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Volvo leading the hauler market growth

First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe & International
2014 November December
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Volvo G-Series haulers
Volvo CE's new G-Series haulers are said to have shown improved fuel efficiency in recent field tests

Demand for proven and new hauler models is steadily growing – with Europe among the key regional markets offering encouragement to OEMs. Guy Woodford reports

Volvo Construction Equipment is a leading international player in the articulated hauler market, and its parent company, Volvo Group, has significantly strengthened its hauler offering with this year’s completed multi-million dollar acquisition of Terex Trucks. 

David Alström, Volvo CE’s business director Northern Europe, has spoken to Aggregates Business Europe about his view on current trends in the European articulated hauler market and the company’s response to them – especially in regards to total cost of ownership.

Alström says the market for articulated haulers in Europe has slowed down somewhat after 2012 but is now gradually turning up again. “In general there have been fewer large infrastructure projects in Europe, but there are some interesting ones in coming up like Fehmarn Belt in Denmark and HS2 in the UK,” he notes. The Tier 4 Final/Stage IV-compliant Volvo A30G was launched earlier this year, along with the rest of the G-Series (A25G, A35G, A35G FS, A40G and A40G FS) now the complete Volvo range features fully enclosed wet disc brakes.

Alström says Volvo articulated haulers are the optimal transport solution to quarrying, mining and earthmoving applications. “Since these operations can be very capital intensive, it is critical for a customer to aim for the total cost of ownership,” he says. “Customers are also demanding increased safety, operator comfort, uptime and ease of service.”

Each Volvo articulated hauler model is designed to achieve excellent value in the long term – through a long service life, low fuel consumption, high productivity and uptime, as well as minimal service and maintenance requirements.

“We regularly carry out site simulations for customers prior to their investment to ensure they receive the optimum capacity, perfect match to loading tools and lowest cost per ton,” Alström says. And the analysis does not stop there. Alström strongly recommends Volvo’s award-winning On-board Weighing System to keep track of productivity throughout a hauler’s service life. (The On-board Weighing System was a gold winner at the 2012 Intermat Innovation Awards.)

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Bell Equipment B30E
Malcolm Allan Housebuilders says its new B30E Articulated Dump Truck (ADT) from Bell Equipment has brought increased cab comfort and fuel economy to support the firm's growth

This system monitors the payload on each load transported on the machine, monitored by pressure sensors and relays this information into the machine’s electronics.

Yellow, green and red lights on the dashboard and on the top of the cab let the driver and other site staff know when the vehicle has reached its optimum load. All transported loads are logged and can be displayed on the dashboard or accessed remotely using Volvo’s CareTrack telematics system. As well as helping to ensure high productivity, CareTrack is said by Volvo CE to promote excellent uptime with service reminders that can prevent potential problems from even occurring.

“Our new G-Series haulers have also shown improved fuel efficiency in recent field tests and customers have given us very good feedback so far,” Alström says.

The vehicles include an optional idle shutdown feature, which indicate the operator that the engine will shut down unless he or she pushes a particular button.

This helps to reduce fuel consumption. The haulers are also fitted with Automatic Traction Control (ATC) and 100% differential locks as standard. The novel ATC system automatically switches between drive combinations of 6x6 and 6x4 to ensure lower fuel consumption and provide maximum traction when needed.

Volvo CE is, says Alström, also continuously working to improve the safety of its machines. LED lights help increase visibility and uptime, while safe and easy access to the cab and service hatches is a key design point.

“Volvo CE has been producing articulated haulers since 1966 and they are widely considered the industry gold standard.

To meet the needs of various applications around Europe, Volvo CE is ready to supply special application solutions. “The market for custom vehicles is not huge but Volvo CE is offering several interesting options,” Alström says.

Special modifications to Volvo articulated haulers include water tanks, flat beds, hook-lift systems and ejector bodies (the load is pushed out instead of tipped, for example, in a tunnel or mine where there are height restrictions). Volvo articulated haulers can also be customised for block handling e.g. in a marble quarry.

