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New Volvo FMX tippers for Kelston Sparkes

Volvo FMX truck

Earthmoving and quarrying firm recommences tipper transport operations after 14-year hiatus

THE Kelston Sparkes Group of Bristol have recommenced tipper transport after a gap of 14 years, with three Volvo FMX 8x4 rigids. Kelston Stark, on-site manager at Kelston Sparkes Group, explained: ‘Our customers are now looking for a complete, single-source supplier package, which is why we’ve reintroduced tipper trucks back into our fleet.’

He added: ‘At the beginning of the new millennium we ran around 14 tipper trucks, but then it became more viable to use sub-contractors. Nowadays, safety and quality standards are paramount for our business, as is the requirement to provide customers with the complete service package delivered by one supplier, so the re-emergence of tippers is the way forward for our business.’

Supplied by Truck and Bus Wales and West Ltd of Avonmouth, all three Volvos come with Day Cabs and 5.1m wheelbases. Supplied ready-bodied from stock, the FMXs are powered by Volvo’s D13K engine rated at 420hp. The remainder of the powertrains include Volvo’s I-Shift automated gearboxes and single-reduction bogies, with differential and cross locks, that carry a ratio of 3.09:1.

All three FMXs are fitted with Boweld Taperlite steel tipping bodies, PM1155 onboard weighing systems and air-operated tailgates, with all-round steel suspension and twin 8-tonne front axles to cushion the 8x4 Extra High B ride chassis. To reduce dust levels on site, all three trucks come with steel vertical exhausts.

Kelston Sparkes Group’s comprehensive safety standards saw the fitment of a full complement of warning and working lights, plus additional LED reversing lamps. All three vehicles are also fitted with high-voltage cable-detection systems, five-way camera systems, white noise reversing alarms and side-scan systems with audible left-turn alarms.

The FMXs are covered by two-year Volvo Gold Service Contracts, which guarantee 100% uptime for the operator. Six-weekly safety inspections will be carried out at the Shepton Mallet branch of Truck and Bus Wales and West Ltd.

Kelston Stark is looking at a three year-retention period for the new FMXs. He said: ‘In previous years we’ve kept our Volvo trucks for a full lifetime of service, however the industry is changing fast. Tipper vehicles take much more of a daily pounding than the remainder of our fleet.

‘We’ve always deployed the highest vehicle maintenance and presentation standards, a factor our customers naturally expect. Technology and safety standards are also advancing rapidly, so we predict that three years’ front-line service will tick all the boxes.’

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