Flexibility and driver safety key to Marshalls new DAF drawbar outfits 06 July 2011

Operational flexibility, optimisation of payload and improved driver safety were key factors in the specification of 16 DAF drawbar outfits, now in service with Marshalls.

The hard landscaping products specialist went for DAF's 6x2 FAN CF85 model as the drawing unit, in a bid to improve the efficiency of its national delivery service.
The DAF trucks and their trailers operate to the full 44 tonne gvw but, where site restrictions make it difficult for the full unit to gain access, the trailer is left in a nearby secure place.

Marshalls' regional logistics manager Guy Ripley explains that the drawing unit then drops its load, returns to the parked trailer to tranship the remainder of the load, using the on-board crane

Ripley says site access is also made easier by the greater manoeuvrability that comes from the self-tracking, rear-steer capability of the DAF FAN model. And he adds that, by raising the rearmost axle, traction can be increased on the drive axle to assist move-offs in the slippery conditions often encountered on building sites.

The DAFs are running with SDC and Wheelbase tri-axle trailers and both trucks and trailers have dropside bodies by Micra of Wakefield. A particular feature of the body is the move from metal side panels to a lighter-weight units with a reinforced curtain. This cuts weight, means less effort for the driver in lowering and raising the dropsides and improves the aesthetics of the truck.

Ripley indicates that further weight has been taken out by using Alcoa Frontrunner polished alloy wheels, which also add to the smart appearance of the outfits.

Incidentally, as a result of comments from driver representatives, Marshalls also decided to increase capacity on the cranes. Two types are now being used: one, a Palfinger PK14001 and the other, a Hiab XS 122BS-2 Hi-Duo.

Both can be remotely controlled from the ground but the drivers prefer to do this from a position of height so they can see what's around them. As a result, an additional feature is easier access onto the body, with a working platform for safe crane control.

Ripley says Marshalls now has "a blueprint specification for our vehicles for the future". He adds that all aspects of the specification were addressed, from the base vehicle and trailer to the body specification and the choice of crane.

"I am delighted with the outcome of what has been a lengthy exercise to develop the specification and deliver trucks that meet all the criteria," he states.

"All parties involved have done a great job and both the company and our drivers are very pleased that we have got vehicles that will be efficient, productive and safe – and have the added benefit of presenting the professional image of the company."

Marshalls' contract with CVL includes repair and maintenance, using DAF dealers local to the trucks' locations. Each of the trucks is expected to clock up around 700,000km during its planned service life with the company.

The trucks were supplied through Preston based DAF dealer Lancashire DAF.

Brian Tinham

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