English - Nooteboom Giants on the Road Magazine English - Nr. 5 - 2018 - Page 28

GIANTS ON THE ROAD Holtrop-van der Vlist TO STAND STILL IS TO GO BACK IN THE WORKSHOP OF HOLTROP-VAN DER VLIST IN ASSEN HANGS A PLANNING BOARD. IT SHOWS A LONG LIST OF TRUCKS AND TRAILERS THAT HAVE TO COME DURING THE WEEKEND FOR INSPECTION OR MAINTENANCE. TECHNICAL MANAGER PETER VOS HAS BEEN WITH HOLTROP-VAN DER VLIST FOR 24 YEARS ALREADY. DURING THOSE YEARS HE HAS FURTHER PERFECTED THEIR MAINTENANCE SYSTEM. HOLTROP - VAN DER VLIST Peter Vos: “Holtrop-van der Vlist, part of Van der Vlist Group, was established in 1984 and the fleet consisted of just a handful of trucks. For the Van der Vlist organisation, ‘Assen’ was an important support centre in the north of the Netherlands. In those days the Dutch army was an important customer. When I started out in 1994 as a mechanic in the workshop, our 13th truck had just been delivered. During the past few years we specialised in the transport of machinery for the construction industry. We now have 90 trucks on the road and even more trailers, nearly of all them supplied by Nooteboom.” MULTIFUNCTIONAL Peter: “Nooteboom really listens to what we, as customers, require so that in collaboration with us they build trailers that enable us to trans- port as great a variety and types of machinery as possible. And once we developed the right combination of tractor and trailer we buy a number of combinations with exactly the same axle distance. In several countries, such as Germany, this is an advantage when applying for exemptions. We almost exclusively drive with Scania tractors and Nooteboom trailers. That makes life easier for the workshop. The technology is familiar and we can limit our parts stock.” DOWNTIME Peter: “The machines we transport often have to be delivered somewhere exactly on time. In a seaport construction machinery are unloaded or they are being shipped to another continent. A seagoing ship is not going to wait. And if we don’t arrive on time at a building site, an entire project could come to a standstill. Loading and unloading on time is therefore the most important task for our drivers and planners. In order to avoid any unplanned downtime we inspect our trucks and trailers every few weeks and preventively replace parts such as the turbo, dynamo and wheel bearings. Occasionally a combination will experience problems somewhere on the way. Complex technology is involved after all. When that happens we prefer to set off in our own service bus. Waiting for a 28 truck dealer – especially if it’s in the middle of the night – doesn’t suit us.” PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE Peter: “We inspect more than thirty combinations every week. We have a maintenance schedule and the driver has to make a list of points he noticed on the way. Low-loaders are inspected every fortnight and semi low-loaders every three weeks. We work with a fixed list of parts that are replaced preventively. ■  Peter Vos This is different for each brand. For instance, we have found that the wheel bearings of different axle brands have a different life too. We replace a turbo after 500,000 km and by then the dynamo is also ready to be replaced. After five years it’s the turn of the trailers’ wheel bearings and after eight years the turntables. These are just broad outlines because in reality we know exactly how long the life is of the various parts and brands.” REFURBISHMENT Peter: “From Monday to Friday morning it is often rather quiet in our workshop. We prepare as much as we can for the repairs that will be carried out over the weekend, we equip new trucks and trailers and we refurbish some of our trailers ourselves. At the moment we are refur- bishing an 11-year old Nooteboom EURO-PX low-loader. This involves fitting many new parts, including new axles. After this refurbishment the low-loader is good for another five years on the road. In five years’ time the next preventive replacement of the wheel bearings will be due and then the time has come to sell the trailer. There is a separate story at- tached to this low-loader: at the time we asked to have the air reservoirs