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Bensons’ first lightweight Bevan21s are bedding in nicely

Customers of leading retailer Bensons for Beds have begun receiving deliveries from the first of a new generation of 7.5-tonne trucks with streamlined bodies a full 500kg lighter than those they have replaced.

Specialist dry freight bodybuilder Bevan Group has seized every opportunity to shave weight from the 7.22m boxes without compromising strength or structural integrity.

Mounted on DAF LF chassis, the Bevan21 bodies are manufactured from recyclable Polyfont composite panels and feature the wind-cheating curved roof that is now helping some of the biggest names on Britain’s roads to slash their fuel bills.

Bevan has also installed the rear-mounted, pull-out platforms with safety rails used by Bensons’ two-man teams when unloading – these allow the retailer to use every inch of the body’s volume capacity, stacking beds and furniture up to the back doors.

The vehicle’s stylish appearance is further enhanced by a striking new Bensons for Beds livery. This was designed by Doncaster-based agency Public and applied by the graphics team at Bevan’s main production facility in Halesowen, West Midlands.

Bensons for Beds has six strategically located regional distribution centres nationwide. The first four trucks have entered service in Ayr and operate over relatively long distances, which means staff regularly spend nights on the road. This explains why the DAFs are also fitted with Sky Cab sleeper pods by Hatcher Components, of Framlingham, Suffolk.

With over 290 stores nationwide, as well as a further 14 outlets offering great value clearance beds, Bensons for Beds makes between 8,000 and 10,000 deliveries to customers’ homes each week.

Bensons prefers to run 7.5-tonners rather than larger trucks because they operate in residential areas, and because the fact that they can be driven on standard rather than LGV licences makes it easier to recruit drivers.

But as Director of Service Operations Mark Harrison at Bensons for Beds explains, business growth and an expanding product portfolio have presented new challenges.

"In addition to beds and frames we’re now delivering more bedroom furniture, which is relatively heavy. This has increased our requirement for payload as well as volume capacity, and Bevan have responded admirably. Despite also having pull-out loading platforms these new trucks can carry upwards of 3.0 tonnes – that’s a good half a tonne more than our previous vehicles, and a figure we’re very happy with."

The retailer operates approximately 100 home delivery vehicles, some of which work with demountable bodies – Bevan has also built a lightweight demount box that has undergone successful trials.

Continues Mr Harrison. "Bevan Group enjoys an excellent reputation within the retail industry, for the quality and durability of its commercial vehicle bodies.

"Managing Director Anthony Bevan and his team worked closely with us on the design of our new vehicles and came up with a solution that met our key requirements. In contrast to some other commercial vehicle bodybuilders I’ve worked with, they also kept us well informed of progress during the build phase, and delivered the bodies on time."

Founded as a general store in 1950 by Cyril Benson, and having opened its first bed centre in 1972, Bensons for Beds merged in 2011 with the Sleepmasters and Bed Shed brands to create a single business operating under one umbrella.

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