Volvo heavy haulage FH16 with I-Shift crawler pulls 750 tonnes 12 April 2016

After the teaser (Transport Engineer, 5 April 2016) comes the film – ‘Volvo Trucks versus 750 tonnes’, where a Volvo FH16 attempts to pull a 750 tonne, 300-metre long road train, comprising 40 loaded containers, from a standing start.

The challenge took place in Gothenburg, Sweden. Beyond the 750 tonnes, the team was caught off-guard by the Swedish winter. See how it all went on Volvo Trucks’ YouTube channel.

Peter Hardin, product manager for Volvo FM and FMX trucks, explains that the challenge was conceived not only to demonstrate the power of a series produced Volvo’s FH16, nor the robustness of its I-Shift AMT (automated manual transmission).

It’s about revealing the sheer torque handling of the latter’s new crawler gears, he says. And hence the choice of driver – Magnus Samuelsson, the world’s strongest man.

The Volvo FH16 used in the test was equipped with I-Shift with crawler gears and the strongest axles from Volvo’s regular product range.

“For this kind of exceptionally heavy loads, custom built trucks are normally used. But here we’re using a Volvo FH16 with a driveline that has come straight from the factory,” explains Hardin

“I-Shift with crawler gears offers starting traction that is unlike anything else on the market for series-produced trucks,” he continues.

“The new crawler ratios make it possible to haul really heavy loads, start off in difficult terrain and drive at speeds as low as 0.5 kph.”

I-Shift with crawler gears, he says, is designed to start a 325 tonne road train from standstill. However, in this mind blowing challenge, the truck – manned by Magnus Samuelsson and TE’s Brian Weatherley – eventually pulls more than double that.

“I’ve faced many tough challenges over the years, but this pull is my heaviest ever,” says Samuelsson.

“That Volvo Trucks has developed an automatic transmission that can haul 325 tonnes gcw [gross combination weight] is impressive,” comments Weatherley.

“But tackling more than 700 tonnes gcw with a single regular production truck is really quite amazing,” he continues.

“In my 30 years as a trucking journalist I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Brian Tinham

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Volvo Group UK Ltd

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