New Volvo FMX tipper and dropside combo is a true one-of-a-kind
Aberdeenshire-based Malcolm Allan Housebuilders has turned its hand to bodybuilding and assembled its own design of multi-functioning tipper and dropside body for its new Volvo FMX 460 8×4 Tridem with hydraulically steered rear lifting axle. The 32-tonner becomes one half of a two-strong fleet used for delivering building materials to sites across the city and county, before turning to muckaway duties on the return. It brings new levels of payload capacity and off-road ability to the role after taking over from an 18- tonner from a rival brand.
Craig Easton, Transport Solutions Executive at Volvo Truck and Bus Centre North & Scotland’s Aberdeen depot, secured the order thanks to Volvo’s ability to supply a double drive tridem with tag axle configuration. Having decided upon the perfect chassis, Director Bruce Allan used his experience as a mechanical engineer to design and build the most versatile body for his company’s needs – assembling the materials and completing the process entirely in-house. He says:
“A standard tipper with fixed sides is no good for us; we need the ability to operate as a dropside too – but ask a bodybuilder for this, and the options become very limited.
So instead, we set about building precisely what we needed, and we’re absolutely delighted with the result.”
Malcolm Allan Housebuilders’ solution was to construct the floor and sides of the body using Hardox 450, whilst thinner Strenx 700 structural steel was used for the crossmembers. Unlike conventional dropside bodies, the body was built with hydraulically-powered single- piece sides, enabling the driver to lower them for loading at the touch of a button – whilst also affording the ability to load the body from both sides simultaneously. A Cramaro Group Galoppino sliding cover for the load was integrated within the dropside body, activated electrically, with a single removeable fixed wire running along the top side of both shelvings.
Allan also designed a dual action tail door, which lifts hydraulically for muck shifting discharge; yet for bigger and bulkier loads such as boulders and tree roots, manual barn doors with a wider aperture can be utilised. A hydraulic vibration unit was also installed to help shake out sticky materials, enabling the truck to fully unload on every occasion. Following painting at the Gray & Adams factory in nearby Fraserburgh, the FMX entered service and offers a payload of 18.5 tonnes – a significant increase on the firm’s older truck, and bringing new levels of versatility within a single 32-tonne chassis.
“We used high performance materials such as Hardox 450 and Strenx 700 to give an optimal balance of strength, durability and low weight. I doubt if there is another one like it in the UK, and that’s probably the way it’ll remain – unless of course we want another for our fleet!”
Additional features include a 12-speed I-Shift automated gearbox with construction/off-road software, which aids manoeuvrability when starting off from standstill and driving at low speed. Plus, the customer selected Volvo’s Drive package and Media package which add a range of optional extras to enhance driver comfort and functionality in the cab.
The specification also includes Alcoa Dura-Bright alloys, an on-board load indicator, factory roof bar with factory LED beacons, plus Volvo’s new factory nearside mirror camera, for additional safety when turning left and manoeuvring.