FROM CHICK-HATCHING TO HEAVY PLANT, S E DAVIS & SON HAS UNDERGONE QUITE THE TRANSFORMATION DURING ITS SIX-DECADE PLUS EXISTENCE. HEAVYTORQUE PAID A VISIT TO THE REDDITCH-BASED BUSINESS TO DISCOVER MORE AND HEAR HOW TWO NEW HIGH-SPEC VOLVOS FIT INTO THE FIRM’S GROWING AMBITIONS.
Despite being well into their late eighties now, Bob and Christine Davis still like to keep a keen eye on what’s going on with the business they established some 66 years ago. The husband and wife still live on the Sandhills Farm site that has been S E Davis & Son’s base from the very beginning and, indeed, Bob’s home since he was born in 1934.
“They were on hand to see the two new waggons rolling in when they arrived. They are a bit of an upgrade to what Bob was used to back in the day, but he seemed very pleased with them just the same,” says Dale Gilbertson, the firm’s transport and plant supervisor.
The trucks in question – two new Volvo FH 540s, one 6×4 and one 6×2 – are a far cry from Bob’s ex-Army Bedford truck that he used to transport leftover straw from the farm’s chick hatching operation that began the move into haulage all those years ago. The straw selling soon blossomed into a profitable business, with deliveries stretching into Herefordshire and Mid Wales, but it was the development of the new town of Redditch in the late 1960s that really kick-started the company’s growth.
IT’S TAKEN MONTHS OF NEGOTIATIONS, BUT A UNIQUE HEAVY HAULAGE VEHICLE IS NOW BACK IN THE UK. HEAVYTORQUE HAS BEEN SPEAKING TO ED COLLINS, THE NEW OWNER OF HERCULES, THE FORMER ECONOFREIGHT AND ALE UNIPOWER 6x6 TRACTOR.
In classical mythology, Hercules was known for his strength and his various far-ranging adventures. There couldn’t have been a more appropriate name for a heavy haulage tractor that travelled the world moving massive loads, and even starred in a TV documentary. But after nearly 30 years of hard work, Hercules is back in the UK to enjoy a happy retirement, and a long overdue restoration.
The person responsible for bringing Hercules home is Ed Collins, who, until recently, ran his own recovery business in Sussex, but is now working as a self-employed plant fitter and driver. He’s not new to restoration work. When he was 17, he bought a 1952 Scammell Explorer, and then an ex-MOD Foden, which he restored and modified for use as a heavy breakdown truck. He admits this latest acquisition is simply a big toy. But it’s a toy with a fascinating history.
THE MIGHTY SCANIA 770HP ENGINE IS THE WORLD’S STRONGEST COMMERCIALLY PRODUCED TRUCK ENGINE. WITH AN IMPRESSIVE TORQUE OF 3,700NM, HILLS WILL NEVER BE AS STEEP AS BEFORE. HEAVYTORQUE LOOKS INTO THE SCANIA HISTORY AND INTRODUCES KEVIN BROOKES, THE REGULAR DRIVER OF THE NEW 180-TONNE 770S.
Scania V8 engines have long been prised for their power and high levels of torque for heavy haulage operations. Factor in potentially long service life and first-rate residual values and it’s easy to see why some operators have made them a core part of their heavy transport operation. The downside is a relatively high initial purchase price, for some this is a stumbling block, but others who have run V8 tractor units for generations, maintain that the industry leading residuals and ease of selling a well-equipped and maintained high power Scania, make them the cheapest trucks to run in the long-term.
The Scania V8 story has run for over 50 years, beginning in 1969 with the introduction of the first versions of the original DS14 14.2-litre V8 engine fitted to the LB 140 range. The far-sighted engineers, designers and product planners had started work on the project to build a high-power engine that would offer unheard of levels of performance at 38/40 tonnes and capable of handling far more with a lower geared double-drive bogie behind it.
BEAVER BRIDGES PROVIDES A BRIDGE BUILDING SERVICE USING A TEAM OF TRANSPORTERS, ERECTORS, DESIGNERS AND ENGINEERS. IT WORKS WITH GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, MULTINATIONAL CONSTRUCTION FIRMS AS WELL AS LAND OWNERS, FARMERS, FORESTRY COMPANIES AND INDUSTRIES. HEAVYTORQUE LOOKS INTO ITS COMPLEX REQUIREMENTS.
Ever since the human race began to move around on the surface of the planet, we haven’t been able to travel far without the need to cross rivers and streams. While crossing in shallow places, at fords, enabled early humans to travel further, as we began to travel and trade with others, the need for a more convenient means of crossing water became greater. We needed bridges. As our ability to build and fabricate grew with the discovery of metals, our ability to produce more robust structures enabled us to build bridges across roads, railways and valleys, expanding our transport infrastructure in the process.
There is no doubt that if we were not able to build bridges, we could not lead the lives that we do today. Even so, we tend to take bridges for granted. I’m sure that many of us do not even realise that we are crossing bridges at times, where we cannot readily see the obstacle that is being crossed. Bridge building is important.
