In order to meet its heavy haulage needs, Smiths of Gloucester has taken delivery of two Volvo FH16-750 6×4 tractor units from Truck and Bus Wales & West, Avonmouth.

The two double-drive tractor units are plated for operation under STGO CAT 3 at a GCW of up to 125 tonnes. They are being used for the transportation of both Smiths’ own heavy plant and that of third party customers.

Paul Smith, son of Managing Director Alan, says: “We operate over 500 items of heavy plant including excavators, articulated dump trucks, crushers and bulldozers – a number of which tip the scales at around 50-tonnes. Over and above this, we also transport heavy loads for customers independently, so the FH16-750s tick all the right boxes.”

The Globetrotter XL cabs featuring both Volvo Drive Plus+ and Living packages, are of the highest specification as befits these top-of-the-range trucks.

In terms of accommodation the cabs are equipped with two beds, Sleeper Control panels incorporating controls for the parking heater/cooler, folding and height adjustable tables on the lower bunk, high powered audio systems, televisions, fridge/freezers and microwaves.

“These trucks have been tailored to offer a really comfortable environment for our drivers,” says Paul. “They took a lot of work in terms of getting the specifications right – and to this end Ernest McGregor at Truck and Bus Wales & West was hugely supportive and helped us enormously. He did a fantastic job and with these two FH16-750s taking pride of place in the yard I think he’s helped us set a new benchmark.”

While it is still early days, Paul states that the drivers are really pleased with the newest additions to the company’s 140-strong fleet of trucks. “They have already commented on the torque of the 16-litre engine, which has really impressed them, especially low down in the rev band,” he says. “I guess that’s what having 3550Nm of torque available at just 950rpm will do.”

Paul says the 375kW of retardation from the Volvo engine brake keeps use of the brakes down, even on steep downhill gradients. Fuel usage is good too: “I am really pleased with the fuel economy,” he says. “We’re expecting each of these trucks to cover in the order of 140,000 km/annum all over the UK so the mpg returns are most welcome.”

Looking forwards Paul explains that on the heavy side the company is moving more and more to Volvo. “They work for us!” he says. “For example; on scrap bulkers I really don’t believe you can do better than a Volvo FH-500 with a Rothdean trailer. And these two new FH16-750s for our heavy haulage operations are good enough to convert one driver, who was previously not a fan of Volvo, into being one of its most ardent supporters. I never thought I’d see the day, but it’s happened.”