ALE’S heavy-lift team

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By JAMES STAN­FORD

YOU’LL al­ways have a friend at your lo­cal tyre deal­er­ship with a trailer like this.

The ALE Heavy Lift hy­draulic trailer has no fewer than 448 tyres. Yes, you read that cor­rectly, 448.

The trailer has 112 axles, 56 on each side, with four wheels per axle.

The trailer is based on the premise of many hands mak­ing light work, al­though the weights it can carry be­hind Ken­worth C509 prime movers are ex­tra­or­di­nary.

When two of the ALE prime movers work to­gether, they can haul a gross com­bined mass of 500 tonnes.

Four of the cus­tom Ken­worths have been put to work on spe­cial projects in re­mote Western Aus­tralia.

They are cur­rently trans­port­ing huge pre-fab­ri­cated steel plant struc­tures to the BHP Bil­li­ton Jim­ble­bar iron ore pro­ject in the Pil­bara re­gion in an op­er­a­tion that could take up to one year.

The equip­ment is trucked from Port Hed­land to the mine site near Mt New­man, which is a 500km trip.

It must seem far longer than that to the driv­ers and sup­port crew, be­cause the fully loaded com­bi­na­tions do not ex­ceed 25km/h.

The kind of loads ALE moves put in­cred­i­ble strain on truck com­po­nents, es­pe­cially clutches, so ALE has just re­fit­ted two of its C509s with Al­li­son 4700 full au­to­matic torque con­verter trans­mis­sions.

It says the trans­mis­sion is per­fectly suited to the task and works well with the Cum­mins 447kW (600hp) ISX en­gines.

‘‘In terms of per­for­mance, the Al­li­son torque con­verter mul­ti­plies the engine’s torque, which helps when you are start­ing off with a 350-ton load,’’ says ALE Heavy Lift gen­eral man­ager John Kelly.

‘‘It means the driver doesn’t have to ride the clutch and en­sures smooth take-off and gear changes.’’

Al­li­son au­tos mean the trucks work bet­ter when paired, as the trans­mis­sions change at the same time.

The ALE Heavy Lift hy­draulic trailer loaded with min­ing equip­ment be­ing towed by an Aus­tralian-made Ken­worth C509

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