D TURNER & SON, BASED NEAR MANCHESTER, OPERATES IN THE HEAVY MACHINE LIFTING INDUSTRY, MOVING A DIVERSE RANGE OF HEAVY EQUIPMENT, THROUGHOUT THE UK AND EUROPE. HEAVYTORQUE HAS AN INTERESTING AND ENTERTAINING CONVERSATION WITH LEE TURNER WHO NOW RUNS THE COMPANY.
Stakehill Industrial Estate at Middleton, near Manchester, is best known for having once housed a particularly notorious Tesco RDC, thankfully now permanently closed. But there are far more interesting companies based there these days, not least of which is D Turner & Son, machinery relocation experts. Founded by Dave Turner in 1965, the firm is now run by the ‘Son’ in its title, Lee Turner, who took over the reins in 2001.
“We’ll go into a factory, dismantle one machine – or all of them, relocate them and then rebuild them,” says Lee Turner. There is, obviously, far more to doing that than meets the eye, so we ask him to expand a bit. “We’re engineers,” he replies. “So, we dismantle mechanically and electrically, then lift and move them out of the factory – skate them out, or we have heavy lifting equipment.” From there the pieces go onto Turners’ own transport, are driven to the new location and offloaded again. “We then position it in the factory, rebuild it and commission the machine from start to finish.”
A COLUMN, ISN’T THAT SOMETHING THAT APPEARS IN THE NEWSPAPER OF YOUR TASTE? OR IN SOME ‘I’M GOING THROUGH A MIDLIFE CRISIS’ MAGAZINE? WELL, APPARENTLY NOT, AS SOME HIGHER POWERS BEHIND THIS GREAT MAGAZINE THOUGHT IT MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA TO BORE THE READERS WITH MY RAMBLINGS.
Who am I? I’m Patrick Versteeg and grew up around the heavy end of the haulage industry, but was never intended to become a driver myself. However, as we all know, some things don’t go as planned, and I’m now nearly on the verge of celebrating 20 years of driving shotgun. How time flies eh, and it made me think of all the things that happened in those past two decades (you know you’re getting old if you can slip in the word decades in your ramblings).
Now, I do realise that there are a lot of more experienced men/women/others out there, but in my defence, I’ve been traveling all over Europe and still do with wide and heavy loads, what’s more, I’ve never had an interest in general haulage, so my knowledge might be quite limited, as I only know the rules that apply to this fine industry, we are all part of.
X AND P MCGUIGAN CIVIL ENGINEERING, WHICH IS BASED AT WITHNELL NEAR CHORLEY, LANCASHIRE, HAS A HEAVY HAULAGE FLEET THAT IS MAINLY EMPLOYED SHIFTING X&P’S OWN EQUIPMENT, AS WELL AS THIRD PARTY OPERATIONS WHEN REQUIRED. HEAVYTORQUE MET THE COMPANY’S INDIVIDUALS AND WITNESSED ITS BEAUTIFULLY PRESENTED FLEET.
Setting a standard and maintaining for others to follow and maintaining it, is a key aspect of any successful organisation. Working to a professional standard, creating a positive image via the presentation of company equipment, dealing with customers in a proper manner. All of this and more goes a long way to creating a favourable impression of an organisation and the people behind it. This is especially so if the company operates heavy trucks, construction equipment and other machinery that is regularly in the public eye. We seem to live in an age where visual image is everything, but some individuals realised this years ago.
Lancashire-based X and P McGuigan Civil Engineering is a perfect example of this. The company operates a beautifully presented, small fleet of Scania tractor units, pulling high spec Nooteboom low loaders and step frames trailers, along with some eight-wheel tippers and other vehicles painted in the company’s striking red livery and always in immaculate condition whenever we see them out on the road.
CHORLEY-BASED RUTTLE PLANT IS ONE OF THE LATEST UK HEAVY HAULAGE OPERATORS TO HAVE A NEW 8x4 MAN TGX TRACTOR UNIT. HEAVYTORQUE TALKS TO THE HEAD OF THE COMPANY’S TRANSPORT OPERATION TO FIND OUT WHY IT WENT WITH MAN THIS TIME AND HOW IT MEETS ITS REQUIREMENTS.
MAN Truck and Bus UK continues to grow its market share in the heavy haulage tractor unit market. A proportion of these sales are to existing MAN users, but a considerable number are conquest sales to operators who previously have favoured other makes in recent years. The nature of the heavy haulage sector means that this process of winning new business is very much a long-term project – the number of 150+ tonne tractor units each year is obviously far lower than in the mainstream market. Furthermore, operators in heavy transport tend to buy on specification and long-term suitability for the task, rather than be tempted by a temporary marketing campaign.
The manufacturer had started to make inroads back into the sector with the previous generation TGX heavy tractors after losing ground a little in the UK. Improvements in the driveline and cab interior helped and it has been able to build upon this success considerably with the new generation TGX range, which is part of a complete redesign of all the MAN truck range.