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Fully-automatic transmissions make asphalt spreaders more attractive to truck buyers

When SpriderMaskiner AB specifies its asphalt spreading trucks, it prefers to play it safe by equipping the vehicles with Allison fully-automatic transmissions.

SpriderMaskiner AB, a company which develops special asphalt spreaders for smaller surface areas, specifies Allison transmissions, not only for their performance and durability, but also to ensure vehicle appeal. The most recent delivery by the Swedish family-owned company was a Volvo FE 340 6×2 equipped with the Allison 3000 Series fully-automatic transmission.

The unique design of the flexible, truck-mounted Sprider system eliminates the daunting work of manually spreading asphalt in places where larger machines struggle to maneuver. The design consists of a remote-controlled, jointed hydraulic transport arm, which is mounted at the back of the truck to move asphalt forward with a worm-screw. The arm has a maximum length of five meters and can cover a 48 m2 surface without moving the truck forward, thereby eliminating the need for laborious work requiring a shovel or wheelbarrow.

"Since the company started, we have delivered over 400 Sprider systems to customers in many European countries. Most of them have been installed on customers’ existing trucks, but we can also deliver completely new trucks. We buy the chassis and asphalt loading platforms from truck manufacturers and body builders, then equip them with our Sprider system," says Tommy Sjögren, Managing Director and part owner of SpriderMaskiner AB.

SpriderMaskiner AB produces a few trucks each year, which are kept as spare stock to ensure constant availability; however, this poses a potential economic risk for the company.

"So far, our strategy has worked well, but we do take steps to make the trucks as attractive as possible to potential customers as a way of reducing the risk of spare trucks going unsold. That is why we equip trucks with Allison fully-automatic transmissions. This has proven to make them significantly more attractive," Sjögren continued. "Recently we delivered a complete truck to Swea Asfalt i Väst AB. It was a Volvo FE 340 6×2 equipped with an Allison 3000 Series transmission."

Mattias Hedin is the driver of this truck, and he has been using Allison fully-automatic transmissions in similar trucks for a year. "At least 90 percent of the time, I drive in Gothenburg’s heavy city traffic. I think the transmission works perfectly under these erratic conditions, and I wouldn’t want to have anything else. The truck has good driving characteristics thanks to the torque converter, which provides prompt vehicle response. It’s easy to maneuver in city traffic and on narrow routes like bicycle paths, parks and pavements, where we often work," said Hedin.

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