June 19, 2012
Volvo Construction Equipment has been the market leader in articulated haulers since the company popularized the concept in the 1960s. But the ability of these machines to tackle the harshest of onsite conditions has a far wider application than just earthmoving. The launch of the company’s Hauler Chassis makes it even easier for customers and expert body builders to adapt standard haulers into special purpose vehicles.
Hauler Chassis is a modular concept whereby customers can order a standard articulated hauler, supplied without load body or hoist cylinders. These base machines then provide the perfect platform for the customer, Volvo dealer or third party body builder to modify in order to suit the specific transport solution required. The range of possibilities is endless, but popular superstructure options include timber hauler, water tank, hook lift, ejector body or fifth wheel for pulling a wide range of trailers. A bolt-on frame extension is also available for the A25F and A30F-based machines, for added flexibility. Offered in two lengths, 47 inch and 67 inch, the extension means longer or larger volumes can be supported.
Ordering the Hauler Chassis is now much simpler, consisting of a standard hauler chassis and a series of added/deleted options. When mounting superstructures, Volvo also gives considerable technical support, as well as Body Builder Instructions (BBI), which have been developed by Volvo engineers. The BBI is a web-based tool that provides drawings, specifications and other technical information to help integrate the new superstructure and ensure the finished machine performs safely, effectively and fuel efficiently. The system also describes the installation process in detail, highlights various superstructure possibilities and emphasizes the simplicity with which Volvo haulers can be adapted. Additionally, BBI clarifies each party’s responsibilities and legal aspects, warranty and after-sales conditions.
Endless opportunities of the F-Series
With their heavy duty frames and immense off-road performance, the new F-Series articulated haulers from Volvo Construction Equipment are the ideal platform for a host of applications. Under the Hauler Chassis program, a selection of optional equipment is available, as are hydraulic interfaces to suit a range of superstructures, thereby reducing build time. As well as the standard machine hydraulics, an auxiliary open or closed center system allows for superstructures connection without further modifications.
Central to the articulated hauler concept is the articulated steering system, which affords exceptionally short turning circles – useful in confined loading areas and on tightly turning haul roads. The self-compensating hydro-mechanical system also gives operators outstanding control of the machine through both its high steering force in tough off-road conditions (e.g. deep mud) and also its accurate, safe operation at high speeds.
Purpose built by Volvo, the engines are designed to match the Volvo drivetrain, ensuring the best use of power and torque, even in tough working conditions. The new F-Series is also more fuel efficient than the E-Series machines — by up to 4 percent.
The drive train features as standard an Automatic Traction Control (ATC) system that automatically engages/ disengages the 6-wheel drive. The system detects any slippage, and applies the appropriate drive mode for optimum traction. In good conditions, the 4-wheel drive mode reduces fuel consumption, tire and mechanical wear.
Getting a grip: whatever the conditions
The F-Series is fitted with ‘dog clutch’ differential locks in all three axles, which help maximize grip in difficult conditions. When applied, they ensure all wheels rotate at the same speed, maximizing traction in severe operating conditions, e.g. deep mud. All differential locks can be engaged, on the fly, by stepping on the floor-mounted button helping maximize traction in tough conditions.
A three-point bogie design allows the rear wheels to move independently, ensuring good ground contact, traction and stability while minimizing strain on the frame. The high positioned rotating hitch is maintenance free and features permanently greased tapered roller bearings. On the A25F and A30F models, hauling speeds are increased thanks to soft, progressive gas-hydraulic front suspension, which minimizes vibrations to the operator, reducing fatigue and enhancing productivity. The unique Full Suspension (FS) version of A35F and A40F is fitted with a fully hydraulic front and rear suspension. This, together with an automatic leveling system and stabilizer, maximizes hauling speeds of both loaded and unloaded machines.
The A25F and A30F are fitted with fully hydraulic brakes and dry discs on all wheels, while the bigger A35F and A40F are fitted with oil-cooled wet discs. Additionally, all machines feature retarders. The A25F and A30F feature a hydraulic retarder and Volvo Engine Brake (VEB) – the latter consisting of a compression brake and exhaust retarder. The larger A35F and A40F also feature VEB but, instead of a hydraulic retarder, use the wheel brakes. The retarder function helps to control speed when travelling downhill, reducing the need of service brake use and minimizing their wear. There is also an optional Trailer Brake Valve that enables the adaptation from the chassis hydraulic system to the trailer air brake system.
A nice place to work
As with all Volvo equipment, the new F-Series machines are fitted with a world-class operator environment — the ROPS/FOPS protected cab. Good all-round visibility is assisted by a centrally positioned operator station, sloping hood, large rear-view mirrors, a wide front windshield and a full-length glass door. A spacious, low-noise, climate-controlled interior and easy-to-reach controls all combine to make the new F-Series a low-stress environment. This, coupled with easier-to-read Contronics information, allows the operator more time to concentrate on what is going on outside the cab, improving safety. And thanks to a smoother ride, operators experience less fatigue, remaining more alert and productive throughout their working shifts.
Maintenance is assisted by a swing-down front grille with integrated steps, which acts as a service platform. Additionally, the hood tips 90 degrees, giving easy access to the engine compartment. All grease points and remote mounted drains are accessible from ground level or non-slip platforms. Also, there is no daily or weekly greasing needed.
The new F-Series is fitted as standard with CareTrack®, Volvo’s telematics system that enables remote monitoring of a wide range of machine functions (e.g. fuel consumption, service reminders, etc.), and optimizing customer operations. These machines are also supported by a global network of Volvo dealers, where trained technicians use Volvo diagnostic tools and techniques. The F-Series is available with a package of customer support agreements (CSA).
These specialized Hauler Chassis-based machines retain all of the advantages of Volvo articulated haulers, performance, reliability, maneuverability and go-anywhere capability. And, in most cases, the base machines can be rebuilt back into a standard articulated hauler, increasing machine resale value considerably.