Drivers swap their rides to improve road safety

Posted on: August 26, 2015

A cycling-based road safety program for HGV drivers has been a huge success in helping improve awareness for vulnerable road users.

BikeRight!, a cycle training organisation in Manchester and Liverpool, has so far put over 1,500 lorry and coach drivers through its Safe Urban Driving Course. The course puts drivers on a bicycle for a day, giving them the chance to the see the road from a cyclist’s perspective.

It is hoped that insights gained from the course will inform future driver behaviours while working in urban road networks to improve safety for vulnerable road users.

Colin Unsworth, BikeRight! Course instructor, said, “The course helps lorry and coach drivers to define who vulnerable road users are when assessing risk, to raise awareness of cyclists and how to assess a situation to reduce risk.

“We’ve had remarkable feedback from the drivers who have attended the course, and a renewed interest in their awareness of both themselves and others on the road. We believe this course saves lives.”

Sue Bingham of Bowker Transport said, “The course has been a great benefit to us as many of our deliveries are in busy cities where there are many vulnerable road users. All our vehicles are fully kitted out with close proximity side scanners, audible left turn, Class VI mirrors, and rear signage, so all this put together helps our drivers enormously and raises their awareness.

“We plan to put all our drivers though this course every three years.”

Skeleton Technologies and Adgero unveil KERS system for road haulage

Posted on: August 26, 2015

Two European technology start-ups, Skeleton Technologies and Adgero SARL, have worked together to develop what is claimed to be the world’s first Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) for road freight vehicles.

Optimised for intermodal road transport, the Adgero Hybrid system claims to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 25%.

It consists of a bank of high-power ultracapacitors working alongside an electrically-driven axle, which is mounted under the trailer. The technology’s management system tracks driver input to automatically control the regenerative braking and acceleration boost.

“We are beginning to see regenerative braking systems in automotive applications but the market clearly needs a similar solution for articulated lorries,” said Mack Murray, CEO of Adgero SARL. “By partnering with Skeleton Technologies, we are putting the world’s most advanced ultracapacitors at the heart of our system. This will give us a powerful competitive edge in a demanding industry where energy density is a key metric.”

Over the past year, Skeleton Technologies has worked with Adgero to adapt an 800V ultracapacitor power module that is proving successful in the motorsport industry to meet the needs of road freight vehicles. The module consists of five 160V units made up of Skeleton Technologies’ cylindrical cells. With monitoring for each individual cell, the module is able to actively self-balance.

“At Skeleton Technologies we pride ourselves on being a vertically integrated ultracapacitor manufacturer, from materials technology through to the system level,” said Chief Technology Officer Volker Dudek. “To enable this solution for Adgero, we developed intelligent power modules with a proprietary management system that allows for smart monitoring and control of the energy/power profile according to customer requirements.”

DAF celebrates 20 years at the top

Posted on: August 24, 2015

DAF is celebrating 20 years as the number one seller of UK commercial vehicles above six tonnes.

The company’s market share now stands at 27%, a figure that has consistently risen from 21% in August 1995.

DAF’s strong service offering has played a crucial role in securing consistent long-term success, according to Managing Director Ray Ashworth.

He said, “Over the years, we have developed solid and trusted business relationships with our customers through our 131 dealer locations across the UK, and every one of them has embraced the DAF ideology of providing the highest levels of service support. It gives us strength in depth and it’s a formidable combination.”

With the LF, CF and XF ranges continuing to win new business, Ashworth says the DAF Transport Efficiency programme means the brand is ”as desirable as any” in the market.

He added, “Today’s Euro-6 DAF is at the forefront of commercial vehicle technology, but it’s the DAF culture of care that has remained a constant theme throughout.”

New logistics technology improves blood flow for NHS Blood and Transport

Posted on: August 27, 2015

NHS Blood and Transport, which provides transport for blood and associated services to the NHS in England and North Wales, has implemented new transport management software to improve the efficiency of its 220-strong fleet.

OBD Logistics has supplied a delivery planning and monitoring system based on its Calidus TMS and Calidus ePod software, deployed on Android devices, for load planning and delivery capture, with TomTom Webfleet and Telematics and DPS Logix for resource optimisation.

NHSBT collects blood from more than 3,000 donation venues, delivers it to 15 holding units and then transports shipments on demand to every NHS Trust in England and North Wales. The new system will allow the company to adopt a consistent approach across all centres, improve order capture, reduce third party costs from couriers and improve service levels.

Paul Taylor from NHSBT Logistics said, “We are implementing a transport management system that will make sure our transport network, supporting what is a complex logistical supply chain operation, is as effective and efficient as possible.”

New Nissan Navara provides increased towing and payload abilities

Posted on: August 24, 2015

Nissan has revealed its all-new Navara pick-up, which it says delivers greater working performance as well as increased comfort.

