West Yorkshire-based crane hire and machinery removals specialists, J Exley Ltd has just bought its first Volvo truck in several years. The company operates another four Volvos, the oldest of which has been in full, daily service since 2005. “We like to get our money’s worth,” General Manager Andy Watmough quips.

Supplied by Phil Atkinson, Area Sales Manager at Crossroads Truck and Bus Limited, Birstall, the Volvo FH-460 Globetrotter 8×2 rigid is fitted with a D13K 460hp engine and I-Shift automated transmission system. The unusual specification eight-wheeler benefits from both twin-steer front axles and an actively steered tag axle, in addition to a 6.0 metre wheelbase and an additional front frame extension. All these features were chosen to enable the addition of a special Fassi 545 lorry-mounted crane, complete with fly jib, for extra-long reaches and lifting.

“We have another similar crane which generates a lot of jobs, so we’ll definitely get plenty of use out of this one,” Andy explains.

The crane will be able to work a full 360 degrees, thanks to the additional retractable legs housed in that frame extension, giving it the ability to lift over the front of the cab. “Having the rear steer is a step forwards from the eight wheeler this truck will replace, making it even better at getting in and out of where it needs to be,” he adds.

Andy continues, “In service, the vehicle will be doing anything and everything. It will travel up and down the country working at both 32-tonne gross weight and a full 44-tonnes with a drawbar trailer attached.”

With a single bunk living package giving the maximum possible storage space inside the cab, and a manufacturer-fitted fridge, the driver should be happy too, something which matters at J Exley.

“Although our guys are only away for a couple of nights a week we like to make sure they’re comfortable,” Andy reports. “Decent drivers aren’t easy to come by these days and they like the Volvo FH. Overall we know Volvos, we like Volvos and for what we do they’re really good. Another plus is the dealership – Crossroads at Birstall – which is only just up the road,” Andy concludes.