 percent, nonstop.”
Wayne Stern, who is still involved in the aspiring company, established Stern’s Plant Hire (SPH) in 1980. As the local coal mining industry began to flourish, the one-man- one-vehicle business soon matured. Today, SPH employs twelve people – including managing director Mick Stern. “I grew up in the industry, and I have been an active part of the business since 2000,” he says. “Ever since, we’ve operated under the name of Stern’s Plant Hire; maintaining a fleet of two road trains and four AB triple side tipping combinations – including the new one, which was custom designed to cart sand, gravel, soil and coal,” says Mick Stern. “It’s as big as we can go, providing a payload of 64 tonne.”
Whilst SPH’s motor pool operates both Volvo and Kenworth, the trailing equipment department solely relies on one brand – Azmeb. “It’s the fourth Azmeb in three years,” says Mick. “We’ve received the last set two months ago, and we’re expecting another combination in June.” Bundaberg based Azmeb Global Trailers offers tipping equipment both for the domestic and global market, exporting to Africa, China, and Indonesia. The company’s director, Bernd Ostermeyer, began manufacturing heavy road transport and mining equipment in 1975. Believing that Australia’s side tipper technology could be improved, Mr Ostermeyer decided to invest into research and development, creating a range of new products, such as the innovative side tipping combination applied by SPH today.
“I like the style of it and the build quality,“ says Mick Stern. “Azmeb’s Door Side Tippers only use two double acting hydraulic cylinders, allowing a fast tipping cycle. In addition, the bowl shaped body can retain contaminated liquid waste in the bowl base, and the curved door guarantees a clean discharge of the payload. And the rubber-hinged door doesn’t even require greasing. The combination of Azmeb technology and Fuwa K-Hitch gear is unbeatable.”
Therefore, the new AB triple is also fitted with a FKH fifth wheel and FKH landing legs. “I don’t like to mix,” says Mick. “I want to deal with one single person that I can trust. Besides, I like the K-Hitch fifth wheel because it’s not cast, but based on solid steel plate. I have used it for three years and have never had a problem.”
It is no surprise that both Azmeb and Fuwa K-Hitch are part of SPH’s future expansion plan. “As the workload in the area is growing continually, we want to grow as well,” says Mick. “But we will remain a family owned business and keep employing local people, and we will hold onto our existing staff. It’s all about loyalty.” Therefore, Stern’s Plant Hire will stay true to Azmeb’s tried and true product range too – including the rugged FKH/ VDL Weweler pairing. “It’s all I need to service the booming mining industry.”