Monday 24th Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Mod cons lead to safety

Daf tractor units with a list price of more than £7M have been acquired under a major fleet renewal programme by the UK arm of cement producer Lafarge. The trucks are to a high level of specification that is centred on safety.

The vehicles are Daf FTG CF85 mid-lift axle 6×2 tractors, of which 49 are now in service with a further 40 expected to join the fleet during the summer. Lafarge, which makes the well-known Blue Circle brand of cements, is also acquiring 43 Felbinder dry powder tankers of 36cu m capacity.

All the Dafs feature the AS-tronic automatic gearbox and have ZF intarders. Add standard features like cruise control, a luxury air seat for the driver, air conditioning, and a CD player. Lafarge believes that these trucks are among the most driver-friendly, and therefore safest, on the road.

David Shaw, UK fleet engineer for Lafarge, says that providing drivers with trucks equipped to this high level must contribute to better safety: “On today’s congested roads a driver needs to be in total control of his vehicle in all traffic conditions. Automatic transmission allows him to do that and providing a comfortable working environment helps reduce stress and make for a more relaxed and therefore a safer driver.

“On top of that we see a real payback from the additional investment in features such as the ZF intarder. There are clear gains in terms of reduced wear on the foundation brakes resulting in lower maintenance costs and less downtime. It’s also a very reassuring feature of the truck, especially in hilly terrain such as our operation in the Derbyshire Dales. All-round disc brakes with EBS and ABS, which are standard on the Daf, provide a further margin of safety.” The Dafs are spread between 13 works and depots from Scotland to Cornwall from where they deliver cement in bulk loads of up to 30.5 tonnes to ready mixed concrete batching plants and concrete product manufacturers.