Smiths Bletchington receives Renault Trucks Tridem

Oxfordshire-based producer of aggregates Smiths Bletchington has enhanced its fleet with a Renault Trucks C440 P8x4*4 Tridem Off Road and two C440 P8x4 Off Road tippers.

Purchased from Sparks Commercial Services, the new Renault trucks join a 38-strong tipper fleet. With all vehicles in the fleet now Euro 6 compliant, the move is said to enhance the company’s operational efficiency.

The Tridem, equipped with a lifting and steering rear axle, will operate from Smiths Bletchington’s head office in Oxford, delivering to customers with tight access locations, while the C440s will be stationed at the company’s Ardley Dewars Farm quarry. The new vehicles will all play a role in transporting a variety of aggregates, including stone, limestone, sand and gravel throughout Oxfordshire and the surrounding home counties.

Paul Needle, fleet manager at Smiths Bletchington, said: “We keep our vehicles for a long time, typically 8-10 years, and we do a lot of research to ensure optimal suitability for our operational needs. We also undertake most of our own maintenance and residual value takes a back seat in our considerations. Our evaluation revolves mainly around capital outlay versus running costs, factoring in mpg and overall performance on an annual basis. Our 2019 Renault trucks are achieving 8-8.5mpg and we are anticipating reaching 9mpg with the latest vehicles, demonstrating a significant improvement in fuel efficiency. This, combined with Renault trucks being competitively priced, made them first choice for our latest fleet additions.”

The new C440 tippers are equipped with a Charlton Superlite aggregate body featuring automatic tailgate and equipped with a Dawbarn Wraptor sheeting system designed to keep the materials safe and dry from the elements. Powered by a 13-litre engine, delivering a maximum torque of 2200 Nm from 925 rpm to 1400 rpm, the new vehicles are coupled to Renault Trucks’s 12-speed Optidriver ATO 2612 gearbox with automatic clutch.

As a FORS silver accredited operator, Smiths Bletchington has opted for an aftermarket-fitted, Brigade Back Eye camera system that welds four different camera images into one drone-like image, providing the driver with full visibility around the perimeter of the vehicle.

Needle explained why it can be used on client jobs where access is difficult. “We have a wide selection of tippers that are used for different clients, but the 4-wheeler is limited to carrying 10-tonnes, sometimes the 8-wheelers won’t fit, and the 6-wheeler might. We weighed the Tridem this morning and give or take a few kilos it’s got the same carrying capacity as the 8x4s. The tridem configuration offers our fleet real flexibility as it provides the manoeuvrability of a 6-wheeler combined with a load capacity that is closer to that of the 8- wheeler, which helps with the profitability of our business.”

Needle added: “We deliver to some weird and wonderful places where the Tridem comes into its own as it gives us better manoeuvrability and allows us to confidently access narrow roads and entrances without compromising on payload, and where a traditional 8-wheeler with its conventional length wheelbase can struggle. The off road versions of the vehicles allow us to cope with different types of challenging terrain including landfill tips and farms in remote locations. The addition of all the new Renault trucks is an exciting step in our company’s development.”

The new vehicles have been secured on a 2-year R&M contract with work carried out at Sparks Commercial Services in Swindon.

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