The new NP300 series Navara range delivers payload ratings in excess of one tonne and a towing capacity of 3,500kg on all models.

The new Double Cab’s load bed is 67mm longer than the previous model, with a sector-best load bed length of 1,578mm. The King Cab’s load bed measures 1,788mm in length. On all models, the load bed features a C-channel load system with heavy-duty channels on the rear cabin bulkhead and bed sides to secure even unusually-shaped loads.

A new 2.3-litre dCi turbo-diesel engine is available in either 160hp and 190hp variants, and is up to 24% more efficient than the previous unit. Two- and four-wheel-drive versions are available with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.

The new Navara also introduces Around View Monitor and Forward Emergency Braking (FEB) safety technologies, which are are unique to the pick-up market. Further safety and convenience features include cruise control, hill descent control, hill start assist, keyless entry, rear-view camera and parking sensors.

Both Double Cab and King Cab variants feature new suspension designs which is said to reduce weight and improve driving comfort. Inside, new seat designs provide improved ergonomics and comfort for the driver and all passengers.

Nissan is also offering a five-year/100,000-mile warranty for the first time on the new Navara.

Ponz Pandikuthira, Director of Light Commercial Vehicles for Nissan Europe said, “Nissan pick-ups have often been the lifeblood of their communities and a trusted work partner to businesses and tradespeople. Now in its 12th generation, the new Nissan NP300 Navara sets a new benchmark for performance, refinement, convenience and running costs in the sector.”

The new Navara will make its first European appearance at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Nissan has not yet released pricing or specifications for the UK market.

James Kemball extends operations with Volvo

Posted on: August 27, 2015

Container haulier James Kemball Ltd has placed an order for 40 new Volvo FH-500 tractor units.

The new order represents a £3.5 million investment in new fleet for the Felixstowe based company, which already has a fleet of 120 44-tonne vehicles and 160 trailers.

The FH-500 6×2 tractor units have been specified with Volvo’s Globetrotter cab, and include I-Shift automated gearboxes, Drive+ trim, reclining bunks, swivel passenger seats, fridge, microwave and built-in TV/DVD players and Bluetooth.

Chris Abbott, General Manager for James Kemball Ltd, said, “This major order for 40 high specification tractor units sees James Kemball Limited continue to partner with Volvo as a provider of transport solutions, and further take up the significant environmental advantages of the greatly reduced emissions of Euro-6 compliant vehicles – which continues to help the company reduce its carbon footprint.”

Feature: Interview with Steve Turton of BPW

Posted on: August 26, 2015

Transport News Brief spoke to Steve Turton of BPW about building trailer axles and suspension systems at its Leicester manufacturing plant.

More than 100,000 trailer axles have been assembled at BPW’s Leicester site since production started in 2009.

It is a figure that was achieved well ahead of the company’s projected schedule and marketplace demand is not letting up, according to Steve Turton, UK Managing Director. “We’re building 130 a day Monday to Friday on a single shift and we’re occasionally having to work Saturdays too.”

Owned by leading German trailer axle and suspension maker BPW Bergische Achsen, the Leicester operation ventured into manufacturing in the wake of what happened in 2007. “Back then the trailer market was booming Europe-wide, the demand for axles was sky-high and we were having to quote 12-month delivery times because there was a bottleneck in Germany when it came to assembling suspensions.”

BPW concluded that one way of eliminating this bottleneck would be to set up an assembly operation on this side of the Channel that could be more responsive to the needs of the British market.

In early 2008 however the recession bit. “We went from a huge order bank to order after order being cancelled in January and February of that year,” said Turton.

As a consequence assembly didn’t begin until January 2010 after a £500,000-plus investment in the necessary equipment, including a jig.

The venture was so successful that a second jig was installed last November specifically to assemble BPW’s new ECO Air Compact axle. Like its stable-mate, the new jig accurately locates the trailing arm on the axle beam to ensure correct U-bolt tension.

Together the two jigs represent an investment of more than £1 million and have been instrumental in helping BPW cut delivery times to British trailer makers in what is another boom market.

“Trailer demand is back at 2007 levels but BPW can now deliver axles in just five to six weeks compared with the 12 to 14 weeks we’re seeing elsewhere in our industry,” said Turton.

Local assembly is proving to be invaluable due to the marked differences between the trailer markets in Britain and mainland Europe.

“Over here, 90% of the axles we supply are on drum rather than disc brakes,” he says. “Over there it’s a 50/50 split.”

Past problems with disc brakes supplied by certain manufacturers have prompted many British operators to turn away from them. “They’re fine if you have one trailer constantly married to one tractor unit, as is often the case in Europe, but they’re not so good if you are asking a unit to pull up to five different trailers a day as can be the case in Britain,” said Turton. Under those circumstances, there is less risk of a mismatch between unit and trailer because drums are a lot more forgiving.

