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Volvo solutions for the toughest applications

“Innovation, yes it’s a buzzword. But for us it’s the result of our continuous, relentless and uncompromising effort to always find the best solution for our customers,” says Malcolm Gush, Sales Director at Volvo Trucks South Africa.

As such, Volvo Trucks South Africa says that its range of extra-heavy vehicles is now even more geared to take on the demanding terrain and extreme operating conditions of the African continent.

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“Over the years, Volvo Trucks has amassed a lot of experience in developing and supporting trucks that operate in extreme off-road and tough on-road conditions,” continues Gush. “Some of the new technologies originated in Sweden’s timber industry, where the climate is truly harsh, extreme and varied, while others were also tested in a mine in the peaks of the Peruvian Andes at 5 000m above sea level.”

“The Volvo Trucks line-up is now more versatile, with the range perfectly suited to specialised industries such as construction, mining, quarrying and forestry,”

When on-road conditions are tough

Malcolm Gush, Sales Director at Volvo Trucks South Africa.
Malcolm Gush, Sales Director at Volvo Trucks South Africa.

Volvo Trucks introduced a new member to the I-Shift family in March this year: I-Shift with crawler gears. The new ratios, which are added to the vehicle’s automated transmission, provide specialised start capability for trucks carrying heavy loads in demanding situations.

The system is entirely unique for series-produced extra-heavy trucks, says Volvo Trucks, and its new version of I-Shift makes it possible to add up to two new crawler gears, resulting, among other things, the ability to pull away from standstill with a gross combination weight (GCW) of up to 325 tons.

“The Volvo Trucks line-up is now more versatile, with the range perfectly suited to specialised industries such as construction, mining, quarrying and forestry,” adds Gush. “Apart from the expanded capabilities, the new features also provide fleet owners with the peace of mind that their trucks are durable and will be able to handle tough operating conditions with efficiency.”

The new Tandem Axle Lift function on its FH16, FH, FM and FMX ranges was added in 2015. This new innovation makes it possible to disengage and raise the second driven axle.

“The function is designed for heavy duty transports with loads being carried one way and empty return trips, for instance when hauling timber or in construction and bulk cargo operations,” explains Gush. “This functionality offers many advantages, including better road grip and up to 4% lower fuel consumption when the truck is driven without a load.”

As not every FH is operated as a long-haul truck on perfect roads, Volvo Trucks has also launched an optional Heavy Duty Bumper for this derivative, which it says is just like the one on the Volvo FMX – robust and designed to take a beating and protect the headlights and the truck itself when the going gets tough.

Volvo Trucks is also now offering rear air suspension for the Volvo FMX with a driven front axle (4×4, 6×6, 8×6 and 10×6), giving the truck high ground clearance, excellent traction and outstanding driving comfort. This is especially true when unladen.

In addition, its Euro 5 five-axle trucks meet a growing need for higher legal payloads.

“Distributing the load on five axles reduces the risk of overloading the axles. This solution eliminates the need for an external bodybuilder and costly retrofitting. All in all, it gives fleet owners quicker delivery, direct from Volvo, and all the benefits of a full Volvo warranty and aftermarket support,” says Gush.

Off-road and rough-road driving solutions

Volvo’s truck range displayed at Gerotek recently for customers from the construction and related industries.
Volvo’s truck range displayed at Gerotek recently for customers from the construction and related industries.

Severe conditions imply situations or applications that involve off-road or rough-road driving, requiring an engaged front-drive axle. In this case, customers require manoeuvrability in tight areas and maximum traction so the trucks don’t get stuck.

This could also mean the transportation of heavy loads that require special permission to travel on public roads. Customers in this segment are looking for dependability, startability and to maximise hill gradients and loading capacity.

To address fleet owners’ exacting requirements in this segment, Volvo Trucks has introduced Automatic Traction Control as standard on the Volvo FMX with all-wheel drive or a driven front axle, which it says is an industry first. The front-wheel drive (4×4, 6×6, 8×6 and 10×6) is automatically activated when needed, providing all the necessary traction.

This new technology is set to give operators reduced fuel consumption, better manoeuvrability and uncompromised traction, as well as ultimately reducing powertrain wear and damage, as Automatic Traction Control is engaged only when it is required.

Volvo Trucks Dynamic Steering was first introduced back in 2013, but is now available for the dual front axles on the 8×2, 8×4 and 10×4 derivatives. This feature, the company points out, is set to drastically reduce the strain on the driver, contributing not only to improved driving comfort, but also to increased safety and productivity.

“The poorer the roads, the higher the loads, the lower the speed – the greater the benefits with Volvo Dynamic Steering for dual front axles,” says Gush.

In addition to the crawler gears, Volvo Trucks also launched a reinforced version of the I-Shift, making it available for customers driving in extremely demanding conditions. I-Shift is made for severe duty applications – conditions one will only find in some of the toughest quarries and mines.

Volvo Trucks states that it knows the value placed on high load capacity within the construction industry

Volvo Trucks states that it knows the value placed on high load capacity within the construction industry, which is why the company now increased the maximum front-axle loads for leaf-suspended trucks with double front axles from 18 to 20 tons.

“In a mine or a quarry, every extra ton a truck can carry is extremely valuable. This feature increases productivity and fleet owners will have better profit margins. Customers driving on regular roads may not be able to increase the maximum payload, but they still benefit in terms of load distribution flexibility without overloading the axles. These two extra tons in the front are good to have for trucks like crane trucks and concrete pumps.”

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Tristan Wiggill
Special Features Editor at Business Fleet Africa
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