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Tackling the elephant

It has endlessly frustrated users and builders of PBS vehicles, and lively debate at ComVec last week indicates that a resolution to the PBS component substitution issue is far from an easy fix.

Greg Forbes, Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia’s (HVIA) Policy and Government Relations Manager, says the calibre of people in room made for a well-informed debate.

“Substitution of tyres within PBS designs has been a controversial issue for some time,” Mr Forbes said. “However, our panellists presented strong and logical evidence that to find the right solution, we need to consider component substitution more broadly.

“Many operators and equipment manufacturers have learned the hard way that fitting unapproved tyres and components can be an expensive mistake when it comes to having a PBS combination certified.

“PBS certifier and HVIA Director, Ken Cowell estimates that the issue is costing industry somewhere in the order of $1.5-2 million per annum.”

Highlighting the potential implications of tyre and suspension substitution, Rob Di Cristoforo of Advantia Transport Consulting used computerised visual simulations to demonstrate vastly different performance outcomes.

The Australian Tyre Industry Council’s Silvio De Denaro followed by advocating an approach to increasing the range of approved tyres available for PBS designs.

Adam Ritzinger of SAF-Holland Australia highlighted that any solution must be applicable to all components that could reasonably be replaced throughout the lifespan of a vehicle.

“Whichever direction the industry adopts in dealing with the tyre issue, should have widespread applicability, because the same concerns are valid”, he said.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Les Brusza acknowledged that work needs to continue towards resolving the issues.

“HVIA will use these discussions to further inform our ongoing work with the NHVR, and to offer solutions to these issues including ensuring industry is educated to understand the issues and their implications,” Mr Forbes said.