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Volvo Trucks return to the fold at Tippers

Volvo FE rigid truck

Midlands based builders’ merchant takes delivery of two FE rigids, with an FM rigid on order

LONG-established Midlands-based builders’ merchants Tippers of Lichfield have taken delivery of their first new Volvo trucks in 20 years – two FE rigids (an 18 tonner and 26 tonner) supplied Hartshorne Motor Services.

‘We used to have Volvo trucks around two decades ago and recently put a 26-tonne Volvo FE rigid demonstrator through its paces,’ said Bill Tipper, director of Walter Tipper Ltd. ‘The trial went very well, and we particularly liked the vehicle performance and safety standards.

Both new vehicles are equipped with remote-control Hiab brick grab cranes and platform dropside bodies by Fred Smith & Sons.

‘The cranes are both fully remote-control operated and both truck bodies have galvanized dropside frames that incorporate vinyl signage panels,’ said Mr Tipper. ‘This pre-empts expensive repairs should any forklift damage occur during loading or unloading, as a vinyl sign is much more economical to repair than a steel body panel.’

The company’s attention to build detail also includes an air-driven mechanism to raise the rear spray-suppressing mudflaps, thereby minimizing damage when working on uneven site surfaces.

The 18-tonne FE comes with a Volvo D8K engine that produces 250hp through its 12-speed I-Shift gearbox with ‘Distribution and Construction’ software package, whilst the larger 26-tonne FE is also powered by a Volvo D8K engine but this time produces 320hp through its I-Shift gearbox, as well as featuring a nine-tonne front axle and electro-hydraulically steered tag axle.

Mr Tipper continued: ‘To maintain flexibility, we’ve always run two separate vehicle marques in our delivery fleet, which now totals 45 specialist vehicles ranging from 3.5-tonne rigids right through to artics. We have another Volvo truck on order, in the shape of a five-axle FM rigid with a rear-lift and steer axle. This will be used in our volumetric concrete operation.’

The new Volvo FE’s are currently based at Tippers’ Lichfield headquarters, where the trucks’ initial performance levels will be closely monitored.

‘It’s early days yet, but so far so good,’ Mr Tipper concluded. ‘The drivers report the FE’s are super and they like the design. Our delivery vehicles have a hard work cycle and they’re also a good advert for our business.

‘We normally retain trucks for around 10 years and fully refurbish each one half-way through the decade. The new Volvo’s will be used on both customer deliveries and inter-branch supply work to cover stock levels at our 12 sites across the Midlands.’

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