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New Volvo loading shovels for AV Dawson

Volvo L220H wheel loader

Freight logistics firm strengthens equipment fleet with addition of two L220H wheel loaders

MIDDLESBROUGH-based AV Dawson have purchased two new Volvo L220H loading shovels for one of their latest contracts that involves the handling of imported gypsum and loading the material into trains from a newly built railhead.

The Volvo machines are part of a significant expansion programme that has seen AV Dawson invest in excess of £20 million in the last nine years, with a further £12 million planned for the next 12 months.


Celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, the family-run business recently announced that it had won a major contract with British Gypsum, part of the global Saint Gobain group, to import and distribute gypsum in bulk by rail from its Teeside hub.

The agreement will mean more new jobs at AV Dawson and substantial investment in plant equipment and new facilities, including a bespoke covered area where trains with up to 66 containers will be loaded by the Volvo L220H units.

According to Gary Dawson, managing director of AV Dawson, the proven quality and reliability of the firm’s older Volvo loading shovels (used in the fertilizer and potash industries in the North East) were key contributing factors in purchasing the latest machines.

The 32-tonne loading shovels have been specified for the work they will undertake – loading rail containers with bulk gypsum. They include: Michelin L4 tyres to minimize wear while working on concrete surfaces; Turbo II pre-cleaners; reversible fans; and wide-core radiators.

While the L220H machines will mainly be used for loading gypsum, other materials will also be handled as AV Dawson diversify further in the future. To this end, the loaders have been supplied with hydraulic attachment brackets to facilitate the interchangeability between the 8 cubic metre capacity hi-tip buckets and smaller general-purpose buckets for handling materials with higher densities.

‘We did our homework and established that the L220H, with its 8 cubic metre capacity bucket, could load 17 tonnes in just two passes, which is crucial with just a four-hour window to load and dispatch a train,’ said Mr Dawson.

‘Having two machines with the same specification means loading can easily be accomplished in the allotted time span, whereas we could have been struggling if we had opted for slightly smaller machines.’

The L220H is powered by a 13-litre Stage IV Final engine that develops 373hp in a relatively low rev/min range. The machine also benefits from Volvo-designed and manufactured driveline components, including the company’s Optishift system with torque converter lock-up and reverse-by-braking features – all designed to offer considerable fuel savings.

Fuel savings are further enhanced by the Volvo Eco pedal, which encourages the operator to run the machine at its optimum rev/min in the engine’s torque curve.

The new arrivals join the logistics firm’s existing Volvo L150F loading shovels, which have proved very reliable throughout their working lives, with one unit clocking up 16,000-plus hours on its original powertrain components.

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