Responsible for the specifications of all the company’s new trucks, transport manager Ema Allan said: “Having our own vehicles to complement the large number of subcontractors we use gives us a significant level of additional flexibility and versatility.”
“No two days are ever the same in this business, so what really counts is our ability to quickly react to changing requirements and customer needs. An in-house fleet really adds to that capability.”
All fitted with Harsh front end tipping gears and Harsh front to rear sliding sheets. Hillhouse finds that the traditional combined ram and tank tipping gear is unbeatable for its compact size and space efficiency whilst also ensuring minimal pipework and requiring no layout alterations to any components on the chassis rails.
As to the Harsh sheets, Allan commented: “We really like this front to rear sliding design - not just because it fully protects the load, but also because when retracted up to the headboard with the body open, it reduces any potential for damage when loading - from either side of the truck. As an added benefit, it’s also the best sheet for retaining heat when carrying hot tarmac.
The bodies were produced by Thompsons in Edinburgh, and both the tipping gear and the sheet come as part of the overall package.
Of particular interest, these bodies are a bespoke multi-purpose design for Hillhouse combining insulated aluminium sides with a heavy duty steel floor - thereby offering the maximum possible versatility when carrying everything from hot tar to stone and aggregates. Further, the new Volvos also offer a 19-tonne payload too.
As Ema says: “While we get paid by the weight of what we carry, the trucks we really need have to be versatile and robust enough to cover a full range of tasks. Going for an ultra-light specification would inevitably compromise this ability, along with all the likely added costs of extra maintenance and downtime. We’re fully confident that the combined Volvo/Harsh/Thompsons spec is the ideal solution for all the work we do.”
Hillhouse six sites and over 200 employees. In late 2019 Hillhouse acquired MacAsphalt in Paisley.
Given that the new Volvos will inevitably be worked hard, their servicing and maintenance requirements are catered for by the Volvo Gold R&M package, with all work being carried out at Volvo’s branch in Ayr. Assistant transport manager Claire McCafferty notes: “Company policy is that all its trucks will be less than five years old. This ensures that our fleet operates with the highest standards of performance, efficiency, fuel economy and safety.”