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Lighter trucks reduce fuel bill

Fuel bills are the real burden for any firm that has to haul goods up and down the country.

Adding to the pressure is the need to cut down on carbon as client continue to seek more ‘green’ suppliers as part of ongoing CSR commitments.

As a result, Lafarge Concretes and Aggregates has been working with Wilcox, PPG, Hyva and Edbro to develop a lighter tipper truck that can carry a larger payload, thus reducing the amount of carbon emitted per tonne of aggregate carried.

Lafarge A&C national transport manager Nick Elliot explains: “We’re a payload specific business and so we always run our trucks at the maximum weight. Therefore if we can reduce the weight of the truck without reducing its structural integrity, we can carry a larger payload without needing more fuel.”

Reducing the weight of the truck frame has been a twofold process. First up have been amendments to the actual tipping process. “Traditionally, tipping is carried out by mounting the cylinder at the bottom of the body and pushing the load up,” explains Mr Elliot.  “What we’ve done is mount the cylinder at the top of the body. This means that you can then get rid of the bracketry and machinery, which gives you a weight reduction.”

The other optimisation has been to convert the fuel tanks to carry both fuel and oil. Typically, a tipper truck will only use around half of its tank capacity in an average day. “Most of our trucks will burn between 140 and 180 litres of fuel a day, while having a 320 litre tank. That means you’re carrying around up 140 litres of fuel for no real reason,” says Mr Elliot.

Therefore the firm has converted the fuel tank into two separate compartments; two thirds for fuel, one third for oil. This then removes the need for a secondary oil tank and connections, again reducing weight. Mr Elliot believes that these modifications have reduced the weight of the trucks by 200 kg.

“The new trucks offer a 0.3 litre saving per delivered tonne on fuel meaning over three months they have been able to carry an extra 324 tonnes of material, compared to the old trucks using the same amount of diesel,” he says. “This equates to a saving of 16 lorry movements and a consequent reduction in carbon emissions of 2,268 kg.”