Key to the deal was Volvo’s ability to include a 10-tonne front axle rating on the 44-tonne gcw tractor, supplied by dealer Thomas Hardie Commercials.
Norton’s Hiab Services moves a variety of self-escorted wide loads, from wind turbines to machinery as well as site accommodation and welfare cabins for construction companies.
The FH’s fully stabilised and ballasted specification includes an additional pair of hydraulically operated stabiliser legs, mounted on a ‘NATO beam’ extension to the front of the chassis.
This means it can be used both as a versatile crane truck (able to work with its 17.7m Dennison extending trailer), or solo, as a replacement for the lightweight crane carriers that are often used to service city centre construction sites. To do this, the truck is equipped with a 62-tonne/metre Hiab XS 622 EP-6 HiPro crane.
According to Norton’s Hiab Services Paul Eddisford, the fitment of the front of chassis extension and the additional stabiliser legs, means that the FH can slew 360 degrees and has the ability to lift and crane 5 tonne at 10 metres, over the cab and over the rear of the chassis.
“Although we operate at 44 tonnes GCW, rather than under STGO regulations, we had a specific need for a truck with a 10-tonne front axle rating,” he explains.
“Only Volvo were able to supply a tractor unit, that wasn’t a specialist heavy haulage vehicle, with a 10-tonne front axle to assist in the ability to achieve the lifting capabilities via the front stabilising legs, working over the front of the cab.”
The Hiab crane on the Volvo FH is mounted on a full length chassis frame mounted cradle. The chassis itself also contains a full length insert to aid rigidity.
As the truck is fitted with a sliding fifth wheel which is mounted on a cradle on top of the Hiab crane cradle, coupling height is 1450mm. The chassis is ballasted with steel plate, which is welded to the Hiab frame for its full length behind the crane. In addition, a huge steel ballast box is fitted to the rear of the chassis. Chassis packaging of air, fuel and AdBlue tanks has been carefully engineered by Volvo Trucks to accommodate the crane and the ballast box.
Careful positioning of the ‘NATO beam’ has ensured that the AEBS radar is unimpeded and works as normal. The FH is ADR registered for when it delivers bunded fuel tanks to sites.
Remote operation of the crane is made possible via Hiab’s ruggedised Space 5000 remote control hand held terminal which, among other things, displays percentage loadings of the crane at all outreach stages.