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Volvo Construction Equipment A35G
Volvo Construction Equipment's David Alström says he's noticed an upturn in European demand for articulated haulers, with the A35G among Volvo CE's latest models

“Volvo has a strong product offer on special application solutions, working together with selected partners to adapt the product to the final customer need,” Alström concludes. “Volvo is flexible and dedicated to finding the right vehicle for each individual customer – and maintaining its safety, productivity and profitability throughout its lifetime.”

The first order by Aberdeenshire, Scotland-based Malcolm Allan Housebuilders of an Articulated Dump Truck (ADT) from Bell Equipment is said to have brought vital fuel economy and increased cab comfort to support the company’s growth.

Malcolm Allan Housebuilders (MAH) has been constructing high-quality homes, commercial and industrial developments in Aberdeenshire since 1967.  With renewed confidence in the UK economy fuelling an increase in projects, the company realised the need to add a new ADT to its fleet.

“I researched the market and narrowed the field down to two manufacturers, including Bell Equipment,” explains Bruce Allan, MAH director. “One of our key criteria for the purchase was the need for a rapid turnaround of order, something Bell was able to meet in an unusual way.”

Sandy Fairweather, Bell Equipment’s Regional Sales Manager for Scotland, offered a Bell B25D on loan to give Malcolm Allan Housebuilders the opportunity to road-test the brand, at the same time as being able to use the machine on an urgent project.  This trial proved successful, prompting the company to buy from Bell.

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Terex Trucks - Apprentices
Terex Trucks apprentices left right: Ross Kerr, Graeme Blake, Christopher Addie, Paul Murdoch and Frazer Blackwood

Malcolm Allan Housebuilders ordered a B30E, part of the ‘next generation’ E-series ADT range, while continuing to run the loan machine until the new truck was delivered.  The latter has since been busy in action on muck-shifting duties on housing and commercial sites, giving Allan ample opportunity to gauge the performance of this latest acquisition.

The first thing he noticed was the impressive fuel economy of both machines.  “It’s amazing that trucks this size can run on so little fuel – even the larger 30-tonne machine.”

Another aspect that particularly impressed Allan about the B30E was the change in cab design.  “After going from a D-series to an E-series machine, it was immediately apparent that Bell has worked hard to modernise the cab.  It looks fresh, is impressively ergonomic, and our drivers confirm that it is a remarkably comfortable ride.”

Allan says his new ADT model’s reliability has been excellent.  “All in all, we’re delighted with our purchase – and also with the service from Sandy and the wider Bell team.”

A rich haul of apprentices

Terex Trucks is introducing a new cohort of apprentices to its manufacturing facility in Motherwell, Scotland. In the latest example of its commitment to invest in fresh, local talent, the manufacturer of rigid and articulated haulers has employed six new apprentices. The chosen few were whittled down from 72 applicants through a comprehensive application and assessment process.

As well as providing valuable work experience and skills for the new trainees, the apprenticeship scheme will ensure the company avoids a talent gap in the future. This is the third consecutive year that the apprenticeship scheme has been running at the Motherwell facility.

During the four-year programme the new apprentices will complete either a craft or technician apprenticeship. They will specialise in a keyskill required for a successful careerin the industry, such as electrical engineering, CNC machine operations, welding, test engineering, tool design and maintenance.

The programme combines onthe- job training with college studies, meaning apprentices are able to complete nationally-recognisedacademic qualifications and gain invaluable work experience whilst earning a salary. There is also the very real prospect of a full time job at the end of the scheme, and the foundation laid for a successful career.

This is the first year that the apprentice scheme is run under new parent company, Volvo Construction Equipment, which brings with it even more opportunities.

Audrey McMillan, HR business partner at Terex Trucks, who has been leading the programme for two years, said: “Investing in future engineers helps local employment and is imperative to the future of Terex Trucks. Our Motherwell manufacturing facility requires engineers with specialist skills, which are becoming harder and harder to find. With our apprenticeship scheme, there’s no better way to ensure the future of our company – and, in turn, the industry – than by finding and training engineers ourselves.”

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