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Travis Perkins invest in 170 Volvo trucks

Volvo FM 330 6x2 rear-steer rigid

Multi-million-pound investment will see new Volvo FM 330 6x2 rear-steer rigids enter service over two years

Travis Perkins plc are investing in a new fleet of 26-tonne trucks, designed to support the Group’s ambitious carbon-reduction target and maximize the safety and efficiency of its transport operations. They will operate 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-decarbonization 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 to deploy the trucks into several 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 optimize 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 FM’s modern architecture also offers the perfect interface with the body and crane.

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 and 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.

Karl Wilshaw said: ‘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 bodybuilders Massey Truck Engineering, and crane suppliers 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 a week, covering around 30,000 miles per annum.

All new trucks feature a smart cab interior benefitting from Volvo’s Drive package, which adds remote central locking, twin armrests, electrically controlled air-conditioning, and a tinted glass roof hatch. Travis Perkins have also chosen robust textile seats with a smart vinyl interior. Plus, for maximum safety, the cab has roof beacons, a passenger-side lower door window to improve direct vision, near-side proximity sensors, left-turn audible warning, five-camera view system, and a white noise reversing alarm.

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