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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 7

I The First 100 Years 1788-1888

II Railways

III Motorised Vehicles
i Trucks
ii Truck Manufacturing
iii Road Trains
iv The Diesel Electric Ore Trucks
v Buses and Coaches

IV Aviation

V Modern Shipping

VI Innovative Small Craft

VII Conclusion

VIII Acknowledgements

IX Contributors



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Truck Manufacturing

In 1950 the Australian Government gave positive encouragement to truck manufacturers to produce a substantially local truck. There was pressure at the time for greater self reliance by the Defence Department, and International Harvester Company, Chrysler and Ford all undertook local content programmes. Some unique manufacturing methods were employed, particularly in the pressing of major truck chassis side rails from coil, using a system of sequential strikes in a press where the die was mounted on an angle to the bed. Once again, the very low volume of trucks and cabs necessitated ingenious low cost tooling. Unorthodox methods of manufacturing truck wheels, which involved multi stage pressing rather than spinning, was developed.

International Harvester Company established truck engine facilities and shared cab production with Chrysler in Adelaide and were successful in designing an army truck which could be adapted to commercial use using the principle of part commonisation.

Truck manufacturers generally followed the design and specifications of the product developed overseas and, because of the investment, this design was stabilised over several years, only being modified with local updates to meet specific requirements.

International Harvester Company in 1941 decided to design and manufacture a truck locally with both commercial and military applications and with sufficient flexibility to install overseas options and accessories to meet competition over a large range of the truck market. The truck proved very successful and continued in production for a number of years until the economics of local truck manufacture, no longer considered an essential defence requirement, together with the specialty nature of modern truck specifications, could not be justified.

Since 1960 trucks sourced from Japan have gained an ever increasing share of the Australian truck market. A combination of reliability, level of equipment and price has secured general acceptance. Some innovative aspects of the delivery of cars and trucks from Japan by way of dedicated car carriers who land shipments at numerous ports around Australia provide a major delivery cost saving compared to local manufacture and assembly at centralised locations.

Despite imported competition of built-up trucks, several of the heavy duty manufacturers such as Mack, Ford Louisville and Kenworth, continue to assemble in Australia with some local manufacture. The economics of long distance haulage forces use of large loads in order to be competitive with alternate forms of transport and interstate freight systems are developing along the lines of the North American pattern of using larger equipment in order to carry maximum allowable loads.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Ford Motor Company of Australia; International Harvester Company; Kenworth (truck manufacturer); Mack (truck manufacturer)

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 498 - 499, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher