Travis Perkins plc invests in 170 26-tonners

Travis Perkins plc is investing in a new fleet of 26-tonne trucks, operating in a mix of Travis Perkins and Keyline Civils Specialist liveries, providing building materials to construction customers nationwide. The multi-million-pound investment will see approximately 170 Volvo FM 330 6x2 rear-steer rigids delivered into service over two years – with 85 new FMs confirmed for this year; to be followed by around 85 more in 2023.

It follows a strategic fleet review by the business led by technical fleet director Karl Wilshaw, which saw the evaluation of multiple options from several major truck manufacturers. The new vehicles form an integrated part of the Group’s fleet decarbonisation roadmap, with each one benefitting from the latest Euro VI Step E diesel engine technology – engineered to reduce emissions and help save fuel without compromising performance – and with the capability to run on hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). This will provide the opportunity for Travis Perkins plc to deploy the trucks into a number of locations that have had HVO enabled through a trial using certified HVO, which began in 2021 and includes 30 branches and 200 trucks nationwide.

Key to winning the order was the latest generation FM’s ability to support a ‘technology detox’ within the cab, with the latest Volvos able to integrate multiple vehicle safety systems to optimise safety by decluttering the driver’s environment. This sees the FM’s nine-inch side display integrate feeds from Travis Perkins’ five-camera set-up and on-board weighing system, helping to reduce the need for additional monitors.

The group’s detailed review saw feedback collated from the company’s national driver engagement days, safety events and a series of driver focus groups, which were held to explore the future fleet requirements of the business, customers, and drivers. This directly led to the selection of the FM day cab which combines excellent vision with plenty of storage space, plus easy access and egress with a two-step entry and wide opening doors. At the drivers’ request, the new fleet also features extra lighting and additional load securing points.

The internal team at Travis Perkins worked closely with Abdi Ali, national key account manager at Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland, to tailor the specification to ensure sufficient ground clearance for safely navigating construction sites, whilst still ensuring the cab was three-star Direct Vision Standard compliant. Key to this was the selection of 385/55 R22.5 steer and 315/70 R22.5 drive and tag axle tyres. The trucks also benefit from a nine-tonne front axle, a 12-speed automated I-Shift transmission and an improved turning circle versus the 18-tonners they replace, thanks to Volvo’s hydraulically steered tag axle.

Wilshaw says: “It’s so rewarding for all those involved to see this project coming to fruition; a huge amount of work went into consulting with our drivers, researching the latest available technologies and developing the build with Volvo Trucks, bodybuilder Massey Truck Engineering and crane supplier HIAB. We are really pleased with the result. We have FORS Gold accreditation, and these trucks play right into our continuous improvement efforts. They look fantastic, and they’re enabling our teams to operate more efficiently and safely.”

The new fleet will be predominantly serviced and maintained within the Volvo Trucks dealer network, with the order including a mix of 5,200mm and 5,600mm wheelbases, to suit the varying needs of the business’ different branches. They will join a 1,600-strong commercial vehicle fleet and be in operation up to six days per week, covering around 30,000 miles per year.

Plus, for maximum safety, the cab has roof beacons, a passenger-side lower door window to improve direct vision, near-side proximity sensors, turn left audible warning, five camera view system and a white noise reversing alarm. Bodywork has been manufactured by Massey Truck Engineering.

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