As part of DAF Trucks introduction of EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval, factory bodied DAF LF and DAF CF models designed and built at Leyland Trucks, will be fully approved two years ahead of the deadline required for independent body builders.
Staff at its showcase plant in Lancashire have been working closely with colleagues in their sister plant, DAF Trucks in Eindhoven, to comply with the new legislation under Directive 2007/46/EC (as amended), which comes into effect on 29th October 2012 for vehicles that are built in a single stage (complete) or as a chassis cab (incomplete) for later body fitment.
A central part of the long period of planning has been the development of a comprehensive vehicle specification data recording system. This will be used to gather and hold the evidence that a vehicle conforms to the new regulations and it will enable a Certificate of Conformity to be created and downloaded anywhere in the EC to which a vehicle is being delivered.
This harmonisation of the regulations across Europe is expected to make it easier for DAF Trucks to further grow its share of the medium and heavy truck market across Europe. All EC countries will have to conform to the new regulations and must accept certification of a vehicle from compliant producers based in another member country.
For UK operators the change will bring a number of benefits. The requirements of ECWVTA are more comprehensive than the current UK type approval scheme covering several important areas such as rear under-run guards, sideguards and lighting systems. As a result, operators can feel confident that these safety critical items are fully type-approved if factory fitted and this could avoid issues at annual test or in the event of the failure of non type-approved components fitted after build.
This broader coverage will be particularly relevant to those operators who buy fully bodied trucks from DAF that are built at the Leyland plant. The independent body building sector, which mounts these items as part of a second manufacturing stage, is not required to meet EC WVTA for another two years. Until Oct 2014, it will still be possible, for DAF vehicles that are bodied by external body builders not ready with their own approvals, to be registered in the UK.
DAF’s range of bodied vehicles is unique in the industry with box and curtainsided bodies being designed, manufactured and installed at Leyland Trucks as an integral part of the vehicle design and production process. The bodies, which are available with a comprehensive range of options including tail-lifts and other items to suit a range of operations, are available on the UK’s market leading LF range from 7.5t GVW to 18tGVW and also on the 18t CF65.
As and when required, DAF will be able to make use of the UK National Small Series and Individual Vehicle Approval schemes, which suit short production runs of special or bespoke vehicles whose design falls outside the broad range of designs approved under EC WVTA .
Denis Culloty, Leyland Trucks Chief Engineer, says: "Implementing this legislation has proved challenging but we have gained from it because of the robust review of our systems and processes that has been necessary in order that we can comply. And it shows the foresight we had in introducing our factory body-building process, which was set up with this moment in mind.
"This year well in excess of 1,000 fully bodied trucks will leave our plant ready to immediately enter revenue earning service. All of them will be fully type approved under the existing regulations pre 29th October and under the new EC regulations after that. This means that every aspect of the vehicle meets a guaranteed minimum standard, both the cab and chassis along with the body, its safety related fittings and any ancillary equipment, such as tail-lifts.
"This adds to the major benefits that our customers are already enjoying since we introduced the body-building scheme. Namely: reduced lead-times of several weeks; a vehicle manufactured completely to the most rigorous processes and quality procedures; and only one point of contact on warranty issues for the entire vehicle!"
As well as the software systems that have had to be developed and introduced to meet the new regulations, Leyland Trucks has invested heavily in a highly sophisticated dynamic weighbridge. The EC regulations require that the gross and individual axle weights of each vehicle must be recorded to within a tolerance of 3%. The Axtec dynamic weighbridge, which is reputed to be the world’s most accurate dynamic weighbridge, is the same type as those used by VOSA at its roadside enforcement sites around the UK.
Mr Culloty also raised the issue of further regulation due for implementation next year and later which operators need to be aware of. "EC Directive 2009/661 covers a number of safety systems and other features," he says. "For example, advanced emergency braking systems, lane departure warning systems, and even the rolling resistance and noise of tyres will be subject to this Directive, for which we are also well prepared."