Offroad expands footprint
WA-BASED Offroad Trucks Australia, national distributor of specialised Tatra trucks, enjoyed a strong 2018 as the mining industry in WA surged back into high productivity, and a vigorous exploration program recommenced.
At the opening of its new service facility in Maddington, owner and Tatra enthusiast Larry Gill was deeply moved by the support he and his general manager, daughter Amber Gaden received from customers and suppliers alike.
The expansion of Tatra's footprint brought the Offroad Trucks business to a new stage in its development.
The official opening of the new service facility on March 22 brought another four service bays, plus a mega overhead crane and a heavy-duty bitumen surface for parking and storage.
OTA had developed what was previously overflow parking when the inventory rolled off the ship from the Czech Republic.
Tatra trucks are not featherweights.
They will never win a tare weight battle, but instead bring a bullet-proof central tube chassis and modular driveline to the worst possible off-road truck tasks.
Axle sections can be added as required - 6x6, 8x8, 10x10 and even more.
A 16x16 drill rig heading for Siberia has dual central bogie axles with three steering axles at each end.
The 50-metre behemoth pivots on the central axles and uses a 32-litre CAT diesel that drives both the rig and the Tatra transfer case and driveline.
Everything about the new facility is designed to match the brand's heavy-duty specifications, and back-up components of the fit-outs that soak up much of the chassis' GCM.
Larry and Amber's business style is unique.
The parts operation is a case in point.
The parts warehouse is at a separate property nearby, and includes parts for every model of Tatra truck Larry has sold since starting the business 20 years ago.
When I first toured the shelves and pallets, I noticed two complete PACCAR MX-13 engines.
They are back-ups for the new Phoenix model, which uses a DAF CF-Series cab, all the Euro electronics and the MX engine.
"Why don't you just rely on the local PACCAR parts inventory?” I asked.
Apart from a disbelieving look that I would ask such a stupid question, Larry underlined that he preferred to be the master of his own destiny, and anyway "most of our customers become our friends. We never intend to let them down”.
The parts issue has a sharper edge to it in today's conditions of accountant-run inventory management by the big players. Displayed in the new yard was the first of Mackay Drilling's 8x8 Phoenix drill rigs.
Owner Mark Mackay has ordered several units to replace a popular European brand that has consistently let him down with parts delays extending to several weeks.
Also on display was Tatra's Phoenix 53-tonne GCM Czech-built tipper and dog unit with 3-way tipping, swinging tail gate with double rear doors, hydraulic sides on left and right and BPW axles and suspension with Australian homologation.
The VS Mont body is also on a 6x6 rigid that is heading to Brisbane for the truck show.