Drums are admittedly heavier and need more maintenance; but if disc brakes do go wrong, they tend to be more expensive to put right.

Building in Britain gives BPW greater flexibility when it comes to fulfilling orders at short notice. Such flexibility is needed because UK trailer builders tailor their products far more closely to the needs of the operator than is typically the case on the Continent.

“In Britain, fleets tell trailer builders what they want,” he observes. “On the Continent, trailer builders tell fleets what they can have.”

With a £65-£70m UK annual turnover, BPW employs 62 people in Leicester and has created 25 new jobs over the past four-and-a-half years. “We’ve got 15 people in our technical services department who look after everything from design to training,” he reports.

“We send out service engineers as and when required and we’ve got engineers based in Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

Nor do trailer axles represent its sole commercial vehicle product line. It also distributes BPW alloy wheels and trailer landing legs, curtainside trailer parts made by BPW subsidiary Hestal and a solar-powered telematics system made by idem, another BPW group member.

Included too in its portfolio are Hidromas tipping gear plus more specialised trailer landing legs from Haacon.

Demand for alloy wheels is not as strong as it was 10-15 years ago, although payload-sensitive operators running tippers and tankers still favour them for their comparative lightness.

Tipper owners favour disc brakes for the same reason. “They offer a 30kg saving per axle compared with drums,” he reports.

Vivaro gets another call-out to Yorkshire

Posted on: August 25, 2015

Yorkshire gas and heating engineering firm JD Mounsey has placed its fourth consecutive order for a new fleet of Vauxhalls.

The company is replacing its current fleet with eight new Vivaro vans, comprising five short-wheelbase vans, two long-wheelbase vans and a short-wheelbase double cab crew van. All the vans are Sportive specification and are powered by the 120hp 1.6 CDTI ecoFLEX engine with manual transmission.

Company founder, Jonathan Mounsey, said that it was both the qualities of the Vivaro and the service from the dealership that kept him coming back for more. “In my experience, nothing has the combination of reliability, fuel economy and space as the Vivaro. We need vans that we can rely on, and with the Vivaro we know there is no downtime.

“The service I receive from Pentagon Vauxhall is second to none. The attention to detail has been superb, from fitting out the vans to organising the signwriting.”

Richard Collier, National Commercial Vehicle and B2B Manager for Vauxhall, said, “Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy and it is fantastic to have supplied JD Mounsey with its fourth batch of British-built vans.”

Isuzu Forward gets a green thumbs up

Posted on: August 25, 2015

Following a successful trial of two Isuzu 6.2-tonne rigid trucks last year, green services provider Glendale Managed Services has purchased a further two new Isuzus for new contracts in London.

Stuart Darbyshire, Commercial Director at Glendale, said; “We are a relatively new user of Isuzu trucks, taking our first Isuzus in 2014. We were impressed by the demonstration vehicle supplied by our local dealer and subsequently bought two new 6.2 tonne GVW Isuzus. Both performed really well in service, so we decided to duplicate the order for our 2015 requirements but this time moving from 6.2 tonne vehicles to the latest Euro-6 7.5 tonne specification.”

The new Isuzu N75.190 Forward Euro-6 rigids are involved in the maintenance of trees in the London Boroughs of Harrow and Hillingdon, handling a range of arboriculture applications from tree-felling to pruning programmes. The trucks have been specified with Isuzu’s Easyshift automated transmission and feature a secure storage/tool box compartment behind the cab and a compact tipping body. In operation, the vehicle is equipped to tow a chipper which feeds the tipper body with woodchip waste.

Darbyshire added, “Based on the performance of the four Isuzu trucks over the past 18 months, we now consider the Isuzu Forward to be the standard 7.5 tonne vehicle for our fleet; it has become the template for future purchases at 7.5 tonne.”

West Midlands supplier welcomes new Commercial Director

Posted on: August 21, 2015

Auto Styling Truckman, manufacturer and distributor of 4×4 vehicle accessories, has appointed a new Commercial Director to support the company’s expansion ambitions.

Nick Gascoyne joins the company after 15 years in commercial and sales operations in the pharmaceutical industry. He will be responsible for managing and developing Auto Styling Truckman’s commercial operations for both domestic and export markets.

The company manufactures hardtops under the Truckman brand name, which are available for all models of pick-up sold in Europe by Ford, Great Wall, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. Having recently invested £2.7m in a new distribution and fitting centre, the company is aiming to build its presence in the hardtop market retail and commercial fleet markets in the UK and Europe.

Mike Wheeler, Managing Director of Auto Styling Truckman, said, “Our recent investments and the recruitment of highly-skilled individuals like Nick demonstrates our intent to grow this business.

“We are a proud West Midlands manufacturer and we want to build upon our reputation for delivering quality UK-built products to current and new markets. Nick will play a key role to help focus our activities for the benefit of the business and our customers.”