Volvo FLs added to private gritting fleet

The Gritting Company of Gildersome, Leeds has added to its existing Volvo fleet by taking delivery of two 18-tonne GVW, Volvo FL 4x2 rigids.

The trucks feature Schmidt spreaders and will join an existing 23-strong fleet of Volvo trucks. The company’s gritting trucks service both the local authority and private customers across Yorkshire.

Company Director, Nigel Crowther said: “The new Volvo FL provides the reliability that we require for what is extremely challenging work. Many perceive us as the fourth emergency service when winter strikes, so reliability is absolutely crucial.”

The Gritting Company has over 150 gritting trucks in total with both permanently mounted and demountable gritting bodies, operating from over 70 depots and covering customers’ premises’ from Devon to northern Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“Our business is dedicated to gritting for local authorities and private sector clients such as supermarket chains, retail parks and factory premises,” explained Crowther.

“When the temperatures drop you’ll find us out in the worst conditions and usually at night supporting our customers to ensure their businesses can keep going, whatever the weather throws at us.”

The new Volvo FLs, with 4.1m wheelbases and day cabs, feature steel leaf rearsuspension and can carry up to 10 tonnes of de-icing salt.

“We stock tens-of-thousands of tonnes of de-icing salt in Leeds and several thousand tonnes across several depots across the UK,” added Crowther.

“I estimate that over the course of an average winter, the new Volvo FLs will spread upwards of 750 tonnes of rock salt and each vehicle will cover in the region of 20,000 kms per annum.”

Due to the corrosive nature of salt the Volvo FL’s chassis was wax treated by Schmidt prior to the spreader body being built. “In our day-to-day operations we empty the truck completely after every trip and wash it down.”

"Then, at the end of the season, we will give it a thorough wash down and grease parts and areas susceptible to corrosion such as aluminium valves.”

Unlike most trucks the new Volvo FLs will only work seasonally.

“We need them to perform when the weather gets tough and then they will sit idle through the warmer months.” 

“We have depended on a fleet that is predominantly Volvo since we started the gritting operation over 50 years ago and the reliability of the trucks, in conjunction with the back-up we get from both Crossroads Truck and Bus and Volvo, means we’ll aim to invest in two new Volvo FLs each year going forwards.”

The Gritting Company’s newest Volvo FL is powered by a Volvo D8K 7.7 litre, six-cylinder engine producing 250hp at 2,100rpm and up to 950Nm of torque, which is transmitted to the road through a 6-speed overdrive manual gearbox.

“We use standard tyres, albeit with a fairly chunky pattern. Even in what is essentially a standard configuration, the Volvo FL performs as we need it to in difficult conditions and the drivers like it.”

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