Industry Insights

Seeing Clearly With O’brien® Truck & Bus And Isuzu

Established in 1924, O’Brien® is part of the Belron® group of companies. With over 90 years of experience in the Australian market, O’Brien® has developed into the market leader for automotive repair and replacement products and services.

The company services over 95% of the Australian population, across a variety of industries—including truck, bus, insurance, private and managed fleet operations, as well as the heavy commercial transport industry (which includes trains).

O’Brien® repairs and replaces over 400,000 pieces of automotive glass annually, and has a strong commitment to keeping customers on the move.

Amidst their varied work in helping their customers stay on the move, O’Brien® has refurbished a Platinum Service carriage for The Ghan. This heritage-listed train, which celebrates 90 years in 2019, is the famous locomotive guest train that charts a course through central Australia.

This exciting project involved the O’Brien® Truck and Bus crew, who were proud to apply their skills and work on the iconic train. It is slated for further refurbishing, and the company has been tasked with modernising eight more Platinum Service carriages.

Of course, The Ghan project is just one aspect of the company’s work. But with all the varied work O’Brien® does, there are inevitable logistical challenges, notably around transport and handling, especially with projects that are of a larger scale.

And here enters Isuzu Trucks.

With some O’Brien® projects requiring pieces of glass measuring a breathtaking 3 metres by 2 metres, there’s a need for a transport solution that can deliver on payload and drivability, ensuring that all cargo arrives in one piece—quite literally.

For the requirements of the business, consultation between Isuzu Trucks Fleet Sales Manager (New South Wales) Greg Moses and the O’Brien® team found the Isuzu N series to be the best fit.

Marina Saliba, O’Brien® National Development Manager (Truck and Trade), explained that getting glass to site is only one half of the challenge—the other is unloading it safely.

Marina shared, “We procured two Isuzu NPR 65-190 AMTs with a carrying capacity for both the stock and our newly re-designed, purpose-built scissor lift, which is the product of collaboration between the O’Brien® and Isuzu technical teams.

“However, the truck’s power and size weren’t the only basis for the decision. These trucks are easier to drive than our previous ones, and they look very professional as well.”

The NPR 65-190 AMTs with medium wheelbases were chosen to service the truck and bus division of the O’Brien® business, transporting glass to site. With a gross vehicle mass of 6,500 kg, a power of 140 kW @ 2,600 rpm, and a torque of 513 Nm @ 1,600–2,600 rpm, the NPR 65-190 packs the power needed for the application.

Speaking of their specific choice of the NPR, Marina said, “A purpose-built fleet of trucks is pivotal to our service offering, given that we carry such a large variety of glass.

“We do a large cross-section of glass in trucks and buses, so we need a vehicle that lets us carry a lot more of the racking that holds large glass sheets.

“We thus chose this truck because its long, wide tray gives us the space necessary to carry the big sheets of glass we use, as well as the scissor lift needed to install them.”

The addition of the scissor lifts ensures not only the safety of O’Brien® staff, but also the safety and integrity of the product.

On the safety front, the NPR also comes well equipped with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (IESC), Anti Skid Regulator (ASR), driver and passenger airbags with seatbelt pretensioner, as well as front and rear stabiliser bars—ticking all the boxes for Marina.

But of course, it’s also about driver comfort.

“Our drivers absolutely love the trucks, which is important as they travel about 550 kilometres a week,” Marina said.

Furthermore, the fact that Isuzu dealers offer after-hours servicing and maintenance is also an enormous benefit.

“Our business naturally has a large component that is reactive to emergencies. If a customer’s windscreen breaks unexpectedly, it must be fixed immediately. For the services we offer, we simply can’t afford downtime,” said Marina.

“We’ve been really impressed with our Isuzus. We currently have two in Melbourne, and two are in the pipeline for our Sydney operation.

“What we want from our truck supplier is a long-term partnership we can rely on. They do a great job, and we love them!”