Roads & Infrastructure speaks to Quality Fabrication and Engineering, the company behind the dual controlled forward moving aggregate spreader, the Q-FE Road Ant, ahead of the 2020/21 spray sealing season.
The Victorian spray sealing industry is inching closer to the VicRoads deadline which will mandate the compulsory use of forward moving aggregate spreading trucks for all VicRoads sprayed sealing works from 1 July 2022.
With Glenn Hardiman at the helm, the Quality Fabrication and Engineering (Q-FE) team have developed the Q-FE Road Ant, an innovative dual controlled forward moving aggregate spreader that meets the VicRoads mandate.
With just over two years to go and the 2020 spray sealing season getting into full swing, contractors are trialling and acquiring new equipment that will meet this mandate.
Q-FE debuted its first Q-FE Road Ant in early 2020 and the vehicle has been of keen interest to the market with a number of orders already been taken and completed units carrying out demonstrations to many in the industry.
“We’ve made the Q-FE Road Ant operator-friendly and with exceptional vision of the work site and spreading area, we’ve had safety and practicality at the forefront of our design,” Hardiman says.
“We wanted the machine to be easy to adopt so the process for operation is similar to what has been seen in traditional spray sealing units.”
As the spray sealing season lasts for about six to eight months of the year, the Q-FE team designed the Q-FE Road Ant to be able to carry out other work. The unit has been designed to accept standard Trout River attachments which gives it the versatility to be used year-round.
David Lockwood, Q-FE’s Head of Sales, says he’s seen interest from national and state-based spray sealing companies right through to smaller contractors.
“We were involved in an Australian Asphalt Pavement Association meeting recently and they were really excited that we have been able to come so far with the machine and that we can supply a truck that meets the mandate,” Lockwood says.
Since the debut of the Q-FE Road Ant the team has continued to fine tune the vehicle hydraulics and sub conveyor system.
“We’ve learnt that industry does have challenges with spreading the 20 millimetre aggregate, so we have made changes to handle the larger rock. Overall the machine has evolved into something that is easy to operate,” Lockwood says.
To date, the Q-FE Road Ant has been built on 6×4 and 8×4 cab chassis. A compact short wheelbase unit is currently being built to suit the difficult to access ‘small areas’.
Q-FE are proud to build a forward moving aggregate spreader that can be customised, for specific cab chassis, and to date they have built them for Isuzu, Iveco and DAF chassis.
Hardiman acknowledges that local manufacturers and parts suppliers have always been an important consideration for the Q-FE team.
“At the beginning we had a good idea of what we wanted to do but we leant on the experience and knowledge of these local suppliers, to turn the Q-FE Road Ant into what it is today.”
“For example, Power Transmissions in Bayswater have created unique electric motors for our auger drives which are terrific, and Reverse Smart who helped develop our dual emergency braking system,” Hardiman says.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Q-FE were confronted with a number of challenges from overseas sources, and Hardiman is proud that the local manufacturers were able to come to the party.
Using local parts and components also has an advantage in the repair or maintenance stages with machinery, as Q-FE will often be able to source parts from within Australia or Melbourne without the need to wait for overseas shipments.
The new Q-FE website is now live to help spread the word about the Q-FE Road Ant and other solutions that Q-FE offer, including their robust road brooms and aggregate loaders, where they have two ground up loader builds under way.
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