A pre-requisite when it came to ordering the new 32-tonne GVW trucks was that the dealer should provide on-site R&M support at Walsh’s brand new purpose-built 5-acre facility in Rainham, Essex. While several manufacturers’ dealers were approached in this regard it was only Volvo, through MC Truck & Bus, that really showed enthusiasm and took on the idea.
Director at Walsh, Tim Wheeler says: “MC Truck & Bus showed itself to be very forward thinking and open to our ideas. This proactive approach will enable us to meet our business goals while giving us confidence in terms of compliance. It also has benefits in terms of driver hours as our headquarters will, in effect, also be our dealer workshop, so no time or resource will be required to travel to or from Thurrock.”
Initial reactions from the drivers have been overwhelmingly positive, according to Tim. “They really like them,” he says. “Our overall fleet has now increased to 100 trucks and all of our drivers now come into work wanting to drive one of the 410hp Volvo FMXs.”
The new trucks are all equipped to meet Crossrail compliance. “We are FORS Gold accredited and CLOCS champions too,” says Tim.
The trucks are also fitted with Brigade 5-camera systems, as well as low-level nearside windows, side scan kits and audible left turn alerts. Tim adds: “We take safety extremely seriously and these new Volvo tippers represent another advance in safe operation, with their superb all-round visibility that’s only enhanced by the innovative mirror system.”
While safety understandably sits at the heart of everything Walsh does, when it came to specifying the new trucks, a total cost of ownership calculation also had to be factored in. “We have a strategic plan that includes further investment in our transport operation, growing the fleet to 200 trucks and adding new operating centres to support HS2, Crossrail 2, the Thames Tideway Tunnel and other major schemes in the Greater London area, which will involve considerable further investment,” says Tim. “With any investment we always conduct a Total Cost of Ownership analysis and in this case, if you consider the whole life of the truck, Volvo stands out as offering best value.”
Value for Walsh also comes in the shape of the Fruehauf Load-Lite bodies with Hyva tipping gear. “Fruehauf has been very supportive in terms of delivery times and build quality,” says Tim. “With these particular bodies we’ve worked together in their development, altering the wheel arches to give clearance when tipping and upgrading the side lights to make them more resilient to the rigours of the job. We have also had twist locks fitted to the tailgates for those occasions that we carry particularly loose material. Thanks to the Hardox steel with which the bodies are manufactured, we’ve found some 500 kg weight saving, without any loss of integrity or strength.”