The Quite Achiever
NEVER A COMPANY TO REST ON ITS LAURELS, TERMINAL TRACTOR PIONEERS
DAYSWORTH INTERNATIONAL HAVE BOLD PLANS FOR THE HUMBLE YARD TRUCK,
TAKING PRODUCTIVITY TO THE NEXT LEVEL AND TAKING NICHE TO THE NEXT BIG THING
IN THE BEGINNING
Beyond the pageantry and showmanship of chrome-laced chassis and LED-lined cabins, in the background of distribution centres and transport yards, ports and mine sites, the ignition turns once again in
the undisputed work horse of the fleet. Ready for its 10 hour PM shift, the engines roar to life with enthusiasm,
no sign of exhaustion after hauling 200 trailers in the AM. There is no doubt, there is no question, the job will
get done. The term “quiet achiever” could not be more aptly applied than to describe Daysworth International
and the terminal tractor. Reaching its 40th anniversary in 2018, Daysworth has quietly established itself as one
of the most trusted and respected partners of the transport and logistics community. founder, Ivan Vodanovich.
As a 20 year-old, Ivan escaped communism in Croatia, spending time in a refugee camp in Italy and flying
through Bombay to reach Sydney in the late 1960’s. On arriving in Sydney, Ivan could not speak a word of English, but his natural skills in reading mechanical designs, coupled with his limited Italian and a fierce determination, helped him secure a job as an assembly line production worker at British Motor Corporation. He went on to work
on construction projects in Whyalla and mining in Port Hedland. His big break came when he was recruited by Scania Trucks as an engineer, and then promoted to running the brand in Melbourne. Ivan explains, “Having a thirst for knowledge, I was always looking for what was new and what I could learn, so that things could be changed for the better”. It was this drive for innovation and change that saw him establish Daysworth in 1978 out of his own
backyard, remanufacturing power steerings. With their reputation for first-class workmanship growing across
Melbourne, Daysworth moved into its spiritual home of Footscray, expanding component remanufacture to tail
shafts, differentials and transmissions for the largest companies in Australia.
A few years later, Daysworth caught the eye of US-based Ottawa Truck Corporation in the early 1980s.
Ottawa wanted Daysworth to handle and distribute its terminal tractors in Australia and the Pacific region.
“Knowing that it was an entirely new field and an entirely new concept that had never been sold in Australia,
we understood the challenge in gaining market acceptance, but it was the challenge, as well as the foresight of knowing that we could revolutionise the transport sector that attracted us to the terminal
tractor”, Ivan says.
Daysworth International’s office 1980
Through the tenacity and perseverance of Ivan and the Daysworth team, success came in the form of gradual,
followed by rapid market acceptance of the terminal tractor. But looking through the list of benefits, it is no
surprise that Daysworth has converted a machine considered “extravagant” into a modern necessity.
“There is no other machine on the market that can deliver productivity improvements of at least 300% over
traditional prime movers in the trailer handling process”, says Ivan. These massive productivity gains are a result
of the specifically engineered bottom – Just like the terminal tractor itself, Daysworth reflects the same
values and sentiments, not setting out to achieve plaudits and pats on the back, but remaining singularly
focused on helping their customers realise massive productivity gains and improvements in their bottom line.
According to Ivan, helping businesses improve their bottom line starts with understanding where costs occur.
“The most important number any fleet operator needs to calculate is their cost per minute to run a particular vehicle for any given task. Consider the use of a prime mover for moving trailers and B-doubles across the yard. With more time needed per trailer movement, the burning of unnecessary fuel, and the OH&S risks, the cost per minute is astronomical. The terminal tractor is more productive, connecting and moving trailers three to five times faster, use only one-sixth of the fuel, thereby reducing emissions and costs, all while reducing OH&S risks and driver fatigue”. It is the hydraulically elevating fifth wheel that is at the core of the productivity gains, eliminating the need to wind up trailer legs, thus saving valuable time in the shunting process. Coupled with the rear sliding door, allowing quick access to the air lines and electrical connectors, a Daysworth machine is able to move up to 5 trailers in the time it takes a prime mover to move a single trailer. With a one-person off-set cabin, the driver has 360 degree visibility, making it easier for trailer-spotting and providing added safety in an industry where OH&S issues are on the top of any transport operators list of priorities. In addition, the shorter wheelbase chassis provides greater manoeuvrability and a tighter turning circle than a regular prime mover, especially in the limited operating space of a transport yard or port. “The vehicle succeeds because it delivers on the four pillars of performance, productivity, durability and safety. And that is
an unstoppable combination, no matter the industry”.
However, at Daysworth, the one-size-fits-all option is not an effective solution to a diverse range of industries, customers and operating conditions. Through consultation with each customer, a specific set of terminal tractor specifications is devised to give the greatest return on investment, and greatest productivity gains, and subsequently cost savings. This customisation is possible due to the wide range of terminal tractor models Daysworth has available, incorporating many variances in specifications – including engine power, transmission torque, gear ratio, wheelbase and tyre ratings. It is this diversity that has seen Daysworth supply tractors moving skel trailers with Patricks at the ports, vans in the line-haul market with TNT and Toll, through to concrete pillons in the construction industry such as in the Barrow Island gas development project. Daysworth has gone beyond the traditional markets and industries which have been using the terminal tractor concept in the past and
have embraced the versatility of the Ottawa design to unshackle potential productive gains across a wide variety
of specialised industries, including rail, logging, agriculture, recycling, mining and ship-building.
Despite the success that Daysworth has had, eyes are firmly set on the next stage of terminal tractor development. “It is important to keep an eye on the market and understand the challenges businesses are facing and designing custom solutions around those challenges”, says Ivan. To this end, the next stage at Daysworth is unleashing the
productivity that has been realised in transport, logistics and port offroad applications, and applying this
productivity in an on-road setting. The introduction of the Daysworth Ottawa 60T, a Euro V/ADR approved
terminal tractor, powered by the Cummins ISB 300HP engine, broadens the Ottawa appeal with an emissions
certified unit that can be used on the highway. “It is the logical choice for the increasing number of distribution
operations with dispersed warehouses and terminals where short distance highway travel is required”, says Ivan,
adding that the 60T has a GCW of 78 tonne and a top speed of 103 kph.
“It is the logical choice for the increasing number of distribution
operations with dispersed warehouses and terminals where short distance highway travel is required.”
Ivan says that after 37 years in the field, Daysworth is proud of its “game changing” contribution to Australia and
New Zealand’s transport industries, buts has its eyes firmly set on the future. “What excites us most is not
what we have to offer now, but the possibilities that we will have to offer our customers in the coming decades”,
says Ivan. Just like the trans-continental leap undertaken by their founder 50 years ago, Daysworth steps into the
future with the same determination and vision, values that have been woven into the fabric of its history
over 40 years. With a proven track record of innovation, it will be exciting to see where Daysworth will take the
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.
The vehicle succeeds because it delivers on the four pillars of performance, productivity, durability and safety. And that is an unstoppable combination, no matter the industry.
This story was first published in the ATM Magazine September 2015