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DAFs light weight means more payload and more litres delivered

The light weight of DAFs LF55 chassis means more payload and more litres delivered for Cornwalls leading independent supplier of fuel oils and lubricants.

Redruth based Mitchell and Webber has put a pair of 18 tonne LF55s into its 21 tanker fleet delivering a range of fuel oil and related products to customers across the West Country. Each is fitted with a 13,000 litre, four compartment aluminium Magyar tank designed to carry a mix of products. Alcoa aluminium wheels further reduce weight and increase payload as well as adding to the smart turnout of the trucks.

With demand for domestic fuel oils at its peak in recent weeks the LF55s have each been making up to 30 drops a day, delivering between them as many as 52,000 litres of heating oil daily. As Spring approaches demand is now switching towards the agricultural market as well as continuing to meet the less seasonal needs of marine and industrial customers.

The inbuilt versatility of the DAFs and their Magyar tanks makes it easy to move from one type of work to another. The compact size of the LF55s means that they are equally adaptable for deliveries into farms or private homes with restricted access as to docksides or industrial estates. The compact cab also helps drivers to cope more easily with Cornwall’s narrow country roads.

At 280 hp (210 kW), Mitchell and Webber have chosen the highest power rating available form the PACCAR GR165 six-cylinder engine in their LF55s. At 18 tonnes this gives them a generous power to weight ratio of 15.83 bhp/tonne. At this power rating there’s plenty of torque too. The engine deliveries 1,020 Nm across a rev range between 1200 and 1800 rpm enabling the DAFs to get moving in the most slippery of conditions and whatever their load state.

"These trucks have to cope with some hilly terrain," says managing director Robert Weedon. "Having plenty of power ensures that they are always working comfortably within their limits, which contributes to increased durability. At the same time it improves productivity by keeping times between jobs to a minimum and it does so without compromising fuel efficiency.

"We’ve also made the driver’s job easier by choosing the AS-tronic automatic transmission. Frequent short journeys between deliveries would normally mean a lot of clutch work and gear changing and this avoids all that with the result that driver fatigue is reduced and safety improved, as he can focus solely on the road ahead. It should also mean less downtime and costs related to clutch renewals.

"On multi-drop work the driver is constantly climbing in and out of the cab, which can be physically demanding. We find that the LF cab makes this easier with its well spaced steps and grab handles along with a wide-opening door. Good cross cab access also means that in many situations he can get out on the nearside, which adds to his safety."

Further operational flexibility comes from the four-compartment Magyar tank, which is able to carry a mix of products from heating oil to kerosene and biodiesel. The tank has Gardner Denver pumping equipment and a full vapour-recovery, bottom-loading system.

The trucks are being maintained in Mitchell and Webber’s own well-equipped workshop at their base at Scorrier near Redruth, which meets full ADR and Petroleum Regulation standards. Parts support and any warranty work is being undertaken by the supplying dealer, Wessex DAF, who is co-located on the site.

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