Tower Power: ART Group Upgrades to FYJ Heavy Hauler

Tower Power: ART Group Upgrades to FYJ Heavy Hauler

“We’ve got a hooter of a crane on this truck, it turns heads and makes it unique,” says Chris Ratcliff from Australian Radio Towers (ART).

“Wherever it’s parked, people will come noticing.”

It’s quite the statement, but that’s exactly what the ART team wanted in their beefy new Isuzu FYJ 300-350 twin steer truck, outfitted with hooter in question, a high-powered PK 14402-EH Palfinger crane, which assists to construct towers that can span up to 160 metres high.

Paired with a 6.8-metre-long twin-axle dog trailer, which just happens to be the exact same height as the FYJ’s tray, it makes for an impressive rig.

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As the name suggests, Australian Radio Towers is in the business of assembling radio and communications towers. These massive towers are used in environmental monitoring systems, meteorological studies, the renewable energy sector, and of course, communications for industries such as mining, defence and emergency services.

Before the pandemic, ART focused on temporary radio towers at music festivals and events—that industry has shifted not only with reduction of events but also the introduction of permanent radio towers for mobile and Wi-Fi communications.

However, this is only a part of the ART offering, and the point of difference lies in the team’s end-to-end expertise: from drafting and design of a wide range of products such as masts and towers, stand-alone power units and rapid-deploy solutions, through to their manufacture and supply, transport and installation.

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Home base is in Murwillumbah in Northern New South Wales, with a few strategically placed depots across the country and a warehouse in Victoria. The business has customers all over the land and across the sea into the Pacific Islands, with their specialty lying in remote location deployment and installation.

“Australian Radio Towers has grown from a small company that had six or seven people working for it to what it is today with over 140 people on staff,” he said.

“We’re unique in our game, providing a turnkey solution for guide masts and towers that covers design, manufacture, supply, transport and install… there’s not too many companies that will do all of that in-house.”

Big growth can come with big growing pains, and this extended to the transportation fleet, resulting in their recent upgrade to the Isuzu FYJ 300-350.

An ageing crane truck purchased in 2017 had put in the hard yards but was ready for retirement, Chris detailed.

They turned to the team at Brisbane Isuzu to organise a fresh set of wheels and struck up a strong relationship with sales representative Julian Walker from the Archerfield dealership.

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“We went with the FYJ twin steer and bogie axle, with a tandem trailer because that setup suits what we do,” Chris said.

“It gives the option to take the truck to site, or we can take the truck and trailer and leave the trailer out on the road if we need to, it just gives us versatility.”

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Chris said they selected the FYJ twin steer model specifically for its weight bearing and load sharing advantages. With its four axles, the FYJ provides maximum support and load distribution for the crane, which needs to lift five tons or more at close range and just under a ton at a range of 17 metres.

Featuring a Gross Vehicle Mass of 30,000 kilograms (28,000-kilogram on-road legal limit) and a hefty Gross Combined Mass of 45,000 kilograms, the FYJ 300-350 8x4 is more than capable of carrying the powerful Palfinger crane behind the cab, plus a load on the tray and dog trailer safely.

It offers more grunt than ART really need but happens to be the perfect length when combined with their trailer for coming under a very specific 19-metre length restriction.

“We carry equipment that takes up a lot of space, but not a lot of weight,” Chris explained.

“As you can imagine, a radio tower takes up a fair bit of room, but it doesn't have a lot of weight because it’s got to be streamlined and efficient to be able to go up to 160 meters in the air.

“The setup can be a bit more awkward to get around tight corners, but it gives us more carrying capacity and with the front mounted crane, allows load sharing over the twin axles at the front.

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“One of the other reasons that we decided on this model was that we were advised by our mechanics to avoid AdBlue and burn cycle engines,” he continued.

“This truck has a simple DOC exhaust system to meet emissions requirements, which tends to be more reliable… it's not likely to slow down on the side of the road and hold us up.”

This refers to the FYJ’s Euro V compliant emissions control system, which features cooled EGR with exhaust Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) eliminating the need for other fuel additives.

The team have been flat chat with their new crane truck and trailer combination and are finding both productivity gains and the capability to take on more jobs than ever before.

The truck currently has a weekly run from North Queensland to the bottom end of New South Wales, with additional jobs located as far as Mount Walsh near Rockhampton in Queensland.

“The team love the inside of the cab on the FYJ, it's modern, luxurious and everything works so well. It's perfect for us, absolutely perfect.

“It has already done over 20,000 kilometres since we picked it up in early 2023 and it hasn’t let us down yet.

“That's the reliability we are looking for,” concluded Chris.

 

Sam Gangemi Marketing and Advertising Manager, Isuzu Australia Limited
Arkajon Communications Public Relations Agency

 

 

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