Matthew Campling, commercial director at Shorts Group, says of the latest asset: “Andover simply delivers a superior unit, with clever engineering and impeccable build quality. Ultimately, it is more reliable and robust than any off-the-shelf alternative you can get elsewhere.
“The fact we’ve only had four plant bodies from them in 20 years is a testament to how hard-wearing they are. We were originally looking to replace our 10-year-old, 18-tonne DAF, but after a bit of TLC and a re-boarded deck it was just like having a new body, so we’ve taken the latest delivery as an addition to the fleet.”
The company also operates a 64-plate, 32-tonne Scania with a similar spec body to the new truck. All the vehicles feature Andover Trailers’ chassis-specific design, including its low-profile deck, which is achieved by engineering the cross members to transect the body runners, rather than simply sitting on top.
The new plant body also features a double-crank beavertail, connected to a pair of 2.5m long hydraulic power toe, knife-edged ramps. This combination creates a shallower load angle, helping to increase the variety of plant that can be carried. In addition, 10 pairs of lashing points on the deck ensure maximum load security, while a full working at height system and comprehensive LED lighting help to improve safety.
The new Scania joins a large 140-strong mixed commercial fleet across the four divisions in the group, ranging from vans through to waste collection vehicles. On the plant hire side of the business, the trucks operate out of Shorts Group’s two main depots in Milford and Ascot, mainly serving customers across Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey and the surrounding counties.
On the road five and a half days a week, the new Scania is expected to clock up between 45,000 and 50,000 miles a year. As with the company’s previous Andover Trailers plant bodies, it is expected to stay in operation for at least 10 years.
A family-run business, Shorts Group started life as a timber business in 1957, soon diversifying into site clearance, demolition, agriculture and waste management, before moving into plant hire in 2015.