20 May 2008
more payload, better traction and increased manoeuvrability. Successful long-term evaluation of DAF's CF85 6 x 2 tag axle FTR tractor by a leading West Country transport company has led to its adoption by DAF as a fully-approved, mainstream model.
The FTR model has a lifting tag axle with single wheels and tyres to give both excellent traction and manoeuvrability. It is currently available within the DAF XF range but some operators prefer the CF version with a cab that's a little narrower in width and lower in height than the XF cab and also lighter by around 400 kgs.
One such operator is Gregory Environmental, an operating division of Gregory Distribution Limited (GDL). They have been running three FTR CF85s for over 12 months on bio-solid waste disposal for South West Water in rural Devon and Cornwall. Local operating conditions, including narrow roads and steep inclines out of treatment plants, have shown the FTR CF85 to be ideally suited to the work.
Andy Price, Fleet Engineer at GDL, says that their FTRs have performed very well. "Our drivers have quickly adjusted to the technique of lifting the rear axle on the tractor to put more traction on the drive axle. This helps them to get moving more easily in slippery conditions or on steep slopes when fully laden."
GDL has now taken delivery of a further 11 to use on milk collection work, where conditions can be equally demanding. Tight access into farm premises and often limited space to manoeuvre; narrow country lanes; steep hills, slippery conditions: all these are circumstances that make the FTR ideal for this type of work.
The FTR is fitted with 'traction assist' which enables a temporary increase in the load that can be imposed on the drive axle. To engage 'traction assist' the driver activates a switch on the dash which allows the load on the drive axle to be increased from its 11.5 tonne design weight to 15 tonnes. This can be activated at speeds of up to 25 km/hour and switches off once 30 km/hour is reached, when the tag axle automatically lowers. The system remains active for five minutes and can be reactivated immediately if required.
As well as better traction, the FTR CF85 offers other advantages. Payload is one tonne better than a 6x4 tractor with a double-drive bogie. The use of a single-drive, single-reduction drive axle not only reduces weight but also contributes to better fuel efficiency. The narrower width and lower height of the CF85 cab makes it well suited to narrow country lanes with high hedges and overhanging trees. With the axle lifted the turning circle is considerably reduced and this improves manoeuvrability in confined spaces. When running unladen, the tag axle can be lifted to avoid tyre wear.
The FTR model is now available in a full range of cab types, engine ratings and transmission options normally to be found on the CF range of tractor units. These include the 12.9 litre PACCAR MX engine in four power ratings from 360 to 510 horsepower matched to manual or automated transmissions.
A specification sheet for the new FTR CF85 can be found on the DAF website www.daftrucks.co.uk