Supplied by Mark Lingard, Customer Solutions Manager at Thomas Hardie Commercials in Middlewich, the new additions replace models from a rival marque and have been built on a 4,000 mm wheelbase with a fixed pusher axle and rear air-suspension. Power comes from Volvo’s proven D13K Euro-6, Step D, diesel engine producing up to 540 hp between 1,400 and 1,800 rev/min, plus a peak torque of 2,600 Nm between 1,000 and 1,450 rev/min.
The 44-tonne tractor units, finished in dark green, will be used to transport bulk plastics and industrial minerals across the UK, five days a week, and are expected to cover up to 130,000 km annually.
Phil Moore, Transport Manager at H. Freund, says: “We operate on a one driver, one truck basis, so driver satisfaction is key, and they absolutely love the Volvos. Having plenty of pulling power to handle our fully laden dry bulk tanker trailers is also vital, so the 540 hp engine was the right way to go.
“Another deciding factor for us is the exceptional service we receive from the team at Thomas Hardie Commercials, in particular Mark who was extremely proactive throughout the process and delivered everything we asked for, which is precisely what you want when you are buying a premium truck; their great aftersales service keeps us coming back.”
The four new vehicles all benefit from Volvo’s 12-speed I-Shift automated gearbox, which evaluates information about speed, weight, road grade and torque demand to perform every shift with precision – communicating with the engine to allow it to adjust the revs and brake-effect for maximum performance. This is combined with its impressive fuel saving potential, with every gear change timed precisely, ensuring the engine works at its most efficient rpm.
“We run a couple of other marques in our fleet, but the I-Shift is by far the best automated gearbox on the market. One of our drivers has told us that his latest FH is the best truck he’s driven throughout his whole career,” adds Moore.
Each FH benefits from an extensive specification including Volvo’s Drive Plus and Single Bed Living Package, which add features including a leather steering wheel, twin armrests on both the driver and passenger seat, folding and height adjustable table, 33-litre under bunk mounted fridge/freezer, luxury sleeper control panel and an enhanced exterior finish. Other key options on the new trucks include an electrically heated and ventilated driver’s seat, Alcoa Dura-Bright ECO aluminium rims and I-Park Cool – Volvo’s intelligent overnight cooling system.
Moore continues, “We haven’t held back with ticking plenty of options on these latest Volvos; we want our drivers to have the best working environment, so that they feel valued as the professional drivers they are whilst also assisting them to do their very best for our customers.”
Purchased outright, the new trucks will remain in service for five years and have been supplied with a Volvo Gold Contract covering all preventive maintenance and repairs. The Volvo Gold Contract also includes the promise of 100 per cent uptime, using on-board telematics to link the truck to the workshop, ensuring a vehicle isn’t called in for maintenance until it actually requires it.
Founded in 1951, H. Freund specialises in the transportation and storage of bulk plastics, PVC resins, and industrial powders and has operating bases across Belgium, Germany, Spain and the UK.