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Malcolm Allan invest in ‘one-of-a-kind’ Volvo FMX truck

Volvo FMX 460 8x4 Tridem

Company takes delivery of new FMX 460 8x4 Tridem with its own design of tipper and dropside bodywork

ABERDEEN-based Malcolm Allan Housebuilders have turned to bodybuilding and assembled their own design of multi-functioning tipper and dropside body for their new Volvo FMX 460 8x4 Tridem with hydraulically steered rear lifting axle.

The 32-tonne tipper becomes one half of a two-strong fleet used for delivering building materials to sites across the city and county, before turning to muckaway duties on its return. According to Malcolm Allan Housebuilders, the FMX 8x4 unit brings new levels of payload capacity and off-road ability to the role after taking over from an 18-tonner from a rival brand.

Craig Easton, transport solutions executive at Volvo Truck and Bus Centre North & Scotland’s Aberdeen depot, secured the order thanks to Volvo’s ability to supply a double drive tridem with tag axle configuration.

Once the chassis was chosen and specified, Malcolm Allan Housebuilders director Bruce Allan used his experience as a mechanical engineer to design and build the most versatile body for his company’s needs – assembling the materials and completing the process entirely in-house.

‘A standard tipper with fixed sides is no good for us; we need the ability to operate as a dropside too – but ask a bodybuilder for this, and the options become very limited,’ explained Mr Allan. ‘So instead, we set about building precisely what we needed, and we’re absolutely delighted with the result.’

Malcolm Allan Housebuilders’ solution was to construct the floor and sides of the body using Hardox 450, whilst thinner Strenx 700 structural steel was used for the crossmembers. Unlike conventional dropside bodies, the body was built with hydraulically powered single piece sides, allowing the driver to lower them for loading at the touch of a button, whilst also affording the ability to load the body from both sides simultaneously.

A Cramaro Group Galoppino sliding cover for the load was integrated within the dropside body, activated electrically, with a single removeable fixed wire running along the top side of the shelving.

Mr Allan also designed a dual action tail door, which lifts hydraulically for muck shifting discharge; yet for bigger and bulkier loads such as boulders and tree roots, manual barn doors with a wider aperture can be utilized. A hydraulic vibration unit was also installed to help shake out sticky materials, enabling the truck to fully unload on every occasion.

Following painting at the Gray and Adams factory in nearby Fraserburgh, the FMX has entered service and now offers a payload of 18.5 tonnes – a significant increase on the firm’s older truck and bringing new levels of versatility within a single 32-tonne chassis.

Mr Allan commented: ‘We used high performance materials such as Hardox 450 and Strenx 700 to give an optimal balance of strength, durability, and low weight. I doubt if there is another one like it in the UK, and that’s probably the way it’ll remain – unless of course we want another for our fleet.’

Additional features include a 12-speed I-Shift automated gearbox with construction/off-road software, which aids manoeuvrability when starting off from standstill and driving at low speed. The company has also elected to have Volvo’s Drive and Media Packages, which add a range of optional extras to enhance driver comfort and functionality in the cab.

Other key truck features include: Alcoa Dura-Bright alloys; an on-board load indicator; roof bar with LED beacons; and Volvo’s latest nearside mirror camera for added safety when turning left and manoeuvring.

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