It is 21 years since Queensland further developed the concept of Performance Based Standards (PBS). At the time, this was a significant development and lead to innovative changes to vehicle combinations and major improvements to road freight transport productivity.
The ICON – which is an acronym of ‘Innovative Combination of the North’ was borne out of the PBS concept. This vehicle was a long combination, purpose designed and built for the transportation of mineral concentrate and had a GCM of 166.7 tonnes, a tare weight of approximately 48 tonnes, and an overall length of 53.5m (the same as a Type 2 Road Train).
The original development work was done in 1997-1998 with the permit being granted by Queensland Transport to BHP in mid-1997. The ICON comprised a prime mover with a tri-axle drive group, towing two sets of B-triple trailers that were connected by a tri-axle converter dolly and a drawbar.
Road User Research (RUR), lead by Dr Peter Sweatman, was initially commissioned by BHP to develop and evaluate a range of innovative configurations for the Cannington haul. RUR was further commissioned by BHP to provide appropriate vehicle specifications for use in the tender process and vehicle testing (dynamics and stability).
Following on-road testing and assessment by Queensland Transport, the operation got underway in late 1997 (October-November) to haul mineral concentrate from the Cannington Mine to the Yurbi railhead.
Since the inception of the PBS concept in 1997, Australia has continued as a leading innovator in road freight transport productivity.