THE federal government is proposing to mandate safety-enhancing brake technologies in light vehicles made or imported into Australia.
Federal Road Safety Minister Catherine King said under the proposal the Australian Design Rules would be amended to make Electronic Stability Control compulsory for new light commercial vehicles, such as utilities and goods vans.
She said Brake Assist Systems would be made standard in light passenger vehicles, including cars, passenger vans and off-road vehicles, and also in light commercial vehicles.
“Brake Assist Systems help drivers to stop safely by detecting when a driver is trying to make an emergency stop and maximising brake performance to stop the vehicle in the shortest possible time,” she said.
The Government has also entered into the final stage of discussions with heavy vehicle manufacturers and operators to mandate Antilock Braking Systems (ABS) for heavy trucks, trailers and buses.
ABS detects any tendency for wheels to lock during hard braking and automatically intervenes to prevent it happening, which can help keep heavy vehicles stable when in emergency braking situations.
“ABS is an accepted technology that features in many of our personal and family vehicles, so it makes good sense to consider it for heavier vehicles which have an equal if not greater need to brake quickly and safely,” Ms King said.
In line with the National Road Safety Strategy 2011–2020, the next phase of the National Heavy Vehicle Braking Strategy will consider even more advanced braking technology such as Electronic Stability Control.
“It’s important for the heavy vehicle industry to have its say on how best to maintain productivity levels while making our roads safer, which is why I have agreed to a one-month period for the peak industry bodies to comment on a consultation Regulation Impact Statement,” Ms King said.
To encourage the earliest possible introduction of the proposal, it includes allowing load proportioning braking systems for heavy trailers as an alternative to Antilock Braking Systems.
Peak industry bodies are also developing a code of practice to help operators optimise the performance of different braking technologies when combining trucks and trailers together.
New harvester proves sweet deal
CASE IH has plans to introduce a new multi-row sugar cane harvester to the Australian market in 2014.
The company, which manufactures its sugar harvesters in Brazil, currently offers two single-row machines in Australia – the rubber-tracked 8000 and the steel-tracked 8800.
The new multi-row harvester will be a tracked machine that will be part of the 8800 series.
Case IH regional sales manager for Queensland and NSW and product manager for sugar cane harvesters Dale Chapple, Townsville, said there were 50 prototypes of the new machine being operated in Brazil.
“We are bringing out a machine from Brazil to be tested in Australian conditions before it goes into production,” he said.
“The multi-row machine will only be offered as a tracked machine. It will have a different configuration on the front end and a wider track spacing, taking it from 1.88 metres to 2.4 metres track spacing.
“The planting configuration will determine how many rows it will be able to harvest.
“It will be very flexible and will be able to be used in a range of row spacings we have in Australia from 1.5 metres to 2m. Some is single row, some dual row.”
Mr Chapple said the multi-row machine would be able to work in all those configurations.
“It will allow greater harvesting efficiencies and, particularly in years of low yields, the machine will make it more profitable to harvest the low-yielding crops,” he said.
Post driver a stellar seller
THE Christie Post Driver is a lightweight, portable star picket driver that has not only established a niche in the Australian market, but sells overseas.
Christie Engineering owner, Peter Christie, said the unit weighs 13 kilograms and is powered by a Honda GX35 four-stroke, 1.0kW motor.
“The design allows an operator to move along a fence line without being restricted by an air hose or heavy machinery,” he said.
The driver has a hammer action that operates at 1720 blows per minute.
In average conditions, the unit can put in up to 500 posts per litre of fuel.
Target crop care,/h3>
CROPSPEC sensors are devices that use lasers to detect the growth of crops and apply fertiliser only to the areas where it is required.
Developed by Topcon Precision Agriculture, a US subsidiary of Japan’s Topcon Corporation, the sensors sit on top of tractors or other farming vehicles and use pulsing laser diodes to sense the amount of nitrogen concentration in the leaves of crops without affecting the leaves.
The device automatically applies fertilizer to those areas with low nitrogen readings but not those that don’t need it.
CropSpec can also be integrated with other Topcon products to enable the creation of data maps and records that give farmers greater insight into how their crops grow.