Thanks to their superb manoeuvrability and excellent payload, two new Volvo FM Tridem configuration eight-wheelers that have joined the 30-strong fleet of Shepshed, Leicestershire-based GLW Feeds, are already proving a hit with many of the farmers who are the company’s customers.

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With their wall-to-wall turning circle of around only 12.5 metres, compared to a comparable, conventional eight-wheeler’s 21.0 metres, the Tridems are able to access farm delivery points that would defeat even a six-wheel rigid.

In addition to their manoeuvrability, the FM Tridem’s 18,600kg payload means that farms which might have had a delivery of 15 tonnes of animal feed every three weeks can now benefit from having 18 tonnes every four weeks. This means that only one invoice a month needs to be raised and the result is a welcome improvement in cash flow for the farmer.

Says GLW Feeds Transport Manager Neale Jones, who was responsible, together with Andy Fordham of Priden Engineering, for developing the two Tridem’s unique technical specification with the Volvo Trucks Product Team at Warwick: “We don’t have to worry about where these trucks go. Their manoeuvrability is second-to-none.”

Neale continues: “Despite having four axles, they actually have a turning circle that is better than a six-wheel rigid. Also, with the double-drive, we still have the traction of a six-wheeler.”

Fuel economy is also good, reports Neale: “they’re averaging 9mpg at the moment and that is getting better all the time. The lifting rear-steer axle certainly helps on fuel economy. Taking into account the extra payload, they’re very productive vehicles. We’re actually getting more out of the mill as a result of operating these two new trucks, which helps our customers, who are also benefiting from the efficiencies the Volvo Tridems are bringing to the delivery schedule.”

While the 9-tonne rated front steer axle is fitted with 385/65 R22.5 tyres, the drive axles and the rearmost lifting steer axle are shod with 315/80 R22.5s. Wheelbase, measured from the centre of the front steer axle to the centre of the first drive axle, is 3700mm. Body length is 6705mm and overall length is 9320mm.

Supplied by the Bardon dealerpoint of Volvo Truck and Bus Centre East Anglia, the FM Tridems are equipped with the fuel efficient 11-litre engine rated at 410hp, the latest generation I-Shift automated transmission and ‘Globetrotter’ sleeper cabs. Unladen weight, which is helped by the fitment of aluminium wheels, is a competitive 13,400kgs. Bodywork is by Priden Engineering with an Edbro CX13 tipping cylinder and Dawbarn sheeting system.

The Tridems are maintained under a service contract at Volvo Truck and Bus Centre East Anglia, Bardon.