Dual-role Volvo FM trucks are Carlsberg innovation 27 February 2013
Following 12 month's worth of trials, Carlsberg UK has taken delivery of two new Volvo FM artic units each capable of performing dual functions.
Brainchild of Carlsberg UK's national fleet engineer Andrew Davis, the multi-role tractors can be used as regular long-distance trunkers at night and for dray deliveries during the day.
Known as the MetroLiner, the Volvo trucks were specified so that the fifth wheel height is as low as possible, in order to facilitate manual unloading from the single-axle dray trailer.
This was achieved by using low-profile 295.60/R22.5 tyres and specially adapted rear wings, as well as by dispensing with the customary sub-frame. A fast 2.50:1 drive-axle ratio also ensures that road speeds are not compromised.
Low-height fifth wheels are not new, but according to Davis, the real challenge was to achieve a low deck height for the dray trailer while allowing sufficient fore and aft articulation.
"Approximately 70% of our deliveries are unloaded manually from the side of the dray trailers," he explains.
"A slim-line neck on the trailer means that the deck height is the same as our purpose-built rigids and, while the combination is not quite as manoeuvrable as an urban artic, the MetroLiner will go anywhere a 26-tonne rigid can go."
Powered by a 450bhp 11-litre Volvo diesel matched to an I-Shift fully-automated gearbox, the MetroLiner artics are proving successful, he says.
Davis believes that the MetroLiner concept could eventually be used on 10% of Carlsberg's routes. And he adds that the new concept helps continue Carlsberg's drive to save costs and improve customer service.
Volvo Group UK Ltd
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