DUAL-ROLE VOLVOS IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY AND CUT COSTS AT CARLSBERG
Following successful trials over a 12-month period, Carlsberg UK recently invested in two new Volvo FM artic units capable of performing completely separate functions.
Brainchild of Carlsberg UK’s National Fleet Engineer, Andrew Davis, the multi-role tractors can be used as regular long-distance trunkers at night and for dray deliveries during the day.
Known as the ‘MetroLiner’, the Volvos were carefully specified so that the fifth wheel height is as low as possible in order to facilitate manual unloading from the single-axle dray trailer.
This was achieved by utilising low-profile 295.60/R22.5 tyres, specially adapted rear wings and by dispensing with the customary sub-frame. A ‘fast’ 2.50:1 drive-axle ratio ensures that road speeds are not compromised.
According to Davis, low-height fifth wheels are not new. The real challenge was to achieve a low deck height for the dray trailer while allowing sufficient fore and aft articulation
“Approximately 70 per cent of our deliveries are unloaded manually from the side of the dray trailers,” he explained, adding: “A slim-line neck on the trailer means that the deck height is the same as our purpose-built rigids and while the combination is not quite as manoeuvrable as an urban artic., the MetroLiner will go anywhere a 26-tonne rigid can go.”
Powered by a 450-hp 11-litre Volvo diesel backed up by an I-Shift fully-automated gearbox the MetroLiner artics are already proving highly successful.
Steve Maunder, depot manager for Carlsberg’s busy Nashmead, Newport operations explained that the MetroLiners are employed primarily on rural rather than urban routes and that their drivers consider them to be the ‘Kings of the Fleet.’
It is projected that the MetroLiner concept could be used eventually on 10 per cent of Carlsberg’s routes. This new concept helps continue Carlsberg’s drive to save costs and strive for the best service to its customers.
The term ‘MetroLiner’ adopted by Carlsberg maintains a close association with other company vehicles such as the ’DrayLiner ’ and was conceived and instituted by Andrew Davis. “We are constantly striving to introduce new cost-saving initiatives. The MetroLiner is simply the latest example of Carlsberg’s market leadership.”