Yeovil-based Blackmores Machinery Haulage have taken delivery of a Volvo FH-500hp 8×2 Tridem rear-steer. The 44 tonne GTW drawbar provides a custom engineered ‘transport solution’ to the firm’s requirement for a 4-metre overall height truck that also features excellent manoeuvrability.

The FH-500, which was supplied by Truck and Bus Wales & West, is the first new truck the company has purchased in thirty years of successful international machinery haulage.

The arrival of the new FH means that the company now operate a fleet of four trucks, including an immaculate Volvo FH16-700 ‘Classic’ 6×2 tractor plated for STGO Cat 2. The latter’s Nooteboom trailer is fitted with an 80-tonne metre Fassi crane. Seven specialist trailers are operated, two of which are drawbar platforms used primarily for transporting forklifts as well as machines.

This FH Tridem, is the first in the UK to have a low chassis height of 1100mm from the ground to the top of the chassis frame. Lowering the running height of the chassis was essential to achieving the 4-metre overall height required for Continental work.

A low chassis height and the Tridem rear-steer configuration were equally crucial for access to some of the UK sites where the company operate. On these, tight access and low working heights would present a major challenge for conventional multi-axle rigids.

For ease of use, the body superstructure, which was built by CCH of Helstering in the Netherlands is a ‘cartridge system’. The result is that it takes only thirty minutes to remove the demountable curtain assembly.

The curtains, which were made by NetCap, are mounted on a roller system that sits on a rave rail that has been reduced from the more standard 180mm to just 100mm. The internal height of the curtainside body is 2.8 metres, allowing most machines to be carried in under 4 metres overall height.

The headboard is demountable and lower profile 385/55R 22.5 single tyres on all axles help save vital centimetres. The custom built stainless steel tool boxes were made by Tilburg Truck Parts in Valkenswaard in the Netherlands.

The bodywork is mounted on a chassis length superstructure that extends from the back of the cab and which provides a rigid base for the whole body and crane. Lashing eyes are placed every metre. The crane is a 60-tonne metre, rear-mounted HMF 6020 model.

Blackmores prefer rear-mounted cranes as they allow a longer reach from the back of the chassis. An important feature of the HMF crane is that the accuracy of the electronic control system allows the stabilisers to be deployed safely, without fully extending them. It means that the truck can work in much more confined spaces, such as London streets, without disrupting traffic. Wayne Scott of Blackmores Machinery Haulage says that: “The centre of gravity is very low and we can achieve full stability at 100% lift with less than a 50% extension of the legs.”

“We intend to keep the Volvo Tridem for at least 10 years,” continues Wayne. “That’s why everything on it is stainless steel, custom-built and engineered for durability and longevity. As a company, we can handle up to 80-tonne machines, no problem. In fact, we can take on just about any project. It’s all about detail planning and using our ability to solve problems for our customers. That’s why they keep coming back to us.”

The company’s expertise is much in demand. In addition to managing the physical movement of machinery, they also provide advice, on-site project management and logistics skills to a long list of companies based globally and including businesses in Qatar, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria.