Tight access and low working heights are no problem for the custom-engineered Volvo FH Tridem

Tight access and low working heights are no problem for the custom-engineered Volvo FH Tridem

UK-based international machinery haulage firm, Blackmores Machinery Haulage, has bought its first new truck in more than 30 years of business.

The new vehicle is a 500 hp Volvo FH 8x2 tridem rear-steer truck. Its 44 tonne drawbar is a custom solution to the firm’s requirements for a highly manoeuvrable truck that comes in under four metres in height.

According to Volvo, the FH tridem has a chassis height of just 1,100 mm from the ground to the top of the chassis frame. This low chassis height was key to achieving the four-metre overall height Blackmores needs for work on the Continent. A low chassis height and the tridem rear-steer configuration were equally important for some UK sites where tight access and low working heights present a major challenge for conventional multi-axle rigid trucks.

The vehicle’s body superstructure, built by CCH of Helstering in the Netherlands, is a ‘cartridge system'. This means that the demountable curtain assembly can be removed in just 30 minutes. The curtains, made by NetCap, are mounted on a roller system that sits on a rave rail. This rail has been reduced in size, too, from the standard 180 mm to just 100 mm.

The internal height of the curtainside body is 2.8 metres, allowing most machines to be carried within the four-metre height restriction. Further space-saving was achieved by using low-profile single tyres on all axles and a demountable headboard.

The bodywork is mounted on a chassis-length superstructure that extends from the back of the cab. This provides a rigid base for the whole body and crane. Lashing eyes are placed every metre. The crane is a rear-mounted HMF 6020 model which has an electronic control system that allows the stabilisers to be deployed safely without fully extending them.

Wayne Scott of Blackmores explains, “The centre of gravity is very low and we can achieve full stability at 100 % lift with less than a 50 % extension of the legs.” This enables the truck to be used effectively in streets without disrupting traffic.

"We intend to keep the Volvo tridem for at least 10 years," Scott adds. "That's why everything on it is stainless steel, custom-built, and engineered for durability and longevity.”

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