New prototype pumper tanker

The next generation prototype pumper tanker will soon hit the road for review. 


Project Manager Peter Hill said the build has presented a number of unique challenges and the prototype will trial several new ideas. He explained that we have tried to incorporate some innovative thinking into this build. 

There are some features you will notice straight away such as new control screens, a thermal imaging camera mounted on the bull bar with a display inside the cabin, and battery-operated tools (including a battery-operated chainsaw). But some features may not be so obvious unless you look more closely.

“The pump, tucked away behind the rear control panel, is hydraulically driven,” Peter said. “Traditionally, most of our pumps are either diesel engine or PTO [power take-off] driven. The new hydraulic drive will mean it will be a lot quieter.”

Operationally, we have included a new tank ‘auto fill’ system, which means the tank is always full when boosting from the mains.

But it doesn’t stop there. Many more new ideas have been incorporated including new tray door locks, luminous handrails for ease of use at night, and a rear body-mounted electronic messaging board.

“We have even changed to a new low profile, black painted bull bar with an integrated light bar,” Peter said.

Unfortunately, production has not been immune from the effects of COVID-19.

“We’ve been challenged by a number of unique issues,” Peter explained. “A prototype build usually requires a lot of direct, hands-on with the builder. A lot of tweaking is required. We couldn’t do that this time because of the access restrictions, so most of the design review and build control had to be done remotely via drawings, photos and videos.”

Our body builder has had to change the way the build has progressed and has had a lot of issues sourcing parts.

“It’s not until something like this happens that you realise how interconnected the world really is. The cab chassis, controls and electronic components come from Europe, the pump from the US and valving and raw metal from China.”

Early on there was a lot of discussion about the role of the vehicle. Was it to be a pumper-tanker or a tanker-pumper? In the end, the Engineering team agreed that the vehicle’s primary role was as a pumper.

It was also important that the vehicle had a footprint the same or smaller than the current new heavy tanker (see page 14).

‘Keeping the vehicle to a maximum of 8.2 metres was more challenging than expected and we had to work through a number of design layouts,” Peter said.

The main features of this vehicle are:

  • 15T Iveco Eurocargo 4x2 crew cab chassis with full Allison automatic transmission fitted with hydraulic retarder
  • 3,000-litre water tank
  • 2,500 litres per minute water pump
  • One 30-metre Ø25mm live hose reel
  • 200-litre Class B and 50-litre Class A foam capability
  • Full stowage inventory.

The prototype will tour the state later this year - look out for details on our News and Media website.

“We hope that many volunteers are able to have a close look at the vehicle when it’s in their area. We look forward to their feedback.”

Author: Andrew Webb