The decision to buy DAF LF45s with factory-fitted bodies and factory-painted in their distinctive pink and black colour scheme has taken much of the hassle out of buying trucks for Yorkshire operator The Pink Link Limited.
“Apart from applying our livery they came ready for the road,” says managing director Richard Allen. “In the past we'd have taken a chassis/cab, had to arrange for that to be painted in our colour scheme, sent it to a bodybuilder, and perhaps also had to organise for the tail-lift to be fitted.
“This arrangement has greatly simplified the process. With these DAFs everything has been taken care of under one roof from a single source and we only had to have the vinyls applied. In addition, the overall standard of fit and finish is both high and consistent throughout the vehicle. And it's helpful that we only have one point of contact on warranty issues, whether that's the truck itself, the body, or the tail-lift.”
The Huddersfield based company has put three LF45s into its 20-vehicle fleet, which also includes 18 tonners and 44 tonne artics. The 7.5 tonne DAFs are being used on local deliveries and collections across a wide area of West Yorkshire for which the company operates three postcode areas for The Palletways Network.
Although annual mileages will be low at around 30,000 kms, it's demanding work for the LF45s and their drivers. Each makes up to a dozen deliveries each morning and ten or more collections in the afternoon. They have to cope with a lot of stop/start work, heavy traffic on the M62 and other major roads, some very hilly terrain, and narrow rural roads in the north of the patch.
The massive growth in internet home shopping is also fuelling a rise in demand for palletised deliveries to domestic premises. This requires trucks that are compact and manoeuvrable to cope with the often congested roads on housing estates.
The specification laid down by The Pink Link reflects this mix of operating conditions. At 160 horsepower the DAFs have a comfortable power to weight ratio of 21.33 bhp/tonne, which means they're never overstretched even when fully laden on the steepest inclines. Although it's early days, the company is also reporting good fuel economy from the trucks.
They've also opted for the AS-tronic automated transmission. “This brings two key benefits,” explains Richard Allen. “It reduces driver effort and stress, particularly when coping with busy traffic, and helps them maintain a good flow with the traffic. On top of that we expect a significantly longer clutch life with less downtime for clutch changes.
“It's definitely where the future lies in truck transmissions, even at this lower weight. Our drivers have taken to them really well.”
The trucks were supplied through The Pink Link's local DAF dealer F&G Commercials of Huddersfield who will also provide service support.