A fast-growing South Wales firm has hit the road with a Bevan-bodied 7.5-tonne FUSO Canter comprehensively equipped to apply protective polyurea and polyurethane coatings to an enormous range of products at customers’ premises.
AV Coatings selected Bevan Group for its commitment to quality and ‘one-stop shop’ service – "Not only did Bevan build our body, but it also supplied the racking, fitted the tuckaway tail-lift, and designed and applied the vehicle’s eye-catching livery," explains Director Ian Rigden, whose company operates from Ammanford, Carmarthenshire.
The box body is a Bevan21, designed to reduce wind resistance while maintaining cubic load volumes. Features include a curved roof and a specially moulded air deflector and cab collar. Independent tests carried out under stringent conditions have confirmed that the revolutionary streamlined body – which is also available as a curtainsider – is capable of cutting fuel bills by more than 15 per cent.
Manufactured from lightweight Ecofont GRP panels at Bevan’s production facility in Halesowen, West Midlands, AV Coatings’ body has three compartments, accessed via single and double doors. The vehicle carries a small compressor and the reactor (spraying machine), while a sound-deadened compartment houses a generator. The product is transported in 45-gallon drums – up to four at a time can be carried – stowed towards the rear.
The range-topping Canter 7C18 chassis arrived via the Swansea branch of Mercedes-Benz dealer Euro Commercials (South Wales) – the German manufacturer’s franchised UK network is also responsible for sales and support of the popular Japanese light truck range.
Powered by a fuel-efficient 175 hp engine, it offers the twin attributes of a compact footprint and the market-leading payload for which the Canter is renowned – with the tail-lift fitted and allowing a combined 170 kg for the driver and fuel, the vehicle still offers an impressive 3,210 kg carrying capacity.
AV Coatings was established some 40 years ago and has traditionally focused on maintaining equipment used in open cast mining. Over the last five years, however, it has developed an additional expertise in the application of polyurea and polyurethane coatings, which can be put to an almost limitless variety of uses – for example, the company has protected the steel structures of seaside piers, fake ‘caves’ and other features created for film sets, shop fittings for a high street retailer, and buildings used in the nuclear power industry. Turnover for this side of the business has doubled in each of the last two years.
"As well as being quick to apply and dry, and very effective, polyurea and polyurethane are solvent-free, so have a significantly lower impact on the environment than traditional alternatives such as paint, epoxy and fiberglass," adds Ian Rigden. "The fact that our new truck has such impressive credentials in terms of fuel efficiency and carbon reduction is therefore entirely appropriate."
Importantly, because the on board equipment is permanently bolted in place, the Canter is classified as a service vehicle. It is not, therefore, subject to an Operator’s Licence and nor is a tachograph required.
"We used to run a 7.5-tonner on an O-Licence years ago and dealing with VOSA (the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency) was a lot of hassle," says Ian’s brother and co-Director Andrew Rigden.
AV Coatings’ new truck replaces a 3.5-tonner which towed a generator. "We do a lot of work in London, where reversing with the trailer was often awkward and could even be dangerous," adds Andrew Rigden. "Not only is the new vehicle safer, it’s also more secure, as generators are often stolen from trailers.
"Bevan have also done a great job with the high-visibility livery. The more people that see us on the road, the better we like it – it’s a great mobile advertisement."